Turnovers haunt Tulsa, Nevada plows ahead

Updated: October 19, 2003, 3:01 PM ET

TULSA, Okla. -- Tulsa gave more than it took against Nevada, blowing the one statistic coach Steve Kragthorpe considers most important.

The Golden Hurricane and the Wolf Pack entered the game Saturday tied at the top of the Western Athletic Conference in turnover margin at plus-one per game.

By the night's end, Tulsa had thrown two interceptions, lost three fumbles and gained only one interception in return.

"We turned the ball over far too many times and didn't balance it out by getting turnovers," said Kragthorpe, who stresses turnover margin as most indicative of a team's won-loss record. "They took good care of it."

Turnovers weren't the only way Nevada ruined Tulsa's late-game comeback with a 28-21 victory.

Chance Kretschmer returned to play with a vengeance after nursing a shoulder bruise for much of last week's upset at Washington.

He led the Wolf Pack with 171 yards rushing, and his 30-yard touchdown run with 5:54 remaining decided the game.

Kretschmer also scored on Nevada's opening drive and even threw for a touchdown -- a 5-yard throwback to quarterback Andy Heiser. Kretschmer had thrown one other pass to Heiser this season, but it was incomplete.

"It's great to have him back at full speed," coach Chris Tormey said.

With the victory, Nevada is 5-2 for the first time since 1996 and 3-0 for the first time in four years in the Western Athletic Conference.

Tulsa (3-4, 1-2 WAC) trailed 14 points for much of the game, dominated by the Wolf Pack's defense. But Uril Parrish scored twice on fourth-quarter runs of 20 and 2 yards to bring the Golden Hurricane even at 21-21 with 6:17 to go.

"They never quit," Tormey said of a Tulsa team he thought showed confidence. "They play for four quarters. We had to play for four quarters to beat them."

Parrish finished with 148 yards rushing and scored all three of the Golden Hurricane's touchdowns. He was frustrated his team didn't show more emotion early on.

"I just think everybody is waiting for somebody else to make a big play instead of everybody being a playmaker," Parrish said. "In the second half, we come out and we feel the game and we say, `We can beat these guys,' and that's when we are ready to play."

The Golden Hurricane came into the game with four turnovers and ranked in a first place tie nationally for the fewest turnovers lost. Tulsa had gone three games without a fumble and had given up only one fumble previously this season.

The mistakes, Kragthorpe said, "are not insurmountable."

"But, by the same token," he said, "it makes it difficult to win football games when you make mistakes against a team like Nevada."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index