Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles
Tulsa 56, Southern Miss 50
Neither one of these teams got what it ultimately wanted over the weekend, but one team walked away with a win and a feeling of satisfaction. The 2010 season didn’t start very brightly for Tulsa, but Coach Todd Graham’s team sure found a finishing kick this autumn. A team that was floundering at 3-3 in the middle of October won six straight games to close the season, saving the best for last on its home field at Chapman Stadium.
Willie Carter scored two fourth quarter touchdowns, as the Golden Hurricane held off Southern Miss to claim an exhilarating 56-50 victory on Friday. The win moved Tulsa into a tie with Southern Methodist atop CUSA’s West Division, but the Mustangs hold the tiebreaker thanks to their 21-18 defeat of the Golden Hurricane in October and will advance to the C-USA Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 3. Southern Miss was eliminated from contention for the top spot in the East Division with the loss, but when Central Florida thumped Memphis on Saturday, the Golden Knights made this loss a moot point to a certain extent.
Tulsa managed to outscore Southern Miss during three quarters of back-and-forth football to take a 35-34 lead into the final stanza. G.J. Kinne hit Carter for a 12-yard touchdown pass to finish off a four-play, 59-yard drive that extended the Tulsa lead to 42-34. After Desmond Johnson scored to get Golden Eagles within 42-41, Carter struck again, sprinting 41 yards through the Southern Miss defense to paydirt. Carter proved impossible for the Southern Miss defense to deal with, as he rushed for 52 yards and one touchdown on four carries and caught four passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns. Kevin Fitzpatrick’s successful point after touchdown made the Tulsa lead 49-41.
Southern Miss got six points back when Austin Davis tossed a 67-yard touchdown pass to Quentin Pierce. Davis threw an incomplete pass on the two-point conversion try, and the Golden Eagles were trailing 49-47 with 7:58 remaining to play. Unfortunately for Coach Larry Fedora’s squad, that left plenty of time for the Tulsa offense to shred the Southern Miss defense en route to a touchdown, as they did all game, piling up 634 yards of total offense versus a defense that was once considered one of the best in C-USA.
The Golden Hurricane drove 69 yards in seven plays, scoring when Kinne burst up the middle for a three-yard touchdown run, making the score 56-47. Southern Miss’s Danny Hrapmann connected on a 44-yard field goal, but the Golden Eagles never got the ball back. Tulsa was able to run out the clock on their final possession of the game.
Kinne had another strong game for the Golden Hurricane, tossing four touchdowns and completing 23-of-37 passes for 406 yards. Kinne threw two touchdowns and ran for another, as the Golden Hurricane jumped out to a 28-10 first half lead. Damaris Johnson also rushed for a score during the first half for the Golden Hurricane.
Southern Miss was able to close the halftime gap to 28-24 thanks to a pick-six by Deron Wilson and a 24-yard touchdown pass from Austin Davis to Deon Hodges. Davis completed 28-of-41 passes for 371 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception to lead a Southern Miss attack that racked up 563 yards.