Tulsa Hurricane covers TU Football’s 28-7 loss against Michigan State on Friday night.
EAST LANSING, Mich. — No. 18 Michigan State took advantage of three Tulsa turnovers to register a 28-7 win over the visiting Golden Hurricane on Friday night in the season opener for both squads.
Making his first start for the Golden Hur- ricane (0-1), quarterback Zach Smith went 16-of-27 passing for 153 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Keylon Stokes was his top target and the junior totaled 54 yards on six catches, while Sam Crawford Jr. finished the night with five receptions for 49 yards and the first touchdown of his career.
The TU defense held the Spartans (1-0) to just one touchdown drive, which came on the game’s opening possession, and limited the home squad to three points over the final 32 minutes of the contest, as well as only 3.9 yards per play on the night.
Trevis Gipson helped lead the defensive unit with four tackles, including two for loss, a sack and two quarterback hurries. Brandon Johnson had a team-high nine tackles, while Allie Green IV finished with seven tackles and a pass break-up.
Meanwhile, the Spartans were led by quarterback Brian Lewerke’s 226 yards of offense (192 passing, 34 rushing) and a touchdown. The defense, which was the nation’s second-ranked defense against the run last year, racked up six sacks, paced by a pair from Shakur Brown, and Joe Bachie’s seven tackles were tops for the home team.
Michigan State capitalized on TU miscues, as it turned three turnovers into 13 points at it jumped out to a 25-0 cushion in the first half. The Spartans also forced a safety as part of its 18-point second quarter.
The Tulsa defense did its part to limit the damage, holding the Spartans to field goals following a blocked punt, a fumble and an interception. In each of those instances, the Hurricane defense allowed fewer than 10 yards to force long field goal tries for the home squad.
The defense also stood strong with a pair of fourth-down stops in the opening half.
The Hurricane offense broke through late in the first half with its first touchdown of the season to cap a seven-play, 85-yard drive that took just 1:45 off the clock. The drive was highlighted by a 37-yard pass to Keenen Johnson before the 28-yard strike to Crawford Jr. in the corner of the end zone to pull within 25-7 at the break. Both receivers fought through pass interference penalties to make the catch.
The defenses controlled the second half as neither offensive unit could get on track. The lone score of the final half came off the leg of Matt Coghlin, who hit four field goals in the contest (38, 47, 44 and 40-yards).
Tulsa will be back on the road for an 8 p.m. (CT) matchup next Saturday, Sept. 7 at San Jose State (1-0).