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With that help, Tulsa built a 24-13 halftime lead, with all three touchdowns on plays of at least 30 yards. Ball State hadn't been down going into the locker room this season.
Tulsa marched 87 yards on the opening drive of the second half, capping it with David Johnson's 15-yard touchdown pass to Slick Shelley. Ball State couldn't come close to answering, going three-and-out on all three possessions of the third quarter.
Leading rusher MiQuale Lewis, who gained over 1,700 yards this season, was limited to 35 on 16 carries.
The Cardinals lost their final two games after setting a school mark with 12 wins in a perfect regular season. They earned the first national ranking in program history this season.
"There's no question it tainted our season," Parrish said. "When you come that close to perfection, you want to grab it all."
Davis lost fumbles on Ball State's first two drives, with the first setting up David Johnson's 30-yard touchdown pass to Damaris Johnson across the middle.
Davis redeemed himself with a 17-yard touchdown run to tie it up late in the first quarter.
Then Ball State's Kyle Young blocked a punt at Tulsa's 22-yard line. Three incompletions later, Ball State had to settle for Ian McGarvey's 39-yard field goal and a 17-10 deficit.
Adams added his 56-yarder before Davis nearly got the Cardinals back within a score, thanks to a bulldozing, spinning run down to the Tulsa 7 in the final minute. Tulsa stood again, forcing a field goal and Ball State didn't challenge again.
Neither the defense nor the rain was able to stop Tulsa's offense.
"We were very much in it at halftime," Parrish said. "But Tulsa ran the ball, they threw the ball. They've got a tough offense to stop," Parrish said. "Even Mother Nature didn't slow them down as much as it slowed us down."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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