BOISE, Idaho (Ticker) -- Tulsa, which produced the best turnaround in the country this season, makes its first bowl appearance in 12 years when it takes on Georgia Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl.
In recent years, the Golden Hurricane have fielded some of the worst teams in Division I-A. But in its first season under coach Steve Kragthorpe, Tulsa posted an 8-4 record, a seven-win improvement.
After going 2-21 in the two previous seasons, the Golden Hurricane recorded their first winning season since 1991, when they made their last bowl appearance. That year, Tulsa defeated a Marshall Faulk-led San Diego State team, 28-17, in the Freedom Bowl.
The Golden Hurricane were tabbed for the Humanitarian Bowl after Western Athletic Conference champion Boise State accepted a bid in the Forth Worth Bowl.
Kragthorpe spent the last two seasons as the Buffalo Bills' quarterbacks coach but his biggest impact this season may have been on defense as the Golden Hurricanes gave up no touchdown passes to the top three quarterbacks in the WAC - Boise State's Ryan Dinwiddie, Hawaii's Timmy Chang and Louisiana Tech's Luke McCown.
Tulsa also took care of the ball, ranking 10th in Division I-AA in fewest turnovers. James Kilian passed for 2,120 yards and 22 TDS while Eric Richardson ran for 798 yards and 12 TDS to move into second place on the school's all-time rushing list.
Georgia Tech (6-6) is making a school-record seventh straight bowl appearance but endured a disappointing season, suffering lopsided losses to Clemson (39-3) and Duke (41-17).
Quarterback Reggie Ball was named the Atlantic Coast Conference freshman of the year, passing for 1,980 yards and rushing for 392 yards, the second-highest total on the team. Jonathan Smith caught 75 passes for a school-record 1,124 and P.J. Daniels rushed for 1,140 yards on 252 carries, giving the Yellow Jackets a 1,000-yard receiver and rusher for the first time in school history.
Tulsa was the first school in NCAA history to play in five straight New Year's Day bowl games from 1942-1946.