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Tulane bowl eligible, unbeaten in C-USA after 14-7 win over Tulsa

Devin Powell threw a pair of touchdown passes while the Green Wave defense did the rest in Tulane's win over Tulsa at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (Photo: Parker Waters).Devin Powell threw a pair of touchdown passes while the Green Wave defense did the rest in Tulane's win over Tulsa at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (Photo: Parker Waters).

Green Wave become bowl eligible for first time since 2002; improve to 6-2 overall and 4-0 in C-USA

NEW ORLEANS – It wasn’t always pretty but the outcome sure was sweet for the Tulane University football team as the Green Wave won its fourth-consecutive ballgame with a 14-7 victory over Conference USA foe Tulsa on Saturday afternoon in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2002.

Making his second start in as many games for the injured Nick Montana, redshirt-freshman quarterback Devin Powell threw a pair of touchdown passes and got some help from the Green Wave defense, which forced four turnovers. With the win – Tulane’s first over the Golden Hurricane since 1968 to snap an eight-game skid since Tulsa joined C-USA back in 2005 – the Green Wave improve to 6-2 on the year and remain perfect in league play at 4-0.

“It feels good I guess, but again, it goes back to the 24-hour rule,” second-year Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson said of becoming bowl eligible. “I’m already thinking about FAU. I know these guys have this bliss that we like and it’s a good feeling for us, but we have to keep moving on and going farther. These coaches are very good at what they do. All of our players do what they are asked to do every week, and in general, this entire football team is a group of outstanding men.

“I won the Super Bowl (as an assistant with the New Orleans Saints), and this felt so much better. The Super Bowl wasn’t as climactic for me. When (former Saints cornerback) Tracy (Porter) got the interception, I thought the game was over. With this game, it almost came down to the very last play. These wins have been exciting, good and thrilling. They’ve been just what you want for a young team. I’m so blessed to have all of these guys back.”

Powell finished the day 17-of-29 for 164 yards and his favorite target was senior wideout Ryan Grant, who pulled down seven receptions for 89 yards and a score. Junior wide receiver Justyn Shackleford had the Green Wave’s other touchdown catch – a 19-yard toss with 42 seconds to play in the first half to tie the ballgame at 7-all – and finished with four grabs for 45 yards.

Senior tailback Orleans Darkwa led a balanced Tulane ground game with 66 yards on 13 carries (5.1 avg.) while junior fullback Rob Kelley finished with 50 yards on 14 totes.

The game, however, belonged to the defense. In addition to the three interceptions and one fumble recovery, the Green Wave held Tulsa to just 139 yards through the air – a season low and the fewest allowed since giving up 119 at Rice on Nov. 19, 2011.

Junior strong safety Sam Scofield led the unit with a career-high 18 tackles (14 solo, 4 assists), including 1.5 tackles for loss, to go with two pass break-ups and a forced fumble. He was one of three Tulane players to finish with career-high tackle totals as senior cornerback Jordan Sullen had 10 (8 solo, 2 assists) and senior defensive tackle Julius Warmsley posted eight (7 solo, 1 assist). Warmsley led an 11 tackle-for-loss performance by the Green Wave with a career-best 4.0 stops behind the line of scrimmage, the highest total by a Tulane player since Antonio Harris had 4.0 against Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 22, 2007.

“This is what we talked about all summer and all throughout the year – turnovers,” Johnson said. “We know that if we create turnovers, we will be good…I think our secondary is outstanding. They can turn guys over. Our linebackers are playing well. If we can stop the run, make teams throw it and force teams into being one-dimensional, we will have a chance on winning a lot of games.”

Two of Tulane’s interceptions came in the opening quarter. Sophomore free safety Darion Monroe ended Tulsa’s second drive with his first career pick, and Sullen followed suit with an interception in the endzone on the Golden Hurricane’s next drive to turn the visitors away empty following an 11-play, 73-yard drive which chewed 6:19 off the game clock.

Tulsa returned the favor late in the first quarter when Will Barrow snared a Powell offering and returned it 64 yards to the Green Wave five-yard line. Tulane’s defense held on the next three downs, but running back Trey Watts plunged in from one yard out on the first play of the second quarter to put Tulsa on top, 7-0.

The Golden Hurricane had a chance to pad its lead two drives later as Tulsa marched 62 yards on 11 plays to set up a field goal, but Carl Salazar’s 35-yard try drifted wide right to keep it a one-score game. Tulane made the miss hurt as Powell completed five of his next eight passes for 59 yards and added a nine-yard run on a broken play while capping the 13-play, 80-yard march with his scoring strike to Shackleford to make it 7-7 at the break.

After forcing a punt on Tulsa’s first possession of the second half, Tulane picked up where it left off offensively on its initial third-quarter drive. Grant converted a fourth-and-three situation with a sideline catch right at the first-down marker – which was initially ruled short but was overturned following a booth review – and later hauled in a 33-yard scoring strike from Powell for what proved to be the final points of the ballgame.

Taking the field with a seven-point lead, the Green Wave defense took over. Tulane sandwiched a pair of three-and-outs around an interception by sophomore cornerback Lorenzo Doss – his fifth of the season and the 10th of his career – and ended Tulsa’s next drive when Scofield jarred the ball loose from Golden Hurricane wideout Keevan Lucas and senior middle linebacker Zach Davis pounced on the loose pigskin.

The Green Wave had a chance to put the game away with another score, but Tulsa refused to go away quietly and drew new life when Darnell Walker intercepted a deep Powell pass at the Golden Hurricane four-yard line. The Tulsa offense converted a fourth-down try from its own nine and later had it first-and-10 at its 44 after quarterback Dane Evans scrambled for 10 yard.

From there, however, Warmsley stopped running back Ja’Terian Douglas for a two-yard loss, Evans threw incomplete and sophomore defense end Royce LaFrance logged a 13-yard sack to set up fourth-and-25 from the Tulsa 29. With the game on the line, Evans heaved a long pass deep down the middle of the field, but Scofield was there to bat it down and spark the Green Wave celebration.

“I was just making plays as they came to me,” Scofield said. “I didn’t know it was 18 (tackles). We just had a great game plan and I thought we executed very well.”

Evans was 13-of-30 passing for 139 yards and three interceptions and Lucas led the aerial attack with five catches for 63 yards. Douglas paced the Tulsa ground game – which churned up 205 yards on 46 carries – with 79 yards on 17 rushing attempts. Donnell Hawkins led the Golden Hurricane defense with 10 tackles (7 solo, 3 assists), including a sack among 2.5 tackles for loss.

The Green Wave return to action on Saturday, Nov. 2, when they travel to Boca Raton, Fla., to face C-USA newcomer Florida Atlantic at 4 p.m. (CDT) at FAU Stadium. The game against the Owls is the first of two road games as Tulane will play at Texas-San Antonio on Nov. 9 before returning to New Orleans to close out the home portion of the 2013 regular season against UTEP on Nov. 23.

For tickets to that game, as well as future Green Wave events, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. The Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the Wilson Center on Ben Weiner Drive, and tickets can be purchased in person weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.

--get game notes--

NOTES FOLLOWING TULANE’S 14-7 CONFERENCE USA WIN OVER TULSA

Tulane 14, Tulsa 7

Tulane Game 8

Mercedes-Benz Superdome

New Orleans, La.

·   Saturday’s game marked the 10th meeting between Tulane and Tulsa on the gridiron and the Green Wave’s first win since a 25-15 decision in the initial match-up on Nov. 9, 1968, at old Tulane Stadium. The win snaps an eight-game losing streak to the Golden Hurricane. Despite the victory, Tulane still trails in the all-time series, 2-8.

·   With the win, Tulane improves to 6-2 on the year and 4-0 in Conference USA contests. It marks the first time the Green Wave have six wins through eight games and started 4-0 in league play since 1998 when Tulane finished 12-0 and won the C-USA title with a 6-0 conference record.

·   With six wins, Tulane is now bowl eligible for the first time since 2002 when the Green Wave capped an 8-5 campaign with a 36-28 win over Hawai’i in the inaugural ConAgra Foods Hawai’i Bowl.

·   At 4-0 in Conference USA, Tulane has assured itself of its first non-losing league record since going 4-4 in 2002.

·   Combined with the Wave’s 31-14 victory at ULM on Sept. 28, a 24-21 homecoming victory over North Texas on Oct. 5 and a 36-33 triple-overtime win over East Carolina on Oct. 12, Tulane has now won four consecutive games for the first time since 2002 when the Green Wave defeated ULM 52-9 on Oct. 5 in Monroe, La., before posting consecutive home wins over Cincinnati (35-17 on Oct. 12), UAB (35-14 on Oct. 19) and Navy (51-30 on Oct. 26). The win over the Bearcats and Blazers came in the then-Louisiana Superdome while the decision over the Midshipmen came at Tad Gormley Stadium.

·   With a 4-0 mark in Conference USA play, the Green Wave have now won four consecutive conference games for the first time since the storied 12-0 season of 1998 when Tulane won all six of its league games that year. The six C-USA wins that year actually capped an 8-0 run in conference play as the Green Wave posted wins over Memphis and Houston in the final two league games of the 1997 season.

·   The Green Wave defense held the Golden Hurricane to 139 passing yards, which is the fewest allowed by a Tulane team this season and the fewest overall since allowing 119 at Rice on Nov. 19, 2011.

·   The seven points allowed were the fewest by Tulane in a conference game since posting a 21-7 win over Southern Miss on Oct. 3, 1998. Combined with the Green Wave’s 34-7 win over Jackson State in the season opener back on Aug. 31, the 2013 season is the first time Tulane held opponents to seven points or fewer twice in the same season since 1997 (41-0 vs Army on Oct. 4, 56-0 at Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 1).

·   After posting a season-high 15 tackles for loss in the triple-overtime win over East Carolina on Oct. 12, Tulane added 11 more tackles behind the line of scrimmage on Saturday against Tulsa. It marks the first time a Green Wave team had 10-plus tackles for loss in consecutive games since 2007 when Tulane did so in three straight games: 10 against Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 22, 11 against LSU on Sept. 29 and 13 at Army on Oct. 6.

·   With three interceptions and a fumble recovery, the Tulane defense posted its seventh multiple-turnover outing of the season. The three picks against Tulsa gives Tulane 15 for the year, which already equals the total of a year ago and is now tied for ninth in Tulane single-season history.

·   The Green Wave’s interceptions came on single-pick performances by senior CB Jordan Sullen, sophomore CB Lorenzo Doss and sophomore FS Darion Monroe. It was Monroe’s first career interception and Sullen’s second of both the season and of his career. Doss, meanwhile, pulled down his fifth interception of the season and the 10th of his career. His five picks are now tied for seventh in Tulane single-season history – which has been done 16 previous times, last by himself in 2012. His 10 career, interceptions, meanwhile, is tied for seventh in career history – breaking a tie with Tra Boger (2001-05), David Lee (1972-74), Joe Bullard (1969-71) and Jimmy Glisson (1948-49) while equaling the career marks of Bobby Jones (1947-50), Homer Dedeaux (1947-50) and Lou Thomas (1940-42).

·   Junior SS Sam Scofield posted a career-high 18 tackles (14 solo, 4 assists) to go with 1.5 tackles for loss, two pass break-ups and a forced fumble. His previous high-water mark in stops was 15 vs South Alabama back on Sept. 7.

·   Scofield was one of three players to post career-high tackle totals as senior CB Jordan Sullen had 10 stops (8 solo, 2 assists) while senior DT Julius Warmsley finished with eight (7 solo, 1 assist).

·   Warmsley added a career-best 4.0 tackles for loss, the most by a Tulane player since Antonio Harris had 4.0 against Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 22, 2007.

·   With seven receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown, senior WR Ryan Grant extended his consecutive games with a catch streak to 28 on Saturday against Tulsa. The last time Grant – who missed the final 12 games of the 2011 season due to injury – failed to catch a pass in a game he played in came on Oct. 9, 2010, against Army. He now has multiple-catch outings in each of his last 14 contests.

·   For his career, Grant has now caught 172 passes for 2,430 yards (14.13 avg.) and 19 touchdowns. In the Tulane career record book, he moved into seventh place in receptions (leaping Terrell Harris’ 166 from 198-2001 and Adrian Burnette’s 170 from 1997-2000) and into a tie for seventh place in touchdown receptions (equaling the mark of Jeremy Williams from 2006-09) while remaining tied for fifth in 100-yard games (10) and seventh in receiving yards.

·   For the season, Grant has now pulled down seven touchdown passes. That is the most by a Tulane player since Jeremy Williams had that many in 2009.

·   With 66 rushing yards on 13 carries, senior RB Orleans Darkwa has now run 586 times for 2,559 yards (4.37 avg.) and 33 touchdowns for his career. In the Tulane career record book, he moves into third place in rushing attempts (leaping Terrence Jones’ 578 from 1985-88) and fourth in rushing yards (leaping Bill Banker’s 2,516 yards from 1927-29) while remaining second in rushing touchdowns and fifth in 100-yard games (8).

·   Sophomore punter Peter Picerelli posted season highs with nine boots for 337 yards (42.1 avg.).

·   Two Tulane players extended their double-digit starting streaks on Saturday against Tulsa: sophomore FS Darion Monroe (20) and senior RG Rio Mares (18).

·   Tulane’s game captains for Saturday's contest against Tulsa were senior TB Orleans Darkwa, senior WR Ryan Grant, senior PK Cairo Santos, and senior DLs Chris Davenport and Julius Warmsley.

--get postgame quotes--

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 26, 2013

Contact: Richie Weaver, Assistant Director of Athletic Communications

Office: (504) 314-7232 or Cell: (504) 352-5802

QUOTES FOLLOWING TULANE’S 14-7 CONFERENCE USA WIN OVER TULSA

Tulane 14, Tulsa 7

Tulane Game 8

Mercedes-Benz Superdome

New Orleans, La.

TULANE QUOTES

HEAD COACH CURTIS JOHNSON

Opening Statement

“This is what we talked about all summer and all throughout the year, turnovers. We know that if we create turnovers, we will be good. We had four interceptions, Devin Powell did a great job managing the game, I like what we did with (Ryan) Grant, he was 7-89 with that huge touchdown, Shackleford came through with the other touchdown, Darkwa had 5.1 yards/rush; I just thought the offense played exactly the way we wanted them to, you saw that if you were at practice this week. Our punter was outstanding, Peter Picerelli was incredible today, and he was awesome for us. It was a team win; we played well.”

On how Dr. Cowen has inspired the team

“I have to thank Rick Dickson first, he’s been in my corner since day one, always encouraging me and being very positive about myself and this football team. Scott Cowen is the same way, I spoke to him before the season and I told him that we were going to get them (Tulane football team) into a bowl game, I thought that was a realistic goal for us, so we just need to keep on winning these games for him. We want to send him out like the winner he is, because he is a winner.”

On being bowl eligible for first time since 2002

“It feels good I guess, but again, it goes back to the 24 hour rule. I’m already thinking about FAU; I know these guys have this bliss that we like, and it’s a good feeling for us, but we have to keep moving on and going farther. These coaches are very good at what they do; all of our players do what they are asked to do every week, and in general, this entire football team is a group of outstanding men.”

On if winning is still exciting

“I won the Super Bowl, and this felt so much better. The Super Bowl wasn’t as climactic for me, when Tracy got the interception; I thought the game was over. With this game, it almost came down to the very last play; these wins have been exciting, good, and thrilling; they’ve been just what you want for a young team. I’m so blessed to have all of these guys back.”

On the increased crowd support

“I think the team notices it a lot. We’ve got a good product, we play well; I think more people will continue to come out. I would encourage them to come out and watch us play, because we are playing great defense and special teams, we have some very exciting touchdowns, we’re catching and throwing; it’s a very good product right now.”

On being in good situation forcing Tulsa to pass

“Well you can see that from watching the game. I think our secondary is outstanding, they can turn guys over, our linebackers are playing well; if we can stop the run and make teams throw it, turning teams into being one-dimensional, we will have a chance on winning a lot of games.”

On secondary daring teams to beat them

“These coaches are very bold, they coach our players to be daring, they want them to be ball hogs and get after the ball, and that’s what they do.”

On where he was in 2002

“I think I was at Miami. Ohio State beat us in the national championship, but this is a lot more thrilling, it’s a lot more exciting just to see the growth and development of these young men. All of a sudden, people are coming to see them, and they are excited; it’s like Christmas for them.”

On the controversial fourth-down play with Ryan Grant

“The assistants were egging me on to go for it. I really wanted to bring Cairo out, but they said, ‘No Coach, let’s just go for it.’ I listened to the assistants, they said that they were going to throw Grant on an out route and he’s just going to stretch the ball out, and that’s exactly what he did. I knew it was a first down, we all did; they gave us a spot, thank god for instant replay we got a better spot, and we kept the drive off alive.”

On finishing off the drive with Grant’s touchdown

“Ryan is one of those players who will be playing next year somewhere, we will be watching him tomorrow, we’ll be talking about what RG is going to do, but he’s a great player and a great finisher, he can go up and track the ball with the rest of them. I have full confidence in him; Powell just threw that ball up there and he went up and got it, that’s just the kind of player he is.”

On the quarterback situation

“The decision that we have to make every week is how much for who. Both of those guys can play, they are good, they can lead a team; I like playing with two quarterbacks, because what happens is, like every position, where you see me yanking guys out of the game, I can yank them out too.”

On decision of not playing QB Nick Montana today

“No, we were not going to chance him taking one hit today. I got the evil eye from his dad earlier in the week, so I don’t want to mess with Joe.”

On Devin Powell recovering from his interception

“That play really wasn’t on Devin, he made a call at the line, and Grant didn’t see it. It was there. The play was there, Devin made the call to check the anticipation throw, and Grant didn’t see it, because he was getting one of the younger guys lined up. That’s what happened, so that didn’t bother me as much, it’s just one of those things that we have to get cleaned up.”

On continuing to create turnovers

“That’s one of the things that we preached since day one, you guys have been at practice, you know how hard we try to turn everybody over that we can. The pressure that we are getting on the passer, allowing us to turn teams into being one-dimensional, is also another huge key to the success we are having.”

On senior SS Sam Scofield’s performance

“Outstanding. He played an amazing game. This kid has been playing so well, he did a very good job of getting stronger over the summer, and it shows. He’s always been a good player, but he’s gotten injured a lot. Now he’s playing with a swagger, he’s playing very well.”

On Lorenzo Doss continuing to play well

“Sooner or later, I think they are just going to stop throwing at him. I wouldn’t throw to him at all; it seems like every week he gets another interception. When he gets thrown at, I have full confidence in him that he will be able to go get that ball; he’ll catch it just as much as the receiver will. He can cover; he has a great combination of foot speed and instincts. He’s just one of those guys that I can’t help but say that he’ll be playing on Sunday too.”

On looking ahead

“I’m glad that it’s going the way it is, Rick Dickson took a chance on me, so did Doctor Cowen, and I want to please them more than anything. I want them to be happy with the direction of this program, and I think that’s what we are doing. I’m happy for them and these players more than anything; having a coach’s mentality, it’s all about the next one.”

On sophomore FS Darion Monroe finally getting an interception

“Finally! I don’t know what I can tease him about next, but that interception was great. It really helped us too, it gave us great field position and great position in the game.”

On the performance of senior DT Julius Warmsley

“He’s been playing great all year long, he’s been one of the games that as a senior, he’s been a real team leader. He’s one of our team captains; he’s been playing outstanding, along with all of our defensive guys, John’s doing a great job with them.”

On senior NT Chris Davenport’s injury

“It was ankle, I’m glad it wasn’t a knee, it was an ankle, so knowing Chris, he’s a tough guy and he’ll be ready to play next week.

On senior MLB Zach Davis getting hit late in the game

“He’s fine. He actually went back in the game later so he’s ok.

On Tulane being strong in the red zone defensively

“You know, you’d like to stop teams every time they get down there, sometimes you can’t, but it just worked out for us today. They didn’t cross the 50-yard line towards the end of the game, and that made me feel like we were doing everything right. When they do get down there into the red zone, it shrinks the field so much for us, and I think we are better at that type of game because we are smaller and quicker than most people.”

On expecting Tulsa QB Cody Green to play

“We prepared for both quarterbacks today.”

On how to refer to Tulane now

“I just want to be referred to as a team that fights hard and continues to play well. I don’t want to put a label on this team right now; this just gives us an opportunity to win game number seven.”

On getting his first Gatorade bath

“It was awesome. They don’t Gatorade assistants, only head coaches, so it was definitely something to remember.”

Senior RB Orleans Darkwa

On his feelings following the win

“It feels like a dream. It’s been so long for this university. I’m so happy for this coaching staff and so happy for the players. We’ve got bigger fish to fry, but it’s a really good feeling right now.”

On defeating the defending C-USA Champion

“We haven’t beaten them then 1968 or something like that. We remember what happened last year and we were blessed to be in this situation and blessed to get this win for Devon [Walker].”

On the crowd on hand and becoming bowl eligible

“Like I said, it feels like a dream. It’s been so long for this university. We’ve never experienced this so I’m just so happy. I’m so happy for this coaching staff and so happy for the players. Like I said, it’s like a dream right now.”

Junior SS Sam Scofield

On becoming bowl eligible

“It’s huge. When we went into the season our first goal was to get into a bowl game and we did it. We had a great game on defense and we played great.”

On the way Tulane has played of late

“I think this is the last straw before everyone knows that we’re a real team. We’ve known it since the beginning of the season. We pulled it out and we control our own destiny.”

On the play of the defense overall

“Oh man, we’re playing great. All those turnovers…we feel like we’ve had that bend not break mentality. They might get a big play every now and again, but we bounce back and get a big interception or turnover.”

On his 18-tackle performance

“I was just making plays as they came to me. I didn’t know it was 18. We just had a great game plan and I thought we executed very well.”

Redshirt-Freshman QB Devin Powell

On becoming bowl eligible 

“It was great. It was the best feeling. We still had to continue to play the game and continue to finish. We have to keep our composure and do what we have to do.”

On if he was pleased with his performance

“Oh yeah, I’m very happy. I’m just sticking to what I do best, listening to the coaches, doing my job and that’s what I’m doing.”

On the perception of Tulane and the current reality

“This team and this coaching staff turned the program around.  It’s a great feeling. Everything is going good so just go with the flow.”

On the touchdown at the end of the first half

Yeah, I just read it out and stick to what I’m supposed to do. We run those plays in practice so it was nothing.”

Senior DT Julius Warmsley

On being bowl eligible

“Oh dude, so excited. We’re eligible right now. We’re not there yet, but we’ve placed ourselves in a position to keep winning. We just need to keep doing it, keep pushing forward, and keep practicing well. We’ve been doing it consistently throughout the past weeks and we just need to keep going.”

On getting two wins over teams that have given Tulane trouble in recent years (East Carolina and now Tulsa)

“It’s great. Coach CJ always says don’t eat the cheese. It’s nice to be up there and be mentioned with whoever’s up there, but to us it really doesn’t matter. To us we’re just trying to keep winning and that’s the goal. We keep winning and everything else will fall in place.”

On the defense putting the offense in position to put points on the board and win games

“It’s a team effort. It’s most definitely a team effort. Everybody is in their positions. Of course we make mistakes, we’re not perfect but we’re constantly pushing ourselves to get better and just understand our roles even more so that we can perform and be where we need to be in order to makes play or put other people in position to make plays. So far we’re doing it. We just need to keep pushing ourselves.”


Senior WR Ryan Grant
 

On becoming bowl eligible 

“It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been working so hard during the offseason just to get to this point. We’re not where we want to be just yet. It’s only step and now we’re bowl eligible. This is just one step closer to more wins and to game seven. We’re going to celebrate tonight, then get back to work, and focus on Florida Atlantic.”

On his overall performance

“I just kept grinding and every play for my team. (Devin) Powell threw me one and I made a play on the ball. It was a great pass. Powell played well today. The O-line played really well. It’s a great victory.”

On the performance of QB Devin Powell

“He’s yet to fold and I don’t think he ever will. He just works hard. He’s a humble guy and we just have to keep it going.”

TULSA QUOTES 

Head Coach Bill Blankenship

On the early penalties

“I kept thinking that things would even out today. 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.”

On giving up only four touchdowns in the last 10 quarters

“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.”

On failing to convert on the field goal

“I didn’t in the beginning, but later I thought it was a momentum changer. 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 him (Carl Salazar) to get his mind right. There will be more opportunities today.”

On being down seven points

“I hesitated when we were backed up on fourth down, because we had a couple of time outs left, and three and a half minutes to play. Their kicker is just so good that we couldn’t give them a short field. We tried to stay patient, because it was a one score game.”

On the play of Dane Evans

“I thought he made some good plays at times, but he also made some freshmen type plays.”

On what play you would like to have back

“I would like to have the fade to the corner back, the first turnover. You always second guess it. When we were running the ball and had man coverage, I thought that if we could get a pass out there to JJ (James Jordan), he would go get it.”

On the remainder of the season

“Trey (Watts) was in the locker room passionately talking to the players about it. With the character of this team, I know we will bounce back. I would bet it. When things get tough, you really find out if everyone is in. It will be hard for some of them because they just don’t have the wherewithal. They haven’t been in it as much.  But, there was some passionate leadership in the locker room. There are all kinds of scenarios. Guys will have to figure out what it means to them.”

QB Dane Evans

On if he was affected by the speed of the game in his first collegiate start

“No. The playing time I had gotten against Bowling Green and Iowa State – I think that kind of broke me into it a little bit. The speed of the game wasn’t too fast. I just didn’t play good.”

On rough first start being common for freshmen quarterbacks

“I’m just mad at myself. I let my teammates down. I feel bad.”

On if he feels Tulsa can recover and get hot late

“We can do it. We can still do what we want to do. This loss just makes it tougher on us.”

LB Shawn Jackson

On Tulsa’s defense playing well in another loss

“Tulsa has given up only four touchdowns in its last 10 quarters: “I don’t look at it like that. 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.”

On Tulsa’s defensive improvement with freshmen rotating at end, tackle, safety and cornerback

“We’ve got to grow up each week. This was game seven. They’re not freshmen anymore. Will Barrow had a great interception today. The pups played well today. We’ve just got to find a way to win.”

On if he believed Tulsa would win based on recent history

“Of course. Going into the game, you’re supposed (to expect) to win. But this is a tough one.”

On if Tulsa can recover and get hot late

“Definitely. The next win will get this taste out of our mouths.”