In our story “Tulsa’s Panic & The Cougar Comeback,” we looked at the D’Eriq King run in the 4th quarter that ignited the UH rally. But let’s dive deeper.
At this point in the half, Tulsa had dominated in TOP (14:52-2:58), in first downs (10-0), plays (32-5) and yardage (170-7). The Coogs held them to just 13 points in that span but Tulsa had turned a 17-13 deficit into a 26-17 lead.
UH gets the ball with 13:10 left in the game. On the ESPN broadcast, Laura Rutledge explains that Kendal Briles has just told D’Eriq King that “we’ve got to run the football. We do that well.” On first down, the Coogs line up in a traditional set with two wide to the left but have numbers to the right side.
King sees it and Mulbah Car follows Romello Brooker (#82) and pulling guard Mason Denley (#72) for six yards.
On 2nd down, Romello is playing off the line and Car is now to King’s right. The weakside linebacker has cheated inside and the safety has scooted to the other side of the ball. It’s pretty clear that Tulsa is expecting this play to go to the right side. Free safety Manny Bunch is still playing 12-yards off of Marquez Stevenson leaving a lot of space for Stevenson that wasn’t available the play before.
Stevenson runs an eight-yard stop route and is tackled by Tulsa’s Nate Walker. Bunch had back-peddled so far that he wasn’t a factor on the play. Had Corbin’s route been to take a step back from the line or to go downfield, Walker probably isn’t there to make the tackle.
Here’s the knife. It’s first down from the 39. It’s the same set but since the ball is closest to the left hash, the two receivers go to the right side.
On the snap, Brooker and right tackle Jarrid Williams (#62) eliminate the DT, giving King the initial lane. Braylon Jones (#52) pops the middle linebacker and Mulbah Car helps an unsure strongside linebacker make his decision – he got pancaked. Stevenson gets between the cornerback and King to secure the lane.
The rest is all D’Eriq King.
King cuts inside Car then goes wide. The strong safety has an angle on him but King slips by him and easily evades the weakside LB and the safety. King is down the sideline in a burst. But free safety Bunch, coming from the other side of the field, has an angle approaching the 10. The QB finds another speed and jets into the end zone. The Coogs are back in the game.
Great blocking, everyone handles their responsibilities, and King makes a couple of great moves. It’s poetry. Here’s the view from the end zone – it shows how the blocking sets up allowing King to get to the corner. There’s also a slow-mo view:
If you want to see the entire drive together, it’s available here:
Our good friend Mario Puente captured the entire sequence in photos. You can view it below. You should follow Mario on Twitter @HTX_Seen_By_Me.
Click the first photo and go step-by-step through the score and on-field celebration. Then go back through the pics fast to see it come to life:
All Photos Courtesy of Mario Puente
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