Loss puts Tulsa out of bowl hunt

Monday, October 30th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- A 34-12 loss to Fresno State snuffed out Tulsa's hopes for a bowl bid this season.

The loss Saturday also put the Golden Hurricane (3-6, 2-3 Western Athletic Conference) out of the running for its first winning season in nine years, although Tulsa still has a shot at a .500 finish with three games to go.

Despite continued strong play from receiver Donald Shoals, Tulsa's usually consistent kicking game faltered in the second quarter and cost the Hurricane the chance for a win against Fresno State.

Tulsa got an extra point blocked and a punt blocked for a safety to touch off a 19-point second quarter scoring spree by Fresno State (4-3, 3-1 WAC).

"That was a huge momentum swing in the game," Tulsa head coach Keith Burns said. "Our kicking game had been one of our strengths coming into the game. It had been consistent."

Chris Earnest also missed a field goal, just his third of the year in 14 attempts.

Shoals continued to shine. The junior from Enid caught 13 passes for 171 yards to become the seventh Hurricane receiver to go over 1,000 yards in a season.

He also pushed his per-game average from 104.4 to 112.1 yards.

The return of receiver Corey Brown to the lineup may have help spring Shoals as defenders compensated for Brown. Shoals now has 1,006 yards receiving in nine games.

But Tulsa lost its fourth straight. The Hurricane now has a bye week.

A strong defensive stand a week earlier against Texas Christian didn't carry over against Fresno State.

The Bulldogs opened the game with a 72-yard touchdown drive and scored on a 71-yard play from a screen pass on its third possession.

Fresno State quarterback David Carr threw for 252 yards and four touchdowns. The Bulldogs also averaged 5.4 yards per rush.

"I'm disappointed in the way we played in the first half. I thought we could take advantage of the energy we had after last week, but we didn't. We just didn't have it," Burns said.

Fresno State continues to hope for a conference crown, but the Bulldogs are chasing unbeaten and ninth-ranked Texas Christian.