Tulsa came within a yard of having a chance at a 2-point conversion to send the game into overtime despite at one point being behind SMU by a score of 35-6. But the Mustangs held on, moving their record to 6-6 and qualifying for a bowl game.
SMU held a 35-6 lead after running back Zach Line scored his third touchdown of the game late in the third quarter. Tulsa, wanting to finish the Conference USA slate unbeaten, fought back from there, scoring 21 unanswered points. Quarterback Cody Green connected with Willie Carter for a 31-yard scoring strike near the end of the third quarter to get back to within three scores, then found Keyarris Garrett in the end zone early in the fourth quarter.
Needing a touchdown and 2-point conversion to make it a one-score game, Tulsa's Alex Singleton ran for a 1-yard touchdown and Green found Carter to complete the 2-point try with a little more than five minutes remaining. That left SMU needing to string together a decent drive to chew some clock, which the Mustangs did behind quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who ran for a first down and threw for another.
Still, Tulsa got the ball back with about a minute left in the game, albeit at their own 6-yard line thanks to SMU punterMike Loftus. However, the Golden Hurricane were stopped at the SMU 1-yard line as Green's Hail Mary attempt fell short of the end zone.
Gilbert threw for 113 yards and a touchdown and gained 111 yards and a score on the ground. Line rushed 23 times for 81 yards in addition to the three touchdowns.
Green completed 36 of 64 passes for 413 yards and three touchdowns for the Golden Hurricane, who will face the UCF Knights for the Conference USA championship Dec. 1.
This story originally appeared at SB Nation.