TULSA, Okla. - Tulsa outscored Fresno State 20-6 in the final three quarters to hand the Bulldogs a 27-26 loss Saturday night at H.A. Chapman Stadium.
The two teams entered the game both averaging over 40 points per game, but Saturday's affair was one dominated by defense.
The Bulldogs (2-2) jumped out to a 20-7 lead in the first quarter, but only got six more points the rest of the way in their final non-conference game of the season.
"It's frustrating any time you lose," head coach Tim DeRuyter said. "We knew this wasn't going to be a team that laid down just because we scored a couple of touchdowns early. We knew it was going to be a long game. We got to do a better job of sustaining."
Fresno State got a 37-yard touchdown run from Robbie Rouse, a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown from Patrick Su'a and a 32-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr to Josh Harper to take the 20-7 lead.
Tulsa (3-1) cut the lead down to three in the second quarter, but another Bulldog interception return for a touchdown - this one a 21-yard return from Tristan Okpalaugo - and the Bulldogs held a 26-17 lead.
Unsuccessful point after attempts on both of Fresno State's defensive touchdowns proved costly in the one-point loss.
"There's a lot of things that happened in that game. It wasn't offense, defense or special teams, it was a combination of all three [that hurt us]," DeRuyter said.
Fresno State's defense played hard all game and held Tulsa to just 126 yards rushing and 14-of-38 passing for 228 yards. The Golden Hurricane entered the game averaging 286 yards rushing and 525 yards of total offense. Tulsa's defense did a great job limiting Fresno State's passing game, not letting Carr get the ball deep. The Bulldogs only had five first downs in the second half and five of Fresno State's nine second-half drives started inside its own 20-yard line.
Rouse finished 135 yards rushing on 27 attempts and the one touchdown. It was his fourth-straight 100-yard rushing game and the 16th of his career, tying him with Ryan Mathews for the second most in school history.
Carr was 26-of-44 passing for 231 yards and one TD with no interceptions. He connected with Harper seven times, as Harper finished with 115 yards receiving for his first career 100-yard game.
Phillip Thomas led the defense with 10 tackles. The Bulldogs intercepted three passes in the game, the third one was by Derron Smith, who added seven tackles.
Tulsa's offense finished with 354 yards to Fresno State's 364. The Bulldogs held them to 5-of-21 on third-down plays but picked up three first downs in their final drive that ate up 5:41 on the clock late in the fourth quarter to basically seal the game.
Courtesy: Fresno St. Athletics