TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Former Tulsa defensive coordinator Todd
Graham brought an opportunistic defense back to his old stomping
The result was his Rice Owls took advantage of four Tulsa
turnovers and a blocked punt in a 41-38 double-overtime victory
Rice (5-5, 4-2 Conference-USA) recorded its fourth consecutive
win although Tulsa quarterback Paul Smith threw for a career-high
308 yards and TU had two backs rush for more than 100 yards.
Graham, the first-year head coach at Rice who was Tulsa's
defensive coordinator the past three years, sealed the win when
quarterback Chase Clement found Jarett Dillard for a 25-yard
touchdown pass in the second overtime.
"We knew Tulsa would move the football, we just had to make
sure we got turnovers," Graham said. "I am really proud of how
the defense is coming along, they kept us in the game for the most
"And offensively, we scored 28 points on the number one defense
in the league. I coached those guys and know how good they are. But
we were not going to be denied," he said.
The overtime grab was the third touchdown reception of the game
for Dillard, who also caught an 11-yard strike from Clement in the
first overtime and a career-long 65-yard scoring pass late in the
first half that gave the Owls a 20-7 halftime lead.
Tulsa rolled up a season-high 568 yards but had little to show
for it. Smith completed 17 of 29 passes including seven receptions
for 145 yards by Ryan Bugg. Tarrion Adams ran for 116 yards and
Coutney Tennial added 109 yards, including two rushing touchdowns
and a third on a 36-yard screen pass.
"We did make some mistakes today, but again our guys continued
to battle back," said Tulsa coach Steve Kragthorpe. "You have to
congratulate Rice, they made a play at the end. I thought our guys
showed a lot of heart and a lot of character, but today we just
came up a little short."
Tulsa had to drive 86 yards to tie the game toward the end of
regulation after Rice capitalized on TU's fourth turnover, a
dropped punt by Idris Moss at the TU 21-yard line.
Clement scored on a 9-yard run and Quinton Smith bulled in for
the two-point conversion to put Rice ahead 28-21 with 2:52 to play.
Smith put together a masterful drive to tie the game, completing
four-of-four passes for 80 yards and covering the final three yards
on a bootleg.
Both teams scored touchdowns in the first overtime, Rice first
on the 11-yard grab by Dillard. Tulsa had to go to fourth down
twice, but Smith completed a 17-yard pass to Donnie Johnson on
fourth-and-7, then scored on fourth down from inside the 1 on a
Tulsa had to settle for a 39-yard field goal by Jarod Tracy in
the second overtime. Rice went to third-and-10 before Clement found
his favorite target.
Dillard now has a Rice record 21 career touchdown grabs, a
league-leading 16 in 2006 and has caught at least one touchdown
pass in a nation-leading 14 consecutive games.
Clement completed 14 of 36 passes for 209 yards and the three
touchdowns. Dillard had eight receptions for 137 yards.