TULSA, Okla. — Flash flood warnings brought on by Hurricane Paine hit parts of Northeast Oklahoma Thursday, forcing many residents to evacuate and others to simply seek shelter. It was into this environment that Cal State Fullerton came to continue its search for higher ground.
Fullerton may have gained a small measure of respect, but left the field still searching for its second win of the season after a 20-10 loss to Tulsa in front of 11,988 soaked spectators.
With the defeat, Fullerton was left with a 1-5 record and the cold realization that moral victories don't show up in the standings.
"We became a better football team tonight," Fullerton Coach Gene Murphy said. "Unfortunately, the scoreboard doesn't show it, but I know we're a better team after this game."
Said Fullerton defensive tackle Ron McLean, whose tackle for a safety in the first quarter was the Titans' only score until late in the fourth: "Each week, we get a little more respect. We'll win some football games as soon as we stop beating ourselves."
This time, the self-inflicted wounds came in the form of missed scoring opportunities. The Titans had the ball inside the Tulsa 15-yard line four times without scoring. Tulsa finished with only a 339-330 advantage in total offense.
But Tulsa (4-2) took a 20-2 lead into the fourth quarter and survived some wacky Fullerton trick plays to record the victory. Golden Hurricane running back Derrick Ellison--son of former Ram running back Willie Ellison--rushed for 134 yards in 23 carries, and quarterback Steve Gage rushed for 97 yards, 63 of which came on a third-quarter touchdown run.
Fullerton running back Rick Calhoun had 130 yards rushing in 25 carries, his fourth straight game of 100 yards or more, to lead an otherwise struggling Titan offense.