The Golden Hurricane triumphs over the Owls

Sports writer Joe McCurdy recapitulates Tulsa’s game against the Temple Owls.

Coming off a bye week, Tulsa football had one goal in mind: go out 1-0 against Temple. After going 2-4 in the first six games of the season and 0-2 in conference play, the Golden Hurricane was in desperate need of a reset not only to re-evaluate the season but to give some key players the time to get back to 100% before the final six game push. Going into the matchup, Temple was 0-2 in conference play with two blowout losses, one of which was to the University of Central Florida where the Golden Knights hung 70 points on the Owls. Tulsa and Temple were tied at three apiece in all-time wins against each other so Tulsa would have the opportunity to pull ahead in victories between the two teams.

Davis Brin was back to full health after dealing with an ankle injury in the last three games which played a part in the three game-losing skid that the Golden Hurricane was on, so Brin was ready to get off to the right foot against Temple.

That didn’t end up happening, as in the first two possessions Brin managed to throw two interceptions, one of which was a pick-six, in his first two passing attempts. Early interceptions are demoralizing to any offense but to have it happen in the first two possessions is a huge hit to a team’s confidence. But this didn’t discourage the Tulsa defense. It did quite the opposite,energizing a defense that has been dealing with its own issues. In the next four Temple possessions, Tulsa forced three Temple punts and two turn-over-on downs, giving the Tulsa offense time to breathe and get back to their style of football. Tulsa proceeded to score 14 unanswered points to close out the half with running back Deneric Prince and tight end Ethan Hall both finding the endzone. Not only did Tulsa go into the locker room with a 14-10 lead but they went in knowing that star wide receiver Keylon “Sleep” Stokes had just broken the all-time receiving yards record in Tulsa history, surpassing Howard Twilley who has held the record since the ’60s. Now, standing atop the Tulsa record books, Stokes will look to build up that record over the remainder of the season.

Coming out of the locker room with the lead, Tulsa was looking to keep applying the pressure and pull away from Temple. But after their first two possessions ended in a punt and a fumble, it felt like Tulsa was giving Temple opportunities to come back and snatch the lead from the Golden Hurricane. Temple was handing those opportunities right back, as a battle of mediocrity occurred in the 2nd half. If it weren’t for an 84-yard touchdown run by Deneric Prince, the game may have been different. The 84-yard house call by Prince was the longest run Tulsa has had all season, as they saw the most production from the running back position they’ve seen all year. Prince finished the game with 231 rushing yards on 20 attempts, giving Tulsa the most rushing yards from a single player since 2017. This team has made it a priority to focus on the running game and establishing it early on and this was a reassuring message to see the team continues to move in the right direction. After going up by 14, the game was securely in Tulsa’s hands, and came to a close after Justin Wright intercepted a pass by Temple QB EJ Warner, giving Tulsa the 27-16 win over the Owls.

Improving to 3-4 on the season and 1-2 in the American, the focus shifts to SMU as they face the Mustangs in the Homecoming matchup. Even though the Hurricane sits under .500, they’re is still plenty of opportunity to build on this success and finish the season bowl eligible for the third straight year.

Post Author: Joe McCurdy