TU football will play their last game of the season Friday night at Chapman Stadium against East Carolina. Tulsa is currently 2-5 in conference and 2-9 overall.
Friday night is senior night for TU's 12 graduating players. During Bill Blankenship's last press conference he spoke about his seniors. He stated, “We certainly have great feelings for these young men. Twelve seniors, of those six came here on scholarship five years ago, fifth year players, pretty special group. Then we had two fourth year seniors, Brentom Todd and Dwight Dobbins, who were in our first class. Those guys have fought injury all year as well. Then there's a special group of guys that transferred in, you know Carl Salazar, and Davis Walton, and then Matt Luetjen [who is] Derrick's brother. Most of you probably don't know Matt's story. Matt went to West Point, and due to some medical issues had to be retired from the army. [He] came on, and walked on, to be with his brother. He's a great service oriented young man [that's] done everything he can for this team. There were three walk-ons that started five years ago as well. Chris Hummingbird, Austin McDaniel, and Jake Sizelove all three [have] great wonderful stories. But, the three of them earned, they weren't given a scholarship, they earned a scholarship. [They] have been a fabulous part of this program, and we're really excited about it.” He also stated that he was equally proud and hurt to see them go.
TU lost their last game 28-38 to Houston. Blankenship said, "Obviously, tough loss at Houston. I was very proud of us staying toe-to-toe and slugging it out with them… We really felt like we were going [to have] an opportunity to either tie, go ahead, [or] maybe go for two, whatever it took to win the game. [We] weren't able to make the key plays at the end. That's certainly been the theme of the season. But, I really appreciated what we did on special teams to give us an opportunity, [and] offensively for the most part played pretty well too.”
The East Carolina Pirates are known for their high-quality offense. They are currently 7-3 overall. Their quarterback Shane Carden is currently up for national honors, one being the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award, along with TU's sophomore receiver Keevan Lucas. The award is given to the nation's best offensive player of the year who meets the award's criteria. In order to receive the award the player must have been born in Texas, graduated from a Texas high school, and/or played at a Texas junior college or Texas Division I program. Carden is one of the top returning quarterbacks in the American Conference. He has accounted for at least 75 of 110 offensive touchdowns in less than two years. His offense averages 100 snaps per game, making it hard for other teams to matchup with them defensively. When asked about facing Carden, Blankenship stated that he is very accurate, and he knows how to find open receivers, even when the defense is covering well. He also said that teams usually have a hard time with their offense, because they move lightning fast.
Friday night's game kicks off at 7:30 p.m.
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