Dec. 31, 2005
Memphis, Tenn. - Tulsa fans packed the famous Beale Street on Friday night in anticipation of the today's 47th Annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl between the Tulsa Golden Hurricane and the Fresno State Bulldogs.
Both teams went through final preparations on Friday at Liberty Bowl Memorial
More than 10,000 Tulsa fans are expected to be in attendance for Saturday's
12:04 kickoff that will be televised on ESPN.
Tulsa Notepad . . . Numerous former players were seen at the TU Bash on Beale Street
Friday night -- Jeremy Bunch (DB), Xavier Warren (LB), Mike Rosson (DE), Jerry
Ostroski (OG), Jeff Utter (WR), David Fuess (PK) among others.
The Sound of the Hurricane Marching Band had a spectacular
performance at the Liberty Bowl Parade on Beale Street Friday afternoon.
Senior All-America tight end Garrett Mills has been invited to play
in the Senior Bowl.
Fresno State is the second team from the Western Athletic Conference
that Tulsa has faced in a bowl game. Tulsa defeated San Diego State in the
1991 Freedom Bowl, 28-17.
A young team? Among Tulsa's 96 roster players, 58 are either freshmen
(35 total -- 11 freshman red-shirts, 24 freshman high school players) or
sophomores (23). Only 38 roster players are juniors or seniors. Tulsa has just 14
On defense, Tulsa has just two seniors among its 22 player two-deep,
and 12 sophomores or freshmen among the two-deep. Offensively, Tulsa has eight
seniors in its two-deep while five sophomore or freshmen are on the
Tulsa's secondary has overcome some early season losses -- returning
starting free safety Shannon Carter suffered a career-ending injury in the
preseason (he now serves as a student coach); junior Kedrick Alexander, a
two-year starter and Tulsa's leading tackler in 2003, was ruled ineligible for the
semester (he is eligible to play in the Liberty Bowl); Randy Duncan and Ty
Page, both contributors as true freshmen in 2004, sat out the season to
concentrate on academics; junior Steve Craver, who started the first two games this
year, suffered a season-ending injury at Oklahoma.
Although Tulsa and Fresno State were members of the Western Athletic
Conference for nine years, prior to Tulsa moving into Conference USA this
season, the two teams met only four times. Tulsa Head Coach Steve Kragthorpe has
not faced Fresno State as Tulsa's coach. In the 10-team WAC, Tulsa and Fresno
State did not play in 2003 and 2004.
Tulsa has had 83 plays this season of over 20 yards. The longest was
a 96-yard kick-off return for a TD by Ashlan Davis against Rice, while the
longest offensive play from the line of scrimmage was a 66-yard touchdown pass
from Paul Smith to Garrett Mills vs. SMU. Tulsa's longest rushing play was a
64-yard Tarrion Adams' touchdown run against Memphis.
Tulsa has a third down conversion percentage of 49-percent
(91-of-186) this season. On third down, quarterback Paul Smith has completed 62-of-101
passes for 61-percent and 48 have gone for first downs and seven touchdowns