TU sports journalist Hannah Robbins covers the Golden Hurricane’s 34-16 victory over San Jose State on Saturday.
Coming off a rough week on the road against Michigan State, Tulsa traveled again to San Jose State. This time they had much better results; Tulsa led the Spartans on passing yards, receiving yards and possession time.Tulsa also man- aged to avoid the interceptions and fumbles that plagued them last week while capitalizing on San Jose’s mistakes.
From the start, it was clear that the Golden Hurricane had found its groove. Tulsa had possession first, and ran with it — literally. After some quarterback keepers by Zach Smith and short runs by Shamari Brooks to get to San Jose’s half of the field, junior quarterback Smith hit a 21-yard pass to Keylon Stokes to put Tulsa within field goal distance.
Three plays later, Tulsa had the first touchdown of the game with Brooks’ nine-yard run. San Jose tried to respond, but was limited to a field goal after Spartans quarterback Josh Love failed to connect with a receiver on several occasions. Tulsa continued their solid play on their next possession.
After a slow start, Smith completed a 37-yard pass to Sam Crawford Jr., bringing Tulsa deep into San Jose’s territory. Runs by Brooks and T.K Wilkerson brought Tulsa to the eight-yard line, with Smith capping off a solid posses- sion with a pass to junior Denzel Carter. After a kick from Jacob Rainey, Tulsa was up 14-3 at the beginning of the second quarter.
At this point, San Jose realized they had to make some plays to stay in the game, but it took them another possession before they got going. Love’s pair of twenty-plus yard passes proved to be too much for Tulsa to handle, and San Jose got their first touchdown, bringing the score 14-10.
This lit a fire beneath the Golden Hurricane, with Brooks, Crawford Jr. and JuanCarlos Santana getting Tulsa down the field in three minutes.
However, lost yards by Brooks and a failed pass caused Tulsa to settle for a field goal, bringing the score to 17-10. As the half wound down, final possessions by San Jose and Tulsa led to nothing but punts and lost yardage, but the second half was poised to be more interesting.
Short possessions by San Jose and Tulsa at first led to nothing, but by Tulsa’s second possession of the half, they hit their stride. Brooks led the possession with a 17-yard run, giving Tulsa a much needed first down, but Smith’s struggle to complete passes almost ended the possession there.
Brooks brought the Golden Hurricane out of their rut with a 17-yard run, which led to a 25-yard catch by Stokes, bringing Tulsa to first and goal. However, short gains and a delay of game penalty left Tulsa with only a field goal.
As the second half continued, San Jose continued to struggle, while Smith continued to connect for long passes caught by Crawford Jr. and Carter that led to two touchdowns.
The first was a short run by Wilkerson, while the second was a 17-yard run. By the middle of the fourth quarter, Tulsa had built up a 24 point lead.
San Jose finally woke up for a second and put together a pos- session that led to a touchdown, but even that was riddled with offensive penalties. Nick Nash’s 20-yard run brought San Jose to 34-16. Unfortunately, San Jose’s attempt at another possession via an on-site kick quickly ended in a fumble, with Tulsa running down the clock to their first win.
Tulsa’s first win of the season wasn’t pretty, but it was effective. Their 12 penalties for 105 yards won’t fly against tougher conference teams, but as long as Smith continues to connect and running backs continue to make big plays, Tulsa definitely has the ability to have a stronger season than last year.