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Tulsa Second-Half Comeback Not Enough in 45-34 Loss to Marshall


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Nov. 14, 2013

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TULSA, Okla. - Tulsa scored 20 straight second-half points to take a 34-31 lead in the fourth quarter, but Marshall scored the final two touchdowns to take home a 45-34 win in front of a crowd of 16,723 Thursday evening at H.A. Chapman Stadium.

The Golden Hurricane (2-8, 1-5 C-USA) erased a 21-0 first-quarter deficit, taking hold of the lead early in the fourth quarter on the strength of three Marshall fumbles in the third period. TU led 34-31 with just less than five minutes to play, but the Thundering Herd (7-3, 5-1 C-USA) scored touchdowns on each of its final two drives to claim the 45-34 win.

Tulsa recorded five takeaways in the contest - an interception and four fumbles - and finished with a plus-three turnover ratio.

Marshall scored touchdowns on its first three possessions of the game. Threatening to score a fourth, TU linebacker Shawn Jackson picked off a tipped pass on his own 7 yard line. The Hurricane scored on that possession and its following possession to close the deficit to 21-14.

The Herd scored twice more in the second quarter to take a 31-14 advantage into halftime.

Tulsa scored on each of its first four second-half possessions, taking advantage of short field position. The TU defense forced three fumbles and a punt on Marshall's first four second-half possessions. The Hurricane drove 15 and 54 yards for touchdowns, and 38 and 42 yards for a pair of field goals to move ahead 34-31.

Marshall then scored on two straight drives, taking over after a punt, and then on downs, finding the end zone each time to reach the 45-34 score.

Senior Trey Watts rushed for a career-high 169 yards and scored two touchdowns for Tulsa. Redshirt freshman quarterback Dane Evans completed 13-of-39 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown. Jackson finished with 14 tackles, an interception and two fumble recoveries.

Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato passed for 456 yards and five touchdowns on 33-of-58 completions. Tommy Shuler tallied 105 receiving yards and two touchdowns, and Devon Smith added 114 yards receiving with a touchdown.

Tulsa totaled 345 yards of offense, including 184 rushing yards. The Thundering Herd totaled 619 yards of offense on 103 plays - the most plays ever run against a Tulsa team. Marshall also gained 163 yards on the ground. The TU defense played without injured defensive end Brentom Todd and cornerback Dwight Dobbins.

Kickoff of the game was pushed back one minute from the originally scheduled time of 6:35 p.m. to 6:36 p.m. CT. The move was made in conjunction with both schools and Fox Sports to commemorate the 43rd anniversary of the Nov. 14, 1970 plane crash of the Marshall football team, which occurred at 7:36 p.m. ET. In addition, a moment of silence was observed prior to the game, in memory of the crash victims.

Marshall scored on their first three possessions of the game to take an early 21-0 lead. On its fourth possession, with the Herd on the Tulsa 9 and threatening to score again, linebacker Shawn Jackson picked a tipped pass out of the air on the 5 yard line. It was his fourth interception of the season and the eighth of his career.

The Thundering Herd scored on drives of 59, 49 and 70 yards to take a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. Cato connected with Tommy Shuler for a 28-yard touchdown on the first drive, Devon smith for 44 yards on the second possession, and Gator Hoskins for a 22-yard touchdown on the third drive.

The Golden Hurricane took the ball on its on 7 following Jackson's interception and drove 93 yards in nine plays for its first score of the game. Watts plunged in from the 1 to make the score 21-7. Evans hit Roberson for a 20-yard gain, Watts rushed for 26 yards and Ja'Terian Douglas added 14-yard run on the drive.

On the ensuing drive, TU forced a three-and-out and put together a nine-play, 71-yard drive, capped by a 26-yard completion from Evans to Roberson to close the gap to 21-14 with 7:30 left in the half.

Marshall took a 31-14 lead into halftime with a touchdown and field goal on two of its final three possessions of the second quarter. The Herd followed Tulsa's second score with an eight-play, 75-yard drive, scoring on six-yard pass from Cato to Hoskins.

The Herd forced a fumbled off a Tulsa completion on its next possession, and converted the short field from the TU 39 to a 31-yard field goal, making the score 31-14 at the break.

Marshall received the kick to open the second half, but on the second play, Derrick Alexander sacked Cato and forced a fumble, recovered by Chris Hummingbird at the Herd 15. TU scored four plays later, when after three Watts runs, Evans kept a bootleg around the right end for the touchdown to make the score 31-20 after the point-after attempt was blocked.

The Thundering Herd drove to the TU 48 on its next possession, but Derrick Luetjen hit Marshall running back Kevin Grooms, forcing the ball free, and Shawn Jackson recovered it.

Tulsa took nine plays to drive 54 yards, and Watts punched into the end zone from 1 yard out for his second touchdown of the game. The Hurricane chose to recover the point from the previous blocked PAT, and Evans found Roberson in the corner of the end zone for the two-point conversion to make the score 31-28.

The Golden Hurricane took over at the 50 after an 18-yard Marshall punt, and drove to tie the score at 31-31 with a 29-yard field goal by Carl Salazar with 4:43 left in the third quarter.

The Hurricane defense recovered its third fumble of the third quarter, as Shawn Jackson picked up his second loose ball, and his third turnover of the game. TU took over on its own 45, and took the lead, 34-31 when Salazar, knocked a 30-yard field goal through the uprights.

Marshall took the lead again with 3:47 remaining the game when Cato connected with Shuler for an 18-yard touchdown. After forcing Tulsa to turn the ball over on downs, Essray Taliaferro ran into the end zone from 1 yard out to make the score 45-34.

The Golden Hurricane travels to Ruston, La., Nov. to take on C-USA foe Louisiana Tech. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m., and the game will be televised by CBS Sports Network.

SCORING SUMMARY
Qtr.	Time	Team	Play		                                        Score
1	12:21	Mar	Rakeem Cato 28 pass to Tommy Shuler (Justin Haig PAT)	0-7
1	10:16	Mar	Cato 44 pass to Devon Smith (Haig PAT)		        0-14
1	5:21	Mar	Cato 22 pass to Gator Hoskins (Haig PAT)		0-21
2	12:11	Tulsa	Trey Watts 1 run (Carl Salazar PAT)		        7-21
2	7:30	Tulsa	Dane Evans 26 pass to Thomas Roberson (Salazar PAT)	14-21
2	4:48	Mar	Rakeem Cato 6 pass to Hoskins (Haig PAT)		14-28
2	0:28	Mar	Haig 31 FG		                                14-31
3	12:44	Tulsa	Evans 3 run (PAT blocked)		                20-31
3	8:01	Tulsa	Watts 1 run (Evans pass to Roberson)		        28-31
3	4:43	Tulsa	Salazar 29 FG		                                31-31
4	12:27	Tulsa	Salazar 30 FG		                                34-31
4	3:47	Mar	Cato 18 pass to Shuler (Haig PAT)		        34-38
4	2:45	Mar	Essray Taliaferro 1 run (Haig PAT)		        34-45