Sep 11, 2021; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA;  Tulsa Golden Hurricane head coach Philip Montgomery talks to his players during a timeout in the first quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Tulsa fires coach Philip Montgomery after 8 seasons

Tulsa fired coach Philip Montgomery on Sunday, a day after the Golden Hurricane concluded a 5-7 season with a come-from-behind victory at Houston.

Athletic director Rick Dickson said the school had “decided to make a change” in the leadership of the program.

“This was an extremely difficult decision, one that affects a number of individuals and is never easy for anyone involved,” Dickson said in a statement. “Philip’s dedication to our student-athletes is unquestioned and we thank him for his tireless efforts in leading our young men. He has represented TU with class and character. We appreciate Philip’s commitment to the University of Tulsa, our football program and the Tulsa community.”

Montgomery went 43-53 in eight seasons, leading Tulsa to four bowl games, and his 96 games with the team is third all-time at the program.

“I’m certainly disappointed that I won’t have the opportunity to continue leading this program,” Montgomery said in a statement. “For the past eight years, I’ve given the University of Tulsa, our players, and staff everything I have. I’m proud of the way we locked arms and battled through adversity at every turn.”

Montgomery landed his first head coaching job with the Golden Hurricane in 2015 after serving as Baylor’s offensive coordinator for the final four of his seven seasons on the Bears’ staff.

Tulsa scuffled to a 1-6 record over a seven-game span during the season, losing quarterback Davis Brin. The team did rebound to close the season with consecutive victories behind backup Braylon Braxton, a redshirt freshman.

Ultimately, it was not enough to save Montgomery’s job.

“On behalf of the Trustees, I thank Philip for his commitment to TU,” university president Brad Carson said in a statement. “He and his coaching staff have built a program centered on the student-athlete, both athletically and academically. TU remains committed to those student-athletes through this transition.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2022; Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA;  Tulane Green Wave running back Tyjae Spears (22) runs the ball during the first quarter against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

No. 19 Tulane tops Tulsa for fifth straight win

Tulane’s Tyjae Spears rushed for a season-high 157 yards and a touchdown as the No. 19 Green Wave stayed atop the American Athletic Conference with a 27-13 win at Tulsa on Saturday afternoon.

In his fourth 100-yard game, Spears carried 14 times and scored from 34 yards out in the second quarter to help Tulane (8-1, 5-0) take control with a 17-3 lead.

Michael Pratt completed 11 of 19 passes for 125 yards with TD tosses to Tyrick James and Shae Wyatt. He threw one interception. Shaadie Clayton-Johnson topped the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time with 106 yards on 14 carries.

Braylon Braxton was 13-of-25 passing for 146 yards with a TD pass to JuanCarlos Santana but Tulsa (3-6, 1-4) lost for the fifth time in six games.

A 55-yard run by Spears on the second play from scrimmage set up the visitors. Pratt finished it by zipping a strike of 10 yards to James.

Zack Long answered with a season-long 46-yard field goal on Tulsa’s first drive.

The Green Wave’s Valentino Ambrosio made a 20-yard kick to round out the first quarter scoring — giving Tulane a 72-13 advantage over the opposition in the first 15 minutes of 2022.

Spears ended an 88-yard drive at 6:10 of the second quarter by slicing through the Tulsa defense with his long run for a 17-3 advantage.

However, the home side gained momentum when Kendarin Ray intercepted Pratt with just over a minute left in the half. Braxton then tossed a 28-yard TD to Santana two plays later for a 17-10 halftime score.

On its first series of the second half, Wyatt put Tulane back up by two scores by hauling in a pass of 20 yards from Pratt to make it 24-10.

Long’s 40-yard boot trimmed it to 24-13.

Ambrosio’s 33-yard field goal inside the final minute completed the scoring as the Green Wave won for the fifth straight outing.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2022; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Tulane Green Wave quarterback Michael Pratt (7) waits for a play from the sideline during the second quarter against the Kansas State Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

No. 19 Tulane hopes to sustain momentum at Tulsa

By his own account, Tulane coach Willie Fritz admitted he was perhaps the Green Wave’s biggest problem in their most recent game.

On the heels of a week off, Tulane — No. 19 in Tuesday’s first College Football Playoff Top 25 — will travel to Tulsa, Okla., to face the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in American Athletic Conference play Saturday.

Last time out, Fritz’s team led 35-0 after an incredible half of football against Memphis, and Fritz said he dialed it back a bit, which stunted the momentum created by quarterback Michael Pratt and an explosive offense.

“I kind of slowed us down a little bit in the second half,” Fritz said. “I wish I hadn’t. I wish I’d have picked a better play on that fourth-and-short when we were backed up. But I didn’t.”

Following the spectacular five-touchdown first half, Tulane held on to beat the Tigers 38-28. The Green Wave (7-1, 4-0) lead the conference, one game ahead of Cincinnati, UCF and Houston.

Fritz’s squad will host UCF on Nov. 12. Two weeks later it will travel to Cincinnati to close out the season against the Bearcats — controlling its own path to the league championship and a possible New Year’s Six berth in the Cotton Bowl Classic.

Despite sitting ninth in the AAC standings, Tulsa (3-5, 1-3) is a team that cannot be taken lightly, even though the Golden Hurricane have lost momentum since quarterback Davis Brin — who was leading the nation in passing at the time — injured his ankle at then-No. 16 Ole Miss on Sept. 24.

Tulsa narrowly lost that game, 35-27, and Brin has not been at full health since then, although he has started every game. In last Saturday’s 45-34 loss to SMU, Brin injured his non-throwing shoulder after a hard hit on a 21-yard TD run in the third quarter.

“You’ve got to give him a lot of credit for the gutsiness of sacrificing your body out there and knowing you’re fixing to get hit but knowing we need points,” Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said.

Freshman Braylon Braxton came in to turn in a strong effort, completing 8 of 14 passes for 120 yards and two TDs.

Tulane, meanwhile, will be looking for another strong start, having outscored opponents 62-10 in the first quarter this season.

Pratt, a junior from Boca Raton, Fla., continues to be proficient in leading Fritz’s offense. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound passer has completed 131 of 194 throws (67.5 percent) for 1,718 yards with 12 TDs and three interceptions.

The Golden Hurricane have won 13 of the 18 meetings in the all-time series, including the last two by a TD in overtime. In the last matchup in Oklahoma, Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins returned an interception 96 yards for the game-winning touchdown in the second overtime.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2022; Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA; Tulsa Golden Hurricane wide receiver Keylon Stokes (2) runs after a catch during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Cincinnati won 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Tulsa, after consecutive losses, aims to bounce back at Navy

Tulsa will try to avoid a third straight defeat when it meets Navy in an American Athletic Conference matchup on Saturday in Annapolis, Md.

Tulsa (2-3, 0-1 AAC) fell 31-21 at home to Cincinnati in its conference opener last week, one game after taking a 35-27 loss at then-No. 16 Ole Miss. Cincinnati is now back in the AP poll at No. 24 while undefeated Ole Miss has soared to No. 9.

The Golden Hurricane managed just 36 rushing yards on 45 carries against Cincinnati. Tulsa quarterbacks Davis Brin and Braylon Braxton lost a combined 72 yards as the Bearcats racked up 11 sacks.

One bright spot for Tulsa was the season debut of Deneric Prince, who missed September due to an undisclosed injury. Prince rushed for 71 yards and two touchdowns on 18 attempts.

“First game back, so (he’s) got to knock a little rust off, but it was obviously good to have him back and I think his presence is gonna help us tremendously throughout the rest of the year as long as we continue to keep growing,” Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said.

Brin, a senior, played through an undisclosed injury to complete 18 of 36 passes for 237 yards with two interceptions. Montgomery said Brin remains day-to-day, adding the QB was “not any worse for wear” than last week.

Navy (1-3, 1-1) couldn’t build on the success of a 23-20, double-overtime win over East Carolina on Sept. 24. The Midshipmen lost 13-10 at Air Force last Saturday and are ranked 129th of 131 teams in scoring offense (13.3 points per game).

“What I told our guys is we’re not far off,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “We’ve got some resilient kids, and we’re looking forward to bouncing back against Tulsa.”

In a rarity for the service academy, Navy gained more yards through the air (129) than on the ground (114) last week. Quarterback Tai Lavatai has gone 26-for-50 passing through four games after attempting 61 passes last season. He already has thrown for 515 yards, eclipsing last year’s total of 449.

“I don’t see us throwing the ball 35 times or stuff like that, but we’ve definitely got to take advantage of his arm,” Niumatalolo said. “Maybe if there’s one bright spot, the pass protection’s been decent for us. (But) we don’t want to make a living off throwing the ball a ton. That’s not who we are.”

Navy leads the all-time series 7-2, including a 20-17 win last year at Tulsa. Both of the Golden Hurricanes’ victories came in Annapolis.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Tulsa Golden Hurricane defensive back Kendarin Ray (1) breaks up a pass intended for Mississippi Rebels wide receiver Jordan Watkins (11) during the first half at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

No. 16 Ole Miss fends off Tulsa, 35-27

Quinshon Judkins and Jaxson Dart both eclipsed 100 yards rushing, and No. 16 Ole Miss knocked out the nation’s top passer in the Rebels’ 35-27 victory over visiting Tulsa on Saturday afternoon in Oxford, Miss.

Judkins went for a game-high 140 yards on 27 carries and found the end zone twice as the Rebels (4-0) totaled 308 yards on the ground on 51 attempts.

Quarterback Dart added 116 yards on 13 rushes and was 13-of-24 passing for 154 yards and two scores for Ole Miss. Zach Evans added a rushing touchdown while Malik Heath and Jonathan Mingo had TD receptions.

Davis Brin — the nation’s leading passer at 402 yards per game — went 7-for-13 for 112 yards and a touchdown, adding another one rushing, before leaving the game with an injury in the first half.

Replacement Braylon Braxton was 9 of 22 for 83 yards with a touchdown and interception for the Golden Hurricane (2-2). Isaiah Epps caught four passes for 62 yards, including a pair of scores.

Ole Miss barely edged Tulsa in total yards, 462-457, and was held scoreless in the second half.

It took the Rebels 1:39 of game time to put up points, as Evans ended a six-play, 75-yard drive with a 20-yard dash for a 7-0 lead.

But Brin capped an 87-yard drive that ate up 5:21 as Tulsa matched the score. The American Athletic Conference team took its first lead when Brin found Epps from 20 yards for a 14-7 lead.

However, Ole Miss ripped off four unanswered touchdowns to give itself some breathing room, which it would need in a competitive second half.

Judkins ran in on a pair of short runs, and Heath and Mingo each caught 31-yard strikes from Dart to rebuild the lead.

Tulsa’s Zack Long kicked a 28-yard field to leave the Golden Hurricane’s deficit at 35-17.

Long connected from 20 yards early in the third to make it 35-20. Later, Braxton scrambled past rushers on fourth-and-7 and hit Epps for 17 yards to make it a one-score game with 14:38 left.

Ole Miss regained possession, with Dart running for a key first down and sealing the victory.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets head coach Lane Kiffin shows emotion against the Mississippi Rebels in the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

No. 16 Ole Miss up against Tulsa’s No. 1 passing offense

Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin has built his reputation on offense, but his calling card through one quarter of the 2022 season has been on the defensive side of the ball.

Kiffin and the No. 16 Rebels will encounter hot-handed quarterback Davis Brin when they host Tulsa on Saturday at Oxford, Miss.

Through three games, the Rebels (3-0) have outscored their competition — Troy, Central Arkansas and Georgia Tech — 129-13.

Included in those lopsided numbers was Saturday’s 42-0 blanking of an ACC program in Georgia Tech – a mauling that saw the visitors run roughshod for six touchdowns out of their up-tempo offense.

But the defense stood out just as equally as the rushing game, which produced 316 yards on 62 carries (5.1 per rush).

Those points allowed the Rebels to fly around on defense, as they had the previous two games.

They shut down dual-threat quarterback Jeff Sims and the Georgia Tech offense, which produced only 214 yards, including just 53 rushing yards on 34 carries.

That sparked the Rebels to their first road shutout since 2012 and first blanking of a Power Five school since a 45-0 victory over Mississippi State in 2008.

The impressive start has Ole Miss ranked eighth nationally in yards allowed per play (3.64).

With the SEC opener at home next week against No. 8 Kentucky, Kiffin said his squad can’t afford to get caught looking past Tulsa.

“I’m not worried about that,” Kiffin said Monday. “We’re not there. We’re playing Tulsa and worried about this week. You need to be (facing the) No. 1 pass offense in the country by far. It’s not even close.”

The Golden Hurricane (2-1) and their high-flying offense will be unique for Ole Miss.

Brin, who tops the FBS with 1,206 yards through the air, has helped Tulsa average 43 points per game and 413 yards passing. He has completed 76 of 119 passes for 11 touchdowns and one interception.

Last week in a 54-17 win over Jacksonville State, he collected his second 400-yard passing game, including 373 of his 424 yards in the first half.

“I was really excited about the rhythm that we found, especially early on,” Brin said. “And that just comes with taking what the defense gives me, and those deep shots will come and they did, so I’m just real proud of the way we executed.”

Brin’s top targets are Keylon Stokes and JuanCarlos Santana, who have combined for 42 receptions, 783 yards and seven TDs.

Stokes has 28 catches for 457 yards (third in FBS) and three scores. Santana has 14 receptions for 326 yards and four TDs (tied for ninth in FBS).

Tulsa was won two straight after dropping its season opener against Wyoming, 40-37 in double overtime.

Tulsa leads the all-time series 3-0. The Golden Hurricane won 26-0 in 1932, 47-0 in 1944 and 14-7 in the 1964 Bluebonnet Bowl.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Tulane Green Wave quarterback Michael Pratt (7) throws a pass against the UCF Knights during the second half at Bounce House. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Tulane, Tulsa each look to recover from disappointments

Tulsa and Tulane have both endured frustrating losses while compiling disappointing records.

They will try to take their frustrations out on each other when they meet in an American Athletic Conference game on Saturday in New Orleans.

The Golden Hurricane (3-6, 2-3 AAC) are coming off a 28-20 road loss to then-No. 6 Cincinnati last Saturday. Tulsa ran eight plays inside the Bearcats’ 20 in the final moments, but couldn’t score a touchdown that would have given it an opportunity to tie with a two-point conversion.

Tulsa was competitive in other losses to Oklahoma State and Ohio State.

“This team continues to battle and give ourselves opportunities,” coach Philip Montgomery said. “It’s a break here, it’s a play there and it can be the difference in this being an unbelievable season or a season that you’re still battling for.”

The Golden Hurricane scored on only three of their six red-zone opportunities against Cincinnati. For the season Tulsa has failed to score on 10 of 32 red-zone opportunities.

“It’s just us not executing,” running back Anthony Watkins said. “It’s on us. We’re going to find a way to fix that.”

The Golden Hurricane rushed for 297 yards against Cincinnati, the fifth time this season the team has rushed for 200 or more yards.

Tulane (1-8, 0-5), which has played four teams that were ranked when it met them, has lost seven straight.

The Green Wave defense has struggled for much of the season, but has played much better the last two weeks, in a 31-12 home loss to Cincinnati and a 14-10 loss at UCF last week.

It held the Knights, who had rushed for at least 148 yards in their first eight games, to season lows in points, rushing yards (48) and total yards (277).

“Now that we know what we can do,” linebacker Dorian Williams said, “we’ve got to go out and prove it every weekend.”

Quarterback Michael Pratt returned after suffering a concussion two weeks prior, but passed for just 147 yards and failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time in 18 career starts.

“We just have to continue to fight through this adversity and not play the string out,” coach Willie Fritz said. “That’s the last thing we’re going to do. We are going to play as hard as we can the next three weeks.”

–Field Level Media

The Cincinnati Bearcats football team faced off against the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes at Nippert Stadium on Nov. 6, 2021.

UC football vs Tulsa

No. 6 Cincinnati holds on to beat Tulsa

The No. 6 Cincinnati Bearcats remained perfect on the season, but they didn’t help their case with the College Football Playoff committee with a 28-20 win over the visiting Tulsa Golden Hurricane in an American Athletic Conference game Saturday.

Cincinnati (9-0, 5-0) kept Tulsa out of the end zone on six consecutive plays late in the fourth quarter.

The Golden Hurricane (3-6, 2-3) were close to scoring again late, but Sam Crawford Jr. was stopped a yard short of a first down on a short catch at the Cincinnati 2-yard line with 1:14 remaining.

However, Bearcats QB Desmond Ridder fumbled the next snap under center and Tulsa recovered on the Cincinnati 3. The Hurricane tried four straight runs but couldn’t score. On fourth down, RB Steven Anderson lost the ball as he was crossing the goal line. Cincinnati recovered the fumble in the end zone for a touchback and knelt down to end the game.

Ridder threw for 274 yards and accounted for three total touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) for Cincinnati. Alec Pierce had five catches for 113 yards with a touchdown. RB Jerome Ford had just 24 yards rushing and a touchdown and left the game with a lower-leg injury in the first half.

Tulsa outrushed (297-116)) and outgained (446-390) the Bearcats. Both Shamari Brooks (25 carries for 132 yards) and Anthony Watkins (15-105) rushed for more than 100 yards. Davis Brinn completed 17 of 26 for 149 yards and a score.

Up just 14-12 at the break, the Bearcats needed just seven offensive plays to create a cushion in the third quarter. Ridder found Pierce with a 12-yard touchdown on the fourth play after halftime for a 21-12 lead.

After Tulsa was stuffed on fourth-and-short on its 44 on the next drive, Ridder lofted a 31-yard touchdown pass to Michael Young just three plays later to expand the margin to 28-12.

The Hurricane got back into it with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Brinn to JuanCarlos Santana. Brin’s toss to Crawford on the 2-point conversion cut the margin to 28-20 with 8:10 remaining.

The Hurricane missed several chances to make it closer. Tulsa lost a fumble on the Cincinnati 4-yard line late in the third quarter. Tulsa kicker Zack Long missed a 50-yard field goal early in the fourth.

Cincinnati appeared on its way to a rout early. The Bearcats led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter after two sharp drives. Ridder scored on a 3-yard run for a 7-0 lead, and Ford made it 14-0 with 1:21 left in the first on a 1-yard plunge.

But Ford left the game with a leg injury early in the second quarter, and the game flipped. The Hurricane got on the board with Zack Long’s 35-yard field goal.

Brooks scored on a 8-yard run to finish a 75-yard drive, but Tulsa missed the PAT to pull to 14-9. Long’s 50-yard field goal — a career long — cut it to 14-12 with 10 seconds left in the half.

–Field Level Media

Ohio State defensive end Tyreke Smith pressures Tulsa quarterback Davis Brin.

Tulsa looks for second win as Memphis visits

During a team meeting that extended longer than usual, Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery acknowledged the difficult conversations that followed the Golden Hurricane’s 45-10 loss to the Houston Cougars on Oct. 1.

The Golden Hurricane (1-4, 0-1 American Athletic Conference) produced competitive efforts in nonconference losses to Power 5 programs Oklahoma State and Ohio State, performances that made the showing against the Cougars equally surprising and disappointing.

Montgomery demanded that his players refocus on the next opponent regardless of the most recent result, a philosophy that will be tested as Tulsa prepares to host Memphis on Saturday.

“Every week we’ve got a 24-hour rule, whether you win or lose; you’ve got to put it to bed and go to the next one,” Montgomery said. “So that’s what our mindset is right now, understanding that obviously we didn’t play the type of ball that we wanted to play. But that’s not indicative of who we are and how we’ve played all year. We’ve got to continue to get better and move forward.

“When you take a loss like that, it sits on you and weighs on you. It kind of hangs with you, and it’s harder to put those to bed than most are.”

Tulsa remains a threat behind an offense featuring redshirt junior quarterback Davis Brin, who is averaging 293.4 passing yards per game, and receivers Josh Johnson and Sam Crawford Jr., who both have enjoyed consecutive 100-yard receiving games this season. That level of production is enough to worry the Tigers, whose fast start to the season has cooled off a bit.

Memphis (3-2, 0-1) was unbeaten through three games, a run that included a rousing 31-29 victory over Mississippi State. However, turnovers have been a bugaboo of late, with Memphis guilty of six lost fumbles this season, factors in consecutive three-point setbacks to UTSA and Temple.

Execution is always paramount, especially during the grind of the conference schedule.

“The last three games have all been decided by three points or less,” Memphis coach Ryan Silverfield said. “When you get that close to that fine line in college football, the margin for error continues to shrink every year. We’ve got to continue to clean up the things that we need to, and our guys understand what’s at stake.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars cornerback Marcus Jones (8) celebrates his touchdown during the second quarter against the Grambling State Tigers at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Seeking fourth straight win, Houston takes on Tulsa

Houston will look to extend its winning streak to four games when it visits Tulsa in an American Athletic Conference game on Friday night, making for a short week for both teams.

“You take what you’re dealt, and you make the most of it,” Houston coach Dana Holgorsen told reporters. “We’ve got a plan. We haven’t snapped the football a ton, and we haven’t left the city. We’re healthy and that’s all I can ask for.”

The Cougars (3-1, 1-0 AAC) are coming off a 28-20 win over Navy to open conference play last Saturday. Marcus Jones scored on a 73-yard punt return and a 47-yard reception, and the Cougars rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit.

Ta’Zhawn Henry’s 2-yard touchdown run with 3:16 left in the third quarter pulled Houston to within 17-14. Houston took the lead for good on its next possession when Jones caught a 47-yard touchdown pass from Clayton Tune seven seconds into the fourth quarter for a 21-17 lead.

After opening with a 38-21 loss to Texas Tech, the Cougars have outscored their next three opponents — Rice, Grambling and Navy — by a combined score of 117-27. Houston has opened with three wins in its first four games for the first time since 2018.

Jones, who had a 48-yard punt return for a touchdown against Grambling on Sept. 18, became the fifth player in program history to score multiple punt return TDs in a season. His two punt returns for touchdowns are tied with Boise State’s Stefan Cobbs for the national lead.

Tune has gone 75-for-105 passing for 729 yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions. Alton McCaskill leads the rushing attack with 233 yards and four scores on 51 carries, with Nathaniel Dell posting a team-high 25 catches for 342 yards and three touchdowns.

Tulsa (1-3, 0-0) ended a three-game losing streak with a 41-34 victory over Arkansas State in a nonconference game on Saturday. But the Golden Hurricane are looking to avoid their first 1-4 start since 2018.

Davis Brin went 17-for-25 passing for 355 yards with three touchdowns and an interception Saturday. Shamari Brooks rushed for 155 yards and a score on 22 carries and Josh Johnson caught nine passes for 127 yards against Arkansas State.

“I think it’s going to carry us with some momentum and going into conference (play),” Brin said. “But like we always say, we want to go 1-0 every week. And we’re going to keep focusing on that.”

–Field Level Media