After last week’s exciting matchup in Wyoming that ended in a disappointing loss, Tulsa would face a tough Northern Illinois team. In a homefield match that had the Golden Hurricanes projected to win, they dominated most of the first half.
A Shift in Momentum
The score was already 17-0, and Tulsa was gearing up for another drive down the field when their luck would change. DT James Ester of N Illinois put a hit on Tulsa QB Davis Brin as he was throwing, resulting in a high floater and an easy interception by Jammeh. NIU then methodically drove down the field which culminated in a sidearm throw by QB Lomabardi and catch by WR Rutkiewicz for the score.
Tulsa shot right back, though, and the half would end with Tulsa leading 24-7
Tulsa found success through the air and on the ground en route to the halftime lead
Northern Illinois 7
Tulsa 24 pic.twitter.com/3FifeOllI9
— Tulsa Football (@TulsaFootball) September 11, 2022
Staging a Comeback
The 3rd quarter was another story altogether. Illinois was staging a comeback. A quick score and a successful onside kick had them poised to score again, and they did just that. CB Tyon Davis assisted with a tackle which was a 3rd down stop near the Huskies endzone. Instead, he got flagged for taunting and it gave NIU a 1st down. They managed move the ball all the way down into Tulsa territory inside the 35.
Huskies score two touchdowns to close Tulsa's lead to 3 heading into the 4th. pic.twitter.com/BwOAgBVqRd
— NIU Huskie Athletics (@NIUAthletics) September 11, 2022
Just ten seconds into the final quarter, they put up another score. The drive had gone eight plays for 78 yards. At that point they had scored 21 unanswered points and taken the lead, making it 28-24.
Tulsa tacked on another score and was leading 31-28 when the bizarre happened. The most sure-handed player on their team, Stokes, muffed a crucial punt. It gave life back to the Huskies offense. The Huskies drove it down the field on a drive that went 7 plays for 40 yards. They scored a touchdown paired with the extra point to go on top 35-31
The resulting drive would build suspense up to a 4th and 1 that led to Tulsa’s 6’2″, 242 lb. beast RB Anderson getting stuffed by NIU’s monster. 6’3″, 295 lb. DT Ester snuck into the backfield and wrestled the big man down, stopping him short.
The Golden Hurricanes would make the stops they needed and allot themselves enough time for another quick strike.
One Last Chance
This led to NIU’s last opportunity to score. And on a 3rd and 10 with :34 seconds, Lombardi launched a rocket that went off the hands of his receiver, and into the hands of Tulsa’s Tyon Davis, fully redeeming his earlier penalty. In a thriller, Tulsa would go on to win this one 38-35.
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