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SMU comes back for wild triple-overtime win, after trailing by 21

James Proche grabbed the game-winning touchdown in the third overtime, helping SMU to an undefeated 6-0 record.
Credit: AP Photo/Roger Steinman
SMU wide receiver James Proche, top,, catches a touchdown pass while Tulsa safety Brandon Johnson (8) defends during the third overtime of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, in Dallas. SMU won 43-37. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)

The SMU Mustangs are 6-0 for the first time since 1982, and it comes on the strength of a remarkable comeback at home. James Proche's highlight-reel grab in the corner of the end zone will be remembered on the Hilltop for some time to come.

Proche made a spectacular catch, tapping one foot in bounds as he leapt over a Tulsa defender to grab the game-winning touchdown in triple overtime, to seal a 43-37 come-from-behind win to push SMU to 6-0.

SMU fell into a 30-9 hole on their home field Saturday thanks to some weird bounces of the football. Tulsa even scored on a kickoff, after SMU's kickoff return team failed to field the football as it bounced inside their own 5-yard line and eventually into the end zone, where Tulsa's Kendarin Ray pounced on it.

It all led to a 21 point deficit for the No. 24 Mustangs as the fourth quarter began. 

SMU's comeback began mid-way through the third quarter. A 19-play, 73-yard drive spanning the final 7:31 of the third and the first four seconds of the fourth quarter saw Ke'Mon Freeman run it in from a yard out, to cut the lead to 30-16.

Then the Mustangs -- ranked for the first time since 1986 -- finished off a 10-play, 92-yard march down the field with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Shane Buechele to Proche, and the lead was down to a single score, at 30-23.

After SMU's defense forced a stop of Tulsa's offense inside SMU territory, the Mustangs took over at their own 20.  

A big 3rd down pass interference penalty at the beginning of the drive kept their hopes alive. And they finished off a 14-play, 80-yard drive with a 4th & 2 conversion, as Xavier Jones scampered around the corner to hit the pylon and tie the game at 30.

In overtime, Tulsa needed five plays to find the end zone, as Zach Smith hit Josh Johnson for a 7-yard score, and the Hurricanes led 37-30.

But SMU found an answer. They again required a 4th down conversion -- this time Buechele hit freshman Rashee Rice inside the 10 yard line to move the sticks.  On the next play, Jones scored again, to knot the game up at 37.

The second overtime was wild. 

Jones had been one of the heroes all night for SMU. But on the second play of double-overtime, Jones had the ball stripped loose. Tulsa pounced on top, and set themselves up to need only a field goal to win the football game.  

But after the Hurricanes failed to gain a yard on three plays, Tulsa's inexperienced kicker Jacob Rainey missed a 43-yard field goal that would have won the game, wide left. 

After that missed field goal, Rainey appeared to be injured. So when Tulsa managed to gain only a yard on their possession in triple overtime, Zack Long was forced to come on and attempt his first-ever field goal. He missed the 42-yarder, setting up SMU for the win.  

Proche's catch came on the first play of SMU's triple-overtime possession. 

SMU is now 2-63 in their last 65 games when trailing by 15+ points.

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