This game may very well come down to one play, one drive, hell, maybe even one punt.
Well, as much as I would love to say "told you so," I have to admit, I never considered that a 73-yard punt might wind up being the game-changer. Saturday night wound up being the extreme version of the "irresistible force/immovable object" scenario I envisioned. Beauty is in eye of the beholder, and if offense is your preference in a football game (and it usually is mine, but I can still appreciate defense as well), hey, it takes all kinds. But don't say that game was boring. I enjoyed this one at the Varsity in Baton Rouge with my wife, friends and a packed house (that included the lovely Ms. Isom who follows us on Twitter), and by the end (in addition to a nice buzz), I'd managed to yell so much that not only was my voice gone, but muscles in my neck were sore. This game was intense, and sure, sloppy at times. But it wasn't boring.
Anyways, on to the notes:
- Where will we start? Defense of course. Sam Montgomery, Eric Reid and Morris Claiborne each had All-American nights. We'll start with Sonic Sam, who battled Barrett Jones (whom also backed up his accolades on the night) to a near stalemate, but still managed six tackles and two sacks. He also blew up the blocking on a five-yard loss by Trent Richardson on the first drive, setting up the first missed field goal. Both the sacks were pure hustle plays, where he fought through Jones' initial jam before finding A.J. McCarron.
- And it was the fantastic coverage from the Tiger secondary that helped to set up those sacks. Claiborne baited McCarron in to tossing a lazy out-cut to Brad Smelley before jumping the throw. He also broke up a deep pass in the endzone and finished with three tackles.