Grandview’s Zach Smith had an incredibly efficient outing in Tulsa’s 34-16 win Saturday night over San José State University.
The victory was Smith’s first as the Golden Hurricane’s starting quarterback as Tulsa bounced back strong from a 28-7 loss to No. 18 Michigan State in week 1.
In Saturday’s win at San José State, Smith completed 21-of-28 passes (75 percent) for 283 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
After Tulsa’s offensive line and running game was embarrassed against Michigan State’s stout defensive front, the Golden Hurricane coaches appeared to send a message to the offensive line as Tulsa ran the ball 54 times, including the first 11 plays of the game.
While Tulsa was focused on the run game early, Smith made his initial passes count as he opened 3-for-3 passing for 66 yards in the first quarter.
After being held to negative-73 rushing yards against Michigan State, Tulsa had 256 rushing yards against San José State — which helped Smith tremendously in the passing game. Smith was sacked seven times in the season opener, but the Golden Hurricane offensive line surrendered zero sacks in week 2.
Smith also chipped in rushing as he ran the ball three times for 23 yards.
With Tulsa holding a 7-3 lead over San José State, Smith tossed a perfectly placed ball in the corner of the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown pass to tight end Denzel Carter on third-and-goal to give the Hurricane a 14-3 lead.
The former Zebra All-American had several NFL-caliber throws, fitting the ball in a tight window or placing it only where his receiver could haul it in, including on a third-and-9 where Smith hit Keylon Stokes for a 25-yard completion along the sideline in between three defenders that set up a field goal.
Smith had a pair of 37-yard completions to Stokes and Sam Crawford, who finished with nine receptions for 137 yards.
Cleburne’s Reggie Robinson II, a senior cornerback for the Hurricane, finished with two tackles and a team-high two pass break-ups.
In Smith’s first two starts with Tulsa, he’s completed 37-of-55 passes for 436 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for a quarterback efficiency rating of 142. It was the ninth 200-yard passing performance for Smith in his collegiate career, but first with Tulsa.
Smith’s 283 passing yards were the most for a Tulsa quarterback since the final game of the 2016 season when Dane Evans had 374 yards against Central Michigan in The Miami Beach Bowl.
The win at San José State snapped a 13-game road losing streak for Tulsa.
Smith, Robinson and the Golden Hurricane host Oklahoma State University at 2:30 p.m. Saturday for Tulsa’s home opener in a nationally televised game on ESPN2.