Damaris Johnson had a career day Saturday, gaining 322 all-purpose and scoring three touchdowns as the University of Tulsa easily defeated the Rice Owls 64-27 before 19,036 fans at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Johnson’s 134 kickoff return yards ran his career total to 3,054 yards as he became the all-time Conference USA record-holder for career kickoff return yards. Add 22 rushing yards and 163 receiving yards to his totals and Johnson improved his career all-purpose yard mark to 6,824 ranking him 10th all-time in the NCAA.
Tulsa became bowl eligible with the win, as they improved to 6-3 overall and 2-7 overall. Rice fell to 2-7 overall and 1-3 in C-USA.
Quarterback G.J. Kinne enjoyed a great day as well, throwing for 371 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 46 yards. In total, TU produced 612 yards of offense, by way of 439 through the air and 173 on the ground.
Rice got on the board first, taking their first possession 58 yards and scoring on a 50-yard pass from Nick Fanuzzi to Patrick Randolph just over a minute into the opening quarter. Tulsa responded two minutes later when Kinne connected on a 12-yard scoring strike with Trae Johnson. Kevin Fitzpatrick‘s point-after attempt was blocked and Rice held a 7-6 lead with 11:04 remaining in the first.
A Rice fumble on the following kickoff was recovered by James Roberson at the Rice 43-yard line, and from there Tulsa took over and never looked back. Three plays later Kinne hit Damaris Johnson on a 19-yard touchdown pass to put the Hurricane on top 13-7 at the 10:06 mark. Another Rice fumble on the first play of the following drive led to a short drive for Tulsa that resulted in a missed field goal attempt.
Following a Rice punt, Tulsa went 90-yards in six plays with Damaris Johnson catching a 41-yard touchdown pass from Genesis Cole to increase the lead to 20-7 with 3:43 left in the first.
Tulsa went on to score touchdowns on it’s next five drives to widen the gap. For the second straight week, Tulsa’s special teams factored in the scoring.
Down 41-7, Rice took the first possession of the second-half 83-yards on six plays to score. The following extra-point attempt was blocked and John Flanders returned the ball 67 yards to add two-points to Tulsa’s total. Johnson then fielded the following kickoff and returned it 94-yards for a touchdown to give the Hurricane a 50-13 lead.
Kinne connected with freshman Trey Watts on a 16-yard touchdown pass with 7:45 remaining in the third to make the score 57-13. Rice reached the endzone twice more on five and six yard runs before Alex Singleton closed out the scoring on a one-yard touchdown run with just over a minute remaining in the game. The score was Singleton’s second of the day as he finished with 55 rushing yards.
Tulsa could climb back into the race for the C-USA West Division lead this week as they will take on the co-leading Houston Cougars on the road Saturday in a 7 p.m. contest that will be broadcast by CBS College Sports. Houston and SMU currently hold the division lead as each team owns a division record of 4-2. At 3-2 in conference play, a Tulsa win would move the Hurricane within a half-game of SMU who will be idle this week after a 28-14 loss at UTEP yesterday.
13:26 1st Rice Fanuzzi 50 pass to Randolph (Boswell kick)
11:04 1st Tulsa Kinne 12 pass to T. Johnson (kick blocked)
10:06 1st Tulsa Kinne 19 pass to Da. Johnson (Fitzpatrick kick)
3:43 1st Tulsa Cole 41 pass to Da. Johnson (Fitzpatrick kick)
13:23 2nd Tulsa Singleton 1 run (Fitzpatrick kick)
7:39 2nd Tulsa Carter 13 run (Fitzpatrick kick)
0:31 2nd Tulsa Kinne 19 pass to T. Roberson (Fitzpatrick kick)
11:48 3rd Rice Cook 55 pass to Willson (kick blocked)
11:48 3rd Tulsa Flanders returned blocked PAT 67 yards
11:35 3rd Tulsa Da. Johnson 94 kickoff return (Fitzpatrick kick)
7:45 3rd Tulsa Kinne 16 pass to Watts (Fitzpatrick kick)
5:07 3rd Rice McGuffie 5 run (Boswell kick)
10:56 4th Rice T. Smith 6 run (Boswell kick)
1:08 4th Tulsa Singleton 1 run (Hulse kick)
CONFERENCE USA SCOREBOARD
Navy 76, East Carolina 35
Tennessee 50, Memphis 14