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November 10, 2013

Tulsa falls at ECU

Another game, another four turnovers for Tulsa football. Untimely mistakes continue to mount for the Hurricane, this time leading to a 58-24 loss at East Carolina.

TU scored first, taking an early 7-0 lead on a short Trey Watts touchdown run. The Hurricane then trailed 14-10 in the second quarter and was driving with four minutes to play in the half -- but momentum completely shifted after Tulsa's first turnover.

Quarterback Dane Evans was picked off, and ECU capitalized with a touchdown and 21-10 halftime lead. The Pirates scored again early in the second half for a 28-10 advantage, but Tulsa tried to bounce back.

An 83 yard kickoff return by Ja'Terian Douglas led to a 15-yard touchdown pass from Evans to Watts early in the third period to pull Tulsa within 11 points, 28-17. But then things completely fell apart for the Hurricane.

Evans fumbled after being blindsided, giving ECU a short field. He then had a screen pass tipped and intercepted, and before Tulsa blinked, they were trailing 52-24.

"Honestly, and again guys, I am not talking about the last five, seven, eight minutes but when things were still kind of up in the air, we were forcing them to have to make plays and I thought we were making some plays," said Tulsa head coach Bill Blankenship. "If we get a fourth down stop or a third down stop with our defense, force a field goal; there were some thing's that if you look at that, it would have been easy to fold your tent, but our guys played today and I was very pleased with them."

The salt in the wound came at the end of the game. Third-string QB Joe Calcagni drove TU near the goal line in the game's final minute. On fourth and goal, with only seconds on the clock, a tipped pass was intercepted just inside the end zone and returned 100 yards for an ECU touchdown.

"We knew it would be tough," Blankenship explained. "We had to play well on third downs and I thought we fought really hard. There were some crazy things that happened at the end and the score gets away. I'm talking about the very end. I thought we fought, and I know that's crazy to people that see the score, but I thought we did some really good things."

Tulsa finished with 363 yards of offense, including 188 on the ground against the nation's third-ranked rushing defense. Watts ran for 120 yards and one score on 27 carries, while also making four receptions for 48 yards and a TD.

Dane Evans completed 14-of-33 passes for 142 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

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