The score was 37-34; Oklahoma had the ball and the lead late in the fourth quarter. Baylor’s defense had just been hit with a devastating horse collar penalty and doubters of the back-to-back Big 12 champions were starting to surface on social media.
But what happened next left even the most loyal of supporters questioning the Bears’ integrity. As Oklahoma lined up to snap the ball, junior cornerback Ryan Reid ran over to senior safety Terrell Burt and appeared to urge Burt to go down.
Immediately, the safety dropped to the ground to suggest an injury in the most unconvincing fashion. The act had the Oklahoma fans at McLane Stadium and spectators from Twitter in an uproar, suggesting that Burt was clearly faking an injury to exploit the injury timeout rule.
“I would understand everybody in America seeing that play as like, ‘Man, you faked it,’” Burt said. “Just by the video, I can see it. If I looked at it and I was in their shoes, I’d say the same thing.”
Burt’s reputation appeared to be tarnished by his actions on the field Saturday in the heat of the highly-anticipated game between Baylor and Oklahoma. Burt said he wishes people had the entire picture of what was going on in that series of events, though.
He was legitimately hurt, Burt said. Three plays prior to going down, Burt rolled his ankle on kickoff coverage. Knowing full well he was injured, he attempted to play through the injury with the Bears having lost starting safeties Orion Stewart and Chance Waz earlier in the game. Burt concluded another injury in the secondary would spell subsequent doom for Bears.
“I really didn’t want to go down, because I knew I was the last resort in that game. I tried to stay in there as much as I could,” Burt said.
Fortunately for the Bears, Reid noticed Burt struggling on defense and limping around. Reid persuaded his teammate to hit the turf and ensure that Baylor didn’t give up a big play to the Sooners at a crucial point in the game. Next came the criticism from countless fans watching the game live.
To make matters worse, prominent ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, color commentator for ABC at McLane Stadium that night, slammed Burt on live television, calling his performance “bush league.” And upon seeing the play live, many viewers took to Twitter to express their agreement. Sooners fans made their “boos” heard loud and clear throughout McLane Stadium in that moment as well.
Moments later Burt was seen on the sideline getting his ankle looked at and re-taped by the team’s medical staff. It wasn’t long before he was back in the game. In fact, he had only been out for six plays.
Baylor was forced to play junior backup cornerback Terrence Singleton in place of Burt and the outcome wasn’t good. Oklahoma continued to pass the ball down the field with ease. Baylor needed him on the field and he knew it, Burt said.
“We had [Singleton] at safety, but he didn’t practice the whole week at safety. So I knew I had to [get back out there]. I tried to play through [my injury],” Burt said.
His swift return to the field added to the confusion of what actually happened.
Burt said he knows that people will always question whether or not he faked it, but he doesn’t care.
Later, Herbstreit apologized for his comments via Twitter.
“I’d like to apologize to @BUFootball and Terrell Burt. Last night I thought he had faked an injury and I was DEAD WRONG. He was trying to fight through an ankle injury he sustained on a previous KO. He kept playing until finally a teammate forced him to sit down to get him out. I saw what I saw at the time and didn’t realize he had tweaked it earlier. I take full responsibility and apologize sincerely to Terrell.”
Burt was appreciative that Herbstreit issued an apology once he understood the full picture.
“As long as he apologized, that’s all that matters,” Burt said. “I accept his apology, and overall I know people make mistakes. I have no problem toward him.”
Burt said he is tired of talking about the situation and is ready to move on and focus on No. 6 Oklahoma State Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in Stillwater, Okla.