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Stadium and Main: Let me tell you a story about 2004

Monday, October 16, 2006

Let me tell you a story about 2004

Before I begin my PSU game observations, I can’t help but remember something random from the 2004 season. I went to the game at Purdue that year (16-14 win, Shazor hit/forced fumble), and afterwards some sweet Michigan fan was slapping hands with everybody and saying “BCS, BCS, BCS.” Well, the BCS almost went out the window the next week against MSU (Triple Overtime win). There are no guarantees. I don’t care that Iowa lost to Indiana. In my mind, it makes them more dangerous – this week is their season. The win at PSU was huge, but if the team changes its “one game at a time” mentality and starts looking forward to OSU, we could be in for another nail-biter. Now, on to PSU:

- Game ball has to go to the DL. That’s the kind of pressure I’ve been waiting years to see. Ron English is getting lots of credit for the Defense, but give some to DL Coach Steve Stripling, who has made big improvements in just a few years.

- OK, the hit on Morelli. Here’s my take: First and foremost, it wasn’t helmet-to-helmet. Shame on ESPN for running that on their ticker the entire night and into the next day. If you re-watch it, there was no helmet contact, not even on the facemask area. It’s one of those plays where they probably could have thrown a flag, but I honestly think a neutral fan would have been like “that’s a weak call.” Think about it this way: If Morelli gets up with no problem, do you want a flag on that play? I highly doubt it, unless you’re a total PSU homer. You’ve got Brent Musburger calling for a flag on the play, and Kirk Herbstreit (a former QB) and Bob Davie (a former coach) saying it was totally clean. Musburger’s argument had something to do with Branch “wrapping his arms” around Morelli. Huh?? I tend to find that if you have Brent Musburger on your side, you probably don’t have a valid point.

- For some reason this game reminded me of the game at Northwestern last year. Lots of pressure on the QB, a few mistakes by our DBs, and a fairly impressive performance. The main difference was that the final score was not indicative of how the game played out. It really should have been something like 24-10 or 27-10, but life goes on.

- It seems clear that Morgan Trent will be thrown at until he can make plays consistently. And by “make plays” I don’t mean pass interference on 3rd-and-long. Plenty of “insiders” and die-hards are criticizing the coaches for not playing Johnny Sears earlier in the season, and they might have a legitimate beef.

- Sometimes I hate being so right (end sarcasm). Carson Butler got his false start penalty, but actually would have gotten a 35-yard gain if Henne’s pass hadn’t been batted down while Butler ran free. This was one of the few plays where Henne was visibly upset with himself afterwards, and rightfully so.

- Was it just me or did Breaston look a little faster after the catch this week? As far as punt returns go, something needs to change there, because Breaston keeps getting blown up. I was frustrated with Breaston’s 3rd Down drop when we were trying to kill the clock, but he made a few other good catches and runs, so he gets a pass... for now.

- I was a bit disappointed in the punting this week. Mesko’s first two were pretty bad. Kudos to Obi Oluigbo for forcing another fumble, this time on a punt return. With the score still 0-0, that came at a critical point in the game.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some thoughts on the game (attending and experience, not so much about the game itself):

Beautiful day for a drive through the countryside, but damn, if State College is not in the middle of nowhere. And there is no good, direct way to get there. Drive up took just about 3 1/2 hours. Went through NOs favorite town going up-- Breezewood.

Tailgating was cold, but I enjoy being out in the cow fields. Insanely drunk, but generally hospitable local fans. And they were pretty much all predicting a loss for their Lions.

The 8PM start is fairly brutal. Cold. The whiteout they do looks pretty cool and intimidating. Crowd was loud as any I have heard.

What a defensive performance. Those poor qbs were destroyed. The key was scoring first and not allowing any big plays, getting the crowd to quiet/settle down.

Leaving State College is a mess. Took a full hour to get out of the lot, and another hour to get off the one lane road heading east. They is no good way out of there. Got to a hotel with a vacancy in Harrisburg at 2:30am. My buddy who went back along the western route made NoVA by 3:30am.

Just a long and brutal day. I can't imagine I would have made the long drive in one piece had Michigan not won the game.

For those Detroit Tiger fans, that must have been a sweet, well-deserved day. These two NL teams don't have much going for them. Tigers will be sitting around and waiting all week for its prey. If they win the WS, does that mean the Yanks might be the second best team in MLB?

Back to Blue -- I have been to each of the last four games at Beaver Stadium, the only road game remotely close to the East Coast.

I can't believe that it has been eight win in a row. Is Paterno Michigan's new Coop?

That's all for now.

12:09 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Ah, Breezewood. Avoid the congestion!!

If the Tigers win it all, I'll gladly proclaim the Yankees to be second best.

Thanks for the summary - sounds like it was a good day, albeit a long one. I'll make it up there one of these times, I promise.

9:05 AM  

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