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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Football

UH football: Inside Tank Dell’s toe-tapping two-point conversion grab


Nathaniel Dell hauls in a two-point conversion pass from Clayton Tune in double overtime of UH football's victory over UTSA on Saturday at the Alamodome. | Sean Thomas/The Cougar

Nathaniel Dell hauls in a two-point conversion pass from Clayton Tune in double overtime of UH football’s victory over UTSA on Saturday at the Alamodome. | Sean Thomas/The Cougar

SAN ANTONIO — After a touchdown to put UH up 33-27 over UTSA in double overtime, the Cougars were forced to go for two.

Dana Holgorsen wanted to call another quarterback draw, the play the Cougars had just scored the touchdown on, but Clayton Tune and Nathaniel Dell had something else in mind.

“Me and Tune looked at each other before the play and he gave me that look like I’m fitting to come to you and I already knew,” Dell said.

The only problem was that Joseph Manjack, the sophomore receiver transfer from USC, wasn’t on the same page.

“Manjack ran the wrong route,” Holgorsen said. “He was supposed to run a slant. He ran a fade.”

Typically, a mistake like this would either result in a wasted play or negative yardage but Tune’s veteran savviness combined with his chemistry with Dell turned what should have been a disaster into a highlight.

Tune noticed that the play was busted but that didn’t stop the senior quarterback from putting all his faith in his favorite target. Tune threw the ball to a spot where only Dell had an opportunity to catch it. 

 “That ball was not thrown where it was supposed to. It was thrown where it had to be.”

Even with the perfectly placed ball, the chances of Dell securing the catch and getting a foot down inbounds seemed slim. Dell, on the other hand, had no doubt that he would make what appeared to be an impossible play to make.

“I was just focused on the ball,” Dell said. “I didn’t care where no defender was or where Manjack was. I just knew I had to grab the ball and get my feet down.”

Dell came down with the ball but incomplete was the call as the sideline official ruled that the UH star receiver did not get a foot inbounds.

Holgorsen didn’t think Dell got a foot down. Neither did UH athletic director Chris Pezman, who was standing feet away from where the play was made.

Dell, however, didn’t have a doubt that it was a catch.

Replay proved him right, as the call was overturned after there was clear evidence that Dell’s right foot hit turf inbounds while he had the ball firmly secure in his hands.

Without the catch, UH does not avoid the upset as UTSA scored a touchdown and converted a two-point conversion on the next possession.

“That was a heck of a catch,” Holgorsen said. “Tank’s Tank man.”

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