TULSA — Alex Singleton ran for 100 yards and plunged over the top for a 1-yard score in overtime to lift Tulsa to a 33-27 victory over Central Florida on Saturday in the Conference USA Championship Game.
Tulsa won the C-USA title for the first time since 2005 and is off to the Liberty Bowl.
Singleton came up with just the second 100-yard game of his career, breaking the school record for touchdowns in the process. He also had a 7-yard score in the second quarter to break Tarrion Adams’ mark with his 40th overall touchdown and 39 on the ground.
After Cory Dorris blocked Shawn Moffitt’s 38-yard field goal on Central Florida’s possession to start overtime, Tulsa (10-3) kept the ball on the ground on five consecutive plays. Singleton was initially given a touchdown on second-and-goal, but officials ruled on replay that he was down inside the 1.
That was no problem for the burly back whose specialty is short yardage.
Quarterback Blake Bortles accounted for three touchdowns for Central Florida (9-4).
The Golden Hurricane tied it at 27 with 5:06 remaining when Trey Watts picked up a punt that had been batted forward by Central Florida’s Kemal Ishmael and raced 54 yards up the Tulsa sideline for a touchdown. A.J. Bouye blocked Daniel Schwarz’s extra-point attempt to preserve the tie.
Tulsa limited Latavius Murray to short gains and then forced an incomplete pass by Bortles in overtime, leading to Moffitt’s field goal try.
The Golden Hurricane dumped a cooler on coach Bill Blankenship after what looked like the game-winning touchdown, but got to celebrate again after Singleton’s “second” score. Offensive lineman Jared Grigg zoomed around the field to hold up a Conference USA champions sign to the crowd, and the team mobbed near midfield to accept a bid to the Liberty Bowl.
Central Florida will play in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl.
It was the third time the teams have met in the Conference USA championship game since 2005, and the last chance for it to happen before UCF departs for the Big East next season.
Tulsa won it in ’05, with the Golden Knights taking the crown in ’07. The Golden Hurricane took the rubber match by winning the second meeting between the teams at H.A. Chapman Stadium in three weeks.
Watts, the son of ex-Oklahoma quarterback and congressman J.C. Watts, had 134 yards rushing. Cody Green threw for 153 yards, with just 41 after halftime as the Golden Hurricane relied on their ground game to produce its ninth 200-yard performance of the season.
Bortles threw for 194 yards and a pair of 8-yard touchdown passes to Breshad Perriman and Quincy McDuffie. He also ran for 60 yards and another score.
Murray became the first player in UCF history to rush for touchdowns in eight straight games in a single season, scoring on a 2-yard TD run to cut Tulsa’s lead to 21-20. The extra point was blocked by Trent Martin, but Bortles’ 28-yard scramble put the Golden Knights up 27-21 late in the third quarter.
UCF then had back-to-back three-and-outs before Watts tied it with his return.