TU-Central Florida report card
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Sunday, December 02, 2012
12/02/12 at 6:30 AM
For more TU stories.
B+: Considering that TU worked against a 35-mph south wind for half of the game, a B-plus isn't bad. The Hurricane finished with 443 total yards and was 12-of-22 on third-down conversions. TU gambled five times on fourth down and converted only once (Cody Green's fourth-and-6 throw of 11 yards to Thomas Roberson). On a season-high total of 69 rushing attempts, the Hurricane netted 290 yards. Trey Watts ran for 134. Alex Singleton ran for 100 and two touchdowns (including the game-winner in overtime). Green was 14-of-25 passing for 153 yards, with one TD (20 yards to Roberson) and one interception. During its final possession of the first half - with the score tied at 14-14 - Tulsa drove 80 yards in 62 seconds. Green connected on a 17-yard pass to Keyarris Garrett and a 32-yarder to Roberson before Ja'Terian Douglas scored as time expired.
B+: Against other Conference USA defenses, Central Florida's Latavius Murray routinely has 100-yard rushing performances. Against TU, his success rate plummets. When the Hurricane defeated the Knights two weeks ago, Murray rushed for 60 yards on 22 attempts. During Saturday's championship game, he ran 21 times for 71 yards. From a yardage standpoint, the TU defense was good. UCF finished with a modest total of 330 yards. On third-down plays, however, Tulsa had breakdowns. The Knights were 9-of-18 on third-down conversions. Three plays after converting on a third-and-22 pass play, Knights quarterback Blake Bortles scored on a 28-yard, third-down scramble that gave his team a 27-21 lead. In his final appearance at H.A. Chapman Stadium, TU senior safety Dexter McCoil had a team-high total of 11 tackles. End Jared St. John had two sacks and tackle Daeshon Bufford had one. St. John and Bufford were high school teammates at Edmond Santa Fe.
A-: Because it occurred during the fourth quarter of the Conference USA championship game - and as Tulsa trailed 27-21 - Trey Watts' 54-yard, punt-return touchdown stands as the Hurricane's most important play of the season. There were three additional big plays from Tulsa's special-teams units. Cory Dorris blocked a UCF field goal in overtime. Trent Martin blocked a UCF extra-point kick. Michael Mudoh forced and recovered a UCF fumble on the opening kickoff. TU gets the A-minus grade in spite of having failed on yet another extra-point kick. Freshman Daniel Schwarz has misfired on seven point-after kicks this season. On two occasions during the championship game, the Golden Hurricane was within range of what would have been a chip-shot field goal. Both times, coach Bill Blankenship chose to leave his offense on the field rather than to rely on a kicker whose confidence seems shaken. Cole Way averaged only 23.2 yards on four punts, but each of the four was booted against a sound wind that at times gusted to nearly 40 mph.
Alex Singleton leaps over the goal line to score the winning touchdown in overtime Saturday. BRETT ROJO/For the Tulsa World
Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles lies on the ground after a hard hit during the second half Saturday. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World
TU's Cody Green looks to pass during the first half Saturday at Chapman Stadium. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World