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Short college football feature story

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by spud, Aug 29, 2007.

  1. spud

    spud Member

    Rip 'er up.

    Head coach Guy Morriss was walking down the ramp on his way back to the field after halftime when a familiar voice cropped up behind him.

    Morriss turned, somewhat deflated by the 18-point deficit the Bears were facing, to see an excited player dart out of the locker room.

    It was senior outside safety Maurice Linguist.

    "When we came down the tunnel (at halftime), Mo Linguist told me, 'Don't worry about it. We're going to find a way to get them stopped,'" Morriss said. "And they went out and shut them out in the second half. So somebody was believing."

    The Bears were looking down the wrong side of a 35-17 score to the Kansas Jayhawks at halftime and the offense hadn't done anything significant since early in the second quarter.

    But Linguist said he had every reason to believe the game was still theirs to win en route to a 36-35 victory.

    "(Morriss) looked at me a little crazy," Linguist said through a laugh. "I'm glad he rides with me, that he believes in us."

    Morriss likely wasn't the only one doubting the Bears' ability to come back from a seemingly insurmountable lead, which stood at 18 points until 9:22 in the fourth quarter. After all, Baylor had blown three halftime leads in its first six games.

    But it would be the seniors leading the charge and giving Baylor plenty of opportunities in the fourth quarter to claw its way back.

    "There's no doubt I saw a lot of senior leadership," said quarterback Shawn Bell, who threw for a career-high 394 yards and a school-record five touchdowns against Kansas. "I was down at the time and Trent (Shelton) came up with that big catch on the jump ball on the post (in the fourth quarter), and from that point forward those (seniors) got it going for us."

    Senior receivers Shelton and Dominique Zeigler combined efforts to dominate Baylor's 19-point fourth quarter. Shelton had 104 receiving yards, 100 of which came in the fourth quarter, as well as two touchdowns. Zeigler had the second most prolific day of his career with 122 receiving yards and a touchdown, and caught what proved to be the game-winner with 1:08 remaining in the game.

    "I'm so proud of this team right now, because even when people started leaving we believed in each other," Linguist said of the semi-exodus of Baylor fans after Bell's second interception in the fourth quarter. "These seniors hold this team together like glue."

    But the offense's fourth quarter explosion wasn't the only reason the Bears were able to escape Saturday with a one-point win.

    The defense's stellar play, led by seniors such as Linguist and cornerbacks C.J. Wilson, Anthony Arline and James Todd, set the table for the offense's improbable run.

    "This is what Coach Morriss recruited us for, to come in and change this program," Wilson said. "This is the first time a Baylor team has won three (Big 12) games, and the beautiful thing is we're not done yet."

    After giving up 28 offensive points and allowing Kansas running back Jon Cornish over 10 yards per rush in the first half, the defense clamped down in the final 30 minutes.

    Morriss said it was not a moment too soon.

    "The seniors got a hold of this defensive team and got them fired up," he said. "They came out in the second half and got it done. The seniors have been doing a good job for us all year. "

    And Bell said the offense was able to play off the tone set by the defense in the second half.

    "The defense played a phenomenal second half," Bell said. "They came out and shut them out, and we got enough points to win the game. It wasn't pretty by any means, but a win is a win and we'll take it."

    So will Morriss, who said he's glad he listened when Linguist came calling.
  2. earlyentry

    earlyentry Member

    You forgot to mention Baylor on first reference, but you can easily amend that by placing it in first graph.

    Did you mean "crept" behind him? Not sure cropped is the right word. I could be wrong.

    Thought you wrapped the feature up nicely and for me it read well.

    Was this a game from last year?
  3. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Spud -

    Thanks for posting. And thanks for being so patient. Sorry that we didn't turn this around faster, but the Workshop elders have all been busy. We got a group rate on hip replacement surgery and decided to take advantage of the savings.

    I think the piece is sound - noting, as ee did, that 'Baylor' needs to go in on first citation. Also, I quibbled a few small quibbles thereafter.

    More importantly, I'd say this: the ambitions and components of a feature are different than those of a game story. So that even in a space this small, I want and need a little more color, a little more description, a little more storytelling. Tell me how the defense stiffened; describe to me the resurgent offense. It's not enough - again, even in a feature this short - to simply itemize the stats. Rather characterize the play that led them to the win. Frantic? Epic? Slow and steady? Hurried? Deliberate?

    It's not an occasion to overwrite, but it's a chance to tell the story behind the statistics.

    Thanks again for posting your work for us to share.
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