TU Steamrolls Houston Behind 350 Rushing Yards
HOUSTON, Texas - The smile on Cory Dorris' face told the entire story.
The TU defensive lineman snagged his first career interception in the fourth quarter of Tulsa's blowout win at Houston and took it back to the end zone, putting a stamp on the Golden Hurricane's impressive 41-7 win.
The game began in shaky fashion for Tulsa when Cody Green's first-quarter pass bounced right off the hands of Jordan James and into the hands of UH's Zachary McMillian at Tulsa's 32 yard line, but that's when TU made an early statement.
The Hurricane defense held and Houston proceeded to miss a 32-yard field goal, keeping the game scoreless.
The two teams spent much of the first quarter getting a feel for the other, but TU managed to break the scoreless tie late in the period with a Daniel Schwarz 29-yard field goal, taking the 3-0 lead.
Things got rolling for the Golden Hurricane on their first drive of the second quarter. TU marched 53 yards to the end zone, where big Alex Singleton plowed in from a yard away to take a 10-0 lead.
After getting another defensive stop, Tulsa's offense got back to work on the very next drive. On 3rd and 15 from midfield, James atoned for his earlier mistake by making a spectacular catch on the sideline to give TU 30 yards and a first down. That grab set up another Alex Singleton 1-yard touchdown run and Tulsa took a commanding 17-0 lead into the half.
The Golden Hurricane stormed out of the gate in the second half, traveling 75 yards on nine plays for another touchdown. This time it was Green keeping it from three yards out, earning his second rushing score of the season and putting Tulsa ahead 24-0.
Just one minute into the fourth quarter, Tulsa punched it in again. Facing a 4th and goal, TU used Singleton as the decoy and Green ran a bootleg untouched into the right side of the end zone to extend Tulsa's lead to 31-0.
Things went from bad to disastrous for the Cougars when Dorris took his interception back for six to give TU the 41-0 lead. What was left of Houston's already sparse crowd began to file out of the stadium while faint boos could be heard from those that remained.
Houston avoided what would have been the first shutout loss in Robertson Stadium history when backup quarterback Crawford Jones found Ryan Jackson for a 16-yard strike late in the game.
The Golden Hurricane defensive effort was the story in this one, holding a Houston offense that came in averaging 33.4 points and 497 yards of offense per game to just seven points and 262 yards of offense. The TU defense also forced four turnovers and held Houston to just 6-17 on third down.
The Tulsa offense was just as impressive, rushing for 350 yards and holding the ball for 38 minutes.
Among the other storylines for Tulsa, the Alex Singleton saga continues to get better and better. Singleton's two rushing touchdowns broke TU's single-season total touchdown record, previously set by Steve Gage in 1985. Singleton already holds the single-season school record for rushing touchdowns and became Tulsa's all-time rushing touchdown leader earlier in the season. On a larger scale, Singleton also moved within two scores of tying current Chicago Bears Pro-Bowler Matt Forte for No. 5 on Conference USA's all-time rushing touchdown list.
The win moves the Hurricane to 8-2 (6-0) and drops Houston to 4-6 (3-3), eliminating them from C-USA west contention just one season after the Cougars eliminated Tulsa 48-16 at Chapman Stadium.
Tulsa hosts east division-leader UCF next Saturday at 11 a.m. with plenty on the line. The Knights will come in at 8-2 (6-0) and the winner of this game will host the Conference USA title game (assuming both teams make it). Both teams could clinch a spot in the title game with a win.