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Win over SMU Has Golden Hurricane Ranked for 1st Time Since 2010

KWGS News File photo

No. 25 Tulsa is ranked in The Associated Press college football poll for the first time in 10 years after a double-digit comeback win against a ranked opponent.

Zach Smith threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns to help Tulsa recover from a 21-point second quarter deficit and beat No. 19 SMU 28-24 on Saturday night.

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 with 2:11 remaining.

“The good thing about Zach is that he does bounce back,” Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said. “He doesn’t let things weigh heavy on him. He’s resilient, he’s confident, he knows what he can do and it’s just about getting into that rhythm.”

T.K. Wilkerson rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown for Tulsa (4-1, 4-0 American Athletic). Keylon Stokes had eight receptions for 122 yards and Josh Johnson made eight catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns.

It was the third time this season the Golden Hurricane 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. It’s the first time in Tulsa history they’ve had two wins over ranked opponents in the same season.

“We’ve been in this position before throughout the season and we’ve come back and won the game, so we knew we could do it,” Smith said. “There wasn’t any panic, there wasn’t any stress, we just had to come out and just start chipping away. It feels really good to get a win like that, especially being down by that much.”

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.

The AP Top 25 was mostly stagnant Sunday after four of the top five teams did not play and only one ranked team, SMU, lost this weekend.

The Golden Hurricane were last ranked in the final poll of the 2010 season at No. 24. The last time Tulsa was ranked during the regular season was two years before that, when coach Todd Graham had the Golden Hurricane as high at No. 19.

Alabama is No. 1 for the second straight week, with 60 first-place votes. No. 2 Notre Dame received one first-place vote and No. 3 Ohio State got the other. The rest of the top eight was unchanged: Clemson is No. 4, followed by Texas A&M, Florida, Cincinnati and BYU.

Indiana moved up one spot to ninth — the Hoosiers’ best ranking since they were fourth in the 1967 poll — heading into a matchup with Ohio State on Saturday. Indiana played in its only top-10 matchup in school history after that 1967 season, facing No. 1 Southern California as the fourth-ranked team in the country in the Rose Bowl.

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