Another Hur­ri­cane come­back fiz­zles

Arkansas State runs out fi­nal 7:56 of clock af­ter cru­cial safety

Tulsa World - - Gameday - By Kelly Hines Kelly Hines 918-581-8452 kelly.hines @tul­ Twit­ter: @Kel­lyHi­nesTW

In a mat­ter of sec­onds, the Univer­sity of Tulsa's come­back at­tempt hit a ma­jor snag.

On a jet sweep, Key­lon Stokes re­ceived the ball from Luke Skip­per and was im­me­di­ately met by an Arkansas State de­fender who de­liv­ered the tackle in the end zone for a safety.

“If we get to the out­side, I think it's fix­ing to be a big hit­ter, but we just didn't get it com­mu­ni­cated up front,” Hur­ri­cane head coach and play­caller Philip Mont­gomery said. “They had a good call into it (de­fen­sively) and we didn't han­dle it very well.”

In ad­di­tion to sur­ren­der­ing two points in what had been a one-score game, the Hur­ri­cane also had to con­cede pos­ses­sion, a dou­ble-whammy that played a mon­u­men­tal role in a de­flat­ing 29-20 loss Satur­day night at H.A. Chap­man Sta­dium.

Be­fore the safety, mo­men­tum shifted in fa­vor of TU, which was mak­ing a sec­ond-half rally for a third time in three games. But a cru­cial de­ci­sion — Jar­ion An­der­son opt­ing to fair-catch a punt at the Hur­ri­cane 4-yard line — cre­ated poor field po­si­tion with eight min­utes left.

“(There was) plenty of time on the clock, and I think re­ally we'd es­tab­lished some things of­fen­sively, felt con­fi­dent about tak­ing it down the field,” Mont­gomery said. “I thought we had plenty of time to do that.

“We were down by seven at that point, and be­ing able to get points on the board will tie the ball­game up, still have some time left, and we'll see where we're at at that point.

Af­ter spot­ting Texas three touch­downs be­fore com­ing alive last week in a nar­row de­feat, TU (1-2) got off to a good start of­fen­sively, strik­ing first af­ter forc­ing a fum­ble. Corey Taylor II punched in a fourth-down touch­down, the Hur­ri­cane's last trip across the goal line un­til the fourth quar­ter.

For the rest of the first half, the of­fense strug­gled sig­nif­i­cantly, pro­duc­ing 44 yards on its five other pos­ses­sions, in­clud­ing three three-and-outs. Skip­per was or­ches­trat­ing a de­cent drive late in the sec­ond quar­ter when he was scram­bling and lost a fum­ble.

“The first half was just one per­son here and one per­son there and you can't do that as an of­fense,” Skip­per said. “That's how you get torn up, so we have to come to­gether and go back to work to­mor­row so this won't hap­pen again.”

Arkansas State (2-1) cashed in with a last-sec­ond field goal for a 13-7 cush­ion at half­time and again early in the sec­ond half af­ter An­der­son fum­bled fol­low­ing a com­ple­tion. Ok­la­homa trans­fer Jus­tice Hansen torched TU on the en­su­ing se­ries with his legs, in­clud­ing on an 18yard run for a touch­down.

Another promis­ing se­ries was wrecked by a turnover when Skip­per was hit while throw­ing and threw an in­ter­cep­tion that De­mari Med­ley re­turned 53 yards for a TD.

Helped by a pair of third­down plays from Skip­per, TU ad­vanced to the red zone on the next se­ries. The next three plays net­ted 3 yards, and the drive con­cluded with a 22-yard field goal by Nate Walker.

With the Hur­ri­cane de­fense again stand­ing tall and forc­ing con­sec­u­tive punts, Skip­per found tight end Cole Neph for a huge play on fourth down that pro­duced a 10-yard TD.

Fol­low­ing a three-and­out punc­tu­ated with a sack by Trevon Reeves on third down, TU used a long Shamari Brooks run to march down the field, but had to set­tle for another field goal by Walker.

Af­ter the safety, the Red Wolves were able to pick up five first downs and run out the fi­nal 7:56 on the clock for their first non­con­fer­ence road win since 2008.

“I thought the sec­ond half … we kind of started get­ting on track,” Mont­gomery said. “But you can't wait that long, and (when) you've got op­por­tu­ni­ties, you've got to take ad­van­tage of them.

“I've got to do a bet­ter job of mak­ing sure that we're all in the right spot, and we've got to do a bet­ter job of just ex­e­cut­ing at a bet­ter level.”


Tulsa quar­ter­back Luke Skip­per tries to get away from the pres­sure by Arkansas State de­fend­ers Satur­day night at H.A. Chap­man Sta­dium.

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