After trailing by 31 points, the Golden Hurricane rallied to beat the Fresno State Bulldogs 48–41 in double overtime on the road to finish off their non-conference schedule 3–1. The 31-point comeback was the biggest comeback in school history, beating out the second biggest (20 points against Oklahoma State) by 11 points.
The game started out pretty ugly as the Bulldogs scored three touchdowns in the first quarter alone. The offense looked to be sleeping in the first quarter, as they only amassed 37 yards in the first 15 minutes while the defense gave up 125 at the same time. It only took the Bulldogs 16 plays to put up 21 points.
Dane Evans was sacked three times and Keevan Lucas lost a fumble as Tulsa could not seem to gain any traction like they did last week.
The second quarter initially seemed to be the same for the Golden Hurricane as the Bulldogs extended their lead to 31 points with 10 minutes left in the half. At this point the probability of the Bulldogs winning reached 95%, and it didn’t look good for the Golden Hurricane.
At that point, though, the Golden Hurricane’s offense found their stride once again as Evans hit Justin Hobbs on the very next drive for a 23-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to just 24 points. On both of the next two drives Evans hit Lucas for 40-yard touchdowns to bring the Golden Hurricane within ten going into halftime.
After their miserable start, the Golden Hurricane still led the yardage game at half thanks to 247 second-quarter yards. They outgained the Bulldogs 284–277.
Fresno State opened up the second half with a field goal, pushing their lead up to 13, but Tulsa answered by scoring the next two touchdowns to take a one point lead at the start of the third quarter. Evans hit Atkinson for the first touchdown and Flanders ran the ball in from two yards out to give the Golden Hurricane the lead.
Redford Jones kicked a field goal to give TU a four-point lead, but the Bulldogs scored another touchdown with five minutes left in the game to take a 41–38 lead. On their last offensive drive of regulation Jones hit another field goal from 28 yards and the defense held to send the game to overtime.
Neither team scored in the first overtime, Tulsa forced Fresno State to fumble on their first possession, but Jones missed the field goal for the win. In the second overtime Evans hit Hobbs for a 12-yard pass before scrambling for the 18-yard score to go up 48–41.
The defense held strong and Tulsa, heavy favorites going into the game, escaped with the win. After only 37 yards in the first quarter, Tulsa finished with 617 yards of total offense, the fourth time that the offense has done so in Montgomery’s tenure at TU. It was also the second game this season that the Golden Hurricane ran for more than 300 yards.
The game was intense all around, and Head Coach Montgomery addressed it afterwards.
“What a game! We spot them 31 points, and come back and win in overtime. There was never quit in this team, and we had enough left in the tank to finish it off. At halftime, we felt like we were in a good spot, only down by 10 points. The game was there for us to take it.”
He also talked about the team’s mentality and toughness when facing such a big deficit.
“I think it talks to the character of our football team. This team is gritty, relentless about what they do. They really believe that any time they step foot on the field they’re going to win. Don’t matter what the score is; don’t matter how much time is left, our guys are going to continue to fight and we’re going to find a way to win.”
The Golden Hurricane have an off week and will continue with conference play when they host SMU in the “Boomtown Showdown” on Oct 7.