TU running game gets grounded in loss at SMU
BY MIKE AVERILL World Staff Writer
Sunday, November 25, 2012
11/25/12 at 6:09 AM
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DALLAS - This season the University of Tulsa has established itself as a run-first offense with a potent, three-headed rushing attack.
In its 35-27 loss to SMU on Saturday the Golden Hurricane managed 178 yards on 38 attempts, far less than the numbers the team put up against conference opponents the rest of the year.
Before Saturday's loss, the team averaged 52 carries for 275 yards against conference foes.
Early in the season against Tulane, the Golden Hurricane ran 55 times for 364 yards. Against Houston the team ran 60 times for 350 yards.
The team's previous low mark was 53 carries for 209 yards against Central Florida.
Instead of the run, the team relied on quarterback Cody Green, who was 36-of-64 passing for 413 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
"In the first quarter, and maybe into the second quarter a little bit, it was more of what they gave us," said TU head coach Bill Blankenship on why the team focused heavily on the pass.
At halftime, TU trailed 28-6.
"Once we got down a little bit, we didn't think we'd drive it as easily (running the ball)," Blankenship said.
Green said that early on the Mustang defense was forcing them to pass.
"They're going to load the box and try to stop our run game and dare us to throw, so we had to make plays in the receiver and quarterback positions. Sometimes we did, sometimes we didn't," Green said.
An additional factor was the injury of senior offensive lineman Brian DeShane.
DeShane injured his left leg in the second quarter on an 11-yard rush by Trey Watts. DeShane was carted off the field and likely will not play in next Saturday's Conference USA championship game against Central Florida.
DeShane and the other two seniors on the offensive line - center Trent Dupy and left tackle Jared Grigg - had played every meaningful snap this season.
"He was matched up with (SMU defensive end) Margus Hunt. Then all of a sudden you have a redshirt freshman having to play over there with him," Blankenship said. "We had a bad match up at that point with a freshman on their best player."
Green said his heart goes out to DeShane.
"He's one of my best friends, and to see him go down on the ground and not being able to play with us anymore that hurts," Green said. "We had to basically send in a pup, basically love on him a little bit and throw him into the fire and say 'Let's go.' "
Looking ahead to the C-USA championship game, Blankenship said the number of rushing attempts to be more on par with what the team has done for most the season.
"I don't think we'll change what we do," he said.
Original Print Headline: TU running game gets grounded
Mike Averill 918-581-8489
TU quarterback Cody Green buries his head in his hands near the end of TU's loss to SMU on Saturday in Dallas. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World