In mid-September, Tulsa gave then-No. 16 Oklahoma all it could handle. Fast-forward a month, and the Golden Hurricane is having a decidedly more difficult time against the No. 18 team in the country.
With defense essentially optional, Memphis was mostly able to have its way through the first two quarters to grab a 35-21 lead at the half on Tulsa. The U of M came into the game riding a 13-game winning streak, the third-longest in the country behind Ohio State (20) and TCU (15); from midway through the opening stanza — and until the last :10 — they showed exactly why.
Following a first-quarter fumble with the score tied at 7-all, and with the visitors wobbling oh so slightly, the Tigers proceeded to score on three straight possessions which, when coupled with a Hurricane touchdown, pushed the score to 28-14 with 6:39 remaining in the second quarter.
A Dane Evans interception gave the Tigers the ball back at the Hurricane 44-yard line with 3:24 left in the second and, with the help of a pair of critically asinine Derrick Luetjen penalties, they extended the lead to 21 on a Doroland Dorceus one-yard touchdown run. A Hail Mary on a play that began with 10 seconds remaining and ended with shoddy defense on the U of M’s part sliced the unbeaten’s lead to two score with no time left on the clock.
The Tigers have totaled 387 yards of offense in the first half, while the high-powered Hurricane overcame a sluggish start to put up 265. U of M quarterback Paxton Lynch, whose presence on the Heisman radar will grow larger the the longer his team wins, threw for 289 yards and three touchdowns in the first half.