Marshall defeated TU 45-34 Thursday night at Chapman Stadium in Tulsa. Here's the instant analysis:
What it means for Tulsa:
2-8. Another double-digit loss for the Golden Hurricane, their third in a row and six in eight losses. This time TU fell to a motivated Marshall team playing to stay atop the Conference USA east division standings. With two games left, TU's best-case scenario is now 4-8. That's tough to swallow.
Player of the game:
Trey Watts wins this award for the millionth straight week. Watts rushed for 169 yards and two scores to keep the Golden Hurricane in the ball game. Tonight's performance puts Watts over 1,000 yards on the season.
Tulsa couldn't stop Marshall at all in the first half. The Herd jumped out to a 21-0 lead and nearly made it 28-0 before Shawn Jackson intercepted a Rakeem Cato pass inside the TU 10 yard line. Even with that, Tulsa trailed 31-14 at halftime and all hope looked lost. But TU didn't quit; not in the least. You have to give the players and coaches credit for not giving up and battling back to take a 34-31 lead late in the second half. Down 17 with a 2-7 record, most teams would have called it a night, but not Tulsa. If nothing else, fans can be proud of this team's effort.
Bigger than football:
Thursday marked the 43rd anniversary of the Marshall plane crash that killed 75 people. The Thundering Herd wore a "75" decal on the side of their helmets to commemorate the trajedy. Considering the circumstances, you know the win meant a little something extra for the Marshall community.
Where's the support?
I know the Golden Hurricane entered Thursday's game at 2-7, but the crowd at Chapman Stadium was historically light. We'll have to wait and see what the announced tickets sold total is, but there's no way there were more than 3,000 people in the stands.
Tulsa plays its final road game of the season at Louisiana Tech next Saturday with nothing to play for but pride.