Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bowls, Awards, and Changes

A recap of the last month....

A&M was selected by the Chick-fil-a Bowl (formerly known as the Peach Bowl) and will play Duke (who shockingly won their division and played FSU in the ACC Championshp) on New Years Eve in the Georgia Dome.

Bleh.  I hate playing non-traditional power programs in bowl games.

The AP announced their All-SEC teams
  • 1st Team: Johnny, Mike "The Beast" Evans, Jake Matthews
  • 2nd Team: Drew Kaser
The Coaches voted the same but put added Kaser as a 1st teamer

Darian Claiborne was also named to the SEC All-Freshman squad by the coaches and Jake Matthews was awarded the Jacobs Blocking Trophy (as top OL in SEC)

The AP also announced their All-American squads
  • 1st Team: Mike Evans, Jake Matthews
  • 2nd Team: Johnny Manziel, Drew Kaser
It raises the question how the AP could name Kaser to 2nd team All-SEC and All-American but with a different player ahead of him in each?
Those same four Ags were also named finalists for a plethora of national awards this season.
  • Johnny Manziel - Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Trophy, Davey O'Brien Award, Walter Camp PoY, Manning Award, Hornung Award
  • Mike Evans - Biletnikoff Award
  • Jake Matthews - Outland Trophy, Lombardi Trophy
  • Drew Kaser - Ray Guy Award
We came away empty handed, although the Manning Award has yet to be handed out.


FSU QB Jameis Winston (RS-F) is playing in the national championship game with his undefeated Seminoles and their nasty defense.  He is the new shiny toy and got a lot of run as the season went on.  Then in November it came to light that Winston had been accused of rape back in December of last year.  Eleven months later and the Tallehassee Police had yet to even interview the only suspect, Winston.  His lawyer was tipped off months in advance and had plenty of time to put together a game plan to attack the bevy of evidence.

It really is a sad, sad situation.  After 11 months of being pushed into the shadows, the state attorney (who holds his bacholor's and juris doctorate from FSU) decided 3 days prior to the Heisman balloting deadline that didn't have enough evidence to bring charges and cleared Winston.  It was about as shady as they come.

The only silver lining is that the victim has 3 years to file a civil suit so hopefully she waits until Winston signs his rookie contract and then lays the hammer to him.

As soon as that happened on that Friday, Winston went to a 150/1 odd to win the trophy.   You remember all those vocal voters last year who refused to vote for Johnny because he was a) a freshman and b) had been arrested?  Not a word this year.

There were six finalists for the Heisman including Johnny and Winston.  They were joined by Northern Illinois (!?!) QB Jordan Lynch, Auburn RB Tre Mason, Alabama QB AJ McCarron, and Boston College RB Andre Williams (a guy that 80% of sports fans wouldn't be able to name).

Taking a look at the QBs, let's do blind sample....who would you pick?
          TotYds TD Comp% Avg/G
          ====== == ===== =====
Player A   4,013 42 67.9  308.6
Player B   4,557 45 67.0  350.4

Player C   4,418 41 69.1  368.2

Player D   2,697 26 67.8  224.5

I wasn't even going to include McCarron's numbers (he is Player D) because he didn't even deserve the time it takes me to pull up the numbers - the guy wasn't even 2nd Team All-SEC.  But he finished SECOND in the voting (and won the Maxwell Award) because he was quarterbacking a defensive dynasty to their third national championship*

*except they lost and didn't even make it to the SEC Championship

Looking at those numbers, QBs A, B, & C are relatively similar.  But all numbers aren't the same so lets take a look at what kind of defenses they've faced....
Opp. Total Defensive Ranking
               vTop25  vTop50

               ======  ====== 
    Player A     x1      x6
    Player B     x2      x2

    Player C     x4      x6

Player A played 1/12th of his games against Top 25 defenses while player B played 1/6th.  But look at that, Player C played a full 1/3 of his schedule against Top 25 defenses.  That's a significant difference.

You all know where I'm going with this....A is Winston, B is Lynch (who remarkably played a horrific schedule, yet still faced two Top 10 defenses - and then ten really bad ones), and C is Johnny.

And you can't tell me that if Johnny and Winston switched defenses their records wouldn't be reversed.  There is a whole lot of difference in pressure when you know you have to score 30+ points to win as opposed to 11 points.

And here are the RBs....

         Att   Yds YPC TD   YPG    Receiving
Mason    283 1,621 5.7 22 124.7    121 yds 11 receptions, 11 ypc, 9.3 ypg
Williams 329 2,102 6.4 17 175.2    0 receptions

Even with the rough outings against Mizzou and LSU, Johnny still had the better season. 

At this point it's a moot point but it needed to be said.

I'm now going to go around the horn with some quick notes, some quite important:
  • We added Arizona State to the 2015 schedule as the season opener at Reliant (Sept 5th) - I like this, Kyle Field won't be ready so instead of going on the road we schedule a neutral site game against a quality opponent
  • Marcel Yates will be leaving a vacancy as DB Coach as he takes over at Boise State as the Defensive Coordinator - I don't mind this too much - he spent a lot of time in his career at Boise and it's a step up for him.  My only concern is that a replacement has not been named yet - I want that to happen quicker than we've seen in the past.
  • Spav is taking over playcalling duties from Clarence McKinney - this is huge to me.  I don't know if Spav will be a better play caller, but what I like is that Sumlin saw there was a weakness and was not afraid to make a change.
  • Darian Claiborne was arrested for marajuana.  He will miss the Chick-fil-a Bowl and his status for the start of next season has not been addressed.  Jordan Mastrogiovanni will start in his place at MLB (which is where he was projected to start next year with Claiborne sliding over)
  • Our early enrollees for the 2014 signing class have been officially inked and will start classes in January
    • Kyle Allen (QB) - Scottsdale, AZ - 5*, #1 QB nationally in 2014 class
    • Jermaine Eluemunor (OL) - Lackawanna C.C. in Scranton (PA) - 4*; #17 JUCO recruit in country with offers from every top program.  Dude is from London - that's awesome.
    •  Avery Gennesy (OL) - East Mississippi C.C. - 4*; #10 JUCO recruit; another big JUCO OLman
    • JJ Gustafson (OL) - Jesuit HS (Dallas, Tx) 
    • Josh Reynolds (WR) - Tyler JUCO - 3*; will come in classified as a sophomore in 2014 so will have 4 years to play3

    Knocked out some huge needs at OL with guys who can step right in and play and landed Allen who gets a spring and summer to compete with Kenny Hill for the starting job next fall.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

#5 Mizzou Just a Bit Too Much, 28-21

The offense couldn't shake the funk that started last weekend against LSU.  Johnny is hurt. There is simply no other explanation.

I thought the defense played about as well as you could have asked, particularly against such a high powered offense.  It looked like Jay Arnold got a lot of snaps, as did Noel Ellis....and Clay Honeycutt is back after an injury.

I liked what I saw out of the running game, although I didn't understand the rotation.  It seemed like anytime someone got hot they were subbed out.  Brandon Williams came in an ignited us with some much needed energy.

As poor as the offense played in the first half (3 punts and a special teams fumble) we went into the locker room with a 14-7 lead.

In the third quarter, Mizzou came out and manhandled the defense marching 80 yards for the game tying score.  We have to punt (it was a great! punt but terrible coverage) and they dominate the defense again and march for the TD.

We started to move the ball pretty well and on a 4th-and-1 there was a false start by the OL and we had to punt.  So frustrating.

Luckily, we were able to force a punt and get down the field with some intermediate passes to Labhart and three monster runs by Trey Williams (who was led by Cam Clear at FB) before punching it in with Malena. 

It's 21-21 now.

Both teams exchanged punts before Mizzou finally strikes on a long 57 yard TD run leaving only 3:34 on the clock.  We couldn't get anything going and had to punt it to the Tigers, who converted two first downs entirely too easily.

Mike Evans was quiet again (4 receptions for 8 yards), although he is the one most effected by Malcome Kennedy's injury as he is getting ALL of the attention.

This was a game that was there for the taking, but once again we couldn't put together a complete game. 
In other news....

This year's Iron Bowl was a classic.  My DVR cut off with 4:39 remaining in the game and Alabama had just scored a TD that seemingly put the game away.  I wasn't too bummed....until I saw the final score.  Auburn scored quickly and then 'Bama missed an insanely long FG as time expired - and Auburn RETURNED IT FOR A TD! 

As a result, the SEC Championship featured Mizzou vs. Auburn - two teams who went a combined 2-14 in conference play last season.  The parity in this league is outstanding.

Auburn ran Mizzou out of the game (Tra Mason finished with 300+ yards on the ground) and thanks to a Michigan State upset over undeserving #2 Ohio State, Auburn will now face Florida State for a chance to bring home the SEC's 8th consecutive national championship (it would be the 5th consecutive for the state of Alabama).

Coach Sumlin was given a 6-year extension worth ~$5M per season with a $5M buyout and a clause that prevents him from speaking to NFL teams for 3 years.  Since the announcement, the Houston Texans fired Gary Kubiak and the rumors are rampant that they want to sign Sumlin before the board of regents can finalize the deal.  We'll see.

The other we'll see is the smoking hot rumor that Nick Saban is going to replace Mack Brown at t.u.  Brown is supposed to step down some time this week.  I just can't see Saban leaving 'Bama to step into the most spread oriented conference in America - he LOATHES the spread.  I don't even think that t.u. can moneywhip him because 'Bama is going to do whatever they can to match it - shoot, the churches across the state would give up their collections to start a campaign to keep him.  Soooooo....we'll see.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

It Rained in Tiger Stadium, 34-10

I left my house to pick up Sean at 4:30am on Saturday morning.  We didn't have a clue what to expect in terms of traffic and I had read reports that I-10 was a parking lot almost all evening on Friday and the last thing I wanted to do was to drive all the way there and miss kickoff.  With the 2:30p kickoff we were going to try and make it a single day road trip. 

Fortunately, we didn't hit any traffic the entire way there and by 9:15 we were driving past Tiger Stadium.  We were early enough that we were able to park in a free parking lot back behind their softball complex so all we needed to figure out was what we were going to do for the next five hours.

It was supposed to be a high in the mid-50s so we brought some gear to try and combat the cold.  Ha.

On our way out of the parking lot we were "Tiger bait"-ed for the first time.  By a 10 year old kid whose mother had a YOLO sticker on the back of her car and whose father had more ink on his arms than member of Hells Angels.  We just kept walking.
A classroom of higher education
We walked up to the stadium and then took a walk around campus to get a feel for what it was like.  I thought the campus looked quite similar to ours except the buildings all had clay tile roofs.

We got hungry so we figured out where there was some food near by, in a neighborhood called Northgate, so we walked over there and were one of the first ones in the door at BW3s.

I had read that one thing we wouldn't want to miss was the band marching down the hill about 2 hours before kickoff so we walked back and actually ran across the band, who proceeded to "Tiger bait" us.

It's really hard to be intimidated by a bunch of people wearing matching purple outfits, velcro shoes, a purse on their shoulder and a big fluffy feather on their hat.

We found ourselves a seat on a wall down by the two hills, which are affectionately referred to as "The Cleavage" and waited for the band.

Honestly, we weren't really all that impressed with the band marching - there wasn't anything fancy.  But what probably capped the afternoon off was a stout, serious looking guy who was walking by.  The reason for his serious disposition was his high level of inebriation and the need to spend every ounce of his focus to walk forward (at a very slow rate of speed).  He showed absolutely ZERO emotion with his face the entire time we were watching him.

My only regret from the trip was not taking a picture of this guy - or better yet, a video.

He decided to sit down on the wall a little ways down from us, almost missed the wall, and then attempted to do something on his phone, which he dropped.  I cringed as he pulled it closer to himself because the screen was face down - but that wouldn't matter because a few moments after he picked it up he stood up and hurled it towards the ground and it shattered.  With ZERO emotion.

Then he picked it up again and tried to use it (as if it would even turn on) but got distracted and started picking out the pieces of broken screen.  When he got bored with that he decided to try and find his friends by walking back the way he came, except he suddenly got angry with the phone again and threw it again, this time splitting it into two pieces.  Again, his facial expression never changed during the entire ordeal. 

On a scale of 1-10 on the people watching scale he was a 9.5.

We decided that we had seen enough at that point, so we started walking towards the stadium and out of no where we ran into one of Sean's elementary school buddies.  We chatted for a while as we walked but it started to rain a little bit so he headed off to a tailgate and we decided to go into the stadium.

There is a great book by John Ed Bradley, a former LSU football player, titled "It Never Rains in Tiger Stadium" that I read a couple of years ago about him looking back on his athletic career through his eyes from later in life.

He was wrong about the title.

The skies opened up at about 1pm and it poured for about an hour and then continued to sprinkle/mist until about 1/2 way through the second quarter.  It was miserable weather.  We got drenched before we could get into the stadium or get our rain gear on and ended up taking shelter under the stadium until about 20 minutes before kickoff.
The team came out in special uniforms, which I LOVED.  It was a dark grey with maroon trim and socks and the helmets faded from maroon at the crown to black at the neck.

We had to punt on our first possession, which we never do.  On the drive Ben Malena had broken into open field but didn't get to complete the TD run because of a whistle for someone not coming completely set prior to the snap.

On the second drive we had a 3rd & 4 and Johnny's 1st down pass was dropped.

It was on the third drive when I first thought that Johnny was off.  He sailed one to Evans down the right sidelines - it would have been a HUGE gain and probably a TD.

On our fourth possession, Johnny scrambled and at the end of the run collided with Malcome Kennedy's knee - he left the game.  Walker dropped a TD on 3rd & G and we couldn't score on 4th TD.  The game should have been 14-7 at this point.

One thing that LSU did a great job on  was playing Johnny's reverse spin move where he typically gets all of his scramble passing yards.

LSU took over in the shadow of their own goal post and were forced to punt and it only went 13 yards - but we had to settle for a FG.

We did score just before the half on a super quick strike to make it 21-10, which was more manageable

We had four - FOUR - rushing attempts by our talented backfield in the first half (three by Malena and one by Trey Williams).  Tra Carson was cleared to play after a head injury a few weeks ago but didn't lineup in the backfield (he did play on special teams so it wasn't an injury situation).  They literally put the entire offense on Johnny in a cold, wet environment - with what we found out later was in injured hand.

I will also say that if I never see them run with Johnny up the middle again I will be a happy man.  That said, I thought that when he scrambled he did look as quick and fast as I've seen this season - it's almost like he has been a half a step slower this year.

Speaking of scrambling, he had to do it a lot because their defense ate up our OL and were on Johnny quick all night long.
I went into Tiger Stadium expecting to be completely overwhelmed but the LSU fans weren't as loud or intimidating as I expected.  I'm sure the weather played into that but there were A LOT of empty seats (the student section in particular was quite disappointing) and then after the half there were even more empty seats.

They did get loud at certain times but it was not a sustained loud.  They also had some pretty vulgar songs that they would sing, asking to "Suck that Tiger #^@&, &*$(#"  We were sitting in the visitor's section completely surrounded by Ags so we were insulated from the full Tiger treatment that we heard about going into the game.

LSU came out of the half and extended the lead with a FG and then we turned the ball over on an incredible INT by the LSU defender.  The Tigers scored another TD and we punted.  They picked up another FG and I stopped tracking the score.

With right at 6 minutes remaining, Mike Evans fended off a pass interference and caught a TD (but there was no flag thrown).  They reviewed the play and claimed that Evans did not have complete possession of the ball when it touched the ground.  They couldn't go back and retrospectively thrown the flag for the PI so we got kinda hosed on that.  The next snap was picked.  That essentially ended the ballgame.

Trey had two second half carries and that was it for our RBs on the ground.  Shocking.

Johnny finished with 278 yards and one TD (with two INTs). It was his least impressive performance of the season.

Terrence McGee had a career high 149 yards on the ground as the Tigers lit us up for 324 rushing yards.

A couple other thoughts.....
  • I thought that Davante Harris played out of his mind - especially since he was covering Odell Beckham Jr. all night
  • Once again we got NO PASS RUSH.  It was pathetic.
  • Getting no pass rush allows our opponent to simply pick us appart on 3rd down - they converted on 3rd & 6, 3rd & 6, 3rd & 9, 3rd & 10 (overall 11-of-17 on 3rd down, including 3 TDs on 3rd down)
We finish up the regular season next weekend on the road at #5 Missouri.  Hopefully, we can turn things around.

After the game we solemnly walked back to the car, hoping to find all four tires still inflated and nothing scratched into the paint.  We were able to get out to town really quickly, safely made it over the creepy bridge just before Lafayette, and got home around 12:30am.

Overall, it was a bad game and horrible weather - but I'll never regret going on the road to see my Ags.  Man, the SEC is tough.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ag Football Preview: LSU Tigers

Tiger Stadium.  One of the most revered atmospheres in all of college football.

Over the last five seasons the Tigers have lost twice in Death Valley, to #1 'Bama in 2012 and to #1 Florida in 2009.

But then again Johnny has never stepped foot into Tiger Stadium.

Johnny spent his bye week like he should....chillin' with Drake who just so happened to be on the Texas leg of his tour.  Should Sumlin be upset about this?  Heck no, he was the Drake show the next night in Houston. 
Sean and I stopped by Tiger Stadium during our road trip to Auburn last season but like a game at Ole Miss, an SEC night game at Tiger Stadium has been on my bucket list for years.  Fortunately for our chances of winning, we're not going to get exactly that with a 2:30 kickoff but it will definitely be dark before the end of the game.

Regardless, I'm pretty excited.  

Here's a quick preview:  They're going to pound the ball and then attack us with play action to one of their freak WRs.  There will be at least one trick play.  It is going to be a shootout and we're going to have to convert 3rd downs and TDs.

If we can go 2-0 at LSU and at Mizzou we're going to go to the Sugar Bowl and Johnny will win his second Heisman.  It's all there on the table for the taking.

But first, we have to get past Tiger Stadium.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ag Football Recap: Ags Send off Kyle Field with a 51-41 Win over MSU

Say goodbye to her as you know her.  They started demolition within an hour of the final whistle.

It was also Senior Day as we cast our farewells to Ben Malena, Steven Jenkins, Jake Matthews, Toney Hurd, Derel Walker and the rest of the senior class.  They committed to us coming off of a bleh season and a horrific bowl loss....before Von Miller was VON MILLER, before the SEC rumblings even started, before "new" Kyle Field was even a sketch on a napkin, and before Sumlin.  They helped us get to this point.

It was also Sophomore Day as we saw Mike Evans and Johnny take Kyle Field for what should be the last time.  What a tandem - wow.

We got to see the 12th Man block a punt for a safety - our second safety via blocked punt in as many weeks.

We got to see Trey Williams break off an electric 103 yard KOR.

It was a good day.

Johnny had another one of those plays where the entire stadium went silent for a nanosecond because they were gasping in amazement while their brains attempted to comprehend how he could be running at full speed, juke one way and reverse spin the opposite direction at the exact same time to avoid an 18 yard sack? 
You can't even do that in a video game.

By the way, he completed the pass to convert on THIRD AND TWENTY FIVE.

Johnny had 493 yards and 5 TDs and set the school single season record with his 31st TD pass AND the all-time record with 9,040 career yards.  Mike Evans also set the single season record with his 1,263 receiving yards after his 6 catch 116 yard performance.  Remember, we have three games still to play.

In the three games we've kicked off at 2:30p on CBS this season, Johnny has accumulated 1,557 yards and 15 TDs while Evans has 24 receptions for 681 yards and 5 TDs.  THREE GAMES.

All that said, I still don't feel like we've put it all together on offense...the numbers are there but I feel like it still hasn't hit on all cylinders.  I go back to the last five games of 2012 and it was just so fluid, we were completely unstoppable.  This year, there are 3-and-outs, stalled drives (insert "Thank goodness for Drew Kaser" comment here), and turnovers.

I know, I'm crazy.

My favorite part of the day was the final 2 minutes of the game.  We attempted to take a knee (there was officiating confusion and 4 MSU timeouts) but in the down time we got to give Johnny an appropriate send off.  He was pretty fired up and motioned to the student section to get loud, and saluted them.  Then after the game, he ran over and jumped the wall into the crowd to sing the War Hymn with the student body.  It was cool to watch.

We're off this weekend which gives us a little bit of time to fine tune the game plan for our upcoming games against the Tigers (at LSU & at Mizzou).

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ag Football Recap: Ags Cover Against Miners, 57-7

We opened the game by blocking a punt for a safety but the score at the end of the 1st quarter was just 9-7.  The line on the game was 45 points so there were a lot of people pretty frustrated with the performance.

Fortunately we went on a 55-0 run to finish things off (including our 1st Q TD).

Johnny finished with 340 yards of offense and 6 more TDs (4 passing/2 rushing) before coming out of the game with 7:39 remaining in the 3rd quarter.

Kevin Sumlin apparently saw something in practice this week because Kenny Hill came in as the 2nd team quarterback and finished the entire rest of the game.  I'm curious what happened to keep Joeckel from getting any time (usually they split mop up duties about 60/40).

I thought Hill looked as good as he has all season.  He was 5-for-6 for 57 yards and hit his former HS teammate, Sabian Holmes for a nice long completion.

We did have a scare late in the 4th quarter when Tra Carson went to the turf following a fumble.  The medical staff was out there for a very long time and he was taken off the field in a stretcher - with his helmet still on (which they usually only do for head/neck injuries).  The word on the street is that it was all precautionary and he didn't even have to go to the hospital (and the x-rays were negative).  Pshew.

Darion Claiborne led the team with 12 tackles and a forced fumble - he has quickly turned into a favorite of mine.  Howard Matthews also picked off his second and third passes in the last two games.

Next week is Mississippi State in what will be the final game at Kyle Field in it's current configuration.  It will also be Senior Night, and we might very well be saying good bye to two of the greatest - Mike Evans and Johnny Evans.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ag Football Recap: The Commodores Sink at Kyle Field, 56-24

This was a weird game for me because I missed the first half.....and I never miss an entire half.

I'm the assistant coach to my son's soccer team and the head coach was out of town this weekend so I couldn't miss his game....which started at 10:30am.  His game would be over at 11:15 and it takes me exactly one hour to College Station and then usually 35 min. to park and walk to the stadium (and then 10 minutes to get up the ramp to my actual seats) but with the 11:21 kick-off, I was hoping to make it by halftime.

The unfamiliar situation spawned a great thing though.  My son has been asking weekly why he can't come to the Aggie games with me and honestly, it's because I don't think he could sit through an entire game, but this gave me an opportunity to take him and only have to worry about him making it through the second half.

I packed us a lunch to eat, all our Aggie gear, and coordinated a ticket for him on Friday so as we were walking back to the car after his game I told him that we had better hurry up because he was going to the game with me.  We kissed Momma and sister good bye and headed up to College Station.

We listened to the game on the radio on the way up and the Ags had stretched the lead to 28-0 as exited HW6 into town and I got concerned that he wouldn't get to see Johnny Football play.  Coming off his shoulder injury I thought that we'd be quick to get him out of the game safely and keep him as healthy as possible for the final stretch of our schedule (at #12 LSU and then at #5 Mizzou).

Out of sheer luck, I found a spot to park at the corner of Welsh and Kerry, which is just a couple blocks from the stadium.
I had anticipated a good little walk and his little legs can't keep up with mine so I had also thrown his bike in the back of my truck for him to ride up to the stadium, which worked great.
We got through the gates and there was about 5 minutes left in the half so we watched a few snaps from down by the south end-zone bleachers and then headed up the ramp so he could see the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band and all their formations.

He was really into waving his 12th Man Towel which made me proud.  I was also impressed with how much of the War Hymn he knew.  I've sing him The Spirit of Aggieland every night when I put him to bed but I'm not sure how he picked up so much of the War Hymn.
He was also remarkably sad when told him that we were going to build a new Kyle Field.  He wanted to know why they couldn't build the new one "over there" (pointing to Spence Park, which is visible from our seats) and argued that the current stadium has lots of seats already.  I'm not completely sure why he has such a nostalgic view of the stadium but I appreciated his concern.

After the half, we were treated to an opening pick-6 by Howard Matthews on the first play of the half.  We did get to see Johnny for 3 possessions, albeit only one was a full possession thanks to two fumbles (on the 1st play of the first drive and on the 2nd play of the second drive).  We ended with FIVE turnovers in the game.

Johnny left the after the third possession which ended with an 11 yard TD pass to Derel Walker with 6:10 remaining in the 3rd quarter.  He finished with 316 yards and 4 TDs (305 passing/11 rushing).

Malcome Kennedy had 8 receptions for 83 yards and Mike Evans had 5 for 77 and two TDs.

The defense forced 7 sacks in the game to literally double their season total.  Howard Matthews had a whale of a game, adding 14 tackles to his pick-6, as did Darion Claiborne, Steven Jenkins and Gavin Stansbury.

It was, without a doubt, the best defensive performance of the season.

The post-game was a big disappointment.  When we went back to bike rack where we had left Benjamin's bike, we discovered that someone else decided that they deserved it more and took it - training wheels and all.  I couldn't believe it and was seeing red.  He put on a big boy face but inside it crushed him - it was all he talked about on the way home.  It gutted me.

All in all, the day was a success but I just hope that he doesn't let the bike situation ruin the memories of the rest of the day.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ag Football Preview: UTEP

Seeing UTEP on our schedule doesn't even excite me as much as Rice or SMU but this year is a little different.

This past February backup QB, Jameill Showers, decided to transfer out of A&M so he could get some playing time during his senior season.  He already had his degree from A&M completed, so he could transfer to another university for grad school and not have to sit out a season.
What makes this more interesting is that Coach Sumlin allowed him to transfer to UTEP, a school that was on our schedule for this season.  That gave Showers the opportunity to dress out in the visitor's locker room at Kyle Field.

I'd be curious to know how many players have actually played against the school they graduated from?

As soon as I realized the opportunity, I was excited for Showers.  By all accounts, he is a good kid and he loves A&M.  He was in town, on the sidelines, for the Auburn game two weekends ago (UTEP was off that weekend) and was able to dunk his Aggie ring.

Unfortunately, we're not going to get the opportunity to see it play out that way.  Showers suffered a separated shoulder in last week's game and is likely done for the season.  I was really glad to read that they are still going to let him travel and be the team captain for the game.

We've played UTEP twice, beating them in 1984 (20-17) and again in 2000 (47-17), both at Kyle Field.  This season, the Miner'sare not a very good football team.  In fact, they're really bad.  They're 1-6 on the season but their losses have come to some other really bad teams (2-5 New Mexico, 2-5 Tulsa, 3-5 La Tech, & 3-5 UTSA).

This is a game to use to build on the confidence we gained last weekend on defense and to let Joeckel and Hill get more live snaps.

Ag Football Preview: Vanderbilt

For whatever reason I wrote this entire piece with one of those History Channel voice-over guys reading it in my head.

Vanderbilt is not a traditionally strong football school.  In fact, they've been down right terrible for the better part of forever.

As the token private school in the SEC they have just under 13,000 students that get the benefit of living in beautiful Nashville, TN.

The city of Nashville makes our return trip (whenever that might be) a road trip destination - because I can get my wife to go because she has always wanted to go to Nashville.

Vanderbilt Stadium was "built" 1922 and has a capacity of 40,550.  Technically, it was Dudley Field that was built in 1922 and current Vanderbilt Stadium was built in 1980.  Unfortunately, a 30 year old stadium doesn't have quite the same aura to it.

The school was founded by a gift from Cornelius Vanderbilt, the great American shipping & railroad tycoon.  His nickname was The Commodore....thus the Vanderbilt Commodores.

Two other Cornelius Vanderbilt fun facts
  • He had 13 children to his wife (who was also his first cousin)
  • Anderson Cooper is his great-great-great Grandson
The Commodores have never won an SEC title (despite being a founding member of the conference), have had six winning seasons since 1959, have been to six bowl games (including the last two seasons), and finished ranked #23 in the country last year - the first time they've ended a season ranked since 1948.

I'm going to have to say that their fight song is one of the highlights of their program:
Dynamite, Dynamite
When VANDY starts to fight.
Down the field with blood to yield,
If need be, save the shield.
If vict'ry's won, when battle's done,
Then VANDY's name will rise in fame.
Win not lose,
It's ours to choose,
And VANDY's game will be the same.
Dynamite, Dynamite
When VANDY starts to fight!
Back to the bad....they have the worst logo in the SEC (see top of page) and they are forced to boast Jay Cutler as one of their more prominent quarterbacks, if you can say that about Jay Cutler.

The Anchor is the symbol they use a lot (I'm not sure if it is an official symbol or logo or what) but it started in the mid-90s and stands as a symbol of unity and strength.  There is an actual anchor (from a boat) that travels with the team. 

HC James Franklin does have them on a really nice little run in his third season.  Like I mentioned, they have gone bowling in his first two campaigns and finished last season ranked.  I know I'm not the only one who thinks he's about to get hired away by a big time school as a result.

Going into the season, I honestly thought that this was the third scariest game on our schedule.  That faded as the season transpired, but after last weekend's mess that was our Auburn game, it's certainly not a gimmie.


Ag Football Recap: Auburn Trips Up Ags, 45-41

He's human after all.
But we're all now questioning if Mike Evans is.  The Beast ripped off another record breaking performance with 11 catches for 278 yards and 4 TDs.  It's silly how good he is.

Johnny still had a huge game (454 yards & 4 TDs passing with 48 yards and a TD rushing) but he threw two INTs.  The first of which I put on the paws of one of the TEs - it bounced into the air off his hands....but the second one was Johnny trying to force a ball into an area he shouldn't have.

This is SEC football.  This is what we clamored for.  When you play with the big boys, you're not going to win them all.....they're all pretty darn good.  People forget that Auburn won a NC three years ago so those kids they recruited coming off of that are now RS-So or juniors - their worst finish in the recruiting rankings over the last 4 years is 10th.

I thought that Auburn had the best defense we have faced all season.  Their front 4 continually abused our OL and the spy they had on Johnny kept him in check better than anyone else has.  As a result, we only converted on 38.4% of our third downs (a season low) and they got off the field. 

We had to settle for FGs in a game where we gave up 615 yards of offense.  Auburn averaged 7.2 yards per snap.  The defense is bad.  Way, way, way bad.
With a 31-24 lead going into the 4th quarter and the ball at Auburn's five yard line it looked like we were going to be able to push the lead out to something more comfortable.  On the first snap of the quarter, Johnny scrambled and ran into a defender and hurt his shoulder.  He was in visible pain and had to come out of the game.

Matt Joeckel came in and on his first snap (which was a 3rd & G from the 2) threw a little out route to the TE, which wasn't a very good pass but should have been caught for a TD.  We settled for a FG.

Auburn answered with a very fast 7 play TD drive and we went 3-and-out and then Auburn struck again with an even faster 6 play TD drive. 

Johnny came back into the game at this point but it was too late and the damage had been done.  In a barn burner we scored 3 points on two drives and the opponent scored 14.

We traded TDs and on our final drive, with 1:19 left on the clock and down by 4 points took over at our own 35 yard line. 

Johnny found Evans for 19 yards, then scrambled for 6, then found Evans again for 22 yards (how are they not triple covering him at this point?).  Then there was an incomplete pass and an 8 yard sack dropping us to Auburn's 26 yard line.  We took a timeout at this point with 28 seconds left on the clock.

The next play was literally the play that won the game.  Johnny scrambled out towards the left sideline and the horse collared him, clear as day, textbook horse collar.  No flag.  So instead of a 1st & Goal with 18 seconds to play (which is at least 4 snaps), it was 4th & 13 from the 21.
For the first time in two seasons, we saw Johnny unable to do the impossible.

Here are some interesting facts amidst the doom and gloom....

  • We are 16-4 in the Sumlin era and those four teams have accounted for the last 6 National Championships.  
  • The largest margin of victory in those four losses was the 7 points we lost to 'Bama earlier this year (the four losses have been by a total of 19 points)
  • In our two losses this season we scored 83 points and had 1,230 yards of offense
  • Johnny had 1,064 yard of offense and 10 TDs

Monday, October 21, 2013

Road Trip Recap: Ole Miss


Last weekend was my annual out-of-state road trip with my brother.  Catching a game in Oxford has been on my bucket list for years but last season we opted to start out our SEC road trip saga with a trip to Auburn....and as it turned out, the weekend A&M played Ole Miss was cold and rainy and we were rewarded for our patience by the SEC schedule makers with another game in Oxford again this year
Last year's game in Oxford was one of the wildest games I've ever watched and Ole Miss has some offensive firepower this year which is scary with the lack of defense we've seen out of the Maroon & White.

Just a little house keeping....
  • DT, Kirby Ennis, is out for year after tearing his ACL against Arkansas - he will undergo surgery
  • Floyd Raven is listed as probable to play this weekend after breaking his collar bone early in the game against Sam Houston
Friday Oct. 11th
We didn't have a hotel in Oxford and with the night kickoff we thought that we'd space out the drive over Friday and Saturday so we got a room in New Orleans for Friday night.  I swung by Sean's place on Friday shortly after noon and we headed out on I-10 East towards the Crescent City.
The view from our hotel window
Construction and a wreck on I-10 in Louisiana stretched our drive out considerably and we didn't arrive until about 7:30ish.  We dropped our bags off - and were shocked by the view - and headed out to get some grub.

We figured there had to be some good food in the French Quarter so we headed that way.....and spent about an hour trying to park.  Seemingly, a part of town built a century ago wasn't designed to handle modern day urban parking.

We weren't completely sure where we parked but were concerned that all the houses had gates and bars on them - but we figured it had to be an expensive area otherwise they wouldn't need the gates and bars.  Sean was freaked out by the gas coach lights, the colored lights, and the thoughts of voodo.

We ended up eating at a place called Royal House Oyster Bar, which was really good - and reasonably priced.  Then we went out in search of Bourbon Street.

It is safe to say that Bourbon Street is an interesting place.  The people watching is phenomenal.  Florida was playing at LSU the following day so there were a lot of Gator fans mulling around.
  •  Make sure you are conscious of where you are looking - there are some things that you just can't unsee.  
  • Actually, there are many things.
  • I got punched.  It was completely random, but some girl threw a punch at me and hit me in my ribcage just on the inside of my arm.  Not a friendly punch to get your attention but a real punch.  I turned around and before I could say "WFT?" she was already shooting me the bird.  Her eyes were completely bloodshot (and I was still so shocked by the whole thing) so I just let it be and caught back up with Sean.
  • It was kind of like Northgate on steroids.
  • They now sell alcohol in actual fish bowls.

After we saw that craziness we located the famous Cafe Du Monde and had a late night snack of beignets.  The place is open 24-hours a day and Sean and I figured that they can cycle through about 45-50 parties of people per table per 24 hours.  That is a lot of beignets.

I was also shocked to see that our two orders was less than $6.  They could probably charge double and not lose any business simply because of where they are located and the novelty of it.

We also discovered that when I eat, I inhale into my lungs which can cause some big problems when eating something with a mound of powdered sugar on it.

It was delicious.

Thankfully, our car was still waiting for us where we parked it and we got back to the hotel around 1am with an early rise on Saturday.

Saturday Oct. 12th

My alarm went off at 7:30am and we hustled downstairs to eat our free breakfast....but it took FOREVER.  We didn't end up leaving the hotel until 9am.

There really wasn't much to see on the drive from Louisiana up through Mississippi so we made up for it.  There were lots of long bridges in Louisiana.

We got to Oxford around 3:15 and drove straight to The Square to find something to eat.  The parking situation was pretty similar to the French Quarter.

There were lots of little boutique shops and a handful of restaurants.  There is also a statue of William Faulkner, the great American author of which neither Sean nor I could name a single thing he has written.

We ate at a place called The Corner, which had lots of room, no wait, and lots of big TVs showing all the afternoon games (Clemson/B.C., Baylor/KSU, LSU/Florida, & Oregon/Washington).

We attempted to drive closer to the stadium to park but that was a really bad idea.  Oxford doesn't appear to be equipped to handle gameday parking. Thankfully, we did our homework earlier in the week and had a list of the park & rides.  Two and a half hours before kickoff and we just barely squeezed into the parking lot.  At Ole Miss, the pre-game is much more popular than in-game.

We walked right over to The Grove.  It was a sight to see. The pictures we took don't even do it justice, there were tents set up side-to-side across the entire 10 acres.  It was packed - like walking through a crowd at a concert.  Everyone dresses in their Sunday best and the tables are adorned with lace and fine cutlery.

There were even chandeliers.

The one thing that I really couldn't get over was that there wasn't anybody cooking.  I've always considered that a key ingredient to tailgating, but it appeared that everyone brought pre-made food from home or had their tent catered.  It was more like a giant picnic, than a tailgate.

It was really cool to see but honestly, I think it is slightly overhyped.  I had it built up in my mind to be more grand than it was - I think the fact that everyone dresses up impresses most people and the fact that it is all consolidated into one location . That said, it was still quite memorable, impressive, and without a doubt a must see for any college football fan.

We made two passes through The Grove and then decided to head into the stadium.  Thanks to some very kind Ags, we had picked up some free tickets in the player's family section.  We walked down into one of the corners of the endzone to watch the players in warmup.
Johnny with George Whitfield Jr (QB Guru)
Mike "The Beast" Evans
Jake Matthews
We went up to our seats with about 20 minutes until kickoff and realized the one downside to sitting in the player's family section.  The players are big and so are their parents.  Our row essentially lost a seat simply due to sheer size, and the man who was missing his seat was supposed to be right next to me....Mr. Joeckel.  It was awkward and a little tense but a couple people moved around and we ended up sitting fairly comfortably.

Nehemiah Hick's family was in front of us and his mother was awesome.

The game itself was incredible.  The score went back and forth:
7-0 -> 7-7 -> 14-7 -> 14-10 -> 21-10 -> 21-17 -> 24-17 -> 24-24 -> 24-31 -> 31-31 -> 31-38 -> 38-38 -> ???
Watching the game, I didn't think that Johnny had his best night but all of a sudden the game was over and he had 470 yards and a pair of TDs.

There was a stretch of time at the end of the 1st quarter through the end of the half that neither team seemed to be productive - lots of punts, failed 4th down attempts, and FG attempts.

Also during that 1st half - Johnny went down with a knee injury.  He was running with the ball but there was no contact.  Everyone in maroon either freaked or got deathly silent.  The Ole Miss students cheered.

The third quarter started much faster but on our second possession, Johnny was picked off in the endzone on a ball that he tried to force.  Fortunately, Darion Claiborne returned the favor three snaps later.  On the ensuing drive we got into a 3rd & 4 at their 14 yard line but had a false start that pushed us back to 3rd & 9.  We couldn't convert and had to settle for another FG.

Ole Miss turned around and tied the game with a TD and then the unthinkable happened....Johnny fumbled.  I honestly can't think of a time when that has happened before.  Ole Miss turned that into 7 points.

Watching the game on TV when I got home I saw on the sidelines after that TD, the cameras flashed to Johnny and he was smiling as he put on his helmet.  It was a smile like, "Challenge accepted."

We scored TDs on our next two possessions and would have scored one on our third except Sumlin decided to let the clock run down and Josh Lambo stepped up and kicked the game winning FG as time expired.

Our section went bonkers.  Celebratory pictures were taken.

There were two other plays that I need to mention....
Trey Williams had one of the sickest TD runs I've seen when he juked a half-dozen Rebel defenders at the same time (he was wearing #17 at the time due to a uniform malfunction)

Mike Evans pulled off the hurdle over the defender leap to set up our final TD (a 6 yard Johnny scamper).

I thought that Trey Williams was the player of the game, regardless of how many yards Johnny put up and how clutch Lambo's FG was.  I feel like it was his breakout performance.  He looks to be fully healthy and when he is - WOW.

After the game, Sean and I hung around to cheer the players as they loaded up on the bus.  Then this happened....

It was pretty awesome.  The Beast is standing on the same level ground as Sean.

Ben Malena, Trey Williams, and Jake Matthews were also awesome and took pictures with all the kiddos who were there.

As the team buses pulled away we saw the line to catch the shuttle back to grassy field where we parked - after quickly consulting Siri, we decided we could easily huff it before we could get halfway through the shuttle line.

On the way back to the car, Sean was flagged down by an old Ag who was sitting on the curb.  She was at least 75 - but when she realized he wasn't the young man who sat next to her during the game she dismissed him with a wave of her hand.  It was awesome.  He wasn't quite sure how to react.

We also watched a full out grown up thrown a temper tantrum as he flipped his Ole Miss rolling cooler in the street.

The two things I feel like I missed out on.....I didn't look for the 18 mph speed limit signs on campus and I somehow made it though the day without hearing Dixie played a single time?!?

Once we got back to the car we just headed out of town - our hotel was in Winona, MS, which we had driven through on our way into was about an hour and a half south.

We didn't really get on the road until right around midnight and it was getting foggy.  There was a scary moment when I started to strain my eyes and then look at Sean, who was driving, and he was doing the same thing.  Then all of a sudden we realized, yeah - there was something in the road.  It was a man stumbling down the fog covered interstate in the dead of night - right in the middle of the road, not off on the shoulder.  That could have ended badly.

Sunday morning we were up early, chatted with a nice Ole Miss fan and his son while eating, and then headed back home to Texas.

We found a Whataburger somewhere in Mississippi, which was surprising.

Then we crossed the Mississippi River Bridge.
And then we were home.  It's always a good feeling when you cross that Texas state line (even though there is still another 2+ hours of driving ahead of you).

It was a great road trip, one I would recommend to anyone.  I'm looking forward to our trip to Baton Rouge at the end of next month.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Ag Football Recap: Ags Smash SMU, 42-13 and Fry the Hogs, 45-33


The only good that came from my "Beat Bama" Beard dying was the "Smash SMU" Stache I salvaged out of it.
It was strong.

SMU was not.

Johnny finished with 244 yards and a TD passing and 102 yards and two TDs on the ground playing only our first possession in the second half before giving way to Matt Joeckel and later Kenny Hill, who did not look nearly as good as he did in his debut against Sam.
Malcome Kennedy had a nice performance with 83 yards and a TD on 6 receptions.

Toney Hurd forced a fumble that Deshazor Everett recovered and ran back for a TD.

We did have some problems in the kicking game after missing three consecutive PATs and we got to see kicker, Josh Lambo, for the first time as a result.

I did think that SMU's WR #81 was pretty good....we nicknamed him Longstride.

Darian Claiborne made his first career start at LBer, the second true freshman in as many weeks to do so.  I love Claiborne - he's probably my favorite recruit out of this past year's class.

In other news, RSJ had surgery on his knee and will apply for a medical redshirt.

Surprisingly, this game was one of the first times I've actually sat with both my dad and brother at a home game, so that was a nice little plus.

We also met one of my favorite players from my time as a student, Ja'Mar Toombs, down on the field after the game. TOOOOOOOOOOMBS!


At half it looked like Johnny was going to threaten his own single game yardage record (yet again) - he was at 260 yards  and two TDs when the second quarter came to an end.

And then the rain came and completely changed the game.  At one point in the second half, we ran on 24 of 27 snaps.
Trey Williams had a great game (83 yards on 9 carries) and Tra Carson is a load (64 yards and 2 TDs on 9 carries) and Ben Malena is just pain old reliable (40 yards and 2 TDs on 12 carries).

Mike Evans didn't play for 90% of the second half and still had 116 yards and two TDs
The defense is just pain old bad.  I understand why, we're incredibly young, but that doesn't lessen the fact that we're bad.  How many forced punts on the season?  Very, very few.

To make matters worse, Kirby Ennis got hurt in the first half and tried to play in the second half but couldn't and Darian Claiborne hurt his right thigh and had to come out.  The bye week before Ole Miss is coming at the right time.

One of the bright spots on defense has been Deshazor Everett, who has been forced to play safety as a result of Floyd Raven's injury and some regression from others.  He had another TD this week in the way of a pick-6.

We weren't at our house when the game started but I had the DVR going.  I had promised Benjamin that he could stay up late and watch the game with me, but at the time I didn't realize that we wouldn't be sitting down to start watching it until 8pm.  To his credit, the little guy made it all the way through....his eyes fluttered closed off just as Johnny took the knee to end the game.  It was the first game full game that he's watched.

Next up.....Ole Miss!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ag Football Recap: Tide Hold Off Ags, 49-42

What an amazing football game.  This is one of those games that, even in defeat, fans will be talking fondly about for years to come.  Very rarely does a game with SOOO much hype actually live up to the billing.

This was a game of waves....we started out fast building a 14-0 lead, then Bama scored 28 unanswered points, and then we mounted a comeback.

Think back to last season and how amazing it was when Johnny broke the SEC record for total yardage in a single game against Arkansas and then turned around broke his own record a few weeks later against LaTech.  Well, he was 14 yards shy of rebreaking that record....against the best defense in the country, Bama!

Nick Saban had 15 games of film on Johnny and game planned for 10 months and the best he could do was hold him to 562 yards and 5 TDs (an A&M record 464 yards through the air and another 98 on the ground).  It was simply the most amazing individual performance I've ever seen - probably that anyone had ever seen.

As good as Johnny was, Beast Evans might have been even better.  He had 7 receptions for 279 yards and a TD.  He shed 'Bama cornerbacks like they weren't even there.

I never thought that I'd see a more impressive performance from a WR as Larry Fitzgerald's 2003 massacre at Kyle Field, but Mike Evans did it.

Our morning started with my son's soccer game from 10:30-11:30a.  We were freaking out because we figured that the traffic would be horrific coming up from Houston but once we got onto 290 it was smooth sailing at 80 mph all the way to College Station.  There was sandwich material in the car ready for us so we ate on the way.

When we arrived, my dad had a parking pass, but somehow talked the rest of us out of using it and we parked at his neighbor's sons house - a good 40 minute walk later, we were on campus (and I'm pretty sure we passed the lot we had the pass for). 

Campus was a complete zoo.  We sat down in Rudder Tower for a bit and they had a screen and projector showing another game - and while we were sitting there, Paaawwwl Finebaum walked in on the phone....I think I was the only person to recognize him.

Kickoff came and we got to see our first pass to Cam Clear as he caught the opening TD out of a two TE set at the goal line.  Then we forced a 3-and-out on Bama's first possession and scored on a 1 yard Ben Malena TD.

Bama's second possession was when the guns came out.  After four consecutive snaps for first downs, AJ McCarron found Kevin Norwood on a 22 yard back-shoulder pass right at the pylon.

Brandon Williams, who was back returning kicks for the first time this season, fumbled the KOR out of bounds at the 2 yard line.  We marched down the field and on a long pass to Mike Evans who went down at the 15 yard line we got flagged for offensive pass interference.  Instead of 1st and 10 from Bama's 15 we were in a 2nd and 25 at the 49.  We couldn't get ahead of the chains after that and ended up having to punt.

That was a key point in the game.

On Bama's next possession they converted a 3rd & 10 and then McCarron hit DeAndrew White with a flea-flicker for a 44 yard TD.

Our response was up and down.  There were some penalties (a holding and a snap infraction) and on 3rd and 6 Johnny was put under pressure....he pivoted, ran left, got caught, somehow slipped out of the tackle, runs back to the middle of the field and heaves a pass downfield that Ed Pope somehow goes up and comes down with.  It was a 45 yard pass for a 12 yard gain (the LOS was the Bama 35 and Johnny threw it from our own 45).  It was one of those plays that only Johnny could pull off.

A few plays later we are at the four yard line and Johnny throws a fade to the rear left corner of the endzone to Ja'Quay Williams....but Williams had broken off his route and we were picked off.

That was another key point in the game.

Bama's next possession ended on a 51 yard screen pass for a TD.  It was horrific to watch.

On our next possession there was a flag thrown on Haha Clinton-Dix for a targeting penalty and he was ejected, but the ejection was overturned by the review booth.  At the time I thought it was bogus but after getting home and watching it on replay a few times I don't think he should have been ejected.

We ended up getting in a 4th & 6 but on the punt a 12th Bama player ran onto the field.  Since the ball was already snapped when he entered the playing field the penalty was assessed on the return.  Had it been assesed on the line of scrimmage, there is no doubt in my mind that we would have gone for a 4th & 1 at the 33 yard line.

Bama turned that possession into a march down the field behind Yeldon and Kenyan Drake for the TD (8 rushes on 11 snaps....and 93 yards).  Our defensive line got mauled all day long and Bama's OL was into our second and third tier regularly.

To start the second half we forced a 3-and-out but then Johnny got picked on a deflected pass that was taken back to the house by Vinnie Sunseri.  At this point Bama has stretched the lead to 28-14

Johnny responded with a laser to Malcome Kennedy for a TD, but Bama answered again, forced a 3 and out and then scored again.  Johnny answered again with a Malcome Kennedy TD pass.

Bama marched again behind Yeldon but at the goal line, Yeldon coughed the ball up and Shaun Washington recovered for the Ags.  Kyle Field erupted.

Two snaps later, Johnny hit Mike Evans on a 95 yard TD pass.  We pulled back within striking distance, 42-35.  I thought Kyle Field was going to literally come down.

It was one of the most exciting TDs I've ever seen*....I'm not even sure how many times I jumped up and down, who I high-fived, hugged, or kissed. 

The joy on Johnny's face was priceless.  He was just as psyched as the rest of us.

Unfortunately, Bama scored again.

We got the ball back with 2:20 remaining and scored with 15 seconds left to make it a 7 point game.  We tried an onside kick but Bama recovered and took a knee to run out the clock.

TJ Yeldon finished with 149 yards on the ground and a TD while McCarron finished the day with a career high 334 yards and 4 TDs.

We gave up 568 yards.  Bama only had six 3rd down snaps in the game.

The 628 yards we gained was the most Bama had ever given up.  Ever.

What an incredible game.

I'm very proud of our team for battling back and playing with so much heart.  I have no problem losing a game like that, they played the guts out but the other team was better on this day.  I've seen'em lose and I've seen'em win but I've never seen'em quit.

As the two coaches met at midfield after the game, the TV mics caught Saban telling Sumlin, "You just took ten years off my life."  It was worth it.
My "Beat Bama" Beard died a sad death Sunday morning

After the game ended we hiked back to my dad's neighbor's son's house, called in a to-go order from Wings-n-More and headed home.  We were completely bushed.

*In chronological order: Toombs rumble against OU in '00, Reggie to Porter against OU in '02, Fuller TD against t.u. in '11, Johnny to Swope at Ole Miss in '12, Johnny to Kennedy at Bama in '12

Other housekeeping notes:
  • True freshman, Jordan Mastrogiovanni, got the start at LBer
  • Quiv has changed his number to #6....he was wearing #25 but since both he and Clay Honeycutt played special teams and wore #25 he was having to change in and out of #17 before and after each special teams play
  • I don't think I mentioned it but Matt Davis transferred just prior to the season starting.  He will play at Tyler JUCO this year and transfer again for 2014.  Also, LBer Shaun Ward is transferring but I don't know where.