Tulsa's season-opening loss at Bowling Green wasn't just lopsided, it was hard to watch.
The offense looked confused and out of sorts while the special teams' performance was historically bad. The 34-7 score was in no way indicative of a difference in talent, but instead a difference in performance; and that's the key part for Tulsa.
Thursday wasn't pretty, but for the most part, the issues are correctable.
The Golden Hurricane won't be that bad again – it's almost impossible. Just last season, TU set school records for most points scored (486) and most touchdowns in a single season (65.)
Returning from that team is the starting quarterback, multiple solid receivers and a talented two-headed backfield. This squad shouldn't get shut down by anyone short of Alabama, and Bowling Green pitched a shutout for 54 minutes.
The offensive performance wasn't good, but it was nothing compared to the special teams' disaster. But once again, most of the issues can be fixed.
Trey Watts muffed a punt return, which directly led to a Falcons' touchdown. Watts is a fantastic punt returner and it's hard to imagine that happening again, especially to a player with his level of competitiveness.
TU also failed on a fake punt attempt and allowed a punt return touchdown in that brutal second half. The fake punt try was circumstantial and you won't likely see Bill Blankenship opt for that again, while the punt return touchdown is fixed by simply filling gaps and making tackles.
Blankenship echoed that after the game, explaining that the second half collapse was mostly Tulsa's own doing.
"It got out of hand," Blankenship said. "We helped it get out of hand. The score doesn't bother me. What was hard is that we didn't do much."
There is good news for the Golden Hurricane. Saturday's contest with Colorado State means a clean slate and a new opportunity. And you can bet the TU players won't stand for another performance like that. In fact, some expressed their motivation via Twitter following the game.
Offensive lineman Rob Boyd tweeted: "This game doesn't define this team. Promise you that." while his fellow lineman Stetson Burnett tweeted "Never again TU fam will we embarrass yal like that again."
Thursday's opener was more likely a fluke than the beginning of a trend for the Golden Hurricane, but Blankenship knows Saturday's home opener against the Rams is TU's chance to prove it.
"You wanna quiet the critics down? Play better."