Sports writer Joe McCurdy covers Tulsa’s performance against undefeated conference opponent Cincinnati.
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane started their 2022 American Athletic Conference schedule last Saturday against reigning AAC Champion and 2021 College Football Playoff contender the Cincinnati Bearcats. A team that has given Tulsa problems in the past, Cincinnati played Tulsa for the final time for the foreseeable future, as Cincinnati will be one of four teams making the transition to play in the Big 12 Conference in 2023. This was the first time since 2016 that Cincinnati had made the trip down to Tulsa to play the Golden Hurricane at Chapman Stadium. Since that point, Cincinnati is 2-0 against Tulsa, winning both of their previous matchups in 2019 and 2021. While not considered a rivalry by head coach Phillip Montgomery, whenever the two teams play, there always seems to be bad blood between the two squads, with many scuffles breaking out in the past. With it being potentially the last time to play Cincinnati, there was a lot riding on this game for Tulsa. Not only would Tulsa be able to hand the Bearcats their first in-conference loss in over 17 games but it would also be a much-needed morale boost after losing a close game to #16 Ole Miss.
The game got off to a rough start after starting quarterback Davis Brin, a game-time decision after an injury suffered during the Ole Miss game, threw a pick-six on the first drive of the game. Tulsa went on to answer with a touchdown of their own but were never able to come up with the lead. Cincinnati went on to score with less than a minute left in the first quarter and then again with their second possession of the second quarter. Tulsa was able to bring it within three with a score of 24-21, but that was the closest they were able to get as Cincinnati went up by 10 with eight minutes remaining. That’s all they needed to secure the win as Tulsa failed to score on their last five possessions of the game, punting the ball and turning the ball over twice each. Brin finished the game with 18 completions on 36 attempts, no touchdowns and one interception. All three of Tulsa’s touchdowns were found on the ground as Braylon Braxton found the endzone on a 2-yard run. We also saw the return of star running back Deneric Prince, who had the other two touchdowns of the day. Prince finished the game as the leading rusher, carrying the ball 18 times for 71 yards and two touchdowns. In a season where our wideouts have been such a huge part of the Tulsa offense, the Tulsa core was held relatively quiet with only Keylon Stokes reaching over 100 yards. With a final score of 31-21, Tulsa falls to their first in-conference opponent of the season and adds another loss to their record, now standing at 2-3.
Tulsa will face Navy on Saturday in Annapolis, Maryland, looking to get back to .500 on the season before going into their bye-week. The Golden Hurricane are 2-7 against the Midshipman all-time.