By John Zenor , Associated Press
(MOBILE, AL) – Giving Paul Smith and the nation’s top-rated offense extra chances can lead to disaster – and a plethora of points. Just ask Bowling Green.
Smith had his NCAA-record 14th consecutive 300-yard passing game and Tulsa converted four fumble recoveries into first- half touchdowns on the way to a 63-7 romp in the GMAC Bowl on Sunday night.
It was the largest margin of victory in bowl history, topping Alabama’s 61-6 win against Syracuse in the 1953 Orange Bowl.
With all that help, the Golden Hurricane (10-4) ran up a 35-0 halftime lead against the Falcons and capped Todd Graham’s first season as coach by reaching 10 wins for the first time since 1991. Tulsa never had managed more than 31 points in 14 bowl games.
“We did exactly what we set out to do, so it was an incredible win,” Graham said. “I’ll never forget this year.”
Tulsa will do it without the departing Smith, who passed for 312 yards and five touchdowns.
He broke the record of 13 300- yard efforts in a row he shared with Brigham Young’s Ty Detmer, whose streak stretched across the 1989 and 1990 seasons.
Smith and Tarrion Adams joined Houston’s David Klingler and Chuck Weatherspoon as the NCAA’s only 5,000-yard passing and 1,000-yard rushing tandems.
Tulsa outgained Bowling Green (8-5) 562-229 in total yards.
Adams scored touchdowns running, passing and receiving before halftime and ran for 112 yards.
Bowling Green lost three fumbles in its territory in the first quarter and never recovered.
Taking matters from awful to worse, quarterback Tyler Sheehan suffered a sprained left ankle with 24 seconds left in the first half and didn’t return.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Golden Hurricane became the first team in NCAA history to have a 5,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and three 1,000- yard receivers. Smith entered the game needing 247 yards passing and 45 yards receiving from Charles Clay, who reached the milestone in the fourth quarter.