TU rolls as Tulane player's spinal injury mars game
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Sunday, September 09, 2012
9/09/12 at 4:04 AM
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After a week of 100-degree misery, University of Tulsa fans seemed to savor a 70-degree Saturday morning.
During the first half, Chapman Stadium was energized. TU's offense functioned at a championship level. The Golden Hurricane defense limited Tulane to 82 yards. TU rolled to a 35-3 advantage.
The fun ended on the final play of the half, when Tulane senior safety Devon Walker - in an attempt to tackle TU's Willie Carter - and Green Wave teammate Julius Warmsley were involved in a helmet-to-helmet collision.
A crowd of 17,880 was nearly silent as Walker lay motionless on the turf for about a half-hour. Multiple witnesses reported seeing medical personnel administering what they believed to be CPR before he was taken to St. Francis Hospital.
It was announced later Walker had sustained a spinal injury, and his condition was classified as serious. The game did resume after a halftime that was about twice as long as usual, and the Hurricane went on to record a 45-10 victory in the Conference USA opener for both teams.
"I hope he has a safe recovery," Hurricane senior defensive tackle Cory Dorris said of Walker. "All our prayers go out to him."
From a humanity standpoint, the Walker injury disheartened everyone in the stadium.
From a football standpoint, TU dominated in every sense.
The Hurricane had 651 total yards to 177 for the Green Wave.
"I thought it was a very aggressive, workmanlike performance," TU coach Bill Blankenship said. "One of the things we challenged our players on was, don't let the plays come to you - make something happen.
"I thought we played really aggressive defense and got after their quarterback."
The Hurricane improved to 1-1 overall, while Tulane is 0-2 and stuck in a 12-game losing streak.
"The offensive line helped me out more than you would actually think. When they're in a rhythm, I just get to sit back there... and just play catch with the receivers," said Tulsa quarterback Cody Green, who was 16-of-26 passing for 274 yards and two touchdowns - a 74-yarder to Thomas Roberson and a 16-yarder to Jordan James.
Tulane's defensive front was overwhelmed by the Hurricane ground game. Alex Singleton scored on three short runs and finished with 102 yards. Trey Watts rushed for 92 yards, and Ja'Terian Watts ran for 85. Combined, the Tulsa tailbacks averaged 7.3 yards per carry. Hurricane backup QB Kalen Henderson scored on a 5-yard keeper.
"Alex Singleton loves to play against Louisiana teams," Blankenship said. "I'd love to see him do that kind of performance all the time. How enjoyable was that, to watch him run physical. Big Al is a load when he gets going downhill."
Defensively, TU totaled 12 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and six sacks (including two apiece for Dorris and redshirt freshman tackle Derrick Luetjen). During the second quarter, Tulane starting quarterback Ryan Griffin was sidelined with a shoulder injury. His replacement was Devin Powell, a first-year freshman.
On 29 rushing attempts, Tulane netted 7 yards.
After trailing 3-0 early, TU's offense responded impressively. During a span of 25 plays, the Golden Hurricane totaled 314 yards and scored five touchdowns. In slightly more than 13 game minutes, TU had surged from a three-point deficit to a 32-point cushion.
TULSA 45, TULANE 10
UP NEXT: Vs. Nicholls State 6 p.m. Saturday TV: none Radio: KRMG am740, fm102.3
Original Print Headline: 'A difficult day'
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397
Tulane and Tulsa players pray for seriously injured Tulane safety Devon Walker after the conclusion of their game Saturday at Chapman Stadium. Walker sustained a cervical spine fracture. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World
TU quarterback Cody Green looks for yardage Saturday at Chapman Stadium. Green threw for 274 yards and a pair of touchdowns. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World