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Guerin-teed it was quite a week: Did TU squander its upset bid, or did Cincinnati defense stand strong?
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Guerin-teed it was quite a week: Did TU squander its upset bid, or did Cincinnati defense stand strong?

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110821-tul-spt-emigcolumn guerinteed

Tulsa running back Shamari Brooks is stopped at the goal line by Cincinnati linebacker Wilson Huber late in Saturday’s game. Cincinnati held on for a 28-20 victory.

Do me a favor and take 15 minutes to watch the leaves romp with the breeze this week. It’s a precious sight with winter dead ahead.

Take some time to laugh, think and cry while you’re at it. Here’s how that went for me last week ...

This made me think

The final 100 seconds of Tulsa’s 28-20 heartburn at Cincinnati Saturday, when the Hurricane ran two plays from the Bearcats’ 6-yard line, one play from the Bearcats’ 3 and three plays from the Bearcats’ 1 without scoring the necessary touchdown.

TU fans are still melting down over all of the mistakes from that six-play sequence, both of the Hurricane’s doing and the officials’. I get it.

Philip Montgomery and the TU coaches must notice the officials’ terrible line of scrimmage reset after a targeting review, one that forced the Hurricane into a fourth-and-5 play from the Cincinnati 6-yard line instead of what should have been fourth-and-2 from the Cincinnati 3.

After that reset, Montgomery and staff must be sure quarterback Davis Brin and his receivers execute a fourth-and-5 play that carries to the first down marker at the Bearcats’ 1 and not a yard shy of it, where Brin connected with Sam Crawford instead and where Crawford was stopped.

On third-and-goal after Cincinnati’s change-of-possession fumble, Brin must lean into the end zone instead of sliding short of it. Steven Anderson must secure the ball instead of losing it while reaching toward the end zone on fourth-and-goal.

All of this is true.

But then so is this: Cincinnati made some startling defensive plays to save that game.

Linebacker Deshawn Pace tackled Crawford one-on-one for four yards when Crawford needed five.

Pace dove to trip Shamari Brooks on first-and-goal from the 3 one play after the Bearcats’ fumble. It was the best push TU’s offensive line got in the four-down sequence, and it would have likely carried Brooks to the end zone were it not for Pace’s remarkable sellout.

On second-and-goal from the 1, Brooks cut right around Abe Anderson’s lead block and for a moment appeared end zone bound. Nope. Linebacker Wilson Huber smothered Brooks and planted him for no gain.

After Brin’s slip-down, TU tried a handoff to Steven Anderson on fourth-and-goal. Cincinnati defensive lineman Curtis Brooks exploded out of his stance, blew into the backfield and forced Anderson to step to his right, without any momentum, straight into Darrian Beavers’ midsection tackle at the 2-yard line.

Anderson could not break Beavers’ grasp. He did what he could to power through, but had to lunge the ball toward the end zone to finish successfully. That’s when he lost it, right as he reached the goal line.

The bang-bang call went Cincinnati’s way. TU fans are still screaming into pillows about that, and about the lousy spot after Hall’s catch (note: officials also blew the spot after TU’s Travon Fuller recovered Desmond Ridder’s late fumble at the Bearcats’ 5-yard line, awarding the Hurricane possession at the 3 instead).

Fans around here are still overheated about the Hurricane’s shortcomings in those final 100 seconds.

But football isn’t just a “game of inches,” to borrow Montgomery’s comment after his team’s near miss. It’s a game of perspective.

I suggest we see what happened at Nippert Stadium for more than what TU didn’t do to pull the upset. We should also recognize what Cincinnati did to avoid it.

This made me laugh

The historic heights scaled by Oklahoma State’s defense as of Saturday’s 24-3 wipeout of West Virginia.

OSU hasn’t allowed a touchdown in back-to-back games for the first time since the final game of the Cowboys’ 1974 season and their ’75 opener.

Who did the Cowboys shut out in that ’75 opener? Wichita State, who we forget once played football, and who we now recognize as the fictitious program Ted Lasso recently coached.

OSU hasn’t allowed a touchdown in back-to-back conference games for the first time since 1948 and ’49. The Cowboys blanked Tulsa 19-0 to win the ’48 Missouri Valley championship — with a 2-0 league record! — then blanked Drake 28-0 in their next league game, their ’49 Valley opener.

What kind of history are we talking about here? OSU’s ’48 Valley champs were quarterbacked by Jack Hartman, who is more familiar to us as Kansas State’s iconic basketball coach.

And this made me laugh

Brennan Presley’s media appearance at OSU last Monday. Among the things we learned about the loquacious Cowboys receiver:

He doesn’t trick or treat for Halloween because “I eat candy all the time. There’s no point to go when I already have all the candy in my house.”

He can bowl. He started last summer, “just trying to find a hobby.” He has already hit 181.

He still loves his Bixby Spartans, he just wishes they’d play a competitive game once in a while.

“I’m kind of getting tired of watching a half of football,” he said.

He has a holiday wish.

Asked if he has ever played video games against OSU quarterback Spencer Sanders, Presley deadpanned: “No. I don’t have a console. I wish that would change. Hopefully this Christmas, Mom, if you’re listening ...”

And again

Fox Sports aired a 5-minute segment Saturday featuring Bob Stoops and Chris Petersen watching highlights from the 2007 fairy tale Fiesta Bowl between Oklahoma and Boise State. The two shook hands after Ian Johnson ran in the winning Statue of Liberty 2-pointer.

“We’ll never talk about this again,” Petersen said kiddingly.

“If we’re gonna keep our friendship, that’s right,” Stoops badgered back.

This made me cry

We lost Gap Band pioneer Ronnie Wilson last week.

“Burn Rubber on Me” always.

Greenwood, Archer and Pine forever.


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Sports Columnist

I'm the proud father of Gretchen and Holden. Devoted husband to Christy, who has been my best friend since biology class at Booker T. Washington. I covered the OU Sooners for 15 years. That was both challenging and rewarding. Now I get to write columns.

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