Nov 11, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Tulsa Golden Hurricane safety Jaise Oliver (25) tries to tackler Tulane Green Wave running back Makhi Hughes (21) in first quarter action at Yulman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Dobbins-USA TODAY Sports

No. 23 Tulane goes down to wire to hold off Tulsa

Makhi Hughes rushed for 131 yards with a touchdown and No. 23 Tulane stopped a two-point conversion pass to hang on for a 24-22 victory over visiting Tulsa in an American Athletic Conference game Saturday afternoon at New Orleans.

Hughes had his sixth consecutive 100-yard game and Michael Pratt passed for 194 yards and a touchdown for the Green Wave (9-1, 6-0 AAC).

Kirk Francis completed 22 of 34 passes for 345 yards and Kamdyn Benjamin finished with eight receptions for 157 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Hurricane (3-7, 1-5), which lost its fifth consecutive game.

Down eight points, Tulsa rallied late with Francis completing a 57-yard pass to Carl Chester then getting 4-yard TD pass to from Braylon Braxton to Benjamin. But Braxton’s pass on a two-point conversion was incomplete, preserving Tulane’s two-point lead with 3:03 remaining.

The Green Wave ran out the clock when Pratt converted a third-and-9 with a 10-yard completion to Chris Brazzell II and Hughes got loose for a 31-yard run with just over a minute remaining.

Tulane’s Shedro Lewis returned the second-half kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown that increased the Green Wave’s lead to 21-10.

Francis’ 51-yard pass completion to Benjamin led to Chase Meyer’s 30-yard field goal that cut the deficit to 21-13 late in the third quarter.

Meyer kicked a 47-yard field goal on the fourth play of the fourth quarter to pull Tulsa within 21-16 before Tulane’s Valentino Ambrosio delivered a 30-yard field increased the lead to 24-16 with 9:21 remaining.

The Hurricane received the game’s opening kickoff and the possession ended when Braxton was intercepted by Jarius Monroe at the Green Wave 30. Tulane delivered the game’s opening score on Hughes’ 1-yard touchdown run.

Pratt added a 39-yard touchdown pass to Alex Bauman that gave Tulane a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Francis threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Benjamin and Meyer kicked a 37-yard field goal to trim the lead to 14-10 at halftime.

–Field Level Media

Sep 16, 2023; Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma's Andrel Anthony (5) catches a pass for a first down in the first quarter against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan J. Fish-USA TODAY Sports

Dillon Gabriel, No. 19 Oklahoma blast Tulsa

Dillon Gabriel threw for 421 yards and five touchdowns as No. 19 Oklahoma beat host Tulsa 66-17 on Saturday.

The Sooners had three players finish with over 100 yards receiving, including Nic Anderson, who had three catches — all for touchdowns — for 120 yards.

Jalil Farooq led the Sooners with six catches for 126 yards and a score while Andrel Anthony added four receptions for 112 yards.

Oklahoma also shined defensively, recording five interceptions.

The Sooners (3-0) took control early, recovering from a fumble on the opening kickoff return.

Oklahoma intercepted Tulsa starting quarterback Roman Fuller three times in the first quarter, leading to Sooners touchdowns each time.

Gentry Williams got the turnover roll going for Oklahoma with an interception less than two minutes into the game, and the Sooners immediately pushed the ball down the field, with Gabriel hitting Anthony for a 55-yard gain before finding Farooq for a 34-yard touchdown to put Oklahoma in front.

After not recording a passing play longer than 29 yards in last week’s win over SMU, the Sooners had seven such plays against Tulsa.

With the Sooners leading 14-0 later in the first, Oklahoma linebacker Danny Stutsman picked off Fuller’s pass and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.

Fuller was picked off again on the next drive, this time by Kendel Dolby, and five plays later Gabriel hit Drake Stoops for Stoops’ second touchdown of the game to put the Sooners up 28-0.

After the third interception, Fuller was replaced by Cardell Williams.

Williams immediately injected some life into Tulsa’s offense, leading an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive after the Sooners had outgained the Golden Hurricane 213-40 before the switch.

Tulsa (1-2) scored another touchdown on its next drive, cutting the deficit to 35-14, but from there, the Sooners stretched the lead once again and cruised the rest of the way.

Williams finished 11-of-17 passing for 196 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions.

The Sooners outscored Tulsa 28-3 after halftime.

Oklahoma outgained Tulsa 595-292.

–Field Level Media

Oklahoma coach Brent Venables leaves the field after a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023. Oklahoma won 73-0.

Coaches go way back in No. 19 Oklahoma-Tulsa matchup

Brent Venables and Kevin Wilson have gone head-to-head plenty during their careers.

Those battles between Venables’ defense and Wilson’s offense were in practice, though, back when Venables was Oklahoma’s defensive coordinator and Wilson the Sooners’ offensive coordinator together from 2002-10.

Saturday, the two face off for the first time as head coaches when Venables’ No. 19 Sooners play Wilson’s Tulsa Golden Hurricane in Tulsa, Okla.
Venables fondly remembers the practices when both coached under Bob Stoops.

“The battles were what they were. In the moment, it’s personal, you’re trying to win,” Venables said. “At least that’s the goal. Very competitive.

“He’s a really smart coach and tough guy. That’s what it’s about.”

Wilson has a lot more head coaching experience, guiding Indiana from 2011-16. He’s in his first season coaching Tulsa after spending the last six seasons as Ohio State’s offensive coordinator.

Venables is in his second season as the Sooners’ coach.

Oklahoma (2-0) is looking to continue its momentum after outscoring its first two opponents 101-11.

The Sooners’ defense is the biggest reason for optimism after allowing an average of just 287.5 yards through two games.

During Venables’ first stint with Oklahoma, his defense developed a reputation for hard-hitting linebackers.

Danny Stutsman has looked to be in the mold from that era, showing improvement from last season, when he led the Big 12 in tackles but often gave up added yards before making those tackles.

He’s coming off a 17-tackle performance against SMU.

“He’s playing in a confident way,” Venables said of Stutsman. “He’s able to have a different level of anticipation because of his knowledge. Again, just being another year in the system, he’s a lot more comfortable. He’s able to lead. He’s not in the back.”

Wilson downplayed the connection with the Sooners and Venables.

“Let’s not make the game so big that we don’t enjoy the opportunity,” Wilson said. “The focus right now is my team. We’ve got a great challenge. Those are great years that I loved (at OU), but this is about Tulsa for me.”

The Golden Hurricane are coming off a 43-10 loss at No. 8 Washington in which they allowed 454 passing yards.

Tulsa (1-1) is looking for its first win over a ranked opponent since 2020.

The Sooners are set at quarterback with Dillon Gabriel, who was 0-2 against the Golden Hurricane while he was at UCF.

Tulsa’s starting quarterback is up in the air.

Wilson said Tuesday that Braylon Braxton was dealing with an ankle injury sustained in the season opener.

Backup Cardell Williams started in Braxton’s place against Washington, though he suffered a hand injury in that loss.

“He’s a guy that’s got to be able to run and move around and make plays with his feet, so we’ll see how it goes,” Wilson said of Braxton.

Saturday’s meeting is the first between the programs since 2015.

The Sooners have won the last nine meetings with the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa’s last win in the series came in 1996.

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) looks to pass against the Boise State Broncos during the fourth quarter at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

No. 8 Washington looks to improve ground game vs. Tulsa

If there was one question left unanswered in Washington’s season-opening 56-19 victory against Boise State, it was this: Will the No. 8 Huskies have enough of a rushing attack to keep the likes of Oregon, Southern California, Utah and Oregon State from trying to tee off on quarterback Michael Penix Jr. when the Pacific-12 Conference title is on the line later this season?

Or even Tulsa, the team the Huskies will host on Saturday in Seattle?

Will Nixon came off the bench against Boise State last week to rush for 48 yards on six carries, including runs of 21 and 14 yards, but the rest of the Huskies’ running backs combined for only 30 yards on 13 carries.

Dillon Johnson, a transfer from Mississippi State, got the start and managed just 12 yards on seven carries with one touchdown.

“We’re just not quite there yet as a whole group (with the ground game), everyone in sync,” Washington coach Kalen DeBoer said. “I don’t feel like it’s anything we need to be alarmed about yet. Obviously you can’t keep making the same mistakes, but it was one thing here, one thing there.

“It wasn’t the same thing that was popping up. It’s just (about) everyone getting better. There’s a different tempo to things, right? You practice hard, but you aren’t really getting tackled all the time. There’s a different rhythm to it when you get into games.”

Nixon, a fourth-year sophomore who transferred from Nebraska before last season, thought he could have done even better.

“There was one (run) where I should have kept it going, and it’s probably a 50-yard touchdown,” he said.

Even the ineffective ground game couldn’t prevent the Huskies from putting up 568 yards of total offense.

Penix launched his Heisman campaign by throwing for 450 yards and five touchdowns on 29-of-40 passing. Jalen McMillan caught two TD passes and scored on a 19-yard run out of the wildcat formation.

“We knew that they were going to try to bring different things at us, things we might not have seen on film,” Penix said. “But once we started seeing the picture, it was on from there.”

Tulsa opened its season with a 42-7 victory against visiting Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Aug. 31.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Cardell Williams came off the bench for an injured Braylon Braxton (left ankle) in the first quarter and completed 13 of 14 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns. Williams’ only incompletion came on his final pass in the fourth quarter.

Tulsa’s Jordan Ford rushed for 110 yards and a score, and Marquis Shoulders caught five passes for 132 yards and two TDs.

“It was a good win. A lot of errors. Some things to clean up on. A lot of things that we’re trying to be not a part of our game that we have to learn to take out,” first-year Golden Hurricanes coach Kevin Wilson said. “But it was a good start, and proud of the work. Excited to get the win. Excited to be 1-0.”

Wilson said Braxton is questionable for Saturday’s game at Washington.

“It’s not a significant injury,” Wilson said. “We’ll see how he progresses this week.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson walks across the field prior to the NCAA football game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

Ncaa Football Indiana Hoosiers At Ohio State Buckeyes

Reports: Tulsa close to hiring Ohio State OC Kevin Wilson as coach

Tulsa is on the verge of completing a deal with Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson to be its new head coach, according to multiple reports.

The NBC affiliate in Tulsa said a deal with Wilson has been completed. Other reports say the two sides are close to completing an agreement.

Wilson, 61, has been the offensive coordinator at Ohio State for the last six seasons. The No. 4 Buckeyes are 67-8 during his time running the offense, heading into the College Football Playoff semifinal matchup against top-seeded Georgia on Dec. 31.

Wilson coached Indiana for six seasons from 2011-16 and compiled a 26-47 record. His lone .500 season (6-6) came in his final season.

Tulsa dismissed Philip Montgomery after eight seasons. The Golden Hurricane were 5-7 this season and 43-53 in Montgomery’s tenure.

–Field Level Media

Oct 8, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; South Florida Bulls running back Brian Battie (21) runs with the ball against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the first half at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Underwhelming seasons collide when Tulsa faces USF

South Florida and host Tulsa will chase down a rare victory when the teams meet Friday night.

The two American Athletic Conference programs find themselves at the bottom of the standings, with the Bulls owning the cellar due to an eight-game skid. Tulsa is standing right outside the door after dropping three straight.

USF (1-9, 0-6) earned its only win when it defeated FCS Howard 42-20 on Sept. 10 in Week 2. The campaign’s low point occurred Nov. 6 when the Bulls fired head coach Jeff Scott after a 54-28 road loss to Temple.

Interim head coach Daniel Da Prato stepped in Saturday against SMU. The Bulls played better at times, forging a 17-17 tie at halftime before succumbing in a 41-23 setback on their home field.

“Obviously, a difficult week for our young men and for our department. We were able to fight through that for the week and we came out and I’m proud of our kids and their effort,” Da Prato said. “But at the end of the day you play this game to win.”

Quarterback Katravis Marsh was stretchered off the field in the fourth quarter but was “in good spirits, with movement in his extremities,” according to Da Prato.

Running back Brian Battie recorded his third straight 100-yard game, with 145 on the ground, and is within 127 yards of the school’s 10th 1,000-yard rushing season.

In its home finale Friday, ninth-place Tulsa (3-7, 1-5) will try to avoid slipping into last place by improving on offense. Behind quarterbacks Davis Brin and Braylon Braxton, the Golden Hurricane offense generated just 207 yards in Saturday’s 26-10 loss to Memphis. The pair combined to go 17 of 37 for 176 passing yards.

Through its first three games, Tulsa’s offense topped FBS schools with over 43 points per game and 413 passing yards per game, but it has regressed with Brin’s injuries and Braxton’s inconsistency.

“Early in the season, I thought we were hitting on all cylinders and things were coming together,” Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said. “Where I thought this offense was going to be able to go is in a totally different end of the spectrum than where we are right now.”

USF holds a 3-2 edge in the all-time series, but Tulsa has won the past two meetings — 32-31 last season in Tampa and 42-13 in 2020 at Tulsa.

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2022; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Tigers quarterback Seth Henigan (5) passes the ball during warm ups prior to the game against the UCF Knights at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Time running out on Memphis, Tulsa for bowl eligibility

Memphis will look to end a four-game losing streak when it hosts struggling Tulsa in American Athletic Conference play on Thursday.

The Tigers (4-5, 2-4 AAC) are coming off a 35-28 loss to visiting UCF in which the No. 25 Knights broke open a tie game with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to deal Memphis its longest losing streak since 2013.

Tulsa (3-6, 1-4) fell behind 17-3 midway through the second quarter and never recovered in a 27-13 loss at No. 19 Tulane. It was the Golden Hurricane’s fifth defeat in their past six games.

Memphis must win two of its final three games to be bowl-eligible for the ninth straight season, while the Golden Hurricane must win their final three games to qualify for the postseason for the third straight year.

“Nobody’s going to apply a sense of urgency more than our own selves,” Memphis coach Ryan Silverfield said. “They’re ignoring the outside noise. They’re focused on what they need to focus on and all they can focus on is beating Tulsa.”

Tigers quarterback Seth Henigan has thrown two interceptions in each of the past three games to match his six touchdown passes during that stretch.

He went 26-of-39 passing for 284 yards with a touchdown against UCF on Saturday. But the Tigers allowed 427 yards and four touchdown passes, including one by Golden Knights running back Isaiah Bowser.

Tulsa will need to play much better on both sides of the ball against Memphis than it did against Tulane.

Braylon Braxton went 13-of-25 passing for 146 yards and a touchdown in his first start, replacing Davis Brin, who was sidelined with an injured right ankle. Brin’s availability for Thursday will be determined closer to game time, according to Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery.

Tulsa was outgained 482-257 and gave up 357 rushing yards on 53 carries, an average of 6.7 yards per attempt.

“We know we got a short week, so everybody has to be locked in, have the same agenda and goal,” Braxton said. “We just got to go 1-0.”

The Golden Hurricane defeated Memphis 35-29 last year to end a three-game losing streak to the Tigers, who lead the all-time series 19-12.

–Field Level Media

Oct 22, 2022; Dallas, Texas, USA; Southern Methodist Mustangs quarterback Tanner Mordecai (8) throws downfield during the first half against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Gerald J. Ford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Tanner Mordecai’s status uncertain for SMU vs. Tulsa

SMU and host Tulsa will meet in an American Athletic Conference game on Saturday in Oklahoma in which both teams are seeking a much-needed win if they are to become bowl-eligible.

The Mustangs (3-4, 1-2 AAC) have dropped four of their past five games after a 29-27 loss to then-No. 21 Cincinnati on Saturday. The Golden Hurricane (3-4, 1-2) ended a three-game losing streak with a 27-16 win at Temple on Friday.

The biggest question facing the Mustangs is at quarterback. Tanner Mordecai suffered a concussion late in the third quarter against Cincinnati and was replaced by Preston Stone. Mordecai is in concussion protocol and his status is unclear for Saturday.

“Tanner’s in a day-to-day world,” SMU offensive coordinator Casey Woods said. “We’ve got confidence in Preston. He’s done a good job, so seeing him operate within the entirety of the offense has been fun and I know he’ll be ready if called upon.”

Stone almost rallied SMU from a 15-point, fourth-quarter deficit. But his two-point conversion pass was incomplete following Tyler Lavine’s 1-yard touchdown dive that pulled the Mustangs to within 29-27 with 1:57 remaining.

Mordecai — a transfer from Oklahoma — has completed 60.8 percent of his passes for 2,121 yards with 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions, while Stone has gone 17 for 31 for 169 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Rashee Rice, the team’s top receiver with 53 catches for 802 yards and four touchdowns, has been slowed by a toe injury.

Tulsa also has one of the conference’s top receivers. Keylon Stokes became the school’s all-time leading pass-catcher after posting 37 yards on four catches against Temple, giving him 3,352 receiving yards for his career. Stokes has 48 receptions for 802 yards and four scores this season.

Deneric Price rushed for 231 yards, including an 84-yard touchdown run, on 20 carries against the Owls. He also scored on an 18-yard reception.

“Obviously, Deneric had a couple of big, explosive runs,” Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said. “The one late — man, what a huge play that we needed right there to really extend the lead.”

Tulsa is 13-15 all-time against SMU but has won two straight in the series.

–Field Level Media

Sep 3, 2022; Laramie, Wyoming, USA; Tulsa Golden Hurricane quarterback Davis Brin (7) warms up before the game against the Wyoming Cowboys at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Tulsa, Temple seeking first AAC win on Friday night

When Tulsa and Temple meet Friday night in Philadelphia in American Athletic Conference play, both teams will be looking to break losing streaks in a season that has become slightly derailed.

Tulsa (2-4, 0-2 AAC) has lost three in a row and Temple (2-4, 0-2) has dropped two straight. The Golden Hurricane and Owls are tied for ninth in the conference ahead of only 1-6 South Florida.

Through its first four games, including a 35-27 loss to then-No. 16 Ole Miss, Tulsa’s offense managed to post points freely, but that productivity dwindled during setbacks against Cincinnati and Navy.

After his squad ran for just 25 yards on 18 carries in a 53-21 loss to the Midshipmen on Oct. 8, Golden Hurricane coach Philip Montgomery said a better effort on the ground will help quarterback Davis Brin open up the passing game.

“We got to get our run game more established,” Montgomery said. “I probably gave up on the run a little bit too quick, but we got to be better in that area.”

The Owls have struggled to move the ball, too, scoring a combined 16 points in consecutive road defeats against Memphis and UCF.

First-year coach Stan Drayton said he is particularly interested in the mental aspect of how his group responds to a humbling 70-13 walloping by the Knights in Orlando on Oct. 13.

“Every opportunity is a great opportunity to learn,” Drayton said. “We have an opportunity to learn who we are as a football team as a result of this loss. I need to see how they’re going to respond to this.”

E.J. Warner continues to get the bulk of the snaps, completing 86 of 153 passes for 1,040 yards. The son of former NFL star quarterback Kurt Warner has tossed six touchdowns against six interceptions.

Brin has thrown for 1,839 yards with 14 TDs and five interceptions for the Golden Hurricane.

The teams have split six career matchups. Tulsa won last season 44-10 by building a 27-0 halftime lead behind Brin’s two TD passes, while Temple claimed all three meetings from 2014-18.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Ben Bryant (6) throws against the Indiana Hoosiers in the third quarter at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK

High-scoring offenses, Cincy and Tulsa meet in AAC opener

Cincinnati and host Tulsa likely will keep heads on a swivel Saturday as their respective high-octane offenses clash in the American Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

The defending AAC-champion Bearcats (3-1) are averaging a conference-best 42.5 points per game, while the Golden Hurricane (2-2) are right behind them at 39 points per contest. Tulsa, however, ranks first in the conference in both total offense (507 yards per game) and passing offense (358.5).

Cincinnati, which ranks third in the conference in passing offense (328.3), got off to a fast start last Saturday. Ben Bryant threw three of his four first-half touchdowns to Tyler Scott to fuel the Bearcats to a 45-24 victory over Indiana.

Bryant completed 24 of 40 passes for a career-high-tying 354 yards, marking his third 300-yard passing performance since joining the program as a transfer from Eastern Michigan.

Scott was named AAC Offensive Player of the Week after recording personal-best totals in catches (10) and receiving yards (185).

“Ben Bryant played his butt off,” Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell said. “Tyler Scott had three touchdowns in the first half, there are some really great things. They are going to give us a chance to win a lot of football games.”

Cincinnati’s Ivan Pace Jr. was named AAC Defensive Player of the Week after registering 15 tackles — including 4.5 for loss — and 2.5 sacks against the Hoosiers.

The transfer from Miami (Ohio) will look to provide a disruptive presence versus Tulsa, which squandered an early lead in a 35-27 setback against Ole Miss last Saturday.

“I was proud of our football team in a lot of different ways,” Golden Hurricane head coach Philip Montgomery said. “I thought we played a full 60-minute game, fought through some adversity, gave ourselves a chance to win late.”

Davis Brin threw for a touchdown and rushed for another before exiting midway through the second quarter with an injured right ankle. Receiver Keylon Stokes was briefly knocked out of the game following a helmet-to-helmet hit.

Stokes has 31 receptions for 507 yards and three scores this season.

Montgomery said Tuesday that Brin is day-to-day.

–Field Level Media