Hurricane improves to 3-3 on the season and 2-1 in C-USA West

Oct. 8, 2005

Hattiesburg, Miss. - The Hurricane came away with its first C-USA road win in its first try with a 34-17 victory over the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles in front of 28,375 and a national CSTV television audience at M.M. Roberts Stadium.

Tulsa out-gained the home team, 475 to 169. The Tulsa defense showed dominance most of the game, and the Hurricane offense took off on its last second quarter possession and kept going. Tulsa's domination included a whopping 42:23 to 17:37 advantage in possession time, while the defense forced four turnovers.

Tulsa improved to 3-3 on the season and 2-1 in Conference USA, while Southern Miss dropped to 2-2 and 1-1 in league play. It was the first win in three tries at the Hattiesburg stadium, and knotted the series to 2-1-1.

Miscues hurt the Hurricane in the first half as two interceptions resulted in 14 Southern Miss points, but in the second half it was turnovers by the Golden Eagles that gave the Hurricane the advantage. Tulsa's defense had four second-half turnovers and one stop on downs and held USM to only 70 second-half yards, while the offense converted 17 points on those turnovers.

Southern Miss took the opening kickoff 57 yards in 11 plays, but had to settle for a 27-yard field goal. Tulsa's first possession ended abruptly, as Jasper Faulk intercepted a Paul Smith pass and went 48 yards for a score.

Tulsa took its next possession to the 21-yard line, but the Hurricane missed the 31-yard field goal attempt.

Tulsa put its first points on the scoreboard just before the half on a 98-yard 14-play drive. The Hurricane scored with 0:26 left in the first half. Smith threaded the needle with a TD strike to Garrett Mills covering three yards to cut USM's lead to three points, 10-3.

The 98-yard drive was the longest for the Hurricane since Nov. 1, 1997, when the Hurricane scored on a 99-yard drive against Utah.

At the intermission, Tulsa held more than a 10-minute advantage in possession time, 21:03 to 8:57, as well as holding a 139-yard edge in total offense, 238 to 99 yards. Tulsa gained 136 yards through the air and 102 rushing yards.

Southern Miss capitalized on another Hurricane miscue on Tulsa's first second half possession, as the Golden Eagles took an interception 28 yards to the Tulsa five-yard line. Two players later, the Eagles scored on a one-yard run for a 17-7 lead with just over three minutes gone in the second half.

On Tulsa's next possession the Hurricane went 11 plays and 80 yards in 5:14 to cut Southern Miss' lead back to three points, 17-14. Paul Smith took the quarterback sneak for the final yard of the drive.

Tulsa's defense responded in the second half, and gave the offense the ball back in the third quarter twice with field possession on the USM side of the field. First, Julian McGowan intercepted a Dustin Almond pass and returned it 20 yard to the USM 22-yard line. The Hurricane offense managed a 37-yard Brad DeVault field goal after that pick-off. On USM's next possession, Bobby Blackshire intercepted a pass and advanced it 32 yards to the USM one-yard line. Smith bootlegged for the one-yard TD.

The score gave the Hurricane its first lead in the game, 24-17, a score that Tulsa kept at the end of the third period.

Tulsa took a 10-point lead at the 11:09 mark of the fourth quarter on a 45-yard DeVault field goal. The score capped a 10-play, 35-yard drive in taking 3:41 off the clock. The Hurricane added to the score with Smith's third one-yard run of the game at the 5:45 mark to give the Hurricane a 34-17 victory.