TU Football Notebook: It's a comeback
BY ERIC BAILEY & BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writers
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
1/01/13 at 7:40 AM
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Tulsa faced an early deficit in Monday's 31-17 victory over Iowa State in the Liberty Bowl.
The Cyclones bolted to a 17-7 lead at the end of the first quarter before TU scored 24 unanswered points to close out the victory.
It was the seventh time that TU has won a 2012 game that it has trailed. The Hurricane fell behind in victories over Tulane, Fresno State, UAB, Marshall, Rice and UCF. It was the second win after the team was losing by 10 points or more (Fresno State, 20-7).
"The motto of our team is to finish and stick together," TU safety Dexter McCoil said. "We faced a lot of adversity ... we know we can persevere through everything. We can't fail."
Making kicks: Kicker Daniel Schwarz has been shaky during some field-goal and extra-point attempts during the regular season.
The true freshman had a perfect game against the Cyclones, making all four of his PAT attempts and an important 40-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to give the Hurricane a 31-17 lead.
"When we had an 11-point lead, we gave him a shot to make it 14 and he nailed it," TU coach Bill Blankenship said. "I think that's going to be huge for him. I couldn't be happier."
Wrapping it up: Alex Singleton ended his career with 43 rushing touchdowns and 44 touchdowns overall, which is a TU record.
Singleton scored three rushing touchdowns against Iowa State, which tied a Liberty Bowl record for most touchdowns and points by a single player.
The Hurricane added a wrinkle to Singleton's game, with a toss sweep out of a power formation.
"They had a lead strong toss that they brought, which threw us off guard a little," said Iowa State linebacker A.J. Klein, who tied a Liberty Bowl record with 19 tackles.
Remarkable figure: With five sacks in the Liberty Bowl, TU extended its single-season, program-record total to 53. In 14 games this season, the Hurricane offensive line surrendered only nine sacks. The end result - the 2012 Hurricane was plus-44 on sacks.
The 2011 Hurricane was plus-9 on sacks (27 by the defense, 18 allowed by the offense).
Fourth-down success: In the Liberty Bowl, Tulsa was 1-of-2 on fourth-down conversions. The successful fourth-down play was a 1-yard, second-effort touchdown plunge by Alex Singleton to give TU a 28-17 cushion.
For the season, TU was 21-of-37 on fourth-down plays. In 2011, TU was 6-of-14.
Streak ends: With Monday's victory, TU ended a 16-game losing streak against Big 12 opponents. The Hurricane hadn't beaten a Big 12 team since September 1998, when it hosted and defeated Oklahoma State 35-20.
"It's a good step for us," Blankenship said. "We needed to get that."
McCoil ties record: With a fourth-quarter interception, TU senior safety Dexter McCoil extended his school-record career total to 18. That number matches the Conference USA career record of 18 set first by Louisville's Anthony Floyd in 1999-2002.
Owning the ball: Tulsa was in charge of time of possession in the second half.
The Hurricane had the ball for 21:51 compared to just 8:09 for Iowa State.
League ends on high: Following Tulsa's victory, Conference USA finishes the 2012 bowl season with a 4-1 record.
It is the second consecutive season that the league has won four of five bowl games.