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Tulsa Golden Hurricane Comes Back on Memphis

Captain Cane Leads the Golden Hurricane on to the Field Captain Cane Leads the Golden Hurricane on to the Field
Trae Johnson Breaking Tackles Against Memphis Trae Johnson Breaking Tackles Against Memphis

Originally Published: Nov 27, 2009 11:40 PM CDT

Associated Press

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Tulsa finished a disappointing season with an inspired effort and sent Memphis coach Tommy West out with a loss.

G.J. Kinne tossed a game-tying, 2-yard touchdown pass to Trae Johnson with 30 seconds and Kevin Fitzpatrick's fourth field goal was the game-winner in overtime as Tulsa rallied to beat Memphis 33-30 Friday.

The Golden Hurricane (5-7, 3-5 Conference USA) snapped a six-game losing streak.

"I give a lot of credit to our seniors today for sticking together and gritting this one out," Tulsa coach Todd Graham said. "It was very emotional last night when they gave their last talks and today in the locker room. Those guys have been used to a lot of success here and this year didn't go the way we wanted."

West, fired last month by Memphis (2-10, 1-7), finished his ninth season with the Tigers with a record of 49-61 at the school.

"I've never seen so many bad things happen to one football team," West said. "I love them for the fight. They tried to rally and I love them for that. It would have been easy for them to come out here on Thanksgiving week and just throw it out there and give half effort."

In the overtime, Memphis quarterback Arkelon Hall tried to hit Curtis Steele with a pass in the flat, but he bobbled it and senior James Lockett intercepted.

Tulsa ran three plays into the line and brought on Fitzpatrick, who is now 13-of-14 on the season.

"I looked at Kevin and he looked like he was getting ready to go to Disney World," Graham said. "He said 'Coach, I've been waiting for this my whole life. It's going right down the middle.' "

Fitzpatrick said, "I just had to relax and go through my routine."

Steele ran for 232 yards and touchdowns of 59, 77, 29 and 4 yards for Memphis.

Kinne completed 27 of 40 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. He also ran for 57 yards on 16 carries.

Tulsa broke a 10-10 halftime tie with 10 consecutive points, including a 10-yard touchdown pass from Kinne to Charles Clay.

Steele took control midway through the third quarter. He raced 77 yards around right end on the first play of Memphis' next possession, then added fourth-quarter runs of 29 and 4 yards as Memphis stuck to the ground in the absence of starting quarterback Will Hudgens, out with a knee injury.

"Curtis is a great player and I don't use that word much," West said. "I've been around some really good backs and he is one of them. He's a tremendous player and you saw what he did today."

Memphis ran for 268 yards. Hall completed 9 of 16 passes for 79 yards.

After Steele's third score, Tulsa blocked the extra point to keep the score tied at 23.

Steele did most of the damage on a 44-yard drive as Memphis took the lead following an interception of Kinne's pass by Bryan Wright. Steele crashed over from the 4 as Memphis took the lead at 30-23 with 4:04 left.

Kinne moved the Hurricane 70 yards in nine plays to tie the score with 30 seconds left on the short toss to Johnson.

Fitzpatrick added field goals of 25, 31 and 21 yards for Tulsa and matched his career best for field goals in a game.

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