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Tulsa Controls Tempo In Win Against Rice

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Tulsa sported some new powder blue helmets for the game at Rice. Tulsa sported some new powder blue helmets for the game at Rice.

Grant Belcher, NewsOn6.com

HOUSTON – Tulsa's offense started the game off dominant, but it was the Golden Hurricane defense that finished it.

TU controlled the game from start to finish in a 38-20 victory that wasn't even as close as the score suggested.

The Golden Hurricane jumped out to a 17-0 just more than seven minutes into the game.

G.J. Kinne snuck the first score in 1:45 into the game, then added a 13-yard strike to Trey Watts three minutes later.

Kevin Fitzpatrick booted an impressive 52-yard field goal in for the early 17-point lead.

From that point, it was all about the D for the Golden Hurricane.

Tulsa allowed just 13 points through three quarters, with Rice adding a touchdown run late in the fourth despite a comfortable Tulsa lead.

The Golden Hurricane also forced four huge turnovers – two interceptions and two fumbles – to gain a significant advantage in the possession game.

Tulsa's Willie Carter started off the most exciting stretch of the game with a 64-yard touchdown grab from G.J. Kinne with just 56 seconds remaining in the first half. Carter had a huge day with 160 receiving yards on nine catches.

But 56 seconds was more than enough time for the Rice offense to wake up and make a statement before the half.

Owls quarterback Nick Fanuzzi made a surprise connection with receiver Luke Willson for a 40-yard touchdown pass with just five seconds remaining in the half, cutting the TU lead to 24-10.

But the TU defense bounced back nicely, allowing just a third-quarter field goal before the late Rice touchdown.

Kinne had a more-than-solid stat line with 318 yards, three touchdown passes and no interceptions.

TU's run defense was impressive as well, allowing only 103 yards on the ground on 35 carries, an average of 2.9 yards per carry.

After a tough non-conference schedule, Tulsa is hitting a rhythm in conference play, improving to 3-0 in C-USA (4-3 overall).

Rice falls to 2-5 overall (1-3 C-USA).

The Golden Hurricane will return home to host SMU at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

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