By his own account, Tulane coach Willie Fritz admitted he was perhaps the Green Wave’s biggest problem in their most recent game.
On the heels of a week off, Tulane — No. 19 in Tuesday’s first College Football Playoff Top 25 — will travel to Tulsa, Okla., to face the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in American Athletic Conference play Saturday.
Last time out, Fritz’s team led 35-0 after an incredible half of football against Memphis, and Fritz said he dialed it back a bit, which stunted the momentum created by quarterback Michael Pratt and an explosive offense.
“I kind of slowed us down a little bit in the second half,” Fritz said. “I wish I hadn’t. I wish I’d have picked a better play on that fourth-and-short when we were backed up. But I didn’t.”
Following the spectacular five-touchdown first half, Tulane held on to beat the Tigers 38-28. The Green Wave (7-1, 4-0) lead the conference, one game ahead of Cincinnati, UCF and Houston.
Fritz’s squad will host UCF on Nov. 12. Two weeks later it will travel to Cincinnati to close out the season against the Bearcats — controlling its own path to the league championship and a possible New Year’s Six berth in the Cotton Bowl Classic.
Despite sitting ninth in the AAC standings, Tulsa (3-5, 1-3) is a team that cannot be taken lightly, even though the Golden Hurricane have lost momentum since quarterback Davis Brin — who was leading the nation in passing at the time — injured his ankle at then-No. 16 Ole Miss on Sept. 24.
Tulsa narrowly lost that game, 35-27, and Brin has not been at full health since then, although he has started every game. In last Saturday’s 45-34 loss to SMU, Brin injured his non-throwing shoulder after a hard hit on a 21-yard TD run in the third quarter.
“You’ve got to give him a lot of credit for the gutsiness of sacrificing your body out there and knowing you’re fixing to get hit but knowing we need points,” Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said.
Freshman Braylon Braxton came in to turn in a strong effort, completing 8 of 14 passes for 120 yards and two TDs.
Tulane, meanwhile, will be looking for another strong start, having outscored opponents 62-10 in the first quarter this season.
Pratt, a junior from Boca Raton, Fla., continues to be proficient in leading Fritz’s offense. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound passer has completed 131 of 194 throws (67.5 percent) for 1,718 yards with 12 TDs and three interceptions.
The Golden Hurricane have won 13 of the 18 meetings in the all-time series, including the last two by a TD in overtime. In the last matchup in Oklahoma, Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins returned an interception 96 yards for the game-winning touchdown in the second overtime.
–Field Level Media