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Comeback Stifled in 45-38 Loss to Tulsa

Dominick LeGrande finished with a career-high 16 tackles.

Oct. 6, 2012

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Holliday Video

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Three Marshall turnovers and a 250-yard rushing effort from Tulsa disrupted the Marshall football team as the Herd fell to the Golden Hurricane 45-38 on homecoming weekend at Joan C. Edwards Stadium Saturday afternoon.

The Herd dropped to 2-4 (0-2 C-USA) for the season, while Tulsa improved to 5-1 (3-0 C-USA).

Marshall outgained Tulsa in total offense 572-340 and converted 13-of-19 third downs, but the two teams had stark differences in offensive strategy. Marshall finished with 403 passing yards, compared to Tulsa's 90. Contrarily, Tulsa recorded 250 rushing yards, compared to the Herd's 169.

"They came into this football game and they were going to take the game out of the quarterback's hands," noted head coach Doc Holliday on Tulsa's running attack. "They rushed it 53 times. They came in to run the football and they did. They are pretty good up front. They have a back [Alex Singleton] that is about 260 pounds and that a big load. We didn't tackle well and get him on the ground. We have to do a better job at that."

Sophomore quarterback Rakeem Cato finished 31-for-44 for 391 passing yards with three touchdown passes and one interception.

Wide receiver Antavious Wilson hauled in two touchdown receptions and finished the game with seven catches for 123 yards. Aaron Dobson led the team with 10 receptions and 128 yards, while Gator Hoskins had four catches for 89 yards including one for a 72-yard touchdown.

The run game was split evenly between the freshmen duo of Kevin Grooms and Steward Butler. Both running backs finished with 16 carries, while Grooms had 74 yards and a touchdown and Butler posted 54 yards. Remi Watson added a touchdown and led the team with 7.0 yards per carry.

Defensively, safety Dominick LeGrande earned a career-high 16 total tackles, which included a tackle for a loss. Fellow safety Okechukwu Okoroha added 14 tackles and a fumble recovery, while linebackers Jermaine Holmes and Alex Bazzie each had over ten tackles.

Tulsa quarterback Cody Green finished 9-for-17 with 90 yards and one touchdown pass. Running back Alex Singleton led the ground game with three touchdown runs and 95 total rush yards, while Trey Watts earned a team-high 18 rushes and 111 yards.

Tulsa benefited from two turnovers in the first two Marshall drives, including a fumble and interception, to jump to a 3-0 lead to open up the game.

"Early in the game we turned it over a couple times," commented Holliday. "I thought we regained momentum at the half. They ended up getting three points off of those two turnovers. The second half was a wild one and we just didn't finish it."

Marshall replicated the following drive with a field goal of its own as Justin Haig pushed through a 20-yarder to tie the game 3-3.

Posed with a fourth and short at midfield, Tulsa opted to go for it with 4:37 left in the first quarter and the decision paid off as Singleton broke the line and walked untouched into the endzone to jump the Golden Hurricane to a 10-3 lead.

Tulsa followed with a 16-play, 63-yard drive that rested on the shoulders of Singleton as the senior rushed the ball eight times and topped off the drive with a four-yard rush to extend the Tulsa lead to 17-3 with 10:21 left in the first half.

Marshall scored its first touchdown after Grooms ran in a 6-yard rush that was set up by a nine play drive that displayed a 26-yard rush by Watson and a 28-yard haul in by Wilson.

On the ensuing kickoff, Marshall's Okoroha recovered a fumble forced by Devin Johnson that put the Herd on the Tulsa 28-yard line with just over two minutes left in the half. Cato threaded a pass to Wilson for an 11-yard touchdown catch to tie the game 17-17 before going into the halftime break.

Tulsa opened the second half by methodically pressing the attack on the ground as 10 of the 13 plays in the drive were rush attempts. Singleton earned his third rushing touchdown with a 2-yard run to extend the Golden Hurricane lead to 24-17.

Tulsa capitalized on another Marshall turnover in the third quarter as a pass from Cato to Dobson was fumbled at the Marshall 11-yard line and Tulsa's Dwight Dobbins took the turnover in for six points.

Marshall disrupted the routine PAT attempt and D.J. Hunter picked up a dropped snap, taking the fumble back to the opposite endzone to trim the Tulsa lead to 30-19.

Three Cato-to-Dobson connections pushed Marshall to the Tulsa 29 with fewer than seven minutes left in the third quarter. Watson finished the 12-play, 84-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. The Herd went for two to try and bring the game within three points, but the attempt was no good to make the score 30-25.

The Golden Hurricane immediately responded with a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Watts to give the junior tailback his second career kickoff return for a touchdown.

The Golden Hurricane did not hold the 15-point advantage for long as Marshall scored on the following drive with its longest play of the season as Cato hit tight-end Gator Hoskins for a 72-yard score. The reception trimmed the Tulsa lead to 37-32.

Using the momentum, Marshall's defense forced Tulsa to a three-and-out and the offense capitalized on a 99-yard drive that ended in Cato's third pass for a touchdown as Wilson grabbed his second touchdown for 32 yards, helping Marshall take its first lead of the game at 38-37.

After a 47-yard pass play from Tulsa's Green to Garrett doubled the amount of passing yards that Tulsa had accumulated on the day (39), Tulsa stole back the lead with a play-action touchdown pass to Jordan James for four-yards. A successful two point conversion put the Golden Hurricane up 45-38.

With the game on the line, just over two minutes on the clock and the Herd down by a touchdown, two consecutive unsuccessful fourth down attempts sealed the win for Tulsa, 45-38.

"We had a couple of opportunities and when your number is called you have to make a play," said Holliday. "We didn't get it done unfortunately. We put ourselves in a position to go in to overtime or win it and we didn't do it."

Following a bye week, Marshall will travel to Hattiesburg, Miss. for its next game against Southern Miss on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. ET. The game will be shown on CBS Sports Network.