Tulsa took down UTEP Saturday night in El Paso by a 34-20 score. Here's the instant analysis, keep it locked for the full game recap.
What it means for Tulsa:
This was a must-win game for the Golden Hurricane. Not only to stay alive in the Conference USA title race, but also to keep any realistic bowl hopes alive. It gets Tulsa its first conference win and road win of 2013. Crucial win for Bill Blankenship and his staff.
What went well:
Cody Green played one of his best games as the Hurricane's quarterback, throwing 14/17 for 226 yards and two scores. He also ran for 24 yards and a crucial third-quarter touchdown. More importantly, Green didn't make any mistakes. He stepped up when his team really needed him to.
In addition, TU dashed for 206 yards on the ground and the defense picked off UTEP quarterback Jameill Showers twice. Lots to be proud of for Tulsa.
What went wrong:
One of these days, Tulsa's going to play 60 minutes of clean football – but once again, today is not that day. TU's Mr. Everything, Trey Watts, muffed a punt return in the second quarter, giving UTEP the ball at Tulsa's 17 yard line. It marked Tulsa's 37th straight game with a turnover.
Player of the game:
Green. His performance came at a time where Tulsa's season was truly on the brink. A loss would have dropped the Golden Hurricane to 1-5 and realistically ended any shot of a bowl game. But Green's strong performance helped TU get its season back on track – at least for now.
Leading 27-20 with 10:51 left in the fourth quarter, TU faced a 4th and inches from UTEP's two yard line. Instead of opting for the field goal, Blankenship rolled the dice and it paid off. Green kept it, steamrolling his way into the end zone to put Tulsa in complete control.
Give the TU coaches credit for trusting the senior quarterback to make a play. That touchdown gave the Hurricane a big emotional lift.
TU has an off week to prepare for a suddenly-scary Tulane team. The Green Wave upset East Carolina this week, improving to 5-2 (3-0) on the season. This sets up as a crucial game in the C-USA west race.