Zach Smith threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns to help Tulsa recover from a 21-point second quarter deficit and upset No. 19 SMU 28-24 on Saturday.
After throwing an interception and losing a fumble that led to another touchdown on his first two possessions, Smith bounced back. He completed 26 of 38 passes, including a 4-yard touchdown toss to James Palmer for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:11 remaining.
It was the third time this season the Golden Hurricane (4-1, 4-0 American Athletic Conference) won after trailing by double digits in the first half, and the second time they did it against a ranked team. They trailed 23-5 against No. 11 UCF on Oct. 3 before rallying to win 34-26.
For the fifth straight meeting, SMU and Tulsa played a game decided by six points or fewer, including an SMU triple overtime win last season.
Shane Buechele completed 18 of 36 passes for 200 yards and one touchdown, along with one interception, for SMU (7-2, 5-2), which missed an opportunity to move ahead of Tulsa into second place in the American standings.
Tulsa was playing just its second home game of the season in front of a socially-distanced crowd of 3,940.
SMU: The Mustangs, who entered the game 10th in the nation with 13 takeaways, got two more on Tulsa's first two possessions and they played a big role in their early lead. , Brandon Crossley recorded his team-leading fourth interception when he picked off Smith and returned it 18 yards for the game's first touchdown 4:13 into the opening quarter. Then Smith dropped the ball as he was about to pass, and Elijah Chatman recovered the fumble on the Tulsa 19. Four plays later, Buechele connected with Kylen Granson for a 22-yard touchdown pass to give the Mustangs a 14-0 lead.
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Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane continued its frustrating habit of starting out slowly. Through five games, Tulsa has scored 12 points in the first quarter and average 74.8 yards. They have also committed seven of 10 turnovers in the first quarter.
SMU, which had reached a high point of No. 16 after starting out the season 5-0, should drop a few spots, if not all the way out of the Top 25.
Tulsa, which received votes in the last poll, could vault into the Top 25.
SMU: The Mustangs will be back home next Saturday against Houston.
Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane have a short turnaround and host Tulane on Thursday night.