Tuesday, September 05, 2006

And We're Back! My Real-Time Reaction to FSU/UM

Somehow I managed to move into a new apartment, spend quality time with my girlfriend, AND watch two great football games this weekend. Labor Day rules! The first great game was the Georgia Tech/Notre Dame game that Tech almost won. Notre Dame is very lucky they aren't 0-1 after Charlie Weis got away with some ridiculous play calls, and had the benefit of going up against Chan the Man Gailey. The other great game was, of couse, the annual Florida State/Miami clash. I decided to take notes on the game as it happened, which I did for two reasons:

1. I wanted to keep a record of the ebb and flow of the game and try to catch the little things that get glossed over in most media post-game recaps.

2. I had to do something to keep the beer and cigarettes at bay. I get pretty anxious during big games and tend to drink heavily to "calm down"...somehow I'm always able to convince myself it will work (which it never does). As a result I don't remember the 4th quarter of the 1999 Sugar Bowl at all, and a lot of other big games are hazy blurs in my memory. I'd like to actually remember these games that I wait months and months for.

This real-time reaction is a Chop Shop exclusive, by the way. No one has ever done this before...not Bill Simmons, not Pete Fiutak, not anyone! Hope you like it...

- 1st Quarter -
- Ready for kickoff! I'm here at the home of my friends Mel and Hootie, who were kind enough to supply a beautiful 55-inch plasma TV for the occasion. Also in attendance is my buddy Jeff, a die-hard Georgia Tech fan who loathes both FSU and Miami. There's at least a 75% chance we'll wind up strangling each other at some point during the game.

- Kickoff...and a big hit from Marcus Sims! Jeff says, "wait, I thought Ernie went to the NFL?" He's truly confused. I decide to leave him that way and don't tell him Marcus is Ernie's little brother.

- So this is the great Sam Shields we've all been hearing about? Not bad. By the way, people keep talking about the drop in the quality of these FSU-Miami games...well, just look at how many freshmen are being called into service in these games now! Plus it's the first week of the season. What do you expect?

- YES! 3-and-out for Miami and we're about to get our first look at FSU's offense. Block that punt, please...

- I like the little swing pass to Booker; it takes advantage of Miami's aggression. Nice way to start the game.

- Oh dear God NO, It can't be...IT IS! It's Ron Cherry. Dear ACC, why why WHY would you send the most incompetent referee in the history of mankind to your league's showcase game??? Suddenly I'm terrified.

- Nice little drive for the 'Noles, but now comes the moment every FSU fan fears: a FG attempt against Miami. Honestly, how can you trust a kicker named Weed? But it's GOOD! 3-0 FSU. By the way, in 2005 FSU was 8-0 when they scored first, 0-5 when their opponent scored first. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

- Most people didn't think Marcus Ball would even make it to FSU, now he's playing big boy minutes against Miami in his first game...and looking good! Muy Impresivo.

- Ladies and Gentleman, Mr. Buster Davis!!! Huge sack on Wright. That's one...I hope we beat last year, when the 'Noles racked up a ridiculous nine sacks. At this rate it could happen. Miami's forced to punt again.

- Jeff and I just had the following conversation...
Jeff: "Chris Davis? Never heard of him."
Me: "Really?"
Jeff: "Yeah, is he a freshman?"
Me: "Fifth-year senior"
Jeff: "Oh, he must have been a scrub last year"
Me: "He was our leading receiver"
Jeff: "Oh. Never heard of him."
Which brings me to my point: Chris Davis is ridiculously underrated. But he's going to blow up this year, I can feel it.

- Wow, Miami is crowding the line. I count ten defenders within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. If FSU could bust a TE down the seam it could go for big yards.

- Nope, FSU runs and gets stuffed. Antone Smith was really close to breaking that one but Randy Phillips caught him by his shoelaces. FSU is winning the field position battle though.

- Just so you know, I was late getting to Hootie's house. I'd been making appearances at various Labor Day cook-outs all over the city and had to drive from Powder Springs to Decatur for the game. Anyway, thanks to Hootie's DVR (Greatest. Invention. EVER.) I didn't miss any of the game, but I'm a few minutes behind real-time. So people keep calling me to talk about things that happened in the game and saying stuff like "I can't believe that call!", at which point I explain that I'm five minutes behind them and don't want to know what's about to happen. Then they go "Oh..." and there's this ominous pause. It's really starting to freak me out. What the hell's about to happen???

- So far FSU's defense looks S-I-C-K. I didn't think we'd have too much of a drop-off at LB, but I was worried about the DL. So far, no worries.

- HOLY CRAP! Brian Monroe just boomed a 68-yard punt that totally flips the field position in Miami's favor. That sucks; first break of the game goes to UM. Same thing happened in the Notre Dame/Georgia Tech game when Notre Dame's punter crushed a 69-yarder that kept ND in the game. Hope Monroe's punt doesn't hurt FSU as bad as ND's hurt Tech.

- Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Brandon Warren! I like the play call, and Warren made a nice catch for about 4 yards, but the coverage was too good. UM's defense is the truth.

- Damn, Caz Piurowski is GIGANTIC! 6'8", 270 lbs. and he looks bigger than that. I can't wait to see what these two freshmen TEs can do this season.

- Dang it, FSU has to punt and my worst fears are confirmed. Monroe's punt completely shifted field position in UM's favor. Booooooo!

- This morning as soon as I woke up my girlfriend told me that Steve Irwin died. How am I supposed to function after that? Ruined the whole day until now. Crocodile Hunter, you were one of a kind and you will be missed.

- End of the 1st, 3-0 FSU. I like it so far.

- 2nd Quarter -
- Son of a bitch. Buster laid another big hit on Kyle Wright, but Wright was able to get the pass off. It was a little lazy floater that Darnell Jenkins hauled in for 38 yards as JR Bryant casually lounged around nearby. JR, you gotta look for that ball buddy.

- ANOTHER huge hit by Buster Davis! He has roughly 237 tackles and is dominating this game so far.

- Wait, what??? Oh sweet lord...personal foul by Paul Griffin. I'm sure he's just excited to be playing in his first big-time college football game, but you simply can not make those kinds of mental mistakes in that spot. Huge break for the 'Canes.

- Roger Williams did everything right - diagnosed the play, got into the hole, kept the runner on his inside shoulder, and squared up for the hit - and then inexplicably watched as Charlie Jones ran right by him for the TD. What the hell was that? 7-3 Miami.

- Where's Greg Carr?

- Where's DeCody Fagg?

- And while we're on the topic of wide receivers, Calvin Johnson is a freak of nature. He almost beat Notre Dame by himself. You gotta love smart, personable 6'5" WRs who have a 40-inch vertical. He's a superstar, and that's all I have to say about that.

- All that talk in the off-season and FSU STILL can't run the damn ball. Aaaarrrrgghhhh! Still, we can't abandon the run or we're done.

- UM's secondary is winning the game so far. Everything else has been equal, but their DBs have shut down Drew and the passing game, while UM has found a little room to throw. That's the difference.

- Another break for Miami when Jenkins fumbles the ball but gets it back. The momentum is squarely in Miami's corner now.

- The Canes are picking on JR Bryant now. They've thrown to his man three or four times in a row.

- Did I mention that Buster Davis is AWESOME!?!

- Where's Myron Rolle?

- Why is Jamie Robinson, a redshirt freshman seeing his first game action, playing so much? Is something wrong with Tony Carter?

- Crap. Big 3rd down conversion by UM. Lance Leggett (covered by Robinson) made that look too easy. Gotta keep them out of the endzone here.

- Whew. FSU's D locks down and the Canes settle for a FG. 10-3 Miami. That was big.

- Or maybe not. Drew throws a bad pick to Meriweather, who had perfect coverage. Miami's secondary has been unholy so far. Seriously, it's like trying to throw against the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse.

- Wow that was a huge penalty on Miami! What a break by Timmons; FSU has Wright's snap count down cold. The holding call took them out of FG range and FSU forced the punt. Finally a big break for FSU.

- 2 missed tackles + 2 personal fouls = 10 points for UM.

- FSU is 0-6 on 3rd down conversions and has 1 yard rushing. How are we still in this game?

- 10-3 Miami at the half and I feel very fortunate to only be down one score. I don't know how we're going to catch up though...the rushing game hasn't worked at all and the UM's coverage in the secondary has been outstanding. So we can't run and we can't pass. Other than that we're doing great!

- During the GT/ND game there was an atrocious personal foul called on Tech that gift-wrapped ND's second TD. When the referee was announcing the call someone from the stands actually hit him with a water bottle, which was amazing because he was at least 30 yards from the seats! I've seen lots of stuff get thrown at refs, but I've never seen anyone actually make contact from that distance. It was an incredible throw and everyone I watched the game with was thoroughly delighted. Not only did the POS ref get nailed with a water bottle but we got to joke for 20 minutes about how you could rule Reggie Ball out as a suspect (the bottle would have gone 10 yards over the refs head, hahahahaha) Well, Jeff just revealed that it was none other than our friend BJ who threw the bottle! Now he's a hero to us all, and our children will sing songs of his valor that will echo down through the ages. You think I'm kidding.

- 3rd Quarter -
- I've been watching Shannon Boatman in pass protection and he looks pretty good. His match-up with Baraka Atkins worried me a ton but the JUCO transfer appears to be holding his own.

- Good god, these penalties are KILLING us! btw, one of the announcers just said it was uncharacteristic for FSU to lead the ACC in penalties like we did last year. Whaaaaaa??? I can't remember a year when we DIDN'T lead the league in penalties. We're like the Oakland Raiders of college football! Normally it's just a by-product of aggressive play, but tonight it's mostly mental errors and it's really hurting us.

- Drew looks like crap so far, but I still believe in him.

- Jeff just asked who our back-up QB is, and I just resisted the urge to punch Jeff in the face.

- No points, but a good opening drive for JB and the 'Noles. Did I mention that Randy Shannon has been making Jeff Bowden his bitch for six years now, and nobody on FSU's staff seems to mind? I find this quite vexing.

- Good lord I hate seeing all the ex-players on UM's sideline. Edgerrin James is talking about how much money he's making on this game, apparently oblivious that sports gambling is illegal and he's talking about it on national television. Fun fact: Edgerrin James and Emmitt Smith went a combined 0-7 against FSU.

- Once upon a time I loved Dwyane Wade. Loved him like a brother. But then he started getting the Jordan treatment from NBA refs, he was part of the USA team that won shameful Bronze (how did we lose to GREECE?!?), and he's standing on Miami's sideline. He's dead to me now.

- Geno Hayes is FAST!

- Sweet lord, what the hell happened to Bernie Kosar??? He looks like Drew Rosenhaus' older, slightly less evil brother. Yikes.

- Roger Williams has missed two tackles and two INTs so far. Miami has missed nothing. Coincidentally, they're winning.

- WHOA! Big tackle on Darnell Jenkins for a loss of six. Say what you want about our offensive coaches, but nobody and I mean NOBODY is better than Mickey Andrews and his staff. They've got the defense flying around the field.

- Chris Davis is the shit.

- Hootie said it before I could: when you make an audible and you only tell the OL and running backs it sort of tips off the defense that you’re going to run the ball. That’s exactly what happened against UF and that’s exactly what’s happening right now. If I can figure that out, and Hootie can figure that out, why the hell can’t Jeff Bowden figure that out???

- On the heels of that little JB rant, Jeff just offered to trade me Chan Gailey for Jeff Bowden straight up. After politely refusing the offer I realized that maybe FSU doesn't have it all that bad.

- Lorenzo Booker is doing way too much dancing.

- Oh good, it’s raining. That should help the offense get on track!

- Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Myron Rolle! Man I can’t wait to see this kid do his thing. And he’s wearing #3! Between Leon Washington and now Myron Rolle I’m destined to love every #3 at FSU.

- Oh nooooooo…Buster Davis is slow to get up. The D has been on the field a LOT tonight.

- DAAAAAAAAMMMN! I guess Buster was okay because he just sacked Kyle Wright (again!) for a 17-yard loss. Man, that Lombardi Award is going to look good on his mantle.

- Ooooooooooo, almost blocked that punt. We’ve been close three times now.

- It’s subtle, but you can feel the emotional edge shifting to FSU right now. Momentum is huge in these types of games and right now its inching in Florida State’s direction.

- Wow, Weatherford has been gawd-awful so far.

- FSU has been in 3rd-and-long situations all night.

- FIRST DOWN! What a catch by DeCody Fagg! And then as soon as I get excited I realize what I just saw…The Jump Ball Offense. Noooooooooooo!

- More dancing from Booker…for 25 yards! Best play of the night so far, and FSU is in business at Miami's 5 yard line.

- What a catch by Chris Davis; the man has Velcro hands. It wasn’t a TD but it’s close enough.

- Okay JB here’s the plan: QB Sneak, QB Sneak, QB Sneak. Got it?

- Wow, our offense has looked like shit all night and yet we’re six inches away from tying the game. On a side note, in their pre-season previews both Kirk Herbstreit and CFBNews.com neglected to mention Mickey Andrews among the best defensive coordinators in the nation. Tell you what, why don't you ask Larry Coker or Kyle Wright who’s the best?

- Have I mentioned that I fucking hate Ron Cherry? How many times are we going to run this freaking play?

- End of the quarter, 10–3 Miami. But FSU is knocking on the door.

- I went to the restroom in between quarters (wasn't able to keep the beer away) and noticed Hootie’s Motivational Quote of the Day calendar. Here’s the quote for today: “When you get in a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time the tide will turn.” – Harriett Beecher Stowe. If that’s not an omen I don’t know what is...

- 4th Quarter -
- TOUCHDOWN!!! On his first career rushing attempt Joe Surratt takes it in for a touchdown against Miami. Not bad, young fella.

- Was the Wide Right montage really necessary?

- Bobby just said, “It’s like the NBA Playoffs where it comes down to who misses the last shot.” Gotta love the man’s optimism! Actually, given our history against UM you can't really blame him.

- Whoa, Marcus Sims was out cold for a second there. He's looking pretty unfocused as he's being helped off the field. The kid plays balls-out just like his brother.

- By the way, FSU and Momentum just took out a one-year lease on a condo in the Highlands. We have all the emotion right now!

- “Damn, that Fagg can catch,” says Hootie. It doesn’t even bother me any more.

- FSU has now shamelessly reverted to the jump-ball offense. The sad thing is it’s the only thing that’s worked so far.

- Good lord, Holly Rowe’s going to need a sand-blaster to get those eight coats of make-up off.

- Greg Carr is in the house! Nice move for a first-down.


- Running game? We don’t need no stinking running game!

- Did I mention that I LOATHE Ron Cherry???

- Weed comes through! He’s 2-2 on FGs in a soggy Orange Bowl. After the debacle against Penn State and a shaky off-season that's got to feel good. 13–10 FSU.

- UM looks disheveled and disorganized; they got lucky on that fumble. And yes! A personal foul on Miami! Did I mention that I love Ron Cherry?

- Ummmmm, aren’t we supposed to be killing the clock? Two passes and a time-out??? It's like we're trying to find new and inventive ways to lose this game!

- Three plays, 0 yards, 44 seconds run off the clock. Jeff Bowden, everyobody! Give the man a round of applause. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go stab myself in the heart with a shrimp fork.

- What the hell was that? UM had a 3rd-and-long deep in their own territory and they lined up in this funky bunched-up formation with multiple TEs. Everyone knows they’re going to throw so what’s the point? Terrible move by Miami's new OC Rich Olsen who - outside of the 2nd quarter - has been abysmal. To top it all off Sam Shields drops a pass that would have given UM a first down.

- By the way, Miami has 10 yards in the second half. Ten. One away from single digits. I think FSU's going to be okay on defense.

- And they punt??? Larry Coker is so done.

- Hey Jeff, let’s throw a couple more bombs to Carr!

- Run, run, run. Good boy.

- Miami ball on their own 20, 1:14 left, no time-outs. Horrifying visions of the 2000 game are flashing through my brain.

- GAME OVER!!! Michael Ray Garvin makes a diving pick and finally I can start breathing again. This is a HUGE win for FSU! The confidence of this young team is going to be through the roof now. God I love football!

- People keep calling me to talk about the game, but I’m exhausted. All I can say is “1-0, baby. 1-0.” Damn straight. 1-0.


At 2:06 PM, Blogger meatcake said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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