Scores

Final

Tulsa 24

(6-3, 5-0 American)

UCF 17

(4-5, 2-3 American)

8:00 PM ET, November 3, 2011

Bright House Networks Stadium, Orlando, FL

1 2 3 4 T
TLSA 7 6 3 824
UCF 7 7 0 317

Top Performers

Passing: J. Godfrey (UCF) - 226 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: G. Kinne (TLSA) - 14 CAR, 92 YDS

Receiving: J. Worton (UCF) - 4 REC, 87 YDS, 1 TD

Tulsa comes back to remain unbeaten in Conference USA

Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. -- After opening the season with three losses to opponents rankd in the top 10, Tulsa got its season back on track last month with four convincing victories and by maintaining its unblemished record in Conference USA.

So far November is off to a nice start for the Golden Hurricane as well.

G.J. Kinne threw for a go-ahead touchdown and Kevin Fitzpatrick added three field goals as Tulsa hung on to beat Central Florida 24-17 on Thursday night.

It was the Golden Hurricane's first victory this season after trailing at halftime and came despite settling for field goals on three trips inside the red zone.

The Knights (4-5, 2-3) lost at home for the first time this season, while Tulsa (6-3, 5-0) remained unbeaten in the league.

UCF, the defending conference champion, controlled the game early, but failed on a fourth-down pass late in the fourth quarter that allowed Tulsa to run out the clock.

Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship said he was proud of the mettle his team showed in the second half, but said UCF -- which the Golden Hurricane have played twice in the C-USA title game since 2005 -- could have easily walked out with the victory.

"We did not underestimate UCF," Blankenship said. "Road wins in this conference are tough and I count this as a big one. ... They made it tough on us."

Kinne finished 15 of 28 for 203 yards and he led the Golden Hurricane in rushing with 92 yards on 14 carries. Tulsa finished with 251 yards rushing against a UCF defense that came in allowing a league-low 85 yards per game.

It was just enough to outduel Knights' quarterback Jeff Godfrey, who had one of his best games throwing for 226 yards and one touchdown.

"It was a big win," Kinne said. "It wasn't pretty at times. But in the fourth quarter we got the job done when we needed to. That was really our first close game of the year. ... So this was a good one for our team. We're going to need that down the road."

Blankenship gave a lot of the credit to his quarterback, who he said "willed us down the field" with his scrambling and throwing ability in the fourth quarter.

Tulsa entered Thursday's game injury-free but played part of the second half without running back Trey Watts, who left the game after taking a blow to the head.

Cornerback Milton Howell, who tied a school record with three interceptions last week, was also shaken up several times in the game.

The Golden Hurricane came in having outscored their opponents 154-71 in the last four wins, but the Knights dominated time of possession and used a field goal to briefly take a 17-16 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Tulsa needed just over three minutes to drive 72 yards to take a 24-17 lead on a 16-yard pass from Kinne to Clay Sears with 8:23 to play.

UCF responded quickly, using a 41-yard pass from Godfrey to J.J. Worton to set up a first and goal. But a fourth-down pass by Godfrey into the end zone was incomplete.

Tulsa took over on downs and was able to run out the clock.

"It was a game of big plays, and we didn't make enough of them," Knights coach George O'Leary said. "I told the players the effort was good. It's just that when you have the opportunity to make plays, you've got to make them. We didn't do that."

The Knights put their pregame strategy of controlling time of possession into action in the first half, holding the ball for more than 19 minutes.

UCF went to work quickly on its opening drive, though, needing only seven plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Godfrey to Worton.

Tulsa tied it two series later following a 19-yard run by Willie Carter -- the first offensive score the Knights have given up at home this season. But that momentum was short-lived with the Golden Hurricane having to settle for field goals on two subsequent trips inside the red zone later in the half.

With more than five minutes to work with before halftime, the Knights were able to add their second touchdown -- a 6-yard run by Ronnie Weaver -- to take a 1-point halftime lead.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
TLSA
UCF
1st Downs2818
Total Yards454381
Passing203226
Rushing251155
Penalties0-06-64
3rd Down Conversions6-135-12
4th Down Conversions1-21-3
Turnovers10
Possession27:1032:50

Passing Leaders

TulsaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Kinne15/282037.310
UCFC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Godfrey16/232269.810

Rushing Leaders

TulsaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Kinne14926.6015
Watts9637.0033
UCFCARYDSAVGTDLG
Godfrey14463.307
Weaver9364.017

Receiving Leaders

TulsaRECYDSAVGTDLG
James67412.3016
Carter36521.7032
UCFRECYDSAVGTDLG
Worton48721.8141
McDuffie48120.3036

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERTLSAUCF
TD10:57J.J. Worton 28 Yd Pass From Jeff Godfrey (Shawn Moffitt Kick) 07
TD03:17Willie Carter 19 Yd Run (Kevin Fitzpatrick Kick) 77
SECOND QUARTERTLSAUCF
FG11:51Kevin Fitzpatrick 36 Yd 107
FG05:37Kevin Fitzpatrick 25 Yd 137
TD01:07Ronnie Weaver 6 Yd Run (Shawn Moffitt Kick) 1314
THIRD QUARTERTLSAUCF
FG12:36Kevin Fitzpatrick 25 Yd 1614
FOURTH QUARTERTLSAUCF
FG11:55Shawn Moffitt 29 Yd 1617
TD08:23Clay Sears 16 Yd Pass From G.J. Kinne (G.J. Kinne Pass To Bryan Burnham For Two-Point Conversion) 2417