Late Touchdown Pushes Tulsa Past Rice, 28-24
Oct. 20, 2012
TULSA, Okla. - Alex Singleton scored the second of his two touchdowns with 1:33 left in the game to lead Tulsa to a 28-24 comeback win over Rice Saturday afternoon in front of a Homecoming crowd of 22,567 fans at H.A. Chapman Stadium.
The Golden Hurricane (7-1, 5-0 C-USA) took over on its own 20 after Rice missed a field goal with 2:55 remaining. On the first play from scrimmage, Ja'Terian Douglas weaved and raced 75 yards to give TU first-and-goal on the Rice 5. Two plays later, Singleton dove in from the 1 to give the Hurricane its first lead of the game.
On the next Rice possession, Dexter McCoil, who had an interception to set up a touchdown in the third quarter, recovered a fumble on fourth down to seal the game for the Hurricane. Lowell Rose stripped the ball from Jordan Taylor, who made the reception on the play, and appeared to have the first down yardage.
"This is an unbelievable great thing to be a part of," Tulsa Head Coach Bill Blankenship said. "A special thing going on with this team right now. We're overcoming a lot of other issues, but boy, I can't be prouder.
"We left a lot of points on the field, had two drives in the first half. We did not get off the field on some key 4th downs. I think you give Rice a lot of credit. Their wildcat package we pretty much had no answer for. We were adjusting and trying different things, and we just couldn't keep them from making a first down in four plays it seemed. We finally held them and made them have to kick a field goal, and that was kind of the best scenario that we had."
Douglas finished with 169 yards and a touchdown on 17 rushes. Singleton ran 18 times for 63 yards, and with his two scores, he is now in sole possession of the Tulsa career rushing touchdowns record after his two-score performance.
Blankenship called Douglas' 75-yard rush that set up the game-winning touchdown, "just an incredible, incredible run."
Sophomore Kalen Henderson made his first career start at quarterback in place of Cody Green, and threw for 201 yards, on 8-of-23 passing, and a touchdown. Keyarris Garrett was on the receiving end of 118 of those yards with three catches.
"Offensively we're really proud of Kalen," Blankenship said. "I thought he really stepped in on his first game and overcame a little bit of a tough start. But he really hooked up with Keyarris, and Keyarris made a couple grabs today and missed a couple. But great opportunities for him, and we liked the match up that we had with Keyarris."
Rice running back Luke Turner ran 15 times for 102 yards. Quarterback Taylor McHargue completed 15-of-35 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown and rushed 13 times for 57 net yards for the Owls (2-6, 0-4 C-USA).
McCoil and DeAundre Brown led the Hurricane defense with 13 tackles apiece.
Tulsa was playing without its top two players in total offensive yards, as Green and running back/kick returner Trey Watts were banged up, and sat out the game. Green and Watts accounted for 1,937 yards of total offense entering Saturday's contest.
Rice put the first score on the board when Sam McGuffie blocked Cole Way's punt and returned it 12 yards for a touchdown. The Golden Hurricane responded on its next possession with a 75-yard drive that lasted 10 plays and 3:12. Singleton bulldoze in from the 1 to tie the score at 7-7.
After trading punts, the Owls took over on their own 48, and scored seven plays later when
Henderson hit Thomas Roberson for 33 yards to bring Tulsa to the Rice 28, and on the next play, Douglas scampered 28 yards to tie the score, 14-14.
Rice scored on its second straight drive when it took the kickoff following Tulsa's touchdown and went 75 yards in nine plays. McHargue hit Luke Willson from eight yards out as the Owls retook the lead, 21-14.
After a mostly scoreless third quarter, Tulsa broke through and tied the game with 1:51 left in the third. Dexter McCoil stepped in front of McHargue's pass and intercepted it to give TU the ball at the Rice 28. On the next play, Henderson found Garrett in the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown.
Rice took the lead again when Chris Boswell hit a 35-yard field goal to make the score, 24-21, with 9:24 left in the game.
Rice converted on 4th-and-1 on the TU 24 with less than five minutes on the clock, and extended its drive. The Owls then missed a 36-yard field goal attempt wide left, and Tulsa took over on its own 20 with 2:55 remaining.
That set up the game-winning drive for the Hurricane.
"This is a resilient team," Blankenship said. "It's an incredibly close team. They continue to celebrate each other. They're resourceful. They're opportunistic. "What happened when Dexter gets the pick? Well, we immediately turn and go score. It seems like we feed off of each other, and then we'll go through these cycles where we're not playing particularly well on either side of the ball. But those were things that I thought, in the key moments of the game, the offense and defense fed off each other and we got some plays, and they just found a way."
Tulsa will take next week off before it travels to Fayetteville on Nov. 3 to take on Arkansas. Game time and television information is still TBA.
SCORING SUMMARY Qtr. Time Team Play Score 1 10:13 Rice Sam McGuffie blocked punt, 12 yard return (Chris Boswell PAT) 0-7 1 7:01 Tulsa Alex Singleton 1 run (Daniel Schwarz PAT) 7-7 2 14:14 Rice McHargue 20 run (Boswell PAT) 7-14 2 13:24 Tulsa Ja'Terian Douglas 28 run (Schwarz PAT) 14-14 2 10:39 Rice Taylor McHargue 8 pass to Luke Wilson (Boswell PAT) 14-21 3 1:51 Tulsa Kalen Henderson 28 pass to Keyarris Garrett (Schwarz PAT) 21-21 4 9:24 Rice Boswell 35 FG 21-24 4 1:31 Tulsa Singleton 1 run (Schwarz PAT) 28-24
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