It was chilly in Tulsa but TU quarterback Dan Evans got hot in the Miami Beach Bowl and led the Golden Hurricane to a convincing 55-10 win over Central Michigan.
Evans passed for 304 yards and five touchdowns. Evans his 28 of 38 passing attempts and led the Golden Hurricane (10-3) to scores in their first nine possessions.
Evans capped his Tulsa career by climbing into the top of the TU record book in touchdown passes (84), total offense (11,752) and 300-yard passing games (16). Evans already held the school records for passing completions, attempts and yardage.
Tulsa was better in all phases. Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said his team was well prepared.
“We’re in pretty good condition,” Montgomery said. “We’ve been doing this all year. Our guys are used to it. They just want to go faster.
“Defensively, we did a good job of being physical against the run. We’ve done a good job at the point in the pass breakups.”
Keevan Lucas caught three touchdown passes. Chris Minter and Josh Atkinson each caught a touchdown pass. Running back D’Angelo Brewer rushed for 104 yards and James Flanders added 100 more yards on the ground.
The icing on the cake was when defensive lineman Jesse Brubaker intercepted a pass and ran it back 66 yards for the final Tulsa touchdown.
A 40-yard catch by Atkinson helped him end the season with more than 1,000 receiving yards. That was quite an achievement as Tulsa became the first college to ever have a quarterback (Evans) pass for more than 3,000 yards, two 1,000-yard-plus rushers (Flanders and Brewer) and two 1,000-yard-plus receivers (Atkinson and Lucas).
Brewer and Flanders became the second tandem in school history to each rush for 1,000 yards in the same season.
Montgomery improved his head coaching record to 16-10. In his first season last year, Montgomery led Tulsa to the Independence Bowl.
Central Michigan quarterback Cooper Rush had a rough outing, hitting only 24 of 49 passes for 241 yards and three interceptions. UCM running back Jahray Hayes rushed for his team’s only touchdown.
Tulsa had 34 first downs, compared to only 19 for UCM. The Golden Hurricane converted 10 of 15 third downs with Central Michigan was held to five of 14.
Central Michigan (6-7) ended the season losing five of their last six games. In September, UCM beat Oklahoma State when a controversial call gave Central Michigan a final play after time expired. Those officials were later suspended for making a bad call.
Tulsa made its 21st bowl game appearance in school history, with a 10-11 record in bowl games, and has won five of its last seven. Tulsa made its 10th bowl appearance in the last 14 seasons
Tulsa has scored 40+ points in nine games this year, posting an 8-1 record. Tulsa’s offense has eight 300+ rushing games this year, breaking the previous record of six 100+ rushing games that was established three times before. In 25 games under Montgomery, Tulsa has scored over 40 points 16 times and has posted a 13-3 record when doing so. Tulsa has had 34 scoring drives in regulation under two minutes this season, including 10 under one minute. Tulsa has gone over 500 yards of total offense in 15 games over the last two seasons under Montgomery, including six times gaining over 600 yards. Tulsa had seven 500+ games last year, including three 600+ games. This year, Tulsa has nine 500+ games, including three over 600 yards.
Tulsa had seven American Athletic Conference all-league selections as voted on by the conference coaches. All seven, four first-team and three second-team selections were all on the offensive side of the ball.
Two running backs, one receiver and four offensive linemen earned all-conference accolades. First-team selections were Lucas, Flanders, OG Blake Belcher and C Chandler Miller. Second team honors went to OG Tyler Bowling, OT Evan Plagg and Brewer.