Tulsa Golden Hurricane Bite Bulldogs in Thriller

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SHREVEPORT, LA - DECEMBER 26: Dane Evans #9 of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane looks to pass against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the first half of the Camping World Independence Bowl on December 26, 2015 in Shreveport, Louisiana. Virginia Tech defeated Tulsa 55-52. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

The Tulsa Golden Hurricane are used to putting up yards and points at an efficient pace. But on Saturday against Fresno State, they found themselves down 31-0 midway through the second quarter. From that moment forward, Tulsa concluded the biggest comeback victory in program history over Fresno State. Dane Evans came up big with a 18-yard touchdown run in double overtime to give the Golden Hurricane a 48-41 victory.

Hurricane struggle early

The Golden Hurricane couldn’t have imagined a more inauspicious start to the game. The first seven offensive possessions netted only 36 yards of offense for Tulsa. There were five, three and outs and a fumble that contributed to the early offensive woes. “I can’t explain it,” Philip Montgomery said. “I really thought we were ready to play, but obviously we weren’t in the first quarter. … There was no momentum, no emotion on the sideline. That’s not how we play.” Fresno State had struggled in the first two games of the season, but came out strong in this game.

The Bulldogs scored touchdowns on three of their first four possessions en route to a 31-point first half. “They gave us everything they had,” safety Jeremy Brady said. “It was just our will and knowing the work we put in, we were just going to fight. We were going to fight to get back into it.”

Brewer paces comeback for Tulsa

In spite of finding itself down early, the Hurricane awakened with a Dane Evans to Justin Hobbs 23-yard touchdown connection. Building on that momentum, Tulsa found pay-dirt twice in a span of less than five minutes to get the Golden Hurricane back in the game. While he was unable to get in the end zone, D’Angelo Brewer was a workhorse for the Hurricane. Brewer carried the ball 46 times for 252 yards on the afternoon. “(Winning in double overtime) is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time,” Brewer said. “We love moments like this. It makes us better as a team moving on from situations like this. It was a good experience.”

Defense key down the stretch

Not surprisingly, the offense normally gets the accolades, and that was certainly present on Saturday. The Hurricane completed the game with 617 yards of total offense, but it was the defense that allowed the comeback to happen. After giving up 31 points and 282 yards of total offense in the first half, Tulsa only gave up 10 points and 171 yards in the second half and overtime.

“What a game! We spot then 31 points, and come back and win in overtime. There was never quit in this team, and we had enough left in the tank to finish it off,” said Tulsa Head Coach Philip Montgomery. “At halftime, we felt like we were in a good spot, only down by 10 points. The game was there for us to take.”

Up Next

The Golden Hurricane will have an open week next Saturday before beginning American Athletic Conference play at home against the SMU Mustangs on Friday night, October 1st, from H.A. Chapman Stadium.

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