Trey Watts ran for a career-high 189 yards and three touchdowns and Shawn Jackson had 10 tackles, three sacks and a game-changing interception to lead Tulsa to a 24-14 victory over Louisiana Tech in front of 16,037 fans at Joe Aillet Stadium on Saturday night.
The victory snapped a four-game losing streak and put the Hurricane at 3-8 overall and 2-5 in league play heading into next Saturday's home finale against North Texas. The loss for Tech dropped the Bulldogs to 4-7 on the season and 3-4 in C-USA play and ended any chance to be bowl-eligible.
Both teams were opportunistic as Tech's 14 points came off Tulsa turnovers, both interceptions, while Tulsa's first second-half TD that led to a 17-7 lead came off of an interception. Tech's first scoring drive covered 80 yards after Tulsa threw a pick at the Tech 14-yard line, while the second Tech scoring drive after a turnover covered just 26 yards after the interception.
Tulsa's Jackson and Donnell Hawkins each had one pick-off, while Darnell Walker Jr. had two interceptions.
Jackson took his interception from the 49-yard line to Tech's 20-yard marker early in the third period. Two plays later, Watts raced in from 11 yards out to put the Hurricane ahead 17-7 at the 12:17 mark of the third period. Tech took the subsequent possession down the field, but Walker's first interception in the end zone ended the Bulldogs threat at the 9:12 mark of the third quarter.
Tech closed the gap to 17-14 with 0:44 remaining in the third period when the Bulldogs went 26 yards in eight plays after another takeaway. Ryan Higgins threw the final four yards to Jon Greenwalt for the Tech score.
Tulsa marched 62 yards in 11 plays and took 5:44 off the clock to take a 10-point lead, 24-14, with 10 minutes remaining in the contest. Watts scored his third touchdown of the game on a five-yard run. On the subsequent Tech possession, Hawkins had Tulsa's third interception of the game as the junior took it to the Tech 36-yard line, and then on Tech's next possession it was Walker with his second pick-off of the game at the 2:10 mark to close out the victory for the Hurricane
Despite two first quarter turnovers, Tulsa held a 7-0 lead after the first 15 minutes. Tulsa scored at the 7:55 mark on a six-yard Watts run that capped a five-play, 53-yard drive that took just 1:42 off the clock.
LA Tech tied the score at 7-7 with an 81-yard drive after the Bulldogs intercepted a Dane Evans pass. Blake Martin scored on a 10-yard run with 3:06 remaining in the first half.
Tulsa took the subsequent possession down to the Tech nine-yard line, but had to settle for a 26-yard Carl Salazar field goal, making the score 10-7. The Hurricane defense stopped the Tech offense at the Hurricane 39-yard line to preserve the halftime lead.
For the first half, Tulsa held a 212 to 191-yard edge in total offense, but also had three turnovers to LA Tech's zero miscues. Tulsa outgained Tech 121 to 22 yards in the first quarter, but the home team gained 169 second quarter yards to Tulsa's 92 yards in the second period.
Tulsa returns home for the season finale next Saturday against North Texas, as 12 seniors will be playing their final game in a Golden Hurricane uniform. Game time is set for 1:30 pm (CT).
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