Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Peace Pipe

Just got home from work and settled myself in front of the television. The 4-7 Bowling Green Falcons take on the 4-7 Toledo Rockets tonight in the last game of the season for both teams. I have to admit, I'm not expecting a whole lot from the Falcons tonight. Still, a rivalry is a rivalry, so hopefully we'll get a good game. Be warned: it's entirely possible that tonight's language will get a little salty. This post also may run very, very long.

7:00 Here we go! Coverage begins on ESPN2, live from the University of Toledo Glass Bowl. Your crew for tonight's game: Rece Davis (play by play), Mark May, Lou Holtz (color commentary), and Rob Stone (sideline commentary). It's the same crew that did BG's game last week vs. Miami. Luckily, they've got better weather this time around.

7:03 A mere three minutes into the coverage and we've already got our first oblique reference to the obesity of UT coach Tom Amstutz. Apparently his recipe for summer sausage will be coming up at some point this evening.

7:04 Is it possible to get a moratorium on Christmas commercials until after Thanksgiving, at least?

7:06 The commentators comment that BG's opening kickoff is "short." That's how we roll around here. I'm getting the feeling they haven't done much homework for this one.

7:08 BG's defense forces UT to go three and out on their first possession. Not getting my hopes up, but that's a good sign.

7:12 Two running plays, one first down, then BG's first timeout of the night. At least one player looked frustrated at the coaches' inability to get a play in on time. That not a good sign.

7:15 BG runs their first quarterback draw of the night, assuredly the first of many. What took them so long?

7:16 A successful fake punt? Inconceivable! The snap went to the up-back, Pete Winovich. He made the mistake of busting two long runs from the fullback spot early in the season and hasn't really been heard from since.

7:23 The commentators tell the story of one of UT's assistant coaches, who lives between Toledo and BG, allowing/encouraging his dog to defecate in the yard of a neighbor for having the temerity to fly a BGSU flag in their yard. Dude, I'm like totally surprised to find out UT has a dick on their coaching staff.

7:32 Oh, sure, the officials can see a facemask committed by BG's defense, but they can't see all the false starts and holds committed by UT's offensive line.

7:33 UT scores their first touchdown of the night. Fuck.

7:37 Lou Holtz says it looks like UT hates BG more than BG hates UT. Don't count on it.

7:38 Another carry for Winovich? Who the hell is calling the plays? I'm in favor of it, don't get me wrong, but it's out of character for our offense, for which unpredictability is not exactly a strong point.

7:39 Third down and long, and BG's offense runs a short pass into the flats. Offhand, I'd say someone found our offensive coordinator. Apparently he was just in the bathroom or something.

7:44 UT's QB throws a lateral to a wide receiver, who then throws a forward pass back to the quarterback. A BG defender waiting to make a play on the ball is absolutely leveled by a blocker. Nice play, but I'm not sure why it's not pass interference.

7:51 UT's quarterback takes off on a draw and runs for a first down. I can't believe how much holding their offensive line got away with on that play (and in general). If BG gets called for a holding penalty before UT does, I'm seriously going to have a meltdown.

7:57 Toledo scores their second touchdown of the night on a quarterback sneak. I say again: fuck.

8:01 Why are the announcers now holding a telephone conversation with Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis? Does he have any relevance to this game? Yes, I know Notre Dame has a big game against USC this weekend. Big fucking deal. Shill it some other time and concentrate on the game that's happening right now.

8:02 Brandi breaks into the BGSU alma mater for no apparent reason. My wife, ladies and gentlemen.

8:03 Tyler Sheehan is now playing quarterback for BG, supplanting starter Anthony Turner. Oh, and here he goes, throwing a pick which is returned for a touchdown. 21-0 UT, and I'm not liking the way this one is starting to look.

8:07 BG's offense takes the field again, and Sheehan is still at QB. Is Turner hurt? The talking heads are still busy with Charlie Weis, who still isn't relevant, so they're not offering any insight about what's going on.

8:11 Toledo's identity-confused mascot shows up for the first time. It's having a hard time deciding whether it's a blue turd or a blue rubber dick. I tried to find a picture of this thing and couldn't, so you'll just have to trust me. It looks like Mr. Hankey (in blue), only dumber.

8:12 HOLDING, HOLDING, HOLDING!!! UT's quarterback has all day, still manages to throw a duck, and BG's D can't get there to pick it off. How precious.

8:13 Holy shit, the officials actually did call UT for holding on that last play. Of course, they also called BG for pass interference. Penalties offset, play the down again. It's comforting to know that the officials haven't forgotten the holding penalty exists, though.

8:17 A BG defender is blatantly blocked in the back right by the ballcarrier. No call. MAC officials suck.

8:21 A very nice punt return by Corey Partridge for BG, followed by a personal foul on UT, gives the Falcons good field position with a little bit of time left before the half. Come on, guys, let's do something!

8:25 Sheehan leads the Falcons down to the goal line; now Turner is back in at QB. If we run anything other than a draw play, I'm going to have a heart attack and die. Oh, hold on...never mind. False start moves the ball five yards back.

8:26 Turner stays in at QB anyway, and we (surprisingly) don't run a draw! He passes to Corey Partridge for the first Falcon score of the night. I still have no idea why he was out of the game. He doesn't appear to be hurt at all.

8:28 Halftime score, 21-7 UT. BG gets the ball to open the second half, so hopefully they can make it interesting.

8:48 We're back for the start of the second half. UT came back from a big halftime deficit to beat the Falcons two years ago, so maybe we can return the favor.

8:49 We finally get word on Turner coming out of the game. Coach Brandon yanked him because he was "not sharp." In spite of that, he'll be the quarterback to start the half. Way to be decisive, coach.

8:51 Lou is pretty critical of our quarterback situation. Seems like he might know a thing or two about coaching.

8:52 So very few players on BG's offense look like they know what they're doing. A dropped pass leads to a three and out to begin the second half. It's still early, but my confidence in our ability to come back is pretty low. I hate feeling that way.

8:55 Big run by UT's tailback. BG's defense is back to their irritating habit of trying to bring a guy down with arm tackles, which are predictably broken. Is it so hard to teach college students how to tackle?

8:58 More uncalled false starts by UT's offensive line. I'm starting to think they're invisible.

9:00 Another quarterback sneak, another touchdown for UT. Mark May says the Rockets want it more. Sad, but probably true.

9:03 Talking about and showing clips of UT players from the past. I see from these clips that their offensive lines always do a lot of holding.

9:04 The commentators are on the phone again, this time with former UT and current Tampa Bay quarterback Bruce Gradkowski. At least he's relevant to the game and not just more BCS bullshit.

9:05 "The last three times we played it was come down to the wire." Way to display that quality UT education, Bruce. By the way, you're bald.

9:07 Watching BG's offense line up, I'm having no problem calling the plays from the couch. Wonder if UT's defensive coaches are doing the same?

9:08 Even when it's someone associated with the game, I hate it when the announcers are talking to someone and totally neglect the game.

9:11 Turner finally completes a pass to someone other than Corey Partridge.

9:12 Listening to Lou Holtz lisp his way through the name "Gradkowski" is not one of college football's finer moments.

9:14 Hey, there's been a Freddie Barnes sighting! If he's healthy, why hasn't he been playing? If he isn't healthy, why is he playing now?

9:16 A second consecutive pass to Barnes. Unfortunately, this one was into the flats behind the line of scrimmage...on fourth and two. Are you fucking kidding me? That was the best possible play for that situation? How about, I don't know, actually getting a guy past the marker before throwing him the ball? Freddie's a playmaker, but with a gimpy ankle, you can't count on him to make that one.

9:19 Now we're being treated to a story about Coach Amstutz keeping a dead goose in his office refrigerator. Sweet. This isn't making the MAC look stupid at all.

9:24 Third and five, we run a QB draw. Can we get a memo to the coach? Let him know we're down 21 points and it's almost the fourth quarter? Get the damn ball downfield!

9:25 On fourth down, we finally throw it downfield. Complete to Partridge for the first down. Amazing, huh?

9:25 Okay, seriously. Stop running the quarterback. This is not the way to come back from a sizable deficit.

9:26 TD pass from Turner to Brantley on--imagine--an intermediate pass play. 28-14, and the Falcons are showing some signs of life.

9:31 Third quarter comes to an end, 28-14 UT. I just switched channels really quick during the commercial break to find out that the Cavs won 97-94 over the Memphis Grizzlies. So that's good, at least.

9:35 UT's quarterback gets a long run (46 yards) on a draw play. Hey BG coaches! See how effective that play can be when you don't run it ALL THE TIME?!?!

9:37 Two false starts by UT's offensive line on this drive. Apparently their invisibility potion has worn off.

9:42 Field goal puts UT up 31-14 with 11:21 left.

9:44 Freddie Barnes is out with an injury for the rest of the night, possibly a broken bone of some sort. Well, I'm glad he was in the game long enough to catch two short passes, at least.

9:45 BG receiver Corey Partridge is getting some major love from Holtz and May after making a catch while taking a serious shot.

9:48 Hey, we finally took a shot downfield! It was incomplete, but at least we tried. It was intended for Ruben Ruiz--where has he been tonight? Well, he's limping, so I know where he's probably headed now.

9:49 Pass complete to Marques Parks. It's good to see him on the field and contributing--he hasn't been out there much since breaking a leg during a game last season.

9:50 Mark May says Turner is now starting to look comfortable running the offense. Too bad it's about halfway through the fourth quarter and probably too late for it to matter. We can only imagine how he'd look at this point if he hadn't been inexplicably taken out of the game in the second quarter.

9:52 Another TD pass from Turner to Brantley. Oh, wait...it's being reviewed. They're showing a replay, and...yep, that's a TD.

9:54 The TD is upheld, the PAT is good, and the score is now 31-21 with 6:14 left in the game. There's not much time for a comeback, but at least the guys are still fighting.

9:57 I can't believe it's taken this long for us to get a shot of the UT cheerleaders. It's a good thing they've got artificial turf at the Glass Bowl; those girls would surely be grazing on a real grass field. Ha! An old joke, but it had to be made.

9:58 BG lines up for an onsides kick, and UT is forced to take a timeout. Lou thinks we should kick it deep. Apparently he really hasn't seen our kickoff team in action. Kicking it deep is not in our repertoire.

9:59 A poor onsides kick is recovered by the Rockets. I guess we don't do that well either, at least not this time around.

10:04 We force UT into a third and 8 situation, then decide not to cover their tight end. First down UT, we have just one timeout left, and there's just over 5 minutes left on the clock. It's not looking good for the good guys.

10:08 BG gets the ball back. We're down by 10, there's 3:17 left, and we have no timeouts. I say let's do this thing.

10:11 Turner looks for a receiver, then scrambles for one yard. YOU HAVE TO GET OUT OF BOUNDS IF YOU'RE GOING TO RUN!!!

10:12 First down! Partridge gets his 14th catch of the night, tying BG's school record.


10:14 BG turns the ball over on downs, and that's the ballgame. I thought there was pass interference on receiver Marques Parks, but there was no flag, and it probably wouldn't have mattered anyway.

10:15 Turkey Tom Hamstutz just got basted--his players gave him the Gatorade shower to celebrate.

10:16 The clock hits all zeros, and it's officially over. UT wins the Peace Pipe, 31-21. That's three in a row they've taken from the Falcons. Fuck.

So the season is over. I never thought I'd be so glad to see a season come to an end. I expected there to be some growing pains for an incredibly young BG squad this year, but I didn't expect a 4-8 record with sloppy play, no settled quarterback, and no noticeable improvement from game one to game twelve. It's time for the BG coaches to earn their paychecks. It'll be very interesting to see what changes are made to make this team better for next year. There's talent on the roster; hopefully the coaches will be able to push the right buttons to get it to come out.

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