TU Rally Comes Up Short In 30-17 Loss To East Carolina
Tulsa's comeback bid in the fourth quarter wasn't enough as East Carolina claimed a 30-17 victory Saturday afternoon in front of 43,065 fans at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Tulsa fell to 3-3 on the season and 0-2 in American Athletic Conference play, while the Pirates improved to 4-3 and 2-1 in league action.
Turnovers were Tulsa's nemesis in the first half as the Pirates scored 14 of their 20 points after an interception and fumble. Tulsa's defense kept the Hurricane within striking distance with consistent play throughout the contest.
Tulsa held the Pirates to 382 yards of total offense, the fewest by a TU opponent this season. The Hurricane gained 463 yards on the day with 288 yards through the air and 175 yards on the ground.
Three of Tulsa's offensive weapons – receiver Keevan, out for the season with an injury, and running backs D'Angleo Brewer and Ramadi Warren – missed the game, while freshman quarterback Chad President provided a spark to the Hurricane offense in the fourth period, rushing five times for 49 yards on Tulsa's two scoring drives.
Tulsa's Dane Evans ended the game with 288 passing yards on 19-of-40 completions and a touchdown, while Zack Langer and James Flanders combined for 130 rushing yards, including 76 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown for Langer. Flanders, seeing his first action of the season, ran 13 times for 54 yards.
The Hurricane defense totaled a season-high 14 tackles for loss and matched a season high with three sacks. Senior safety Michael Mudoh led TU with 12 stops for his 18th double-figure tackle game, and senior cornerback Darrell Williams recorded his first career interception.
Tulsa put its first points on the board in the final quarter as Zack Langer's one-yard TD run capped a 10-play, 81-yard drive, taking 2:49 off the clock, and scoring with 12:13 left in the game. The Tulsa defense came up big on the next three ECU possessions. The Hurricane held the Pirates to 3-and-out on those three ECU possessions. After the first 3-and-out, Tulsa went 88 yards in 11 plays and added three points on a 21-yard Redford Jones field goal, cutting its deficit to 13 points at the 7:12 mark.
After the second 3-and-out, a 41-yard pass from Evans to Keyarris Garrett was ruled out-of bounds at the ECU 16-yard line, putting Tulsa back to its own 43. The Hurricane was pushed back to its 28-yard line on an offensive pass interference call. Tulsa then gave the ball back to ECU after a 4th-and-14 pass was incomplete. Once again the Tulsa defense held and forced the Pirates to punt. On Tulsa's possession, a fourth down-and-20 attempt at their own 10-yard line resulted in a sack and the possession turned over to the Pirates at Tulsa's four-yard line.
East Carolina added a 6-yard James Summers touchdown run to make the score 30-10 with 1:24 left on the game clock. Tulsa marched 74 yards in five plays as Evans hit Garrett on a 47-yard TD strike with 0:30 to play, making the score 30-17.
On the first second-half possession, East Carolina was on the move and appeared to have scored a 55-yard touchdown, but the TD was nullified due to an illegal formation penalty on the Pirates. ECU took its second possession after the intermission for an eight-play, 31-yard drive that ended in a 41-yard field goal to put the Pirates ahead 23-0 with 4:52 left in the third period.
To open the contest, the Hurricane marched to the East Carolina 12-yard line on the game's first possession when a Dane Evans' pass was intercepted in the end zone by Josh Hawkins and returned 100 yards to give the Pirates a 7-0 lead at the 10:46 mark.
In the first quarter, Tulsa's defense held ECU to 41 yards on three possessions. Tulsa's opening drive covered 69 yards, and gained just 72 yards on their next four first quarter possessions.
The Pirates opened the second quarter with a 90-yard, 10-play drive, but the Tulsa defense held ECU to three points with 10:54 left on the second quarter clock. The 24-yard field goal gave East Carolina a 10-0 lead.
The Hurricane turned the ball over for a second time on a Langer fumble at Tulsa's own 29-yard line. The Pirates scored on a 12-yard TD pass from James Summers to Chris Hairston, capping a five-play scoring drive to put ECU ahead 17-0.
East Carolina took its next possession 77 yards for a 20-0 lead on a Davis Plowman 23-yard field goal, capping a nine-play drive with 1:13 left on the first half clock.
After ECU gained just 41 yards in the first quarter, the Pirates put up 222 second-quarter yards. Tulsa put up just 65 yards in the second period. For the half, the Pirates had 263 yards and Tulsa 206 yards of total offense.
Tulsa returns home for a Friday night game as its homecoming when the Golden Hurricane hosts the Memphis Tigers. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN.