Presumably we scheduled Eastern Washington because Florida had tied up Troy and Vassar had a field hockey game already scheduled. What's with these flag football contests? I know--everybody does it. But why do we have to be like "Everybody else?" (Did you ever tell your kid that if he is honest, works hard and studies, some day he could grow up to be Mack Brown?)
Back in the Day, the non-conference games were Michigan, Pittsburg, Penn State, Army. Notre Dame, Air Force, Syracuse, Colorado, Texas, Indiana, Rice. Our lone "cupcake" was SJS, and they actually beat us in 1966, my Freshman year.
Eastern Washington is a so-called Division I subdivision school. Nothing wrong with that--per se--but it makes for an unequal playing field. I had enough trouble with Long Division--subdivision is out of my league--and should be out of ours as well.
As was expected, The Bears treated the Eagles like Congressman Duvall treated that lobbyist. They handed out a well deserved stern spanking.
It was a grand day. Woke up to pouring rain (we usually get weather up here in St. Helena about 10 hours before it hits the Bay, traveling south).
It was my kid's 22nd b'day so it was off to the Durant for brunch with a bevy of her beautiful buddies--Mimosas and tales a father doesn't want to hear. Unfortunately, she hangs with kids like we were-ruggers and other athletes--not a good combination. Why can't she fall for some computer nerds and leave the bad boys like we were alone?
(A couple of Ruggers came by and gave me their best Eddie Haskel as we shook hands and they pretended not to leer at the gals). Shouldn't have left my 12 gage in the truck.
What we thought was music to our ears as out of control 20 year old jocks-is somewhat less sonorous to a father's ears. Not only that. Guess who picked up the check? Somewhere God is laughing.
A slight drizzle permeated the tailgate, off and on-but was plenty bearable (pun intended).
Talk was of Oregon and Dennis Erickson at Arizona State being thrilled with the morning headlines that the State of California was going to release 17,000 felons early. What a recruiting bonanza!
The injured tight end, Spencer Ladner (6'7", 253lbs) , is thought by insiders to be a legitimate Sunday player. Unlikely we'll have him for SC.
We won the toss and deferred. Tavechio kicked off to the 5. Three and out and we took over on their 35. Best for 11, Riley to Holley for 21. First at their three. Best gets 2 to the one, then Riley sneaks it over.
What's to complain about? Hey. Look up curmudgeon in the dictionary.
Just because one day I hope to be reincarnated as someone's ex-wife, I wonder why Best didn't get the opportunity to score. He's the horse. For marketing purposes he needs some scores for the Heisman run. Or is that stupid? High marks to Tedford for not having best in the 2nd halves, when we are way up-no sense risking injury or falsely padding stats, but is it wrong to let him get the initial scores-especially when we are down inside the 10? Riley doesn't need a qb sneak for a score to boost his confidence.
(For Comparison, note that Tebow had 4tds against Troy). Is it wrong to let Best get these early scores? Vereen (a real player as well) had three TD's to Best's two. For the season, Vereen has 4 to best's five. Would it be so bad were those numbers 6 to three or 7 to two in Best's favor?
Or is it smart coaching to keep Best humble and spread it around to all the players?
Given what Tedford has done for us over the past 7 years, I one has to defer to the boss, but as a marketeer by trade, I vote for building up the stats in the first half.
Taveccio kicks off to the 9, and exceptional coverage gives them a first on the 17. Alas, they go on an 83 yard, 11 play drive to tie it up. Visions of Appalachian State/Michegan dance in our head.
On first down best rips off 27 yards, but then we go three an out.
The eagles run eight plays before punting. Best goes 75 yards to pay dirt, but (barely) stepped out at the 30. Damn!
We control the ball as the quarter ends 7 to7.
After a 9 yard pick up by Best, Vareen comes in and carries 3 out of 4 plays (one 11 yd. Pass from Riley to Holly and we go up 14 to 7 and the spanking begins to get intense.
After a short drive by the Eagles, at 3rd and one on our 36, EW QB is sacked-fumbles and Kendrick picks it up at mid field and is running for a touchdown, but looks up at the screen (the world's only "Snow White" vision-it's dwarf size) and gets caught from behind at the five.
To o prove I've got my head up my assumptions, Best gets three carries in a row from the 5, and on the third he looks up while receiving a pitchout to the left (can't handle the public option?) and fumbles the ball. We recover, and Freshman D'Amato kicks the field goal to bring it to 17 to 7.
After the kick off, EW (I so want to write EWE) has a 4th and one on their own 38. They go for it and Mike Muhommad defenses the pass and the route is on.
Riley takes off for 13. Best picks up al couple, then goes deep down the left sideline. Unfair. Riley hits him in stride and we are up 24 to 7 with 5:57 left in the first half.
We kick off, and trade punts a couple of times as the half ends. Riley gets sacked for the first time this season (I think).
Vareen returns the 2nd half kick off 37 yards. Best knocks of 20. Vareen picks up 4, then Isi Sofeli zips for 14. (He later runs 22 yards for a TD). Best is Fast. Isi Sofeli is really fast. Of course, "fast" is relative. I wouldn't want to stand behind him in an airport security line.
We walk away with it in the 2nd half, thanks to their second failure at 4th and one among other things, and Vareen, Covan Deboski-Johnson (Can't these parents make up their minds?), and Sofili all shine. Best may be Best, but our depth is the finest ever at running back since Marlin McKeever (or was it Mike?) broke Steve Bates jaw when he was out of bounds (that's a joke for those of you from the Beta House-who are having someone read this to you).
At any rate, Lb Michael Kendricks (besides costing himself a TD by looking up at the TV screen had another monster game, giving him 26 tackles for two games. Our linebackers (last year's are all in the NFL) have not dropped off a bit. The O line still moves people around and opens big holes for all those backs. We won't know until SC, but this may be Tedford's best O line of them all. Fun to watch #22, Kapp's kid Will, come in and stick his head into a defensive end's gut. Live is good.
Anger still punting well. Would be great to get kick offs into the endzone--and that may come back to haunt. Riley looks verrrrrrrrrrrrrry comfortable, and DB 's are scheduled to be the best in the country-but we haven't played anyone-and won't for a while, so who knows.
Still and all, it is a delight to see us win the ones we should. Two road games coming up, Minnesota, and then the trap game-Oregon up there-before SC. But today we are numero Siete in USA and Ocho in AP (Fox News' O'Riely has us as #2 just behind the Pennsylvania Pinheads).
Life is good. The program is on the rise. The stadium is full (58,000), Al Davis DOESN'T own the team, and young men are excelling at what they love most. What can be bad?
Jeffrey Earl Warren '70