TULSA, Okla. (9/16/06) North Texas was unable to contain Tulsa’s second-half explosion, falling to the Golden Hurricane 28-3 at Skelly Stadium on Saturday.
On the arm of quarterback Paul Smith, Tulsa (2-1) pulled away from a 7-3 halftime lead to down the Mean Green (1-2). Smith threw for 266 yards and 2 touchdowns while completing 21-of-31 passes.
After a defensive struggle in the first two quarters, Tulsa didn’t waste any time in opening the second half. The Golden Hurricane drove 82-yards on 10-plays for a 34-yard Smith touchdown pass to Ryan Bugg on the frame’s first possession. The 82-yarder was the longest drive allowed by the Mean Green this season.
The Golden Hurricane came right back on its next possession with a 70-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run from Brandon Diles.
Diles added another touchdown run, an eight yard scamper, with just under nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Golden Hurricane ended the game with a 401-89 advantage in total yardage, holding North Texas to 38 second-half yards.
A tale of two halves, the opening quarters were a defensive slugfest. The Mean Green picked off Smith twice in the first quarter alone, with defensive ends Jeremiah Chapman and Blake Burruss each recording their first career interceptions.
Chapman’s interception helped to set up the game’s first score. The pick gave the Mean Green great field position and Brandon Jackson’s 23-yard catch put the North Texas in field goal range. Kicker Denis Hopovac sealed the deal with a 23-yard boot to break the scoreless tie early in the second quarter.
The Golden Hurricane pressured in the closing seconds of the first half. NT defensive back Korey Washington broke up a Smith pass in the endzone on a fourth-and-four play with 25 seconds remaining. However, an offsides penalty against the Mean Green gave Tulsa a first down inside the ten-yard line.
Tulsa capitalized with a with a four-yard touchdown pass from Smith to tight end Ted Curtis as time expired to give the Golden Hurricane a 7-3 lead heading into the locker room.
Mean Green punter Truman Spencer struggled early, but rebounded nicely by blasting a career-best 57-yard boot in the second quarter. Through three games this season, Spencer has seven punts of 45 yards or greater.
The Mean Green head to Akron, Ohio, next week to take on the Zips, the defending Mid-America Conference champion.
North Texas vs. Tulsa Box Score