Armed Forces Bowl Player Profile & History
Posted Dec 14, 2006

2006 Bell Helicopter Armed Forced Bowl Player Profile, History & More

Tulsa (8-4) vs. Utah (7-5)

Dec. 23, 8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN

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- 2006 Armed Forces Bowl Preview

By Richard Cirminiello

Armed Forces Bowl History
formerly the Fort Worth Bowl
2005 Kansas 42, Houston 13
2004 Cincinnati 32, Marshall 14
2003 Boise State 34, TCU 31

Armed Forces Bowl Player Profile
QB Paul Smith, Tulsa – Paul Smith.  Even the name seems to suggest a certain anonymous quality.  Yet, despite a lack of national notoriety, you could argue that the Golden Hurricane, not the Sooners, has had the steadiest quarterback in the state of Oklahoma over the last two years.  And you’d be right.  As Tulsa prepares for a second consecutive bowl game for the first time since 1965, two men deserve the bulk of the credit, head coach Steve Kragthorpe and his quarterback, Smith, who’s emerged into one of the better kept secrets outside Conference USA.  The junior is a spiffy 17-8 since winning the starting job before the 2005 season, posting a passer efficiency rating above 140 and adding six rushing touchdowns in each of the last two seasons.  The son of a high school football coach, Smith brings leadership, poise and intelligence into the Hurricane huddle, giving the school its most complete quarterback since Jerry Rhome was lighting up the Missouri Valley Conference more than four decades ago.  Coming out of high school, he was offered scholarships by Harvard and West Point and this year was a finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy, which is given to the player that best combines community service with academic and athletic achievement.  Smith is an active member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, doing community service with Desire Street Ministries in New Orleans, and carries of 3.78 GPA in communications.  No Conference USA program will be returning a better all-around signal-caller than Tulsa in 2007, already making a third straight postseason appearance a better than 50/50 proposition.                   

Best Golden Hurricane Bowl Moment – Tulsa’s most impressive postseason win came more than a half century ago, when the Hurricane swooped into Miami and used seven turnovers to upset Georgia Tech in the 1945 Orange Bowl.  This generation, however, will have none of it.  It points to last year’s dramatic come-from-behind Liberty Bowl win over Fresno State that capped a turnaround, nine-win season.  

Best Ute Bowl Moment – Two years ago, the Utes set the bowl bar pretty doggone high for future teams to reach.  Utah got four touchdown passes from Alex Smith, and added an exclamation point to a perfect regular season by completely obliterating Pittsburgh in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl.  The win more than justified the Utes’ selection as the first non-BCS program to ever get invited to a BCS bowl game.   

Tulsa's best win ... Tulsa 20 ... Southern Miss 6
Cauvey Jackson tore off a 59-yard scoring run early in the first quarter for all the points Tulsa would need thanks to a brilliant performance from the defense. Southern Miss gained 243 yards and turned it over twice while only managing two second-quarter Darren McCaleb field goals. Tulsa was able to put it away for good in the fourth quarter on a seven-yard Paul Smith touchdown run and a two-yard Courtney Tennial dash. Linebackers Nelson Coleman and Nick Bunting combined for 27 tackles for the Golden Hurricane.

Tulsa's worst loss ... SMU 34 ... Tulsa 24
Justin Willis threw two touchdown passes and ran for a six-yard score as SMU overcame a 24-7 halftime deficit to score 27 unanswered points pulling away on a 14-yard Blake Warren touchdown run with just over five minutes to play. Tulsa got up early helped by short touchdown runs from Courtney Tennial and Paul Smith along with a 12-yard Idris Moss touchdown catch, but the offense couldn't keep drives going in the second half as SMU held on to the ball for almost 18 minutes. Moss finished with 13 catches for the Golden Hurricane

Utah's best win ...
Utah 20 ... TCU 7
Utah got two touchdown passes from Brett Ratliff to Brett Casteel and the defense forced three turnovers in the fourth quarter to go 2-0 in Mountain West play. TCU got a one-yard Lonta Hobbs touchdown run in the second quarter, but failed to connect on a few chances in the second half and got many of its 310 yards on a garbage time final drive. Louie Sakoda hit field goals from 29 and 32 yards out for the Utes.

Utah's worst loss ...
Wyoming 31 ... Utah 15
Wyoming got out to a 31-0 lead helped by a 24-yard touchdown catch from Michael Ford and a four-yard run from Karsten Sween. The defense got into the act in the second half with Julius Stinson returning an interception 42 yards for a touchdown. Utah finally got on the board with a 35-yard Eric Weddle fumble return for a score, but the offense didn't get in the end zone until just over four minutes to play on a three-yard Derrek Richards touchdown catch.

Utah Bowl History (8-4)
2005 Emerald Utah 38, Georgia Tech 10
2004 Fiesta Utah 35, Pitt 7
2003 Liberty Utah 17, Southern Miss 0
2001 Las Vegas Utah 10, USC 6
1999 Las Vegas Utah 17, Fresno State 16
1996 Copper Wisconsin 38, Utah 10
1994 Freedom Utah 16, Arizona 13
1993 Freedom USC 28, Utah 21
1992 Copper Washington State 31, Utah 28
1964 Liberty Utah 32, West Virginia 6
1946 Pineapple Hawaii 19, Utah 16
1938 Sun Utah 26, New Mexico 0
Tulsa Bowl History (5-8)
2005 Liberty Tulsa 31, Fresno State 24
2004 Humanitarian Georgia Tech 52, Tulsa 10
1991 Freedom Tulsa 28, San Diego State 17
1989 Independence Oregon 27, Tulsa 24
1975 Independence McNeese State 20, Tulsa 16
1965 Bluebonnet Tennessee 27, Tulsa 6
1964 Bluebonnet Tulsa 14, Mississippi 7
1952 Gator Florida 14, Tulsa 13
1945 Oil Georgia 20, Tulsa 6
1944 Orange Tulsa 26, Georgia Tech 12
1943 Sugar Georgia Tech 20, Tulsa 18
1942 Sugar Tennessee 14, Tulsa 7
1941 Sun Tulsa 6, Texas Tech 0

2006 Armed Forces Bowl Preview