Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

September 2, 2012

Tulsa fades late in loss to Cyclones

AMES, Iowa — For about six minutes, Tulsa looked like the kind of team that could put up points in bunches in 2012.

For the rest of its opener, the Golden Hurricane stumbled to a sloppy loss behind a new quarterback.

Steele Jantz threw for a career-high 281 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score as Iowa State beat Tulsa 38-23 Saturday to win its ninth opener in 10 years.

Cody Green had 198 yards passing and two touchdowns in his first career start for Tulsa since transferring from Nebraska. But he also had a pair of interceptions and completed just 23 of 49 passes as Tulsa scored 10 points below its average output from 2011.

"I feel good about the way he came out, the way he delivered it," Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship said of Green. "I'd like for him to have handled the pressure at the end a little better — and I'm talking about the pass rush pressure. That's where the lack of playing a lot of games recently probably hurt him."

Shontrelle Johnson added a career-high 120 yards rushing for the Cyclones, who scored 24 straight points and held off a late rally by the Golden Hurricane.

Jantz threw and ran for second-quarter touchdowns to help Iowa State move ahead by as much as 31-16 late in the third quarter.

Green's 4-yard touchdown pass to Keyarris Garrett brought Tulsa within 31-23 in the fourth quarter. But the Golden Hurricane's final drive fizzled when Deon Broomfield intercepted Green with 2:04 left.

Johnson's 5-yard TD run on the next play sealed the win for Iowa State.

"It was an average day offensively for us, especially in this high-powered offense," Green said. "It's designed to score at any given point in the game."

But Tulsa got nearly all its points in a 6:25 stretch late in the first quarter.

By the time Tulsa threatened again, it was in major comeback mode.

The Cyclones took control with a 12-play, 82-yard scoring drive powered by the running game. James White went up the middle through a big hole for a 6-yard touchdown, putting Iowa State ahead by 15 with 5:08 left in the third.

Tulsa's stagnant attack got a major boost from Trey Watts, who stunned the Cyclones with a 77-yard run to set up Green's TD pass to Garrett. The Golden Hurricane even had a chance at the game-tying score before Green's pass was picked off by Broomfield.

Broomfield brought it back 51 yards, and Johnson put the perfect capper on his return from a neck injury in 2011 with a touchdown run.

"We'd move the ball, move the ball, then shoot ourselves in the foot," Watts said. "Miss a block here, miss a block there, drop a snap."

Jantz, who beat out sophomore Jared Barnett for the starting job, floated a near-perfect ball to Josh Lenz for a 43-yard touchdown with 7:51 left in the first quarter, putting the Cyclones up 7-0.

But Tulsa answered with a safety, a 1-yard TD run on fourth down from Ja'Terian Douglas and a two-point conversion to go up 10-7. Jantz then missed high to an open receiver, and Demarco Nelson's interception set up a 6-yard touchdown pass from Green to Thomas Roberson that gave Tulsa a 16-7 lead.

But Jantz answered with a 5-yard touchdown run and a 7-yard touchdown pass to Ernst Brun. Iowa State's defense stiffened as well, and Edwin Arceo's 30-yard field goal allowed the Cyclones to go into the break with a 24-16 lead.

Jantz finished 32 of 45 passing — far above his meager 53.3 completion percentage of 2011 — and just one pick.

The last time Green was in Ames, he led Nebraska to a dramatic overtime win over the Cyclones, 31-30, in 2010. But the Huskers coaching staff seemed more comfortable playing Rex Burkhead out of the Wildcat formation than Green behind center.

Green had his moments on Saturday. But Tulsa's offense was simply too inconsistent to pull off yet another road win to open the year, as the Golden Hurricane fell to 3-3 in its last six openers, all on the road.

Still, Blankenship liked what he saw out of Green — even pointing to the large number of drops Tulsa's receivers had.

"I think we have a quarterback we can win with, and we have to help him learn how to manage a game. His mistakes are going to be very correctable," Blankenship said.

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