There's a difference in this year's Tulsa football team, a confidence, an assuredness, a swagger.
"We're, I think, at a point with this football team that we are ready to take another step," said Head Coach Philip Montgomery.
After that tough loss to Houston that would have broken lesser teams, the Hurricane responded with a resounding 50-27 win over Tulane, and that has them primed to go to a place rarely seen in Tulsa football history.
"Guys are happy; they're excited about the future and what we've got going for us right now,” said offensive tackle Evan Plagg. “That's basically what we're looking forward to is just getting these conference wins, keep plugging along one at a time."
Montgomery says his team is now expecting to win.
“We're planning on winning,” he stated. “There's not going to be anybody surprised when we come back in the locker room and we get a 'W.’"
With that confidence and belief have come wins. TU already has five of them, and with one more, the team will be bowl eligible.
The Hurricane have a chance to accomplish that quite a bit sooner than they did a year ago.
Last year, TU didn't become bowl eligible until the last week of the regular season. This year, they have a chance to do it Saturday.
"It would be extremely nice,” said Montgomery. “We've been talking about that all year. Let's get bowl eligible, but let's try not to wait till the last game to get it done.”
Defensive tackle Hayden Carman added, "It took us awhile to get five wins last year, and for the opportunity just to get the sixth win this week, we're really going to be pushing it this week."
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.