Instant Analysis: Tulsa Pounds UTEP, 33-11
TULSA - Tulsa used a 20 point third quarter to blow out the UTEP Miners Thursday night at Chapman Stadium. Here's the quick rundown:
What it means for Tulsa: As the Hurricane continues its pursuit of the C-USA title, a home primetime matchup with UTEP was a must-win. TU looked excellent, pounding the Miners on the ground and forcing key turnovers on defense. The win improves the Hurricane to 6-1 overall and secured bowl eligibility for TU. Tulsa joins Ohio, South Carolina and Oregon as bowl-eligible FBS teams.
What it means for UTEP: The Miners' season continues to head downhill, falling to 1-6 overall and 0-3 in C-USA play. This was seemingly UTEP's final opportunity to turn its season around, but TU took care of business. The good news for the Miners is that lowly Tulane comes to town next week.
Game-changing play: On the opening drive of the third quarter, TU faced a 4th and 1 at its own 34 yard line. Leading 6-3 in what was a sleepy game up to that point, TU coach Bill Blankenship decided to wake the troops up by passing up the punt and going for it. Alex Singleton got the call, rumbled for the first down, and from that point on we saw a different Golden Hurricane team. That play gave the Tulsa offense the spark it needed to go on a 20-0 third quarter run to put the game away.
It was over when: Trailing 13-3 late in the third quarter, UTEP chose to go for it on 4th and goal from the three yard line. TU's Lowell Rose intercepted Carson Meger's pass, and then two plays later, Ja'Terian Douglass dashed 81 yards to the end zone, giving Tulsa the 19-3 lead.
Wow moment: Three plays after Douglas' touchdown run, bad turned to worse for UTEP. Meger fumbled in the pocket and TU's Shawn Jackson scooped it and scored it from 17 yards out to give Tulsa the 26-3 lead. The Miners looked stunned and defeated.
Historical moment: Alex Singleton continued his stellar season by rushing for two more touchdowns. They were the 31st and 32nd of his career, tying him for first place in TU history with Tarrion Adams and Michael Gunter. The two scores also moved him into a tie for seventh place in Conference USA history.