Tulsa loses lead, again

Monday, November 15th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- There was no rush as Louisiana-Monroe took its time to come back and wipe out the Tulsa Golden Hurricane's lead. The Division I-A Indians had the ball for 38:17 minutes compared to Tulsa's 21:43 to end the season 5-6 under first-year coach Bobby Keasler with Saturday's 37-34 victory over the Hurricane.

"Offensively we came out and never got whacked real bad," Keasler said. Redshirt freshman Andy Chance had career-bests of 122 rushing and 258 passing for the Indians. "Defensively, we didn't play very good," said Tulsa interim coach Pat Henderson. "We missed a lot of tackles, the most tackles I can remember missing in a long time."

Tulsa dropped to 2-8 with one game remaining -- Saturday's Western Athletic Conference matchup against SMU. Henderson, who is now 1-2 since succeeding fired coach Dave Rader last month, has no chance of ending with a winning season.

"The third down conversions and poor tackling eventually led to our demise," Henderson said. "I thought Louisiana-Monroe played well, Their backs ran hard, and their quarterback did some good things."

Although Louisiana-Monroe ran 89 offensive plays to the Hurricane's 56, the Indians only had a 473-451 edge in total yards. For Tulsa, freshman quarterback Josh Blankenship had 219 passing yards for one touchdown. He also had the only turnovers in the game with two interceptions -- one for an Indian touchdown return in the third quarter and another with 50 seconds left in the game to extinguish Tulsa's last chance to take the lead.

The Hurricane also ran the ball for 232 yards. John Mosley rushed for 216 yards on 17 carries, including a 77-yard scoring run on Tulsa's first offensive play. "I don't care how many yards I had, it didn't matter, we didn't win the game," Mosley said. "We just did not execute well enough to win the game."

In seven of its eight losses, Tulsa has lost the lead. The Hurricane led 20-10 at halftime against Louisiana-Monroe. Junior safety Cedric Robinson's 64-yard interception return gave the Indians their first lead at 23-20 with 7:25 left in the third quarter. Louisiana-Monroe
Henderson's 14-yard scoring run to make it 30-20 in the fourth quarter.

Blankenship came back with big passes to Donald Shoals and Damon Savage to put Ken Bohanon in position for his third touchdown run to tighten the lead to 30-27.

Louisiana-Monroe answered with a six-minute, 81-yard drive that ended with Kond Allen's 27-yard touchdown catch. Blankenship returned 21 seconds later with a 68-yard scoring pass to Shoals. But Tulsa was unable to overcome a 3-point deficit within the final seconds as Blankenship was picked off by Nate Jones at the Indian 24. "It came down to a few big plays," Mosley said. "We would just like the team to come together for the last time."