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Tulsa Defeats Notre Dame For First Time in School History, 28-27

John Flanders grabs the game-clinching interception in front of Notre Dame's Michael Floyd. The Golden Hurricane defeated the Fighting Irish, 28-27, Saturday.
John Flanders grabs the game-clinching interception in front of Notre Dame's Michael Floyd. The Golden Hurricane defeated the Fighting Irish, 28-27, Saturday.
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Oct. 30, 2010

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South Bend, Indiana - Tulsa's John Flanders interception in the end zone with 0:36 on the clock preserved a 28-27 Golden Hurricane victory over Notre Dame at historic Notre Dame field on Saturday.

Kevin Fitzpatrick's 27-yard field goal at the 3:19 mark of the final stanza gave the Hurricane its one-point lead. It was Tulsa's first lead since mid-way through the second quarter. Notre Dame, though, marched to the Hurricane 19-yard line, when on a second-and-8 pass to the corner of the end zone was intercepted by Flanders.

The Hurricane improved to 5-3 on the season, while Notre Dame fell to 4-5. The win was Tulsa's first over a BCS opponent since 1998 when the Hurricane defeated Oklahoma State at home.

Despite two fumbles and 13 penalties, Tulsa was able to pull out the victory, and it was the Tulsa defense and special teams that made key plays accounting for 15 points in the game. The Hurricane defense intercepted three passes in the game. Curnelius Arnick had a defensive PAT for two points, Shawn Jackson returned a 66 yard interception for a TD and Damaris Johnson had a 59-yard punt return for a score.

The Hurricane end the game with 399 yards of total offense to Notre Dame's 458 yards. Damaris Johnson had his 14th career 200+ all-purpose yardage game with 208 passes, while G.J. Kinne completed 18 passes for 196 yards and one TD, while rushing for a team-best 78 yards.

Tulsa began the second half with what looked like a potential scoring drive, marching from their own 20-yard line to the Notre Dame 19, but a Ja'Terian Douglas fumble gave the ball to the Irish.

Notre Dame proceeded to march 81 yards in nine plays as Tommy Rees hit Cierre Wood on a six-yard TD toss. The Irish took a 27-18 lead at the 8:47 mark of the third quarter.

After both teams failed to mount much offense on their next possessions, Tulsa's Damaris Johnson put the Hurricane on the board for its first points of the second half on a 59-yard punt return, the second of his career.

To start the game, the Tulsa defense held Notre Dame on it first possession to negative four yards, the Hurricane offense went 67 yards in nine plays as Kinne threw the final nine yards to Damaris Johnson for Johnson's first receiving touchdown this season.

Notre Dame took the subsequent possession 78 yards in nine plays, helped by a roughing the passer penalty on a third down play that kept the drive alive. Reserve quarterback Tommy Rees, inserted for the injured starter Dayne Crist, threw the final 10 yards to Michael Floyd for the touchdown.

The PAT was blocked by Tulsa's Cory Dorris and returned by Curnelius Arnick 98 yards for a two-point defensive PAT.

Tulsa took its next possession 60 yards in eight plays, but had to settle for a 37-yard Kevin Fitzpatrick, giving the Hurricane a 12-6 lead with 2:59 left in the first quarter. The Irish wasted little time, taking only 1:38 off the clock as Rees threw to T.J. Jones who lateraled to Cierre Wood for a 22-yard touchdown.

Notre Dame took a one-point lead, 13-12, on that play with the PAT at the 1:21 mark of the first period.

At the end of the first quarter, a Tulsa punt by Michael Such traveled 46 yards, was fumbled by ND's John Goodman and recovered by Tulsa's Bryan Burnham at the Notre Dame 14- yard line.

Tulsa missed an opportunity to retake the lead, but after starting at the Notre Dame 14-yard line, two straight penalties totaling 10 yards pushed the Hurricane back to the 24-yard line, and a 32-yard field goal attempt by Fitzpatrick went wide left.

Notre Dame's fake punt went 20 yards and put the Irish at Tulsa's 39-yard line, and the Irish proceeded to march into the end zone completing a 13-play, 80-yard drive as Rees threw his third TD pass and second to Michael Floyd for a 4-yard touchdown.

The Fighting Irish increased its' lead 20-12 at the 8:10 mark.

Notre Dame marched to the Tulsa 45-yard line with less than one-minute on the clock, when Curnelius Arnick tipped a Rees pass that was intercepted by Shawn Jackson and returned 66 yards for a touchdown to cut the Notre Dame lead to two points, 20-18, but Tulsa's two-point pass play fell short.

At halftime, Notre Dame held a 252 to 225-yard edge in total yards, while in the second quarter Tulsa gained just 82 yards after putting up 143 yards in the first period.

Tulsa returns home next week to face the Rice Owls in a 1:00 pm Conference USA contests at H.A. Chapman Stadium.

Scoring Summary

19:48TulsaG.J. Kinne 9 pass to Damaris Johnson (Fitzpatrick kick)7-0
16:13NDTommy Rees 10 pass to Michael Floyd (PAT Blk)7-6
16:13TulsaBlocked PAT return 98 yards by Curnelius Arnick9-6
12:59TulsaKevin Fitzpatrick 37 FG12-6
11:21NDTommy Rees 22 pass to T.J. Jones, lateraled to Cierre Woods (Ruffer kick)12-13
28:10NDTommy Rees 4 pass to Michael Floyd (Ruffer kick)12-20
20:37TulsaShawn Jackson 66-yard INT return (pass failed)18-20
38:47NDTommy Rees 6 pass to Cierre Wood (Ruffer kick)18-27
34:59TulsaDamaris Johnson 59 punt return (Fitzpatrick kick)25-27
43:23TulsaKevin Fitzpatrick 27 FG28-27