For the second straight game, Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans pulled a handoff and raced up the middle 14 yards for the winning touchdown in overtime to push the Golden Hurricane past SMU, 43-40, in a wild back-and-forth affair Friday night in front of a crowd of 22,089 at H.A. Chapman Stadium.
Evans scored the winner in overtime at Fresno State on Sept. 24, racing 18 yards on a similar play to give Tulsa a 48-41 victory. Friday's contest marked the first time in school history the Hurricane had played overtime in consecutive games.
The Golden Hurricane (4-1, 1-0 American Athletic Conference) took its first lead late in the second quarter, and the advantage changed hands six more times through the course of the game.
Junior D'Angelo Brewer scored on a 35-yard run with 5:32 left in the fourth quarter to put Tulsa ahead, 37-34. SMU forced the extra period with a 25-yard field goal as time expired, and then added 22-yarder on its possession in the overtime period. TU, which elected to play defense first, sealed its third straight victory on Evans' scamper.
"Our team is just one of those teams that is battling every week, every game," Tulsa Head CoachPhilip Montgomery said. "I thought SMU came in here really determined. I thought our guys just kept fighting and kept believing, bowed up when we needed to bow up, and got touchdowns when we needed touchdowns. There are a lot of things that you look at that we've got to get better at, but wins are hard to come by in college football, and we got a big one tonight."
For the second game in a row, two Tulsa players gained 100 yards rushing and two players gained 100 yards receiving. Brewer finished with 182 yards on 38 carries, and James Flanders had a career-high 132 yards on 13 carries. Keevan Lucas caught 12 passes for 113 yards, and Josh Atkinson had 11 receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown. The same quartet accomplished the feat at Fresno State two weeks ago.
Senior quarterback Dane Evans tossed for 247 yards on 25-of-44 passing and a second-half touchdown to Atkinson. TU totaled 562 yards on 103 plays from scrimmage, including 315 yards on the ground. The Hurricane has also eclipsed 110 plays and 300 rushing yards in consecutive contests.
Senior linebacker Matt Linscott led the Tulsa defense with a team season-high 12 tackles, while senior safety Jeremy Brady tallied eight tackles and a key pass breakup on third down in the overtime period.
SMU (2-4, 0-2 American) scored on the opening possession of the game, taking the ball 70 yards in seven plays and 1:41 to lead 7-0. Ke'Mon Freeman completed the drive with a three-yard run.
After punting on its first two possessions, Tulsa got on the board with a 24-yard field goal fromRedford Jones. TU drove 51 yards in 10 plays to first and goal at the SMU 7 yardline, but had to settle for a field goal, Jones' kick made the score 7-3.
The Mustangs extended their lead to 14-3, going 87 yard in just five plays, as Ben Hicks hit Alex Honey for a 45-yard touchdown with 3:20 to go in the first quarter. The Hurricane responded just 18 seconds later, cutting the deficit to 14-10.
Senior Raymond Taylor returned the ensuing kick 29 yards to the 39, setting up a 61-yard touchdown run by James Flanders. It was the first offensive play of the game for the senior running back, and the longest rush of his career. It was also the longest run of the season for the Hurricane.
The teams alternated four field goals through the second quarter, making the score, 20-16, in favor of the visitors. A 39-yard SMU field goal with 14:51 to play in the second quarter made the score 17-10. Jones kicked his longest field goal of the season, booting a 43-yarder to cut the deficit to 17-13 with 9:49 left in the half. The drive went 58 yards in 11 plays, and took 2:27 off the clock.
A 44-yard field goal by SMU extended the Mustangs' lead to 20-13 with 5:57 to play in the half. Tulsa then covered 26 yards in six plays, leading to a 33-yard field goal by Jones. The TU drive started on the SMU 42, aided by a 42-yard kickoff return by Taylor and a personal foul penalty.
The Hurricane took its first lead with 1:07 to play in the first half. TU covered 92 yards in just 1:06, capped by Taylor's first touchdown in a Tulsa uniform. The senior transfer from Oklahoma State plunged in from the 2 yardline to give the Hurricane the 23-20 lead. Evans completed passes of 10, 12, 19 and 13 yards, and Brewer ran 32 yards to the east sideline to set up the score.
Taylor returned the second half kickoff 67 yards to the SMU 33. The Hurricane settled for a 52-yard field goal try, but the kick was blocked, and SMU took over on the TU 34. A 19-yard pass from Hicks to Jeremiah Gaines gave the Mustangs the 27-23 lead.
Tulsa regained the lead on an 11-yard strike from Evans to Atkinson with 10:50 play in the third quarter. The score capped a nine-play, 45-yard drive that took 2:57 off the clock and gave TU a 30-27 lead.
SMU scored on a four-yard run with 8:31 remaining to retake the lead, 34-30. The drive began when Darrion Millines intercepted an Evans pass and returned it to the TU 30.
Brewer dashed 35 yards through a big hole on the left side of the line to put Tulsa back in the lead, 37-34, with 5:32 left. The drive took nine plays and 2:52, covering 72 yards, all but 10 of which were gained by Brewer and Flanders on the ground.
The Golden Hurricane will go on the road next Saturday to face No. 6 Houston at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.
HE DOES IT AGAIN! Evans keeps the ball and runs it into the end zone! pic.twitter.com/ySceaCxJWh— Tulsa Football (@TulsaFootball) October 8, 2016