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October 16, 2011TULSA, Okla. (AP) - G.J. Kinne threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns as Tulsa overcame four turnovers in a 37-20 victory over winless Alabama-Birmingham.
UAB (0-6 overall, 0-3 Conference USA) scored 17 straight points to take a 17-10 lead in the second quarter, but Kinne threw two touchdown passes in the final 3:28 of the first half, helping Tulsa (3-3, 2-0) to a 24-20 lead at halftime.
"I'm very proud of G.J., he was very efficient," said Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship. "We're excited to win, although there was definitely some ugliness with the turnovers and the plays we gave up over the top. The turnovers were a huge factor. They probably cost us about 21 points."
Ja'Terian Douglas ran for 137 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter that stretched the lead to 37-20. Clay Sears had nine catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns, and Willie Carter had eight for 87 and a score.
UAB quarterback Bryan Ellis, returning to action after missing two games with an injury threw first-half scoring strikes of 66 and 45 yards to Jamarcus Nelson, the first two touchdown passes of the season for UAB. Nelson had just two career receptions previously.
Ellis completed 20 of 42 passes for a season-high 280 yards, but the Blazers were unable to score in the second half.
"We made some big plays," said UAB coach Neil Callaway. "Jamarcus Nelson had some good catches for touchdowns, but we have to do better than that. We got whipped up front and made too many mistakes.
Tulsa jumped out to a 10-0 lead and appeared in command despite being stopped on a fourth-and-one at the UAB 18. But the turnovers started and UAB surprised the Hurricane with the two deep balls to Nelson.
Kinne tied the game with a 15-yard pass to Carter. After getting the ball back with 49 seconds left in the half, Kinne found Jordan James for a 68-yard catch-and-run, then zipped a pass 12 yards to Sears in the middle of the end zone.
Sears also scored the first touchdown from 18 yards out in becoming the first Tulsa tight end to have more than 100 yards receiving since 2005. He grabbed a 16-yard pass from Kinne on a fourth-and-10 that kept alive the drive that tied the score at 17-17.
"We played well, but we left a lot of yards out on the field and a lot of points on the board," said Kinne, who completed 31 of 43 passes with one interception. "We can't do that against teams in this conference and we know that. I think it's all about focus. After the first touchdown, guys started to lose their focus and we know we can't do that when we're playing a team that's hungry to get a win like UAB."
Tulsa piled up 559 yards of offense, including 218 yards on the ground, as Douglas scored his third touchdown of the year from 40 yards or more.