Tulsa Downs Marshall Football, 38-31
Herd falls to Golden Hurricane in offensive slugfest.
Oct. 13, 2007
TULSA - Tulsa senior quarterback Paul Smith passed for 385 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Golden Hurricane to a 38-31 win over Marshall University in Conference USA football action at H.A. Chapman Stadium, Saturday.
Smith completed 24 of 39 passes, including touchdown tosses of 21, 11 and 73 yards to help Tulsa improve to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in Conference USA action. His top target was Charles Clay, who finished the game with five catches for 102 yards.
The Thundering Herd used a balanced rushing attack and timely passing to keep pace with the high-powered Golden Hurricane.
Marshall senior quarterback Bernard Morris led Marshall with 260 yards passing and two touchdowns. Morris also added 33 yards rushing for the Thundering Herd that now falls to 0-6 overall and 0-2 in C-USA.
Four different Marshall players rushed for more than 35 yards each and seven different players caught passes as Marshall keep the contest close with 464 yards of total offense.
Marshall won the toss and deferred to the second half. Marshall's defense managed to get pressure on Tulsa quarterback Paul Smith on the opening possession and stopped Tulsa on a fourth down attempt at the MU 35 yard line. However, Marshall could not slow Conference USA's top scoring offense beyond that. Tulsa amassed 370 yards of total offense and scored on its last four possessions in the first half. The Golden Hurricane registered 578 yards for the game.
MU's first points of the game came from a 37-yard Anthony Binswanger field goal at the 3:04 mark of the first quarter.
Thundering Herd Junior Chubb Small capped a six-play, 71-yard drive with his first touchdown run of the season in the second quarter. Small rushed 12 yards into the end zone to cut Tulsa's lead to 21-10 with 9:24 to go in the first half. Following a TU field goal, Marshall senior Shawn Lauzon caught a four-yard touchdown pass from Bernard Morris at the 3:09 mark of the second quarter to cut the Golden Hurricane lead to 24-17. The touchdown catch was Lauzon's first since the 2005 season.
Tulsa then orchestrated a nine-play 68-yard drive that culminated with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Cameron Clemons to give the Golden Hurricane a 31-17 halftime lead.
Both offenses battled back and forth in the second half.
Marshall scored first in the second half with an impressive 12-play, 80 yard drive that took 5:22 off the clock. Marshall's Chubb Small barreled into the endzone on a 1-yard run on fourth down to cut the score to 31-24.
Tulsa would answer on its next possession with a 73-yard touchdown pass from Paul Smith to Brennan Marion to extend the lead back to 14.
MU then marched down to the Tulsa six yard line on a drive that was aided by a spectacular 47-yard reception by tight end Cody Slate. Slate took a Morris pass and broke multiple tackles as he barreled deep into Tulsa territory. Facing a fourth and five from the six, Marshall was flagged for a delay of game that put the ball on the 10. MU quarterback Bernard Morris was then sacked for a loss of 17 yards to end the drive.
Tulsa could not capitalize, however, as the Marshall defense stopped the Golden Hurricane at midfield and forced a punt to give the ball back to the Herd with 11:08 to go in the game and trailing 38-24. On its following possession MU was forced to punt.
The Golden Hurricane looked to be driving for another score when running back Clay fumbled on an option and the ball was recovered by the Herd defensive back Aaron Johnson. The recovery was the first takeaway recorded by the Marshall defense sense Maurice Kitchen's second half interception against Miami.
Morris led the Herd in a two-minute offense connecting for several big gains. With 1:18 remaining Morris connected with Slate for a two-yard touchdown reception to bring the score to 38-31.
Tulsa's Nelson Coleman recovered the ensuing onside kick, enabling the Golden Hurricane to run out the clock and secure the win.
Defensively, Marshall was led by C.J. Spillman who registered eight tackles, including one for loss.
Memphis will return home for the first time in more than a month when it faces Southern Miss on Sunday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.