McKinley Whitfield celebrates in the endzone. photo by Dalton Stewart

Hurricane blows Bears back to Arkansas

The TU Golden Hurricane took on the University of Central Arkansas last Saturday and came away with a 38-27 win.

On Saturday, Tulsa headed into their 119th season to play their 505th home game since the opening of Skelly Field on October 4, 1930. Storming onto the field, Tulsa opened the season with a win against the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) 38-27.

Though there were many flaws during the game, Tulsa pulled together, slipping past the claws of UCA’s defense.
Tulsa had two true freshmen on the field: defensive tackle Jaxon Player and linebacker Grant Sawyer.

For the third time in the last 11 games, Tulsa had two 100-yard rushers. Sophomore running back Corey Taylor II finished with 110 yards on 20 attempts for his second career 100-yard rushing game. Shamari Brooks finished with 129 yards and two touchdowns for his fifth career 100-yard rushing game and fifth career multi-touchdown game.

Tiller Bucktrot, Chris Ivy Jr., Robert Revels III and Cole Neph all made their first career starts. Neph had a key role in a touchdown in the fourth quarter, not to mention his 40 yards on four receptions. When asked about the play in the fourth, Cole Neph answered simply, “It’s a play we have been working on all week. We saw what we wanted from the defense. There are some moving parts to it. It was open in the corner, and Luke [Skipper] saw the same thing I did. It came together for us, and it was a touchdown.”

Coach Montgomery says that “Cole is going to be a great addition to what we’re doing. He brings a lot of diversity,” adding that Neph “obviously had a couple of good catches tonight.”

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Justin Hobbs records a difficult catch. photo by Dalton Stewart

The first touchdown of the season was a 49-yard touchdown pass from Luke Skipper (fourth career TD) to senior receiver Justin Hobbs (10th career TD). On Tulsa’s opening scoring play, Nate Walker converted on his first career PAT attempt. Then junior linebacker Diamon Cannon recorded Tulsa’s first sack of the season for a 12-yard loss. It was also Cannon’s first career sack. Receiver Jarion Anderson recorded his first career reception for a five-yard gain. Skipper later scored Tulsa’s first rushing touchdown of the season (his fifth career rushing TD) on a one-yard play.

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Luke Skipper dives into the endzone. photo by Dalton Stewart

In the second quarter, senior tight end Cole Neph recorded his first career reception for a one-yard gain. Sophomore running back Shamari Brooks scored his first touchdown of the season (11th career rushing TD) on a one-yard play.

Moving into the third quarter, Myles Mouton recorded his first career forced fumble, and Robert Revels III recorded his first career fumble recovery on a touchdown-saving play at the goal line. Nate Walker connected on his first career field goal later in the quarter from 40 yards.

The fourth quarter was full of firsts. Brooks recorded his first career reception on a four-yard play that resulted in a first-down conversion on third down. Cole Neph caught his first career touchdown on a 14- yard pass from Skipper. Redshirt freshman safety Bryson Powers (in his first career game action) picked up his first career fumble recovery on a fumbled kickoff return attempt. Pushing TU to the win, Brooks scored his second touchdown of the game (12th career TD) on a two-yard play.

As Coach Montgomery put it, “That’s a big win for us. Some guys need to be able to celebrate, and we know how to celebrate. So we had a good time down there. Guys are excited, and they should be excited. We need to enjoy this win tonight, be smart about what we do, and get back to work come tomorrow.”

Post Author: Tristan Peterson