After struggling with penalties in recent seasons, the University of Tulsa made an emphasis in the spring and in the preseason to cut down on those types of miscues.
“Penalties are going to happen in a game,” coach Philip Montgomery said last month. “There are some aggressive penalties that happen because it’s football, and there are some things that just occur. We need to cut out the ones that really come down to a discipline side of it.”
Since the start of the 2019 season, the Hurricane has been the most frequently penalized team in the nation, averaging more than nine penalties for 82.1 yards during that 27-game span.
If not for faring significantly better in that regard Saturday against Memphis, TU would have the most this season instead of the fourth-most. After racking up 11 penalties the previous week, the Hurricane had only five in the 35-29 victory.
“(The Houston game) wasn’t our best performance, but tonight I thought we really did a nice job as a team just paying attention to the details,” Montgomery said after the Memphis win. “We played with a lot of effort, a lot of attitude, a lot of confidence.”
Of the 15 losses in the past 2½ seasons, TU had at least seven penalties in all but three of those games. On seven occasions, there have been a dozen or more penalties including the 2019 loss at Oklahoma State in which the Hurricane was flagged 17 times for 156 yards.