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Tulsa dominates Hawaii

HONOLULU - Tulsa's defense did its part in the Hawaii Bowl, pounding the quarterback and jumping in front of pass routes to force six turnovers in the first half alone.

HONOLULU - Tulsa's defense did its part in the Hawaii Bowl, pounding the quarterback and jumping in front of pass routes to force six turnovers in the first half alone.

Then it was the offense's turn, and that was no less impressive.

In a four-minute span early in the second half, the Golden Hurricane covered 206 yards in six plays for touchdowns on three straight possessions, sending Tulsa to a 62-35 victory over No. 24 Hawaii on Christmas Eve in Aloha Stadium.

"What an exciting football game to watch," Tulsa coach Todd Graham said. "We made some unbelievably explosive plays in the second half and we beat a Top-25 team today. And hopefully, we should be the Top 25 in the country."

Damaris Johnson, voted the MVP of the Hawaii Bowl, had his own ranking by the end of the night.

With a command performance just about every time he touched the ball, Johnson caught four passes for 101 yards and a touchdown, and ran five times for 98 yards, including a game-changing, 67-yard touchdown run that demoralized the Warriors (10-4).

Johnson, who went into the Hawaii Bowl leading the nation in all-purpose yards, finished with 326 yards to break the NCAA career record. The speedy junior has 7,796 all-purpose yards, topping the 7,764 yards that Brandon West had at Western Michigan in 2006-09.

"He's a great player," said Tulsa quarterback G.J. Kinne, who threw for 343 yards and three touchdowns. "He breaks records every week, it feels like it."

Tulsa (10-3) finished the year with seven straight wins.

It was a sour ending for the Warriors on their home field. Bryant Moniz threw four interceptions in the opening half.

Tulsa won a bowl game for the third straight time, a school record. It also set a school record for bowl games with six turnovers, all of them in the first half. Its 62 points were a record for the Hawaii Bowl.

Hawaii, which shared the WAC title with Boise State and Nevada, fell to 3-3 in the Hawaii Bowl.

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Three seasons after ending a 23-game losing streak, Florida International will play in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Sunday night against Toledo. It's the first bowl appearance for the program, which is in its sixth season in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

When Mario Cristobal took over as coach, the Golden Panthers were coming off a winless 2006 season - and that was hardly their only problem. That year had been marred by an ugly brawl against Miami, where Cristobal had been an assistant.

The Golden Panthers finally snapped their losing streak in their final game of 2007, and they appeared to be on the rise when they went 5-7 the following season. Instead, they won only three games in 2009.

All those on-field woes were put into perspective this past March, when running back Kendall Berry was stabbed to death on campus.

For a program in need of some positive news, this season has been refreshing. After starting with four straight losses against a difficult schedule that included trips to Texas A&M and Pittsburgh, FIU went 6-2 in Sun Belt Conference play, finishing tied atop the league with Troy.

The reward for FIU (6-6) is a matchup with Toledo (8-4) at Detroit's Ford Field - not exactly a long trip for the Rockets. Toledo is returning to a bowl for the first time since 2005.