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Tulsa Scores Late for 29-23 Win Over SMU

Charles Clay celebrates his game-winning touchdown catch with teammate Brennan Marion.
Charles Clay celebrates his game-winning touchdown catch with teammate Brennan Marion.
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Oct. 27, 2007

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Tulsa, Oklahoma - Paul Smith threw 51 yards to Charles Clay for the game-winning touchdown with 0:43 left in the game, as Tulsa captured a 29-23 victory in front of 18,853 fans at H.A. Chapman Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

After linebackers Nelson Coleman and Alain Karatepeyan teamed up to stop DeMyron Martin for no gain on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line, the Hurricane took possession with 1:56 left on the clock and the offense marched 99 yards on nine plays in 1:13 for the go-ahead score.

Tulsa improved to 6-3 overall and 4-2 in Conference USA action, while SMU fell to 1-7 and 0-4 in league play.

Turnovers plagued the Hurricane for the second straight week, as SMU had five takeaways, but it was the final drive that overshadowed Tulsa's miscues. SMU took 5:43 off the clock while going just 45 yards in 11 plays down to the Tulsa one-yard line when the Hurricane defense once again stepped up and stopped the Mustangs for the third time on fourth down.

On Tulsa's final drive, Smith connected on 5-of-9 passes, while Walter Boyd's recovery of a Smith fumble on the fifth place of the drive. Boyd picked up the ball ad went nine yards to the Tulsa 20-yard line. From there, Smith threw seven yards to Tarrion Adams, 22 yards to Clay and then the final 51 yards to Clay for the score.

For the game, Smith completed 27-of-45 passes for 336 yards and three touchdowns. Clay had 106 receiving yards on five catches, while Trae Johnson led all receivers with 11 receptions for 158 yards and one TD. The Hurricane gained 438 yards total offense, while SMU managed 350 yards. SMU's Justin Willis completed 17-of-35 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another 44 yards.

It was a game that saw Smith become the school's all-time leader in total offense with 9,348 yards, and also saw him throw for his most yards in a season. He now has 2,864 passing yards for fourth place on the school's single-season passing chart.

Tulsa didn't take its first lead of the game in the fourth quarter. After the Tulsa defense stopped SMU on fourth-and-two at the Hurricane 32-yard line, Tulsa marched down the field to take the lead at the 14:01 mark. Smith connected with Trae Johnson in the end zone on a 30-yard reception as the score capped a 68-yard, five-play drive and gave the Hurricane a 21-20 lead.

SMU recaptured the lead moments later, 23-21, on a 52-yard Thomas Morstead field goal at the 10:42 mark, as the SMU drive covered just 26 yards in eight plays. On Tulsa's next two possessions the Hurricane went three-and-out, gaining just 39 yards on six plays. Then came the defensive stop from the Hurricane before the game-winning drive.

On the opening second half drive, the Mustangs continued it scoring trend going 67 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown. It was the fourth straight scoring drive for the Mustangs and came when Willis hit Emmanuel Sanders on a 24-yard TD pass, giving SMU a 20-7 lead.

The Tulsa offense looked like the usual Hurricane offense by putting together a 13-play, 81-yard drive on its first second-half possession. Smith threw his first TD of the contest, a seven-yarder to Cameron Clemons.

After a scoreless first quarter, the two teams combined for 20 points in the second period, with 13 coming from the Mustangs as SMU held a 13-7 lead at the intermission.

It took just over 21 minutes for the first points to be posted on the scoreboard, as SMU struck first on an 18-yard pass from Justin Willis to Columbus Givens at the 8:25 mark of the second quarter.

On Tulsa's first scoring drive, Smith became the school's career leader in total offense on the eighth play of the drive with a nine-yard pass to Johnson. Smith capped the drive at the 3:52 mark of the second quarter with a seven-yard TD run.

SMU responded on their next possession with a 50-yard field goal by Morstead, capping a six-play, 38-yard drive. After Tulsa's third turnover of the game, the Mustangs scored as time expired in the first half on Morstead's second field goal of the game, this one coming from 32 yards.

Defense dominated the first quarter. The Hurricane held SMU to just 80 yards of total offense, while SMU used its defense and two takeaways to handle the Tulsa offense in the first quarter.

Tulsa's offense was held to 51 first quarter yards, 95 yards less than the Hurricane was averaging coming into the game, and was forced into an interception and a fumble.

Tulsa will be on the road next week against the Tulane Green Wave at the Louisiana Superdome. Game time on Saturday is 6:30 pm and televised nationally on CSTV.

Scoring Summary
2nd Quarter
SMU (8:25) - Justin Willis 18 pass to Columbus Givens (Morstead kick)	0-7
Tulsa (3:52) - Paul Smith 7 run (Tracy kick)	7-7
SMU (2:24) - Thomas Morstead 50 FG 	7-10
SMU (0:00) - Thomas Morstead 32 FG	7-13

3rd Quarter SMU (10:00) - Justin Willis 24 to Emmanuel Sanders (Morstead kick) 7-20 Tulsa (6:21) - Paul Smith 7 pass to Cameron Clemons (Tracy kick) 14-20

4th Quarter Tulsa (14:01) - Paul Smith 30 pass to Trae Johnson (Jarod Tracy) 21-20 SMU (10:42) - Thomas Morstead 52 FG 21-23 Tulsa (0:43) - Paul Smith 51 pass to Charles Clay (Smith pass to Collums) 29-23