Daily Archives: January 2, 2009

Sugar Bowl 2009: Utah sugarcubes Alabama

Alabama Crimson Tide and Utah Utes parading with key rings. Soon comes powder, then comes sweets, then there’s boasting the Sugar Bowl at the Superdome in Louisiana carriage. A first time for Utah. Alabama, a returning patron.
Televised by Fox, the seventy-fifth annual Sugar Bowl blasted off with mucho impressive defensive work by the Utes.

Crimson Tide quarterback John Parker Wilson was sacked by linebacker Stevenson Sylvester ninety seconds into the first quarter. Utes quarterback Brian Johnson connected well with his offensive teammates on their first possession: five plays + sixty-five yards + wide receiver Brent Casteel = touchdown. Utah 7 and Alabama 0. The Crimson Tide didn’t see that coming did they? Would the AL bring their athletic legacy to the show? Would the UT be able to keep up with the surprises? Apparently option B. John Parker Wilson threw an interception; the ball nabbed by Utes defensive back Robert Johnson. A few snaps later, nearly halfway through the quarter, the Utes reeled in another touchdown, thanks to running back Matt Asiata. Utah 14 and Alabama 0.

Perhaps a back-to-back-to-back parlor trick by the Utes shook the Crimson Tide offense back to their senses? Not exactly. They had the ball for a couple minutes before punting it away to the Utes. The Crimson Tide defense did, however, get its act together…to a certain extent. Utes wide receiver Bradon Godfrey increased his team’s lead by another six points. Kicker Louie Sakoda put the extra point through. Utah 21 and Alabama 0. Rocking to the bottom of the first quarter, the Crimson Tide offense demonstrated its waking up as John Parker Wilson completed passes to running back Glen Coffee. Oooo, but just as Parker Wilson was about to let one rip, Utes defensive tackle Kenape Eliapo knocked him down.

The second quarter ascended with Crimson Tide kicker Leigh Tiffin made a fifty-two yard field goal. Utah 21 and Alabama 3. The field goal inspired a noticeable surge of confidence for the AL as Crimson Tide linebacker Bobby Greenwood sacked the Utes QB, who then threw incomplete, complete to wide receiver Jereme Brooks, but the Utes still had to punt the ball away. When Crimson Tide got their hands back on the ball, they displayed marked improvement in the form of running back Mark Ingram. A forty-seven yard field goal attempt was made but didn’t stick. The Utes had to punt the ball back to the AL, and defensive back Javier Arenas ran that ball seventy-three yards (a Sugar Bowl record) into the end zone for a TD. Crimson Tide back in for the kill? Utah 21 and Alabama 10. As the clock ticked to two minutes left in the second quarter, a false start penalty on the Utes forced them to punt the ball. The AL couldn’t take advantage of that offensive opportunity but certainly reshaped their productivity by the end of the second quarter.

The third quarter spurt out crisply for the Crimson Tide. Defensive lineman Dont’a Hightower compelled the Utes QB to lose the ball, which was then recovered by Bobby Greenwood. Shortly thereafter, Glen Coffee sprinted into the end zone. Utah 21 and Alabama 17. The first quarter may have indicated the opposite, but the third quarter suggested that the Crimson Tide was minding the score gap and then some. And yet, even though Brian Johnson threw a few incomplete passes and there was a delay of game penalty, the Utes QB synced up with wide receiver David Reed, who then ran into the end zone for a TD. Utah 28 and Alabama 17. The next Crimson Tide possession produced an unsuccessful forty-nine yard field goal attempt.

The fourth quarter doodled down beyond the halfway mark when Crimson Tide’s QB was sacked and Stevenson Sylvester recovered the football. He was then slapped with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. On the next play, the Utes put forth a trick play where Brian Johnson tossed the ball to Jereme Brooks who then tossed the ball to Brent Casteel. The Utes then elevated their lead with a field goal with fewer then three minutes left to play. When there was just under two minutes left, Robert Johnson intercepted a pass that was meant for Crimson Tide wide receiver Julio Jones. Utah 31 and Alabama 17. Final score. In the end the Utes got to boast about that Sugar oh-honey-honey Bowl. Who’s your candy girl?

Observations & Miscellania:

1. Alabama’s Million Dollar marching band got their brass on before kickoff.

2. New Orleans Shades of Praise gospel choir sang the national anthem.

3. Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston were the commentators.

4. The Utes wore white jerseys and white pants accented with red. Their helmets were red. The Crimson Tide’s uniforms were red on top and white on the bottom. It was like ketchup and more ketchup. Or, ketchup and peppermints. Or, Big Red and candy canes.

5. All surviving former coaches and players of a Sugar Bowl game were invited to the game (did I hear that correctly?). Frank Broyles tossed the coin. Utah won it but decided to defer.

6. Four firsts for Utah tonight. First appearance at the Sugar Bowl, first sack, first touchdown, first interception. The Utes were playing like there was no tomorrow in the first quarter. They blocked and ran and maneuvered like they would never play football again (for some, it probably wasn’t too far from the truth).

7. The slow-mo instant replay (extreme high angle courtesy of the DirecTV cam) of Javier Arenas’s punt-return TD revealed what I guess should be called the marvels of physics. One object moving at X speed in Y direction, nearly getting, surely getting stopped at one moment (surrounded by players, mostly his own teammates), but he isn’t stopped.

8. Utah enjoyed an undefeated 2008 season. They beat Air Force in November by one touchdown.

9. Before the second half began, Chris Myers mentioned that Alabama head coach Nick Saban took his players to see Valkyrie (Bryan Singer, 200eight) last night.

10. Steve Smith, wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, was on the sidelines supporting his alum Utes.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

Cotton Bowl 2009: Ole Miss tongue-ties Texas Tech

The Red Raiders of Texas Tech and the Rebels of Ole Miss got their snorkeling gear on at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX for the seventy-third Cotton Bowl victory bragging rights.  Broadcast on Fox, eighty-eight thousand plus spectators congregated today to watch this sporting competition for the last time in the Cotton Bowl.  2010’s CB will unfold in the new home of the Dallas Cowboys.

The first quarter progressed more than halfway before anyone put a score on the board.  Edward Britton, Red Raiders wide receiver, got his legs to the end zone for a touchdown.  Shortly thereafter, safety Red Raiders Darcel McBath intercepted Rebels quarterback Jevan Snead’s pass for a TD.  The Rebels TD’d back with about two minutes left in the quarter, thanks to tight end Gerald Harris.  Texas Tech 14 and Ole Miss 7.

The second quarter boosted the Rebels with a touchdown by wide receiver Mike Wallace.  He was surrounded by bodies (friend and foe alike) and he kept the ball cradled when he fell to the turf.  Both teams tied 14.  Briefly.  The next Red Raiders possession resulted in a TD catch made by wide receiver Michael Crabtree.  Texas Tech 21 and Ole Miss 14.  Let’s hear it for a back, back, forth, and forth on the offense in the first half.  The Rebels’ Gerald Harris made another TD with under five minutes on the clock.  Both teams re-tied at 21.  The Rebels had a chance to take the lead when defensive back Cassius Vaughn intercepted the Red Raiders quarterback, Graham Harrell, with roughly three minutes left in the quarter.   Touchdown opportunities were had but they ended up with a field goal.  In the final play of the second quarter, Red Raiders QB got himself within five yards of the end zone.   Going into halftime, Ole Miss 24 and Texas Tech 21.

The third quarter chirped off with Graham Harrell throwing another interception into the scoop of Rebels cornerback Marshay Green, who then sprinted sixty-five yards for a touchdown.  Ole Miss 31 and Texas Tech 21.  Green nearly put another TD on the board (via punt-return) a couple plays later, but one of his feet got out of bounds within ten yards of the end zone.  The Rebels had to take a field goal attempt that was no good.  Would the Red Raiders jump on the opportunity to close a ten point deficit?  Well, those ten points became seventeen points.  Rebels running back Brandon Bolden charged his way into the end zone halfway through the third quarter.  Ole Miss 38 and Texas Tech 21.

The Red Raiders finally got back on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth quarter as Edward Britton made a touchdown.  Ole Miss 38 and Texas Tech 28.  In the space of one end zone and thirty seconds maybe, the Rebels went from turning the ball over to getting a safety.  The Red Raiders safety Daniel Charbonnet landed on a fumbled Rebels ball.  And then, Graham Harrell lost the ball in the end zone.  Towards the bottom of the quarter, Rebels wide receiver Dexter McCluster got the ball into the end zone.  Ole Miss 47 and Texas Tech 28.  The Red Raiders weren’t going to go down with a hissy fit.  They increased their numbers by a touchdown with a Harrell-to-Eric-Morris connection.  Texas Tech tried for a two-point conversion but it was not successful.  Ole Miss 47 and Texas Tech 34.  Final score.  With a handful of Rebels running onto the field holding banners of their school, Ole Miss earned those Cotton swab Bowl bragging rights.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Brian Baldinger and Pat Summerall provided commentary.

2.  The Red Raiders wore black jerseys and white pants.  An odd look.  Like salt and pepper forgot to wear pants to school one day.

3.  Betty Stanford tossed the coin.  Ole Miss received the ball first.  Their uniforms made me think of the Giants’ with their white-with-red tops and gray pants.

4.  One of the cameras got a glimpse of Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell’s mother.  She is so young.  Not “do you still get carded at rated R movies” young…but either Graham is her youngest child (or middle one) or she takes very good care of her physiology….and is videogenic.

5.  Halftime performances consisted of the Ole Miss marching band.  They played Irene Cara’sWhat A Feeling.”   Texas Tech’s band hit the field too, but I couldn’t figure out what song they were playing.  The geometric re-arranging of lines was neat.  The Rangerettes performed as well.

6.  Commercial for David Cook and the American Idol franchise.  His eye make-up increases with every appearance on the tellyvision.  When is he going to go mime? Or jester?

7.  Summerall and Baldinger remarked that Texas Tech wasn’t starting the second half with any substantial changes to methodology.  They would simply do what they’ve been doing better.  Baldinger then said, “Repetition is the mother of invention…is that how the saying goes?”  Summerall responded, “It is now.”  So, what  really is the mother of invention?  It’s necessityPlato once said, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

8.  Was Red Raiders offensive lineman Brandon Carter chewing gum in the fourth quarter?

9.  The Rebels had blue in their Gatorade barrels.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

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And now for something tangentially related…for tailgaters and sports fans that travel by land to watch their teams compete during away games.  Nevermind what morning and evening commuters might posit, people aren’t traveling via automobile in frequency or duration as they once did (before people got trendily environmentally aware), thus, a restructuring or reconceptualizing of public roads is apparently in order.  Otherwise, there won’t be enough money for maintaining healthy roads infrastructure.  Fewer traditional cars, less gasoline purchased.  Click here for the Yahoo news details.

Orange Bowl 2009: Virginia Tech scampers away from Cincinnati

Tonight marked the first time Cincinnati went to the Orange Bowl, the seventy-fifth occasion of this particular bowl game. Held at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, FL, whom would the Bearcats have to snarl against to win? The Virginia Tech Hokies. Broadcast on Fox, the first quarter started off with a touchdown for the Bearcats. Quarterback Tony Pike threw to wide receiver Mardy Gilyard. Cincinnati 7 and Virginia Tech 0. Hokies kicker Dustin Keys missed a twenty-six yard field goal when his team got the ball. Bearcats kicker Jake Rogers missed his first field goal too (in the bottom of the quarter).

The second quarter spat out a Hokies TD–quarterback Tyrod Taylor did it himself, serpentining his way through the Bearcats defense and breaking the plane at the front, left corner of the end zone (front and left from the players’ POV). Both teams 7. And then oooo Tony Pike threw an interception. Hokies safety Kam Chancellor landed on the ball after his teammate cornerback Victor Harris got the ball from its target’s grasp. Would the officials concur? Nope. The ball was ruled an incomplete pass. Slow-motion instant replay suggested that Kam Chancellor’s left hand and left knee hit the ground before his body went out of bounds. But, apparently the forearm ought to hit the turf–not just a hand. Tyrod Taylor threw a pass right into the hands of Bearcats defensive back Brandon Underwood as the game clock entered five minute territory. Tony Pike repeated the goof by hurling the ball to Hokies cornerback Stephen Virgil in the end zone. Closing out the second quarter was a Dustin Keys forty-three yard field goal attempt, which he delivered. Virginia Tech 10 and Cincinnati 7.

The third quarter ticked nearly halfway before either team scored, a thirty-five yard field goal for the Hokies. Virginia Tech 13 and Cincinnati 7. Would the Hokies get a chance to put another in the end zone after Bearcats QB had a pass tugged out of the air by Kam Chancellor? That would be a negative. The Hokies did do something with a burst of speed and agility in the top of the fourth quarter when running back Darren Evans made his way into the end zone. Virginia Tech 20 and Cincinnati 7. Ricocheting down to nearly the two-minute warning, Bearcats QB threw another interception. Hokies linebacker Cody Grimm got his hands on the ball. Virginia Tech has clawed up the freshly squeezed Orange juicy fruit noodle Bowl. 20 to 7 final score.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. Charles Davis and Thom Brennaman were the commentators.

2. Arturo Sandoval trumpeted the national anthem. It was actually kinda cool.

3. Virginia Tech won the coin toss and deferred to the second half.

4. Have I never noticed it before and the yardage numbers on the Dolphin Stadium turf have always been outlined in orange? Or have been for a long time?

5. The Bearcats uniforms were black tops with black bottoms. Red collar rims. I kinda dug the three diagonal, wing-like streaks on the outside of the thighs. Almost like this, but instead of a solid white block on the pants, there were three white stripes.

6. Did Charles Davis say “Two things leaking out at me….” regarding criticisms of Va Tech offensive methods? If “deep penetration” weren’t snickery enough, “two things leaking out at me?” Don’t do it.

7. The Doobie Brothers performed during halftime. Miami’s DJ Irie introduced them. Dancers, in glittery silver costumes methinks, were on the field doing some choreographed number…but they didn’t get much screen time.

8. Does Hokies head coach Frank Beamer spend the majority of his waking hours with his mouth ajar?

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.