TU Holds On to Beat Rice 48-43

Saturday, November 24th 2007, 8:44 pm
By: News On 6

HOUSTON (AP) - Paul Smith threw for 441 yards and five touchdowns and ran for another score to lead Tulsa to the Conference USA West Division title with a 48-43 win over Rice on Saturday. The Golden Hurricane (9-3, 6-2), despite giving up 700 yards total offense to the Owls, will play Central Florida in the C-USA title game Dec. 1.

Tulsa had 592 yards and finished the regular season with five straight wins after losing at Central Florida on Oct. 20. Smith completed 22 of 39 passes and threw a pair of touchdown passes apiece to Brennan Marion and Trae Johnson, who caught a 19-yard pass that put Tulsa ahead 48-36 with 5:43 left.

Chase Clement completed 40 of 66 passes for 541 yards and three touchdowns, including a 36-yarder to Joel Armstrong with 1:44 left to keep Rice (3-9, 3-5 in C-USA) alive. Tulsa's Tarrion Adams, who had 150 rushing yards, recovered the ensuing onside kick, and the Golden Hurricane ran out the clock.

Rice's James Casey caught 11 passes for a team-high 110 yards, while Armstrong finished with 109 yards on just five catches. Clement led the Owls with 75 yards rushing on 17 carries while C.J. Ugokwe ran for 51 yards and two touchdowns.

Smith had three of his touchdown passes in a 20-point first quarter for Tulsa after Rice had taken a 7-0 lead on a pass from Clement to Chance Talbert.

The Golden Hurricane extended the lead to 27-9 as Smith ran in from 2 yards four seconds into the second quarter. But Rice made things interesting with Ugokwe's 12-yard scoring run, following by a 25-yard TD pass from Clement to Jarett Dillard just 80 seconds before halftime.