The University of Tulsa rallied from a 17-14 halftime deficit, scoring 21 unanswered points in the second half, to defeat Louisiana-Monroe 35-17 Thursday night in the season-opener for both teams.
Tulsa quarterback Paul Smith connected on 22-of-31 for 307 yards and three touchdowns, two of which came in the second half.
Tulsa scored on its first two possessions of the second half on touchdown passes of 15 and 41 yards from Smith. The senior signal-caller hit A.J. Whitmore on the first play after a roughing the passer call prolonged the drive. Trae Johnson caught the 41-yard strike from Smith, extending the Hurricane lead to 28-17 with 6:24 to play in the third quarter.
The Golden Hurricane struck quickly in the first quarter taking just 1:50 off the clock before Smith connected with Tarrion Adams from 25 yards out on a swing pass down the sideline. Smith was 2-for-3 on the opening drive, also hitting Charles Clay for 23 yards.
The Warhawks answered the Tulsa touchdown with a 36-yard field goal by Cole Wilson, who hit 14-of-15 last season and has now made 12 consecutive kicks dating back to Oct. 14, 2006.
Louisiana-Monroe took the lead for the first time thanks to a Tulsa miscue. Hurricane center Jody Whaley couldn't connect out of the shotgun, and Warhawks linebacker Matt Freeman scooped up the loose ball and ran it back 46 yards for the touchdown.
Adams scored his second touchdown of the game from five yards out on a draw capping a seven-play 79-yard drive taking just 1:33 off the clock late in the first quarter.
Louisiana-Monroe took a 17-14 lead when Kinsmon Lancaster hit LaGregory Sapp with 4:49 remaining in the opening half. Sapp made an acrobatic catch before falling out-of-bounds. Lancaster finished the game 7-for-21 for 66 yards.
The Hurricane's last score came on a four-yard touchdown run by Chris Chamberlain with 6:47 to play in the fourth quarter. Chamberlain, a starting linebacker, took a direct snap from center.
Louisiana-Monroe tailback Calvin Dawson rushed for 150 yards on 24 carries, his ninth career 100-yard rushing game; Dawson went over 2,000 yards for his career in the first quarter.