Last-second kick stuns Tulsa
Hurricane, who once led by 21 points, gives up a season-high 679 yards
TOLEDO, Ohio — The defense ranked last nationally in surrendered yards per game took another beating Saturday night.
In a wild 54-51 defeat at Toledo, the University of Tulsa gave up a season-high 679 yards and was burned on three touchdown passes that each went for at least 60 yards.
“We just didn't tackle good enough,” linebacker Craig Suits said on postgame radio. “We didn't cover good enough. We didn't step up to the plate when we needed to in the second half.”
As time expired at the historic Glass Bowl, Jameson Vest nailed a 33-yard field goal to deliver the Rockets' victory, an incredible comeback after trailing by 21 points in the second quarter.
In a track-meet game that was tied with 10 minutes left and again with 2:47 to go, Tulsa produced on offense while rushing for 423 yards, a yard shy of the previous week's total against Louisiana. For the first time since 1986, three Hurricane rushers hit the 100-yard mark: quarterback Chad President and running backs D'Angelo Brewer and Shamari Brooks.
In another offensive showcase, the teams combined for 1,227 yards, 13 touchdowns and six punts.
Said Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery: “It was two good offenses going at each other with balanced attacks, and that makes it difficult to defend.”
Defending Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside and his top targets Cody Thompson and Diontae Johnson proved impossible for the shaky Hurricane secondary. Thompson and Johnson totaled 320 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
After Johnson scored back-toback touchdowns in the fourth quarter to give the Rockets a seven-point lead with eight minutes left, Tulsa had to play without reliable defensive end Jesse Brubaker, who was ejected for targeting.
Brooks knotted the score with a 1-yard run to conclude a drive that took more than five minutes, giving the Hurricane defense a lengthy rest to regroup. But a pair of costly penalties on the final drive benefited Toledo, which easily marched into the red zone and drained the clock for the winning field goal.
“It was a hard-fought game,” Montgomery said. “I thought both teams had opportunities. It was one of those games that comes down to the final seconds.”
In the third quarter, Toledo completed its rally with two scores in a row from Thompson to take a three-point lead. With a 48-yard burst, President set up a short touchdown run by Brewer, but the extra-point attempt was blocked and returned 100 yards by Josh Teachey for two points.
Tulsa's heartbreaking loss followed a three-touchdown first quarter that helped to build a 28-7 advantage. The Hurricane (1-2) churned out an 18-play drive on its first series to score on an 8-yard touchdown run by President.
After the teams traded 60-yard plays in the span of a minute, Tulsa's defense settled in and forced a three-and-out, followed by a 37-yard pick-six from Suits late in the first quarter.
“As soon as they snapped the ball, we knew what was coming, just had to snake under it,” Suits said. “(Woodside) threw it right to me and I took it to the house.”
Brewer and Brooks combined for 195 yards in the first half, and Brooks scored twice. The second was set up by Justin Hobbs' 39-yard catch, putting the Hurricane up 21 and silencing the home crowd.
With 28 seconds left in the first half, the Rockets reached the end zone again, on a 26-yard throw from Woodside to Thompson. Toledo had 10 penalties for 109 yards in the first half and finished with 15 for 164 yards.
Tulsa's Shamari Brooks runs upfield en route to a 63-yard touchdown in the first quarter against Toledo on Saturday.