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October 27, 2013

Costly mistakes doom Tulsa in loss to Tulane

Since 2005, Tulsa has defeated Tulane eight times by an average score of 43-12. On Saturday, Tulsa stubbed its toe on offense with four turnovers and fell 14-7 in New Orleans.

The Golden Hurricane defense was solid and held Tulane to 301 yards of offense, 17 yards below its average. It looked like the same Tulane team offensively as TU faced in the last eight appearances. The difference was the Green Wave's defense.

Although Tulsa put up 344 yards of offense, Tulane picked off first-time TU starter Dane Evans, a redshirt freshman, three times and also forced a fumble after a 22-yard pass and catch from Evans to Keevan Lucas. Two of the interceptions were on passes to the end zone.

Making matters worse, Tulsa was flagged for eight penalties that cost 94 yards. Many of the infractions came at very costly moments. In Tulsa's first six games, they had only committed five total penalties.

Turnovers and penalties were the theme of the game for the Hurricane and most likely cost them a victory.

"I kept thinking that things would even out today," said Tulsa head coach Bill Blankenship. "We had been very clean. I don't even know how many penalties we had. But, there were a lot of key penalties that bit us. We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot. It was more about the timing of the penalties. It was an incredibly snake bit day.

"It should have been enough. I don't know what the red zone issues were. We got down there several times. Turnovers and penalties hurt us."

Tulsa found its way inside the Tulane 30-yard line on four occasions, but could only score once. Freshman safety Will Barrow intercepted a Tulane pass and raced 64 yards to the Green Wave five-yard line. Trey Watts punched it in from one yard out and gave TU a 7-0 lead at the start of the second quarter.

The Hurricane's other three scoring chances were snuffed out by two turnovers and a missed 29-yard field goal attempt.

"I didn't in the beginning, but later I thought it was a momentum changer," Blankenship said of the missed field goal. "Honestly, when he (Carl Salazar) missed that, I thought there would be four or five more scores in the game. I really did. I felt like we had done enough moving the ball that we would have more opportunities. I told (Salazar) to get his mind right. There will be more opportunities today."

Evans finished 13-of-30 for 139 yards and three interceptions. He was only sacked once, but it was for a 13 yard loss on Tulsa's final drive, which set up a 4th-and-25 play that was broken up by the Tulane defense.

"I'm just mad at myself. I let my teammates down. I feel bad," said Evans. "We can still do what we want to do. This loss just makes it tougher on us."

"I thought he made some good plays at times, but he also made some freshmen type plays," Blankenship said of Evans.

Tulsa's defense certainly played well enough to win the game and has only allowed four touchdowns in its last 10 quarters of play.

"I don't look at it like that," said Tulsa linebacker Shawn Jackson. "We're a team. We've got to find a way to win, no matter what. We didn't get it done tonight as a team. We don't point fingers at offense or defense."


• Redshirt freshman quarterback Dane Evans got his first career start against Tulane. Evans became the first freshman to start at quarterback for Tulsa since Tyler Gooch vs. New Mexico State on Oct. 6, 2001.

• Will Barrow intercepted a pass at the 1:36 mark of the first quarter. It was his second interception in as many games.

• Tulsa held Tulane scoreless in the first quarter. It was the first time the Golden Hurricane held an opponent without first quarter points this season.

• Tulsa did not score points in the first quarter for the third time this season. The Hurricane was also held scoreless in the opening period against Oklahoma and Iowa State.

• Carl Salazar missed a 29-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter. It was his first missed field goal attempts since the season opener at Bowling Green on Aug. 29, breaking a streak of 11 straight made field goals.

• Ja'Terian Douglas rushed for a season high 79 yards on 17 carries in the game.

• Tulsa was penalized a season-high eight times for 94 yards. The Hurricane was not penalized in its previous contest at UTEP on Oct. 12.

• In his first career start, Dane Evans tallied career highs of 13 completions and 139 passing yards.

• Trey Watts totaled 106 all-purpose yards - his 24th career game with more than 100 all-purpose yards.

• In his first start of the season, senior linebacker Donnell Hawkins led Tulsa with 10 tackles

• Tulane's win snapped an eight-game Tulsa win streak in the series dating back to 2005. Tulane's last win in the series was in 1968, the only contest between the two teams prior to Tulsa joining Conference USA.

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