Golden Hurricane win Miami Beach Bowl to cap 10-win season
6:37 PM, Dec 19, 2016
6:48 PM, Dec 19, 2016
MIAMI -- Dane Evans and Tulsa put up huge numbers all season, and did it again at the Miami Beach Bowl.
Evans passed for 304 yards and five touchdowns in his final college game, three of those scoring throws going to Keevan Lucas, and Tulsa rolled past Central Michigan 55-10 on Monday afternoon at Marlins Park.
Evans completed 28 of 38 passes for the Golden Hurricane (10-3), who finished with six wins in the season's final seven games. It capped a record-setting career for Evans, who became Tulsa's leader with 84 touchdown throws and -- as a big baseball fan -- said it was a thrill to play in a big-league park.
"If anyone knows me, they know I don't go into a game hoping I get 300 and five touchdowns," said Evans, also the school leader in passing yards. "I just want to win."
Tulsa's offense got points on its first eight possessions, plus another touchdown when Jesse Brubaker ran an interception back 66 yards for a score. The Golden Hurricane -- who weren't stopped with Evans on the field -- turned it over on downs in their final two drives, the second of those a merciful kneel-down with 1:44 left at the Central Michigan 5.
Tulsa finished the season averaging 42.5 points and 527 yards per game. The Golden Hurricane outgained Central Michigan 581-355.
"We've had a really good season and this is a really good football team," Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said. "I don't know if we've gotten the respect across the country that we deserve."
Cooper Rush was 24 for 49 passing for 241 yards for Central Michigan (6-7), throwing three interceptions in his final game with the Chippewas. Jahray Hayes ran for Central Michigan's lone touchdown.
"We certainly felt like we matched up a little better than what we demonstrated today," Central Michigan coach John Bonamego said. "We just didn't execute at a fundamental level."
"I just wanted the win today and I'm glad that we got that," Lucas said. "Three touchdowns, that's just how it happened."
Central Michigan: Rush finished with 12,894 yards -- 11 shy of matching Dan LeFevour's Mid-American Conference record of 12,905. His last attempt as time expired would have given him the record, but fell incomplete. "I was trying to get completions," Rush said. ... The Chippewas went 1-5 in their final six games, and 3-7 after a 3-0 start. ... This was the third straight bowl trip for Central Michigan, but the Chippewas went 0-3 in them.
Tulsa: This wasn't even Tulsa's biggest bowl win. It topped Bowling Green 63-7 at the GMAC Bowl to close the 2007 season. ... Tulsa went 10 for 15 on third downs, and never punted.
HURRICANE HISTORY, TULSA VARIETY
Atkinson went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season. That made Tulsa the first FBS school to ever feature a 3,000-yard passer (Evans), two 1,000-yard rushers (Brewer and Flanders) and two 1,000-yard receivers (Lucas and Atkinson). Evans gave Montgomery all the credit, noting Tulsa had five wins in the two seasons before the coach arrived and has 16 in two years since. "Shows you what that man means," Evans said.
HURRICANE HISTORY, MIAMI VARIETY
Marlins Park is built basically on the same site as the famed Orange Bowl -- the home field for the Miami Hurricanes for many years -- stood before it was demolished. One of the replay officials Monday was Terry Porter, who threw the infamous late-arriving flag in the Fiesta Bowl that decided the 2002 national title. Porter made a still-debated call that extended the game in overtime, and Miami lost to Ohio State in double OT.
Central Michigan: It's time to find Rush's replacement. The 2017 season starts Aug. 31 at home against Rhode Island.
Tulsa: Like the Chippewas, the Golden Hurricane also need a new quarterback. Next season starts Sept. 2 at Oklahoma State.