TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Tyjae Spears ran for 157 yards and a touchdown and Shaadie Clayton-Johnson gained 106 to lead No. 19 Tulane to a 27-13 win over Tulsa on Saturday.
Tulane (8-1, 5-0 American Athletic Conference) had lost the past two meetings with Tulsa (3-6, 1-4) in overtime, but controlled this one with a dominant running game.
The Green Wave gained 357 yards on the ground, with Spears and Johnson each running the ball 14 times.
“Our offensive line did a terrific job,” Tulane coach Willie Fritz said. “Bodies on bodies is a big part of it.”
Tulsa had won seven of the first eight home games with Tulane.
Michael Pratt completed 11 of 19 passes for 125 yards for Tulane. He was victimized by a walk-off interception return for a touchdown in overtime two seasons ago.
Fritz didn’t worry about the losses in the past two years.
“Each year is different, said Fritz. “This is the 2022 Tulane Green Wave, and this is the 2022 Tulsa Golden Hurricane. We have to do a good job of flushing those down the toilet and playing and not worrying about the past successes or failures and playing the best that you can.”.
Tulsa was playing without starting quarterback Davis Brin, who has been banged up but hadn’t missed a game in the last two years. Brin had beaten Tulane the last two years.
Braylon Braxton couldn’t rally the faltering Golden Hurricane, completing 13 of 25 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown.
Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said playing Tulane can be frustrating.
“Defensively, they did a good job on us,” Montgomery said. “They can really eat up the clock when they get the lead..
Tulane had taken a two-touchdown lead on Spear’s 34-yard touchdown run. Tulsa cut it to 17-10 at halftime on Braxton’s 28-yard touchdown pass to JuanCarlos Santana.
But Tulane went up 24-10 on its first possession of the second half on a 20-yarder from Pratt to Shae Wyatt, and was never threatened again.
TULANE: The Green Wave took care of business after two straight rough losses to Tulsa and kept the game safely away from overtime territory.
TULSA: Held to 257 total yards in Brin’s absence against the league’s top defense, well under the 434.2 yards a game the Hurricane were averaging coming into the game.
BRIN MISSES GAME
The Green Wave benefitted from not having to face Brin, who victimized Tulane the last two years. Brin has been banged up this year. The first meaningful action of his career came against Tulane, and his 37-yard Hail Mary at the end of regulation in 2020 forced the game into overtime.
Tulane could move up a little in the polls by improving to 8-1.
GOING FOR IT
Fritz wasn’t shy about going for it on fourth down in the first half, and both gambles paid off. On 4th and 2 from its own 35 in the first quarter, the punt team was out but a quick huddle and snap gained 3 yards, leading to a field goal. The second one came on 4th and 2 at its own 42 in the second quarter. A completed pass by Pratt led to a Tulane TD and a 17-3 lead.
Tulane hosts No. 25 UCF on Saturday, Nov. 12.
Tulsa has a short turnaround before visiting Memphis on Thursday.