SMU vs. TU

Tulsa wide receiver Keylon Stokes (left) celebrates his 62-yard touchdown catch during the first half of Saturday’s game against SMU at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas. Ray Carlin/for the Tulsa World

Don’t sleep on the University of Tulsa’s Keylon Stokes.

The junior receiver, known by his nickname, “Sleep,” in the TU locker room, is in the midst of the best stretch of football during his three-year college career.

After a two-touchdown performance in a loss to No. 24 SMU on Saturday night in Dallas, Stokes has caught at least one touchdown pass in three straight games. He has tallied 403 yards receiving and four touchdowns this season through five games.

“I just feel like we’re clicking as a team as a whole,” Stokes said. “Once we click as a team, then individually, I feel like you can progress.”

Stokes’ touchdown streak started against Oklahoma State after combining for 100 receiving yards and no touchdowns in the Golden Hurricane’s first two games. He caught seven passes for 109 yards and a touchdown against the Cowboys. The next week against Wyoming, Stokes was just shy of reaching 100 yards receiving again after recording four catches, 93 yards and a touchdown.

“Keylon’s been having really good workouts,” TU coach Philip Montgomery said. “Those have been translating over to games.”

Saturday night, Stokes accomplished the first multi-touchdown performance of his career. He had five receptions for 101 yards and the pair of touchdowns against the Mustangs.

Stokes was streaking down the right sideline, wide open, when Zach Smith hit him for a 58-yard touchdown early in the second quarter. The score gave TU a 10-6 lead.

Stokes scored his second touchdown of the night later in the same quarter, this time on a 5-yard catch from Smith.

However, Stokes’ performance was overshadowed by a game that needed three overtimes to determine a winner and SMU standout receiver James Proche being deemed the hero on the final play with the game-winning touchdown catch. Proche finished with 11 catches for 153 yards and two touchdowns.

Stokes said the tough loss didn’t hinder the confidence he gained from a solid performance, though.

“When you look back and you see you got your team fighting with you,” Stokes said, “it really just boosts you to do even more; just to go out there and do better.”

Dekota Gregory

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Sports Writer

Dekota covers the University of Tulsa football team and ORU men’s basketball team. An Oklahoma State University graduate, he was an intern for the Tulsa World before joining in 2019.