Davis extends NCAA record with 5th kickoff return for TD

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Ashlan Davis got Tulsa going with yet another dramatic kickoff return, and the Golden Hurricane got a little extra push from Brandon Diles to upset UTEP.

Davis extended his own NCAA record with his fifth kickoff return for a touchdown this season and Tulsa beat UTEP (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today, No. 24 AP) 37-35 on Saturday for its first win against a ranked opponent in more than eight years.

Diles scored on two short runs in the second half and Uril Parrish added 141 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries as the Golden Hurricane (4-8, 2-5 WAC) squandered a 17-point halftime lead before rallying for the win against the Miners (8-3, 6-2).

In the second quarter, Davis fielded a high kick from Reagan Schneider at the 26 and ran right before avoiding Schneider near midfield and speeding down the left sideline, high-stepping the final few yards for the score.

Davis returned kicks for scores in four consecutive games earlier this season, also an NCAA record.

"Every time I run one back, it gives our team a little bit extra push, extra momentum," Davis said. "Today, we really needed it."

Diles gave Tulsa the lead for good when he rammed his way in from the 1 with 22 seconds left in the third quarter. He added a 5-yard TD run to make it 37-28 early in the fourth quarter after Michael LeDet's second interception.

Howard Jackson cut it to 37-35 with a 31-yard touchdown run -- his third of the day -- but UTEP could never take the lead. Schneider missed a 56-yard field-goal try with 3:01 to play and LeDet made his third interception with 28 seconds left to end the Miners' final possession.

"The only thing I screwed up was not playing Michael (LeDet) at wide receiver," Tulsa coach Steve Kragthorpe said. "I didn't know he caught the ball that well."

Schneider went 0-for-4 on field-goal attempts, also missing from 51 and 37 yards. Oliver Fletcher blocked a 33-yard try early in the fourth quarter.

The Miners, down 24-7 at the half, let Jordan Palmer air it out in the second half.

After Jackson's 6-yard touchdown run cut the deficit to 10 points, Palmer hooked up with Jayson Boyd for a 52-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline to pull the Miners within 24-21.

Palmer was 21-for-44 for 312 yards, with two touchdowns and three interceptions. After throwing for only 60 yards in the first half, Palmer had 252 yards through the air in the second half.

Jackson, who had 133 yards on 27 carries, put UTEP ahead 28-24 with a 10-yard TD run, but the Miners' only lead lasted less than two minutes.

Quarterback James Kilian said the fact that Tulsa had lost two games in overtime and another on a last-second field goal helped drive his team not to give up although its lead evaporated so quickly.

"We've been down before," Kilian said. "We've been through the peaks and the valleys and I think as a football team, to be successful, you can't get caught up in that. ... You've got to be able to turn the tide and fight adversity."

Kragthorpe credited his defense for making stops when the game was on the line.

"When the ball's rolling downhill with a lot of momentum and they've got it rolling, now we've got to find some way to hunker down and stop that big sucker from getting down the hill," Kragthorpe said. "We did that. We stopped the momentum and reversed the tide."

The win was Tulsa's first over a ranked opponent since it beat 19th-ranked Iowa 27-20 on Sept. 21, 1996.

UTEP, which has already accepted a berth in the Houston Bowl, was trying to win eight games in a row for the first time in school history and keep alive the chance for the school's first 10-win season.