A Golden Hurricane Win

Saturday, October 13th 2007, 11:52 pm
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Tulsa quarterback Paul Smith keeps putting up huge passing numbers and the Golden Hurricane continue to ride his performances to wins eventhough coach Todd Graham wishesthat wasn't necessary.

Paul Smith passed for 385 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another as Tulsa held off winless Marshall 38-31 on Saturday. He extended his school-record streak of consecutive 300-yard passing games to six as Tulsa gain 578 yards of offense.

Tailback Tarrion Adams also rushed for 138 yards on 14 carries for the Golden Hurricane. Still, the statistical parade left Graham cold, since Tulsa had to recover an onside kickoff in the final minute to preserve the win.

"The yards are great, but what we want is to be among the national leaders in points scored," Todd Graham said. "The yards don't mean anything unless you score. And there's a direct correlation between turnovers and points scored."

Tulsa led 38-24 and was working on the clock when freshman Charles Clay fumbled at the Marshall 27. Quarterback Bernard Morris led the Thundering Herd rapidly downfield and tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Cody Slate with 1:18 left.

Tulsa's Chris Chamberlain recovered the onside kickoff and this time, the Golden Hurricane was able to run out the clock.

Tulsa's defense, which ranks 117th out of 119 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly NCAA Division I-A), gave up 444 yards to Marshall, but did produce a key stop early in the fourth quarter. Nelson Coleman sacked Marshall quarterback Bernard Morris
on fourth down from the Tulsa 11 as the Herd looked to close to within a touchdown.

Marshall trailed 31-17 at halftime but halved that deficit with an 80-yard third-quarter drive, capped by a 1-yard plunge on fourth down by Chubb Small.

The Golden Hurricane answered quickly. Three plays later Smith connected with Brennan Marion on a 73-yard scoring pass, the receiver's fifth touchdown of the season. Marion caught two passes Saturday and had 13 catches this season for 568 yards, a
43.7-yards-per-catch average.
"I wait until the ball is in the air before I run my fastest," Marion said. "That way I can always get behind them."

Graham called Marion "sensational."

"He's got a swagger about him," Graham said. "But we have a lot of young receivers who are really talented."

Adams scored on a 5-yard run and on a 21-yard pass from Smith, and Smith added a 1-yard scoring sneak as Tulsa bolted to a 21-3 lead. Marshall closed to within 24-17 on a 12-yard run by Small and a 4-yard pass from Morris to Shawn Lauzon.

Smith, who exceeded 200 passing yards in the first half for the fourth consecutive game, directed a 68-yard touchdown drive to give Tulsa a 31-17 halftime advantage. He completed passes of 19, 14 and 25 yards to Jesse Meyer before finding Cameron Clemons alone in the right corner of the end zone after a long scramble.

"You saw two pretty decent offenses out there tonight," Marshall coach Mark Snyder said. "My hat's off to Tulsa. Paul Smith is a very good quarterback. He makes plays for them."

"And Marion, that was a good play by him. It was a good pass, a good catch and it resulted in a touchdown. I'm not sure man coverage was the best call on second-and-20 on a guy like (Marion) the way our (defensive backs) were playing," added Marshall coach Mark Snyder.