Tulsa makes history in bowl at Marlins Park

Golden Hurricane offense rolls past Central Michigan in Miami Beach Bowl

Tulsa makes history in bowl at Marlins Park

MIAMI -- Major League Baseball doesn't return to Marlins Park for another few months. On Monday, the diamond configuration gave way to the gridiron for the third Miami Beach Bowl.

Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans provided much of the fireworks, throwing for a Miami Beach Bowl-record five touchdowns in a 55-10 victory over Central Michigan. Tulsa also became the first team in NCAA Division 1/FBS history with a 3,000-yard passer, two 1,000-yard rushers and two 1,000-yard receivers in the same season

The park took on a completely different feel for one afternoon with one end zone carved out in right field, extending from the foul pole out toward what is normally the right-center-field alley. The football field sprawled from there back toward home plate and the opposite end zone in front of the third-base dugout.

Tulsa (10-3) had little trouble navigating the unusual design, earning double-digit victories for the 10th time in the program's history.

Despite having the smallest enrollment of any FBS school (3,473 students), Tulsa was well represented at the South Florida destination. Fans had plenty to cheer about, with band and cheerleaders leading the charge.
 
With the retractable roof partially closed, the fans and participants were shaded from the partly sunny skies and afforded a very comfortable afternoon of football with a slight breeze and an 80-degree temperature.
 
The game was billed as a battle of two of the top quarterbacks in the game today. Central Michigan's Cooper Rush came into the game with the most career passing yards (12,653) among active NCAA FBS players. Evans came in ranked fourth (11,376).
 
Evans, voted the game's Most Valuable Player, completed 29 of 39 passes, with no interceptions, for 320 yards, while Rush made good on 24 of 46 passes, with three interceptions, for 240 yards for the Chippewas, who finished the season with a 6-7 record.
 
Tulsa scored first on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Evans to wide receiver Josh Atkinson, who went into the game needing 73 yards to reach 1,000 for the season. He reached that and more in the first half, hauling in 11 passes for 120 yards.
 
Evans rifled his fourth touchdown pass of the game -- a 28-yarder to Keevan Lucas midway through the third quarter -- to tie the school record for career touchdown passes with 83. The record was originally set by Paul Smith (2003-07).
 
Evans set a new record on the following drive with an 11-yard scoring strike to Lucas, giving the Golden Hurricane a 48-3 lead late in the third quarter. 

With the touchdown, Lucas also tied the school record for career touchdown catches (32). He equaled the totals of NFL Hall of Famer Steve Largent (1973-75) and former Miami Dolphins great Howard Twilley (1963-65).
 
But Chippewas fans were heard as well. Brian Eavey booted a 26-yard field goal in the final minute of the first quarter following a 70-yard drive, and with the band and cheerleaders ringing in the score, Tulsa's lead was cut to 10-3.
 
The Chippewas' fight song rang out again early in the fourth quarter when running back Jahray Hayes dashed into the end zone from 13 yards out.
 
Tulsa defensive end Jesse Brubaker completed the scoring for the Golden Hurricane with a 66-yard interception return. It was the first defensive touchdown and the longest interception return in Miami Beach Bowl history.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.