After a lengthy flight home from the West Coast, the University of Tulsa football team returned to 11th and Harvard at 5:45 a.m. Sunday.
The Hurricane traveled roughly 3,500 round-trip miles to earn its first road win since 2016, a sound 34-16 victory at San Jose State on Saturday night.
“To be real honest, it’s been a little while since we’ve had a road win,” coach Philip Montgomery said late Saturday. “It’s always nice to get those.”
Because the San Jose airport doesn’t allow chartered red-eye flights, TU had to bus to Oakland for the return, further cutting into a Week 3 that features the home opener against Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon.
“We have to adjust our Sunday schedule, obviously,” Montgomery said. “You’ve got to find some sleep in there. Hopefully those guys will find some on the plane, but it’s difficult to sleep on the plane especially after a tough game like this.
“We’ll change (the schedule) and bump it back a little bit. We’ve still got to get our (Sunday) stuff in and get ready to go.”
Before attention turned to the 2-0 Cowboys, the Hurricane marked its first win of the season in traditional Montgomery-era form: loud music and a lot of dancing and shouting in the locker room.
“We celebrated just like we needed to,” Montgomery said. “Wins in college football are hard to come by. But we know we need to get back on the plane and get home because it’s going to be really early Sunday morning when we get there and we’ve got a tough opponent coming to our place next week.”
It was fitting given more than 60 percent of the players on the roster were not members of the team when the previous road victory occurred. Since the start of the 2017 season, there had been a string of 13 losses outside Tulsa.
“It feels great to get a win,” wide receiver San Crawford Jr. said. “It’s our first away win in two years, so it was good to celebrate with the team. It was fun.”
As one of four FBS teams to open the season with back-to-back road games, TU will be home for the next two weeks, with consecutive meetings with Cowboy teams (OSU and Wyoming) following the consecutive games against Spartans.
Although the Hurricane will be an underdog Saturday, the performance against San Jose State provided signs of encouragement, particularly for an offense that was shut down by Michigan State In Week 1.
While TU totaled 539 yards, the run game found success (256 yards and three touchdowns) and Zach Smith was solid passing (21-of-28 for 283 yards and a TD).
“It felt good to get the run game going,” Smith said. “That was one of the big things we wanted to do coming into the game. ... We just need to keep some momentum going into next week.”