Tuesday, September 11, 2007

ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH


How long is a football field?

It all depends upon where you take possession.

In the second half CSU punted three times. We took over on CSU’s 47 yard line, their 44, and then they buried a coffin corner kick which pinned us back on our own 46. When you only have to go 50 yards for a TD, it doesn’t quite seem fair.

They claimed they shut down Desean. Only 24 yards on two returns. Trouble is we began three drives in their territory, and one 54 yards away. Sometimes success sucks.

Gender neutral punting has its disadvantages.

George, Janet and JC had the right idea. They left Tuesday aboard the Chicago Zephyr. It was dark across the desert, and gorgeous going over (through) two Mountain ranges.

JJ and I flew into Denver late Wednesday night and bunked at the Hilton along with the CSU team. They seemed focused.

Few asked me for my autograph.

While our crew toured the Fat Tire Brewery, Country Kline took JJ and I to Estes State Park and then into the Rocky Mountain National Park. We hiked up to lakes while Country cast for Trout.

Had to sweat out the nerves.

Didn’t sweat as much as we’d hoped due to a northerly which gave us pause.

Every time Aeolus rears his head one comes back to Bartkowski on the plains in Champaign. He completed every pass in the 2nd and 4th quarters—nary a one in the first and third. Would Juno tempt Aeolus with the nymph Deiopia, in the hopes that he’d hammer Longshore, like she tempted him when she wanted Aeolus to drill Aeneas?

Only the gods knew.

Speaking of Gods, Rip Hunter had his tour and Sandy, Mike White and Tuck gave their spiel. Then we all hooked up at “Washington’s”, a sports bar which provided the perfect venue for us to show off our knowledge of College football. With each passing beer we got smarter and smarter.

Willie regaled us once again with the difference between Tubas and Sousas and, alas, we all left a little dumber.

Saturday was a noon kick off. The stadium was only three miles away, so JC and I hoofed it. (Ok. Four miles when you count where the Colorado folk stuck the Cal Alumni tent. Amidst hundreds of acres of parking, they put our tent at the furthest conceivable spot from the Stadium And of course, they forgot the porta potties (that seems to be a recurring theme).

Joanie had to write a personal check to get 5 emergency deliveries.

They kicked with the wind and the kid put it 80 yards in the air out of the endzone. The Northerly was bound to be a factor.

Clearly CSU was strong. We couldn’t push them off the ball. Nate was sacked for the first time this year.

They scored first. The let down in the stands was palpable. Were these the Bears of old?

Then Tedford called for a reverse and on the first play after the kickoff, Jackson did his ESPN highlight gig—73 yards.

Still, they seemed to be controlling the line of scrimmage—on both sides.

On their first play after the kick off Morton goes for 44 yards to our 27. They get to the two and we stuff them. Fortunately, defensive lineman Derek Hill leaps to intercept a pass from the two—very athletic move.

At the end of the 1st quarter, refs award Cal first down. Spot overruled in the booth and it’s fourth and inches, and Tedford elects to kick, as we switch directions.

As fans, we all want him to go for it. Stupid us. Larson booms a 47 yarder with the wind—they’re forced to punt and we take over on CSU’s 47. All of us who wanted Tedford to go for it are now eating crow (but swallowing it down with beer—which is legally sold in Coors Country).

Field position is everything. If they kick to Desean, Tedford knows we’ve got a good chance for good field position. If they Gender Neutral it, well, three times we took over in their territory after a punt.

In the 2nd quarter, with the wind at his back, Longshore hits Hawkins for 21 and Moya for 22. Forsett carries it in from the one.

Up 14-7.

Back up Kicker Andrew Kay continues to be perfect and puts us up 17 to 14.

To start the second half, inexplicably we are kicking off with the wind at our backs. We saw this happen at Washington a couple of years ago, as well. I thought the law was that one always wanted the wind at his back in the 4th quarter?

Guess that’s why I’m not making 2 million a year.

When Best (who looked like Marshaw Lynch, except with some speed) broke 3 tackles and blurred 64 yards into the endzone, the game was in hand, 34-14.

He and Montgomery had been sharing running duties all 4th quarter. Paper said Forsett had a back “stinger”.

Apparently, Taylor announced on the radio that Tedford had balled out Forsett on the sideline.

Grid Club Question: Was it Forsett who was called for the 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty? Or is that just gossip. He never appeared after that. Injury? Or discipline?

(I loved Montgomery’s quote in the paper saying they’d have to “rip his arms off” before he would fumble. All the backs know Tedford’s rule. “Lay it down—sit down.” He wants to play and played well.

You know the rest. CSU scored twice in 53 seconds to give us old guys heart failure. Oddly, after the first score, with an on-side kick surely coming; all the “hands guys” were on the right side, though he was clearly kicking it to the left.

That changed on the second “on side” attempt, when they inexplicably “pooched” it rather than going for another on side.

CSU was a very physical team. One of our guys mentioned that the entire team arrived “tired.”

Who understands the finicky pituitary gland? When you can’t blame it on the Bassanova, always blame it on the Hypothalamus. Maybe the altitude or last week’s emotional win sapped our strength.

They seemed a bit lethargic, but hey—as Ackey Boy said on the plane ride home, “A win on the road is a win on the road.”

As a sidelight, the only time Cal ran three times in a row, Montgomery did it and the Bears picked up a first down—even though every one in the stadium knew we were going to run to eat up clock.

I beat that horse to death, but I love our chances when we run. (Old school guys never learn). That O line is something else.

Whatever. This is a team to be reckoned with. We weren’t sloppy, but we weren’t crisp. On the other hand, when you begin most drives insides the other team’s 50, it covers a lot of sins.

Go Bears,

Jeffrey Earl Warren ‘70

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