Memphis Tigers vs Tulsa Golden Hurricanes, 11/3/2017, Time: 6:30

Final Score: Memphis 41 – Tulsa 14; Attendance: 17,383

Weather: Cool and Clear 54; Ticket: $15 (Face $20); Parking: $10

Review: “Rock Me Like a Hurricane” by Tree

The Site:

Tulsa plays at H.A. Chapman Stadium. It is a small stadium but one that makes the most out of its design. I arrived right before kickoff for a Friday night game and unfortunately was unable to tailgate. I parked in a private lot for $10 with a short walk to stadium. I bought my ticket from a gentleman for $15. Had I waited a little longer, I could have got it for $10. It was an end zone seats with the only drawback being that the video scoreboard was directly behind me. I was able to move to seats at the 50 yard line for the second half, primarily because the game was getting out of hand. It is a small stadium so just about any seat should be fine.

As I mentioned, I missed the tailgating but did see that Tulsa had organized tailgating events in the front quad of the campus. Bordering on that quad were what I thought was a series of townhouses. However, I was surprised to see that the back end of those buildings were actually concession windows for the stadium. It created a comfortable little corridor of concessions bordered by the stadium on the other side. It was a clever design feature that was also home to a number of different concessions, many of them local. I opted for the frito pie (which should come with a TUMS after dinner mint) and a souvenir cup that was a bargain at $6 with unlimited free refills. I thought the cup design was pretty cool with photos of the various sports team. I thought this was a great idea until I realized that football wasn’t represented. Perhaps, they don’t put much emphasis on football for the cup graphics because they sell a lot more beer than soda at the games. I don’t know that as a fact, but I did note there was both the standard beer fare and a number specialty craft brews. Or maybe the A.D. has it out for the football program.

The fans at the game were friendly, particularly in the end zone. They were not quite as friendly when I did the walk down to the 50 yard line in the second half but that should be expected. It was advertised to be a “black out” but you would have never guessed that by looking at the fans’ attire. They do a “Rain” “Canes” cross stadium cheer. Better was the “Rock you like a Hurricane” snippet they play for every defensive 3rd down. In general, their song choices throughout the game were very sound. Incidentally, the “Golden Hurricane” moniker was a substitute for “Golden Tornadoes” after they found that Georgia Tech was already using the name. They have remained committed to the Hurricane nickname and incorporated into the school spirit, including waving hurricane nautical flags. They go one step further at the beginning of the 4th quarter raising the flag, playing the hurricane siren, and letting everyone know that a storm is coming. (It was somewhat less effective in the game I attended as they were down 31 – 14 going into the 4th quarter). Despite the lopsided score, I found the fans actively engaged in the game. The Tulsa marching band was good. However, the best bit was the “Chicken Dance” Cam. It would come in third for game day dances behind Georgia Tech’s “Buzzwiser” and the current champion, Virginia Tech’s Hokie Pokey. Their mascot is Captain ‘Cane, basically a dude that roams the stadium trying to inspire the fans.

The Logistics:

I drove up to Tulsa from Houston as part of a two game weekend. The drive through Dallas was brutal but the landscape in Oklahoma was surprisingly bucolic. Once in Tulsa, the city was easy to navigate and I had no problem finding the stadium.

The Game:

I had seen Memphis play Tulane the weekend before and knew they had a potent offense. It was fairly clear early on that Tulsa was going to struggle in tackling throughout the game. Memphis scored primarily on steady drives. For the first half, the Golden Hurricane offense did some effective counter punching, keeping the score close at halftime, 21-14. It, unfortunately, was all Tigers in the second half. In addition to the poor Tulsa tackling, the Memphis receivers were very effective in blocking down field. It was a clean game with only one turnover. One notable bright spot was Tulsa’s punter. He helped keep Tulsa in the game for the first half as much anybody did.

Personal Notes:

It was very close to Veterans Day so there was a halftime salute to the military. What was a little more unusual was that Tulsa issued an official proclamation that they supported the military. My first thought was did this mean up to this point that Tulsa did not support the U.S. Armed Forces? The whole thing seemed a bit over the top.

That was a minor complaint however. I liked Tulsa. I thought the concessions and stadium design were cool. Once inside, the fans were friendly and involved. The cheers and other traditions were very much in sync with the Hurricane nickname. It made for an enjoyable game despite the lopsided second half. In the past (way back in the 1940’s) Tulsa was a powerhouse and despite being a very small school their recent teams have at least been competitive. They stadium is well thought out and it has a nice set of traditions. It isn’t a must see, but you won’t be disappointed with the game experience, particularly when you consider the bang for your buck.

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