Poinsettia Bowl First Quarter
Being the thorough, research-centric information source that we are, I have conducted some in-depth examinations of both of these teams, for the convenience and entertainment of you, dear reader. Here is what I have gleaned from various internet-based sources:
Navy = Run ball lot
CSU = Bradlee Van Ramhelmet
I guess I can get a little more specific than that in saying that Navy employs a sophisticated triple-option attack, which is churning out a nation's-best 305 ypg. They are led by first-year QB Lamar Owens, who I can only assume is making good decisions in this complex offense, despite any contentions to the contrary from Todd. The "big bruising fullback" is a staple of this offense – Navy's uber-FB of the last few years was Kyle Eckel. Maybe you remember him. He certainly played a large role in Navy's 26-play, 14-minute game-clinching drive in last year's Emerald NUTS Bowl against Los Lobos. Good times. Anyway, this year's edition is a guy named Adam Ballard, and I will definitely be saying his name a lot tonight, though probably not while looking up at the ceiling (OMG gay LOL). The presence of such a devout run-first team is helping me deal with the fact that I volunteered to SOC a 10:30 p.m. game.
With regard to CSU, the only game of theirs that I watched any part of this year was the 56-24 pasting that Minnesota laid on them during (*grunt-le*) Texas weekend. This team was really freaking weird this year, as they blew out a Nevada team that ended up beating Fresno; defeated Utah and preseason darling Wyoming; and got their asses absolutely handed to them on a platter by both TCU and San Diego State (!). They finished the season an unsurprising (since we’re dealing with a pre-Christmas bowl here) 6-5. They are "led" by "QB" Justin Holland, who is apparently one of those mid-major types who's horribly erratic, but has a strong enough arm and a reasonable amount of mobility such that anyone who covers the team refers to him with some variation of the phrase "under the radar NFL prospect." AND I SHALL JUDGE HIM. They also have a 1,000-yd rusher in Kyle Bell and a receiver named David Anderson who CFN thinks is pretty okay I guess. There is apparently no information available on the web about either defense. Poor guys.
San Diego! Chicks! Waves! Two bowl games! My announcers are Gary Bender (?) and Bill Curry. Notes from The Deuce before the game: somewhat surprisingly, the aforementioned David Anderson is a honkey; this is the first time ever that the Naval Academy has made three straight (Ha! Straight? It's the Navy!) bowl games; and Lamar Owens is Navy's all-time leader in yards per play, whatever that means. CSU’s pregame locker room chant is a sing-songy number in which they’re loudly asking … Jesus … to "take it to 'em," and I … wow. Sexy, kinda. FYI, Little Dave Ryan is our sideline guy. CSU's gonna receive… Wait a minute, Navy's kicker is from "St. Simons Island, GA." Where the hell are there islands in Georgia?
CSU ball, own 23, 14:56
Bender on Justin Holland: "How he goes, so goes this team." Gee, a QB? You think so? Navy comes out in a 3-4 defense with … MANTAMAN principles. Hey, Kyle Bell is a honkey too. SMQB's analysis may not have been too far off. Three plays (2 WR screens and a standard off-tackle run) and CSU is at the Navy 40. Big 3rd and 2 for Navy … play-action to the TE for a first down. Navy isn't getting anywhere near Holland so far. Holland overthrew a receiver at the goal line by 10 yards … good thing, 'cause the WR was double-covered. Curry thinks he overthrew it on purpose; okay, chief… 'Nother 3rd, at the 23 … same play as the last 3rd down, and he catches it on his hip and takes it down to the 2. Come on, Middies. TD, Kyle Bell. Hmm, the big white guy I thought was a TE was a receiver, and he had all four catches on that drive, for 54 yards. 7-0, CSU. Pop-up kick, and Navy makes 'em pay, returning it almost to midfield.
Navy ball, own 45, 11:00
HOLY SHIT! First play is a flex bone, triple option pass, and the receiver (same guy who returned the kick) was 10 yards behind the defense. Caught easily, 55-yd TD. 7-7, 4:07 into the game. Eat your heart out, Sun Bowl.
CSU ball, own 23, 10:47
Replay: wow, the FS bit on the option fake like it was fed to him by a naked Jessica Alba. CSU has a garish orange "A" on the back of their helmets for reasons which are not being explained. CSU is getting 8 yds on every 1st down play. And Bell takes a toss sweep down to the Navy 35. Then Anderson catches a play-action (PA, henceforth) pass down to the 20. Holland looks really good so far. And the next play, Navy brings the house and doesn't get to Holland; boy that's a bad sign, even though the pass was broken up. 3rd and 6. Curry's worried about Bell getting gassed already. Huh – we aren’t even halfway thru the first yet. Screen to the TE (the actual one), and he dives for the first, BUT he fumbles, BUT they recover it, BUT now they're short of the 1st down. 4th-and-1, first yooge play of the game… Bell fumbles the pitch, BUT there was a false start. FG attempt is good. 10-7, CSU. This game has been crazygonuts so far. Wait a minute, now the big white guy who made all the catches that first drive really IS a TE? Huh-WHA? Plays thus far: 17 for CSU, 1 for Navy.
Navy ball, own 35, 7:20
San Diego County Credit Union CEO Rod Calvao gets one line with Dave Ryan before we're back to live action. It amounts to "Scoring good." Option to the wide side, gorgeous pitch for the first down. I'm so excited already – Owens pulled a Phil and pitched it at the LAST possible second, and wow, that looked like a forward pass. And they're reviewing it to look at that. Hmm, Bender is impressed with Owens's ballhandling skills. Put your pants back on, Todd. Who am I kidding, you can keep them off. Taking … forever … okay … ref rules "forward pass," and the crowd lustily boos. Huh. Exact same play, and they get the first down again, PLUS an OOB late hit. We have the first of what is sure to be many belly dives by Ballard. Option short side, and the pitch is bad and fumbled. That ballhandling looks mighty suspect so far, Gary. 3rd-and-4 keeper is stuffed. 4th-and-2. Triple option… wow, CSU’s DL blew everything up, Owens got hit and fumbled at the exchange point b/t Owens and Ballard. Guh.
CSU ball, own 38, 5:50
WR screen to Anderson for 23. Come on. Backup RB runs for 2. Bell, you pussy, get back in there. 3rd-and-8 at the 35. Anderson makes a great catch, but is OOB. 4th-and-8, and CSU is thinking about it and calls time. "Christmas on ABC: Shaq! Kobe! Phil! Pat! By the way, the two best teams in the league are playing, too." God, I hate the NBA. This game has had so much shit going on already, I've barely been able to keep up. Holland drops back, there's a little pressure, and he scrambles but has no chance. The functional equivalent of a coverage sack. T.O.P.: 11:28 for CSU, 1:52 for Navy.
Navy ball, own 32, 1:45
Toss sweep for 8. Curry is talking about all the … options … in the triple option … all three of them. Owens had a guy wide open and overthrew him. Option keeper to the short side and Owens reeeeeaches out and fumbles it. He looks like a poor decisionmaker so far. Shut up, Todd. They're reviewing to see if he was down before it came out, and it looks like he was. This first quarter is gonna take more than an hour. Bender has referenced Owens's "leadership" five times so far. If he means "mind-boggling miscues," then I can totally see it. Aaaaand he was down, and got to the sticks. First down. Option keeper for 5. Curry says the CSU D is overplaying everything and the PA should be open, and then boy is it, as they complete a pass down to the 29-yd line. CSU seems to be electing to give up some pass plays, in order to keep Navy from running like crazy and eating up cock. Um … I mean "clock." Hurray for Navy gay jokes hurray. The first quarter took an hour exactly. 10-7, CSU.