Title Game Gives TU National Exposure

Saturday, December 6th 2008, 6:21 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- TU squared off against East Carolina for the Conference USA crown. It's the first time Tulsa's ever hosted a championship game.

More than 20,000 fans bought a ticket for Saturday afternoon's match-up.

Chapman Stadium underwent a multi-million dollar makeover this year and fans say they were proud to show off their new-and-improved stadium before a national audience.

Students say the school's been pumped all week.

"People would wear TU shirts almost every day. Some people would even paint their faces this week and then show up for class," said Tate Savage, TU freshman.

It's the first time Tulsa's ever hosted the championship and the exposure couldn't come at a better time.

Chapman Stadium received a $25 million makeover this year. New seats, new scoreboard, new field.

"Being able to showcase not only the great things going on here at the stadium, but also what's going on at the university, to a national audience, its exposure that we really couldn't ask for anything better," said University Relations Director David Hamby.

Even East Carolina fans say they're impressed.

"It's the first time I've been able to see Chapman, and I've read things about it. It's actually a really nice stadium, and I think they did a nice job with the upgrades," said East Carolina Graduate Charles Smith.

And shirt or no shirt, a game on ESPN gets fans fired up.

"Even though we're a small division one school, but around campus, it feels like we're an SEC or Big 12 school because of the school spirit," said Jimmy Cook, TU sophomore.

And no matter how old, it's easy to catch the Hurricane fever when the stakes are this high.

Tulsa was fighting for its second Conference USA crown. The game was back and forth all afternoon and it came down to the final minute of action, but TU ended up losing the game by just three points.