Friday night couldn’t have gone much worse for the University of Tulsa.

As a slight home favorite against Houston, the Hurricane instead turned in the worst loss at H.A. Chapman Stadium during the seven-year Philip Montgomery era. The embarrassing 45-10 outcome also was the largest margin of defeat in an American Athletic Conference game since TU joined the league.

Simply put, nothing went right: The offensive line was overwhelmed and quarterback Davis Brin spent the entire evening running for his life. The defense had difficulty tackling and was repeatedly gashed by big plays. Special teams remained problematic, but this time was not the most glaring problem.

Rather than continue the momentum built by solid performances in the previous three weeks including the first of the season six days earlier, the Hurricane was out of sorts in the conference opener. At one point early in the second quarter, the Cougars had an advantage of 200 yards.

A promising offense sputtered, producing three interceptions. Brin was sacked four times and was pressured on nearly every throw, completing 20-of-39 passes for a modest 258 yards and a touchdown.

In front of a small crowd, the evening had a shaky start with Houston returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown that was negated by a holding penalty. The Cougars (4-1, 2-0) went on to dominate from their first touchdown drive, connecting on a 40-yard pass and benefiting from a trio of defensive penalties.

With the Hurricane offense flailing, Houston turned it on, scoring on a 47-yard pass from Clayton Tune to Jeremy Singleton that followed four plays of at least 10 yards. TU’s defense was missing standout lineman Jaxon Player because of a targeting call from last week’s second half, and the lack of his presence was severely felt.

Struggles up front were more rampant on offense, and a botched snap on fourth down led to another Cougar touchdown. After Nathaniel Dell’s sideline catch was ruled in bounds, Alton McCaskill evaded tacklers to reach the end zone.

Houston, which had an advantage of 238 yards to 38 yards early in the second quarter, picked off Brin twice in the frame. The first occurred on a third-down pass and set McCaskill up for another touchdown.

Tune also was intercepted late in the first half, with Jaise Oliver snagging a floated pass to the corner of the end zone. TU was temporarily sparked and doubled its yardage on a 41-yard throw to Sam Crawford Jr. to open a drive that stalled with three consecutive incompletions in the red zone, resulting in a field goal.

The Hurricane (1-4, 0-1) had possession first in the second half, but another pick followed. Gervarrius Owens returned the interception 45 yards for another touchdown, extending the lead to 35-3 less than a minute into the third quarter.

Houston, starting to rely on reserves, scored on the first play of the fourth quarter and added a late field goal. TU’s only touchdown of the day occurred on a 41-yard catch by Ezra Naylor II with about 10 minutes to go.

- Kelly Hines, Tulsa World

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1. STORY OF THE GAME

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The embarrassing 45-10 outcome also was the largest margin of defeat in an American Athletic Conference game since TU joined the league.

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Sept. 28, 2021 video. Tulsa Golden Hurricane head coach previews first AAC opponent of the season ahead of Friday contest. Video courtesy/TU A…

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Hurricane starts fast without Jaxon Player, slams door on Cougars with him

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Like many teams at this juncture, the Hurricane is still seeking an identity, having produced equally impressive and unimpressive moments in September.

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The game is at 6:30 p.m. Friday at H.A. Chapman Stadium

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TU has the second-worst return coverage units in the country, according to CBS Sports.

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Brin, a fourth-year junior in his first season as a starter, completed 17 of 25 passes for 355 yards and three touchdowns.

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After a difficult nonconference schedule, the University of Tulsa is emerging from the month of September with a crucial victory.

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Happy birthday to Tulsa Golden Hurricane legend Steve Largent, who turns 67 on Tuesday.

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An uninspiring and uneven performance in the season opener turned into a full-blown disaster Thursday night for the University of Tulsa, which…

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