Liberty Bowl: Tulsa vs. Iowa State Report Card
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
1/01/13 at 7:39 AM
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Tailback Trey Watts got the Liberty Bowl MVP trophy after rushing for 149 yards, and tailback Alex Singleton ended his career with a three-touchdown performance. There should have been a trophy also for the Golden Hurricane offensive line. In addition to paving the way for a 317-yard ground game, the TU line did not allow a sack. In six games this season, TU did not give up a sack. The Hurricane passing game was relatively quiet on Monday. Cody Green was 11-of-23 for 93 yards. His most meaningful completions occurred during a second-quarter drive, when he found Willie Carter for 19 yards, Thomas Roberson for 21 and Keyarris Garrett for 6. Those plays led to Singleton's 2-yard TD sweep and TU's first lead of the day (21-17). On 83 plays, the Hurricane totaled 410 yards. The Hurricane's most glaring offensive mistake occurred when a Green pass was intercepted by Iowa State's Jeremy Reeves and returned 31 yards for a touchdown.
Reprising its clutch performances against Fresno State and Central Florida, the Golden Hurricane defense was brilliant on Monday. Overall, the Cyclones finished with only 268 total yards and were 2-of-14 on third-down conversions. During the second half, the Cyclones managed only 64 total yards and two first downs. TU totaled five sacks - two by linebacker Shawn Jackson and one each by tackle Daeshon Bufford, tackle Derrick Jackson and end Derrick Alexander. The Jackson sacks occurred on consecutive first-half plays and helped the Hurricane steal the momentum. Jackson, voted Tulsa's most outstanding defensive player in the Liberty Bowl, finished with nine tackles and forced a fumble. Safety Marco Nelson and cornerback Dexter McCoil each had an interception. McCoil completed his career with 18 interceptions. He owns the career school record and a share of the Conference USA career record.
After having misfired on four of his last eight field goal attempts, and after having failed on seven point-afters this season, Tulsa freshman kicker Daniel Schwarz was perfect against Iowa State. He was good on all four of his extra-point tries. With 12:49 left to play, Schwarz drilled a 40-yard field goal. It would have been good from 50. On eight punts, TU's Cole Way averaged 36.4 yards. His longest punt was a 50-yarder. The Hurricane did not give up a kickoff return longer than 27 yards.
Trey Watts runs for yardage around Iowa State's Ben Durbin during the second half of Monday's Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn. TOM GILBERT / Tulsa World
Jake Alexander celebrates TU's win Monday. TOM GILBERT / Tulsa World
TU head coach Bill Blankenship hoists the Liberty Bowl trophy after the Golden Hurricane's win Monday. TOM GILBERT / Tulsa World