Tulsa 21, Utah 13
TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Charlie Higgins ran for two touchdowns and 175 yards as Tulsa capitalized on turnovers to beat Utah 21-13 on Saturday in the Western Athletic Conference.
The Golden Hurricane (2-6, 2-3 WAC) scored off two interceptions and recovered two fumbles by the Utes (4-5, 3-3). The clock ran out on Utah’s last-minute drive, orchestrated with no time outs and ending 7 yards short of the Tulsa goal line.
Higgins’ 30 carries led Tulsa to 199 total rushing yards, up from a game-average 131 before Saturday. Michael Wall completed 11 of 22 pass attempts for 101 yards and one interception.
But it was the Golden Hurricane defense _ defensive back Levi Gillen, in particular _ that turned the tide. Gillen made two interceptions that led to touchdowns and recovered a Utah fumble on the Tulsa 2-yard line.
Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala rushed for 125 yards on 23 carries for the Utes. Jonathan Crosswhite finished with 188 passing yards on 18 of 27 attempts.
Utah jumped to a 7-0 lead on a 8-yard run by Fuamatu-Ma’afala with 6:39 to go in the first quarter. The quick scoring drive was set up by Kimball Christianson’s 31-yard interception return one play earlier.
The Utes stayed ahead until early in the second quarter, when Higgins rushed 10 yards into the end zone to complete a 99-yard drive for Tulsa. Gillen made the pop-up interception at the 1-yard line that gave Tulsa the ball for that possession.
Gillen preserved the 7-7 tie and again stopped Utah by recovering Roy Allen’s fumble 2 yards shy of the goal line with 5:20 to go in the half.
Gillen’s second interception of Crosswhite four minutes later allowed the Golden Hurricane to move 43 yards in two plays, topped by Wall’s TD pass of 28 yards to Damon Savage. Tulsa led 14-7 at the half.
After a scoreless third quarter Utah closed to 14-13 with a 1-yard keeper by Crosswhite. But the Utes’ chance to tie the game then went bust when the extra-point kick by Tommy Truhe bounced off the right goalpost.
Kevin Dyson made six receptions for 53 yards to set a Utah record with 180 career catches.
Dyson was taken by ambulance after the game to a hospital as a precaution because his legs were tingling.