3 Hurricane Takeaways: TU Almost Takes Down Tulane

The Golden Hurricane was down 14 in the first quarter but found their rhythm and took the Green Wave to the final minutes in Week 11. It was a close loss for Tulsa and while a bowl game doesn't look likely, there were still some positives from Saturday's game.

Monday, November 13th 2023, 9:04 am

By: News On 6, David Prock


It was a glimpse at TU's potential in Week 11 as they challenged No. 20 Tulane in a 24-22 loss.

The Golden Hurricane was down 14 in the first quarter but found their rhythm and took the Green Wave to the final minutes. The previous four weeks for TU have been filled with blowouts and blown leads but Saturday's game showed a steady grit that the team needs. The team was a two-point conversion attempt from possibly forcing an overtime situation but the Tulane managed to survive again.

First Takeaway: Stepping Up At QB

Kirk Francis passed for a career-high 345 yards and a touchdown for Tulsa. It was an impressive performance from the walk-on Freshman who has played well this season despite the turmoil of the position. Francis is a big part of the reason that Tulsa outgained Tulane 477 yards to 357. There was still a bit of situational quarterbacking on Saturday as Braylon Braxton got the start and would come in on some designed running plays and one trick play.

Braxton only completed three passes for 3 yards on the day but one of the completions was for a touchdown that gave the Golden Hurricane a chance to tie it up. Unfortunately, Braxton's pass on the 2-point conversion attempt fell incomplete in the back of the end zone.

There was no sign of TU's leading passer for 2023, Cardell Williams who started the season strong but has struggled in the last few weeks.

Second Takeaway: Defense Didn't Give Up

Tulsa's Defense has not had a great time the last few weeks. After giving up 42 to Rice and then 69 to SMU the defense needed to make a statement. They couldn't slow down Charlotte's comeback last week but this week they managed to freeze Tulane's momentum long enough for the offense to get back into the game. After giving up two touchdowns in the first quarter the defense forced punt after punt and Mitchell Kulkin got an interception to shut Tulane out in the second quarter.

If the defense can keep up the level of play they showed against Tulane, then the Goldne Hurricane may be able to finish out the season with some victories.

Third Takeaway: Bowl Chances Are Gone

Six wins remain that special number to get a bowl invite and even with wins in the next two weeks, TU isn't going to get there. The Golden Hurricane last went bowling in 2021 when they beat Old Dominion in the Myrtle Beach Bowl.

Tulsa has just not played well in the American conference this season and a lack of consistent play on offense is most of the reason. These last two games are against fellow bottom feeders North Texas and Eastern Carolina. All three teams are 1-5 in conference this season. If Tulsa can play in those games like they did against Tulane then maybe they can end 2023 on a high note going into the offseason.

Over the offseason, they will have a great chance to fix that. They have two solid freshman QBs in Francis and Williams, and there is a reason Sophomore Braxton was the starter. They have good players at receiver and running back so hopefully Coach Wilson can start to put it together in his second year with the team.

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