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Cincinnati Pulls Away From Tulsa in Second Half to Become Bowl Eligible

The Bearcats were simply too much for the Golden Hurricane on Saturday night, getting a big win to become bowl eligible.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes, you have to go with what works.  Mike Boone was working for the Cincinnati Bearcats against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, as he rushed for 137 yards and three touchdowns to lead Cincy to their sixth win of the season, making them bowl eligible.  Tulsa hung around for much of the game, but the Bearcats were able to make a few more plays to take control and run away with a 49-38 win.

Already thin on defense, the Bearcats were dealt a blow when Bryce Jenkinson was ejected for targeting on Tulsa's opening drive.   The Golden Hurricane drew first blood when Evans hit Conner Floyd on the screen for the 18 yard score, making it 7-0.  Cincinnati answered with a 12 yard TD run by Mike Boone to tie the game at 7, followed by a Gunner Kiel TD pass to Max Morrison to put Cincy up 14-7.

The Tulsa offense was unable to answer, but the defense came through by picking off Kiel on the Bearcats' next drive.  Ramadi Warren answered for the Golden Hurricane, bouncing a 65 yard TD run on 4th and inches to tie the game.

However, the Bearcats kept feeding Boone and he kept delivering.  After a one yard direct snap TD, Cincy retook the lead, 21-14.

In the third, Warren broke another long TD run on fourth and short to tie the game at 21.  The Tulsa defense got another turnover, turning it into three points, but Kiel answered with a 43 yard bomb to Chris Moore to make it 28-24 towards the end of the third.  Then, after recovering a fumble, Cincinnati pulled away on a five yard Tion Green touchdown run to go up 35-24.  Hosey Williams added a 20 yard touchdown run to stretch the Bearcat lead to 42-24, followed by a D'Angelo Brewer touchdown run for the Golden Hurricane.  Boone added his third touchdown run of the night on the ensuing possession, as the Bearcats were able to pull away for the 49-38 win.

As expected, neither defense was able to do much about the opposing offense.  Cincinnati outgained Tulsa 652-588, with Kiel throwing for 386 yards and two touchdowns and Dane Evans going 30-49 for 375 yards and two TDs for Tulsa.  Warren finished with 139 yards on the ground for the Golden Hurricane.  Keyarris Garrett had another huge game for Tulsa as well, finishing with nine catches for 168 yards and a touchdown.  Shaq Washington and Mekale McKay were the leading receivers for Cincy, as Washington had eight catches for 91 yards and McKay pulling in six balls for 101 yards.

Now at 6-4, Cincinnati must travel to red-hot USF next week for a meeting with the Bulls.  While the Bearcat offense can move the ball on anyone, they will be severely tested by an athletic, hard-hitting Bull defense.  Kiel and the rest of the offense must protect the ball better if they want to add a big win to their resume.

As for the Golden Hurricane, the loss drops them to 5-5 on the year.  The postseason is not out of the question for Tulsa, which needs just one win in their final two games to get over the hump.  They face #20 Navy next week.