G.J. Kinne, Tulsa’s Defense Defeat Houston as Hurricane Wins Fourth Straight
Houston, Texas — Marco Nelson’s school record-tying third interception with 5:39 left in the game helped seal Tulsa’s 28-25 victory over the Houston Cougars in front of 32,046 fans at Robertson Stadium. The victory kept alive Tulsa’s pursuit of the Conference USA West Division title.
Tulsa improved to 7-3 overall and 4-2 in C-USA action, while the Cougars fell to 5-5 overall and 4-3 in league play. The win was the fourth consecutive for the Hurricane and it was the first Tulsa victory in Houston over the Cougars since 1993.
Nelson’s third pick-off of the game came with 5:39 left on the clock and stopped a Houston drive at the Hurricane 21-yard line. The Tulsa offense took over at their own 28-yard line and burnt off the final minutes with an 11-play, 46-yard drive.
Tulsa’s defense was dominant in the contest with five takeaways, all on interceptions, three by the freshman Nelson and two by junior Curnelius Arnick. On offense, G.J. Kinne rushed for a career-best 190 yards and one TD, while passing for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
Four of Tulsa’s interceptions came in the first half, and the Hurricane offense converted two of those takeaways into 14 points to take a 21-7 halftime lead.
Houston opened the second half scoring with a 32-yard Matt Hogan field goal, making the score 21-10 at the 11:16 mark. The Hurricane took its second possession 80 yards in 11 plays, taking 5:03 off the clock, as Kinne ran in from one yard out for a 28-10 Tulsa lead. It would be the last score for the Hurricane.
That’s when Houston put its’ offense into gear, scoring the final 15 points of the game.
The Cougars wasted little time in responding to Tulsa’s touchdown, taking just 2:06 off the clock and scoring on a 19-yard pass from Piland to James Cleveland. The touchdown cut Tulsa’s lead to 11 points, 28-17, with 2:05 remaining in the third stanza. After Tulsa failed on a fourth-and-four from the Houston 34-yard line, the Cougars took just one play to cut the lead to three points as Piland threw 66 yards to Kierrie Johnson for a TD. Houston added the two-point conversion to make the score 28-25 with 12:16 remaining in the contest.
The Hurricane began the game in a flurry, scoring on its’ opening drive by going 80 yards in 10 plays to cover the first four minutes of the game. Alex Singleton ran up the middle for the final two yards. Houston responded with a march of their own that put the Cougars at the Hurricane 12-yard line before Nelson had his first interception in the end zone at the 8:24 mark of the first quarter. The ball was tipped by Tulsa’s Charles Davis, and picked off by Nelson.
Houston’s next possession ended in Nelson’s second interception at the Tulsa 15-yard line, stopping another Cougar scoring opportunity.
After turning the ball over on its first two possessions, the Cougars got on the scoreboard with its’ first seven points of the game on its third offensive drive. Houston went 54 yards in seven plays to tie the score 7-7 on a Piland 14-yard pass to Justin Johnson with 13:17 remaining in the second quarter.
In the second quarter, it was Curnelius Arnick’s turn to grab a couple interceptions. Both of his pick-offs, the first of his career, came in the second quarter and gave the Hurricane offense the ball in Houston territory both times. The Tulsa offense converted on both possessions, going 45 yards on four plays for the first seven points and 10 yards in two plays for the second score.
G.J. Kinne, after running 30 yards to the Cougars four-yard line on the second play from scrimmage, threw four yards to Jameel Owens for the first of those two touchdown, giving Tulsa a 14-7 lead after the PAT.
After Arnick’s second interception, Kinne threw five yards to Clay Sears for Tulsa’s third touchown of the game with 3:54 remaining before halftime.
At the intermission, Tulsa gained 222 total yards, while 138 of those yards came on the ground as G.J.Kinne gained 106 of those yards. Houston gained 198 yards of offense, but suffered four turnovers against the Hurricane defense.
Tulsa returns to close out the regular season with two home games. The Hurricane will host the UTEP Miners next Saturday at 1 pm at H.A. Champman Stadium.
|1||11:00||Tulsa||Alex Singleton 2 run (Fitzpatrick kick)||7-0|
|2||13:17||UH||David Piland 14 pass to Justin Johnson (Hogan kick)||7-7|
|2||5:09||Tulsa||G.J. Kinne 4 pass to Jameel Owens (Fitzpatrick kick)||14-7|
|2||3:54||Tulsa||G.J. Kinne 5 pass to Clay Sears (Fitzpatrick kick)||21-7|
|3||11:16||UH||Matt Hogan 32 FG||21-10|
|3||4:11||Tulsa||G.J. Kinne 1 run (Fitzpatrick kick)||28-10|
|3||2:05||UH||David Piland 19 pass to James Cleveland (Hogan kick)||28-17|
|4||12:16||UH||David Piland 66 pass to Kierrie Johnson (Piland pass to Ewards)||28-25|
Tulsa Post-Game Notes vs. Houston
- Tulsa won the toss and elected to receive
- Tulsa scored on its first possession for the sixth time in the last seven games.
- Marco Nelson had two first quarter interceptions. It was the first time that a Tulsa player had at least two interceptions in one game since Sept. 20, 2008 when Charles Davis and Roy Roberts each had two interceptions against New Mexico.
- Nelson had his third interception of the game at the 5:39 mark of the fourth quarter. His three interceptions tie a school record which had been set by several Golden Hurricane players in the past. The latest was Michael LeDet’s three interceptions against UTEP in 2004.
- Tulsa’s defense has now forced multiple turnovers for the eighth time this season, and it marks the seventh straight game that the Hurricane forced two or more turnovers.
- G.J. Kinne’s interception on his 11th passing attempt snapped his consecutive pass streak without an interception at 194 passes thrown. He had gone the previous five games without a pass interception.
- Curnelius Arnick had the third and fourth interceptions of the game for the Hurricane. It was Arnick’s first career interceptions. It was the first time since Sept. 20, 2008 against New Mexico that Tulsa had two players with two interceptions in the same game.
- Tulsa intercepted five Houston passes. It was the third time this year that Tulsa had multiple interception games. Tulsa had three pick-offs against Bowling Green and Notre Dame.
- G.J. Kinne had 106 rushing yards in the first half. It marked the second time in his career that he has rushed for 100 yards in a single game. His previous 100-yard rushing game came last year against Houston when he gained 100 yards on 16 carries.
- Kinne’s 100 yards rushing was Tulsa’s first 100+ rushing game since Kinne rushed for 100 yards last year on November 7th against Houston. It is also the 14th time that a Tulsa quarterback has rushed for 100 yards or more.
- Kinne’s 190 rushing yards is the third-most rushing yards for a Hurricane quarterback in school history. The top two QB rushing performances came from Steve Gage, as he rushed for 206 yards against Wichita State in 1985 and 212 yards against New Mexico in 1986.
- Kinne’s two passing touchdowns gives him 44 career touchdown passes. The passes were also the 21st and 22nd of the season, moving him into a fifth-place tie on the single-season TD passes list.
- Damaris Johnson had 61 yards on three kickoff returns. He is now only three yards shy of tying the NCAA career record for kickoff return yards.