Saturday, November 15, 2008

Battle for the Illibuck Trophy

After last year's screw job at the Shoe (one of the ref's was charged with a felony I heard), we're back in Illinois and the best news of the day...Pam Ward is not covering the game. After an exchange of punts Juice has fumbled and we'll start on the 18. Let's see if we've progressed enough to actually score a touchdown.

8:48 left in the 1st, Pryor scores and we're all thankful he doesn't have an annoying nickname...or any nickname at all. I'll keep a total on how many times today's announcers say either, "The Juice is loose," or "The Juice is not loose." Pam Ward's record is around 3 dozen.

5:30 and it's tied at 7. Illinois ran some hurry up run offense and our boys decided not to tackle. The play is under review but it looks like a touchdown. In other news Northwestern is up 7-0 on Michigan.

4:00 "Illinois wants to make it a physical game," they say. Really? Football, physical? You think? Has there been a team other than the '92 Oilers who refused to make it a physical game? We'll punt it to the 8 and see if our defense can actually tackle.

1:15 Abdallah knocks the pass down and on 4th we BLOCK THE PUNT into the endzone for a safety. 9-7 and Illinois must kickoff (punt) into the wind and we'll start the drive at the Illinois 44. Hartline makes 2 plays to get us inside the 10. He's tackled while going out of bounds in what would surely have been called a penalty last week. The first quarter ends 9-7.

2nd quarter
Beanie Wells around the left on a close to out of bounds (Pryor would have scored on 3rd down anyway) and it's 16-7. Illinois decides to blare Joan Jett to get their female 40+ fans back into it. Good kickoff that they can't handle and field position still favors OSU.


9:47 in the 2nd Illinois is driving after a 3rd and 18 completion. Sigh, we take a timeout and I'm hungry for this mysterious "Sub-mart" place.

Juice ignores the blitz that the announcer had time to point out and throws an INT which had a chance to be returned until he fumbled. OSU ball and we're driving with Beanie Wells...he heard they wanted a physical football game. Pryor follows with a long, long run. His stiff arm seems like an effective bitch slap.

6:30--Sanzenbacher for a touchdown! 23-7. Pryor throws the touchdown, gets up, and talks shit to the Illinois lineman. Pryor puts "The U" in The Ohio State University (see back in the day when Miami was a cocky, winning program they were The U)...and I'm done dumbing it down for people.

Under 6 minutes and Illinois decides that Juice Williams will throw less interceptions if he lines up as a wide receiver. On the next play he runs for a big game using the star fish strategy with his hand warmer.

Into the redzone Illinois will go for the field goal...28 yards to make it 23-10 with 2:40 left. I imagine Tress will decide whether to drive based on field position...Not much of a drive is mounted and Illinois has 41 seconds to do anything. On their first play Williams scrambles and at least THREE holds are ignored. It was to the point to where our linemen were looking at the ref while being held. And now we risk giving up 3 more. Shit. 44 yard field goal is good 23-13 at the half. The ignored holding call costs us...maybe we didn't plan on playing a "physical" game.

3rd quarter, Beanie elects to not be physical and instead jump over a would-be tackler. It'll be a play of the week, but had he scored it would have made a top 50 Best Damn Sports Show all time list. Is it me, or are their guys lining up in the neutral zone? Penn State is finally pulling away from Indian'er. 3rd and 13 at mid-field...Pryor runs 20 yards and Tressell finally shows us that running plays are meant for 3rd and long.
Beanie fumbles a few plays later and shades of last year start to creep in.

Under 7 minutes to go in the 3rd and we finally get a sack. Before that play our pass rush reminded me of that of a movie scene. You know that classic football scene where it's slow motion and the camera is showing the quarterback dance back and forth deciding on a receiver...meanwhile numerous pass rushers go flying by out of control. That's our pass rush.

Illinois does a quick kick and we get the ball at the 1 yard line, wind against us, refs against us, momentum against us, Al Qaeda against us, 99 and a half yards to go. I'm still slightly hungover from wine last night, time for greasy cheesesticks.

1:45 As if motivated by my analogy our rush gets to Juice and we hold off their good field position.

At the end of the 3rd we're driving and Beanie's hamstring is hurt after a long run. He'll be fine, we'll be fine.

11:55 Touchdown Herron! That drive was sustained by a late hit penalty that their fans are still booing about 8 minutes later. Cue Joan Jett, why would they need their marching band anyway? Is there a connection they have to that song? 30-13 and we're treated to bonus LeBron highlites.
(The TGIFriday's cheesesticks may have the best sauce known to man)

Illinois is looking sloppy and will ease its way back to mediocrity. Michigan is losing at home to Northwestern by 7, 8 minutes left in that one.

A play breaks out with about 9 things wrong with it. Herron was down when he fumbled it. Pryor got called for a facemask for tackling a guy by the shoulder. Good try ref, you were only about 6 inches off. There was a forward pass penalty by Illinois. I don't know why they declined the facemask unless there's some rule stating it wouldn't have happened if they hadn't thrown the forward pass. Can someone explain? Anyone?
Ahh, 'tis not a fumble. 3rd down.

Under 5:00 and the beloved Juice Williams has been benched.

Blah blah blah, touchdown Illinois with 42 seconds left. Onside kick recovered, ballgame. 30-20


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