Greetings from the Hoodwood, where the proud men and women who served our country are always honored and revered. We salute our veterans today and everyday!
Leading off: Another wild weekend in football
I love this time of the year in sports, except for the shortening days, the football is what I crave and enjoy. High school is getting into the big time playoff atmosphere, colleges are grinding through the conference schedules with the stakes getting higher and higher every week. And the NFL is its usual wild and wacky self. Preps and Pros have a way of shaking themselves out as November progresses. Before this year I used to rail against the notion that the regular season was the playoff to shake the pretenders out, but what I like is that you have the conferences that play and the conference title games to follow. Then the plain jane named college football playoff its an exciting buildup and now you have the high powered games that really do act as a knockout stage. Examples:
Arizona State proves ND is fake again
Notre Dame Seems to always be the one team the pundits want so badly to be the great national power, but it seems that as of late the Irish seems to fold on the national stage. This time in Tempe in Sun Devil Stadium where Arizona State raced out to a huge 34-3 lead then weathered a hard charge rally by the Irish that had their faithful believing that they were going to rally for another predestined win. But a funny thing happened in the desert, the Sun Devils buckled but didnt break, cashing in on a pick six, they parried the Irish charge and rolled to a 55-31 win. I think we've seen the last of the Irish this year...good riddance. Ive long railed against the fake Irish and their supposed superiority, but playing all these cupcakes and soft teams in the friendly confines of South Bend and other Irish friendly venues like Yankee Stadium comes back to bite them hard when they play in a venue that isnt kowtowing to them and the audience is truly hostile. Both times the Irish played as a true visitor they have lost and Ill bet that they will lose when they play at USC too...
Ohio State: Comeback Bucks?
I saw the Buckeyes get taken to the woodshed by Va. Tech to begin the season. As someone who loathes the Bucks and their noisy arrogant fans, I saw it as a delicious comeuppance. I saw a flustered JT Barrett and thought that my beloved Bearcats had a real chance to pull an upset. Well of course we know how that went. The Bucks rolled the Bearcats on the last Saturday and September and have rolled to a number of wins. But after struggling with a so-so Penn State, went to East Lansing to face the 8th ranked Spartans. Falling behind 21-14 in the 2nd after Sparty lumbered downfield on a methodical drive the Bucks looked like they were actually in peril. But the Bucks began ripping off points. Barrett looked more and more poised as the game went on and shredded the vaunted Spartan defense. When it was all said and done the Bucks had a 49-38 win suddenly they look more and more like a formidable threat and nearing the head of the 1-loss teams that have a realistic shot at being selected for the College Football playoff. I still loath the Bucks make no mistake but as the wise philosopher Sheedy Wallace taught us here in Hoodwood “Ball don’t lie.” The Bucks are ballin’ and are in position to make noise.
Bama still lurking
Speaking of lurking, that team from Tuscaloosa is hanging around…again. The Crimson Tide are like Freddy or Jason. You think that you’ve killed them off and are just starting to relax and look for something to drink when they pop up again and start slashing. Most people wrote Bama off after they took a stunning loss to Ole Miss and struggled mightily with Arkansas but the Tide just keeps rolling. Now after thrashing Texas A&M and Tennessee then getting a crucial win in Death Valley over LSU don’t look now but the Tide are right in the thick of things themselves. SEC honks think that they are deserving of two berth and Bama keeps making a case for one of them. But with a supershowdown on the docket against Mississippi State, this might serve as an elimination game. With their hated rival Auburn out of the way with a loss to Texas A&M the path clears more for the Tide
Oregon plays it smart and wins
The Ducks were on the ropes to be sure. Utah had burned them on long pass play to Kaelin Clay and were about to go up 14-0 in front of a rowdy home crowd in Salt Lake City. When things turned bizarre, as Clay crossed the goal line dropped the ball. But he hadn’t crossed the goal line with the ball and the ball was on the ground on the 1 yard line. The refs stood there eyeing the ball suspiciously but not going near it, a couple of Oregon players and a Utah player trailing the play briefly tussled over the ball before Oregon linebacker Joe Walker emerged from the scrum and went trundeling back down the field toward the opposite goal. Now keep in mind that a third of the Utah players were in the end zone celebrating what they thought was a score and the other 2/3 was headed the sideline on the far side of the field. Meanwhile Walker was rumbling down the sideline with a virtual secret service convoy detail around him. Taking out the one Utah player that was still on the field, the Ducks scored on an improbable play and instead of the Utes being up 14-0 they were now tied and the air took out of a potential upset bid. The Ducks cruised to a 51-27 win behind the sharp play of Marcus Mariota, the player no one east of the Rockies really has seen much of but should be a shoo-in for the Heisman. Oregon is ranked #4 and is likely headed for a showdown with the aforementioned Arizona State for the Pac-12 title and a likely playoff berth. And what was it we were saying about every week a playoff?
In the Pros its just as nutty and fun
Detroit the quiet 7-2
Contrary to what many think it’s the Lions not the Pack that are leading the NFC North and like their quiet coach Jim Caldwell, the Lions have adapted a more low key tone and are playing tough. They won a slugfest with the Dolphins on a last minute toss from Matthew Stafford to Theo Riddick gave the Lions a 20-16 win. The Lions now face the equally hot Cards in what could determine home field for the playoffs. You read that right the Cards and Lions, long sad sacks of the NFC are this years kingpins. Why couldn’t the NFL flex this game to primetime. Don’t they say in their own fact and record book that flexing games gives a chance for surprise teams to play their way on to primetime? I know that the Pats and Colts are division leaders in their own right, but it would be nice to see other teams get the primetime spotlight every now and then
Rodgers shreds Da Bears
I mean really, this is getting almost criminal. The Bears got throttled by Tom Brady and the Pats two weeks ago, then went on their bye. When they resurfaced after the bye they were in the Jaws like sight of Aaron Rodgers and the Pack…at Lambeau…on a primetime stage. It was almost sickening to watch Rodgers abuse the Bear secondary again and again. 6 touchdowns in one half??? Are you kidding. What was sadder was watching Jay Cutler just flounder against a less than formidable Packers secondary. The Pack rang up a 55-14 thrashing and the Bears become the first team in the modern era to give up 50 or more points in back to back games. The only other team to do that was the legendary Rochester Jeffersons, I think they beat the Raiders a couple weeks ago…
Its rare when I give dap to a White Sox, since I still despise the team but you have to give it to Jose Abreu who was named the AL Rookie of Year unanimously. When you lead AL rookies in home runs (36), RBIs (107), hits (176), doubles (35), runs scored (80), OBP (.383), slugging percentage (.581) and OPS (.964). You are a lock to win the honors, hats off to a breakout star.
To the Arizona Cardinals. Not for their 8-1 start but locking up Carson Palmer on a 3 year $50 million contract with $20.5 million guaranteed then Palmer goes out the very next Sunday and shreds his knee the same one that he hurt in 2006 in the playoff against the Steelers.
Could the Sixers tank as bad again?
Kansas State Fails another primetime test
I don’t know how who is more on a downward spiral, Jay Cutler or Andy Dalton. I would say the former more than the latter,
Is Charlie Strong really in trouble?
Why are my Wings so damn frustrating?
Dont look now but my Bearcats are still in a postion to shot call in the American (I know its not a power conference, but winning is winning)
A million apologies for the delay in posting, Routers and passwords and other things dont like IT guys like me...
Don't forget to check me out on Twitter: @TheOneTrueJay
With Halloween over, it is now time for the Christmas season....err...excuse me?...what?...oh, please excuse this interruption...
And now back to your regular scheduled programming.
Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. It is a type of brain tumor/cancer that unfortunately has a 100% fatality rate. Have you ever heard of DIPG before? I know I hadn't until I caught a news article/video about a 19 year old basketball player down in Ohio and now I'm likely to never forget her or DIPG.
I've been following the story of Lauren Hill for the last few weeks. Last Sunday, the culmination of all the articles that were written, video pieces produced and shout outs from pro athletes took place in the Cintas Center on the campus of Xavier University.
The Mount Saint Joseph University women's team basketball team took the floor against Hiram College and Lauren Hill was there to play. For Lauren it was "One Last Game" or as she asked the broadcasters to say "her first collegiate game". Here's a fantastic start to finish photo gallery from Susan J. Wilden on Sportspagemagazine.com. (all photos used here in this section are from the AP).
I had planned to watch the game online, but as luck would have it, power went out here twice due to a storm. While the power came back on, I wasn't going to risk my computer with the storm still raging. I was resigned to not seeing the game, but then my mother told me the game was on a Fox channel that we had. Hell yeah!
I did miss the start of the game but caught most of it. And for that I was happy. The broadcast team was made of a local broadcaster, the guy who actually did the initial story on Hill. The color analyst for the game was Debbie Antonelli. For those who follow women's college basketball, this was quite a thing. Antonelli broadcasts tons of games on the Division 1 level, but she made time for this game.
There were a bunch of WNBA stars in attendance at the game including Elena Delle Donne, Delisha Milton Jones and Tamika Catching. Buffalo Bills player Fred Jackson brought his family to the game too. LeBron James sent her a message on Instagram, and a number of athletes from the high school level to the pros took up her #Layup4Lauren Challenge.
Lauren took part in the pregame warmups and was introduced in the starting lineup. "OneMore4Lauren" was about to get underway.
One of the things that as a former coach is when a basket is fixed so a player can score or reach some milestone they might not have been able to do without an agreement between two parties. It just irks me. But in this particular case, I would've taken off my ex-coach's hat and just gone along. But I did read an article that said while Hiram College hoped Lauren would score, they would defend her.
Though I missed it when it occured, Hill did score the first basket of the game. She hit it as she crossed the lane and made it with her left hand (her coordination making it difficult to shoot with her dominant right hand). Now the defender got hung up on a pick, but again, the coach in me saw that she could've gotten by the pick easy enough. But enough of that. The basket was made (see the pic and video below), and the game stopped while there was a brief celebration.
Hill was removed from the game and spent most of the rest of the game on the bench cheering on her teammates. She had to wear sunglasses and headphones to block out some of the stimuli that you and I wouldn't even notice.
At halftime, she was presented with the United States Basketball Writer's Association Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award. The award was voted early, usually being presented at the Final Four. In a surprise move, Pat Summitt herself was on hand to help present the award.
With 26 seconds left in the game and the crowd chanting "We Love Lauren", Hill went back into the game. She took another shot that missed, but her teammate rebounded the ball, passed it back and Lauren took what will likely be the last shot of her college career...with her right hand...and MADE IT!
The final score was Mount Saint Joseph 66 Hiram College 55. And while Lauren's team won the game, everyone else got a bigger win. One of her teammates is a senior and had torn up her knee just a few weeks ago. She was more upset that she wouldn't be able to be on the court with Lauren than she was about losing her senior season. But come last Sunday, she got her leg taped up and she took the floor for the game.
After the game was over, she addressed the crowd from the floor and was presented with another award, this one being the Wilma Rudolph Courage award. It is a local Cincinnati honor.
Afterwards, she also took part in the post game presser.
You can read game stories HERE and HERE. ESPN produced a great video report about Hill, narrated by Tom Rinaldi, that you can see below.
A college player shooting 2-3 from the floor for 4 points isn't usually the type of thing that gets news headlines and tons of other forms of recognition. But something about the determination and grace displayed by Lauren touched everyone who saw her story. I can't even explain why the story moved me as much as it did. But move me it did.
A few days after the game, she was presented with an honorary version of an athlete's crowing glory: Her own Wheaties Box.
Oh and there was this too:
I know the doctors said she wouldn't live past December, but they obviously got that wrong. Given the outpouring of support, whether Lauren Hill is physically here or not, her memory will live on long after she has left us.
Perhaps because I lost someone to cancer, perhaps because if I was still coaching and had a player dealing with this kind of prognosis I'd do anything I could to help, or perhaps just combining those things with my love of women's basketball. Whatever the reason, when certain publications are looking for a real candidate for their Sportsman/Sportswoman of the year, for me, as she leaves the stage, Lauren Hill is the best and only choice. She's certainly my choice.
Before I talk about the Patriots game from last Sunday, there was a pretty interesting interview with Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians on SI.com last week. You can check that out HERE. Also, former Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano was profiled here on his life out of football.
As for the Patriots 43-21 beatdown of the Denver Broncos, that was quite a game for Patriots fans, wasn't it? While dominating the first half the game, I was initially worried when the second half started. Denver went down the field quickly and scored with a TD pass to Julius Thomas. The reason that worried me was because it was exactly what Bill Cowher said the team needed to do during the halftime show.
But that was, for all intents and purposes, the real last gasp the Broncos had for the Patriots. While the Broncos had 472 in total yards to New England's 398, those yards went for naught when Denver failed to score. Peyton Manning passed for 438 yards with 2 TDs. But he also got picked off twice (one by Rob Ninkovich and the other by Brandon Browner, pictured below)
Manning was sacked once in the game. Akeem Ayers (pictured below) got that sack and played nearly the entire game on defense despite having joined the team late.
The Patriots got a great performance from their run defense as they held the Broncos to just 43 yards on the ground. While the offensive line for New England didn't open up many holes for the ground game (66 yards), they kept Brady upright for most of the game (1 sack).
Tom Brady was 33-53 for 333 yards and 4 TDs. He got picked off once.
The QB found Rob Gronkowski 9 times for 105 yards and a TD.
Brandon LaFell (#19, pictured below) had 6 catches including one for a score. Shane Vereen wasn't able to make an impact as a rusher, but caught 5 passes for 38 yards and TD.
Along with Stephen Gostkowski's three field goals, the special teams unit had a really good day when combined with an 84 yard punt return for a touchdown by Julian Edelman (pictured below). Edelman caught 9 passes for 89 yards and another TD on the day.
So the Patriots are now 7-2 and have been just laying the smack down on their opponents the last two weeks. They are in control in the AFC right now but are going to face Miami and Buffalo again this season so they haven't sealed the division title just yet. I'd mention the Jets but when your fan base wears shirts like the one below, you know your season is OVER!
Another crappy week as I lost in both leagues. One of those losses was the league's biggest margin of defeat for the week.
Florida State decided to yet again display their hypocrisy when they kicked a reserve linebacker off the team yet kept letting QB Jameis Winston suit up. Here's my take on the story.
Boston College - While I don't have anything good to say about the BC football game, there was a bit of good news related to last week's win over Virginia Tech. DB Manny Asprilla picked up the ACC Defensive Back of the Week award. He was also profiled on ESPNBoston.com.
As for the Saturday night matchup vs. Louisville, the Eagles were simply outclassed. And a lot of that had to do with likely the worst performance all season by quarterback Tyler Murphy (pictured below). He was 7-15 for 149 yards passing. He did throw a TD pass, but that matters little when you stack it up against being sacked twice and picked off four times. At least two of the interceptions were exceptionally bad as you can see in the highlight film below.
Though the run game was pretty much even in total yards with Louisville (BC had 167 to the Cardinals 168), none of the rushers really separated themselves from the other. While Jon Hilliman ran for 2 one yard TDs, with the passing game effectively out of commission in this game, they needed to get more of a ground game going.
The BC defense didn't have much of an answer when it came to timely stoppages of the Louisville rushers. Between Reggie Bonnafon and Brandon Radcliff (pictured below) they had three rushing TDs.
Bonnafon (#7, pictured below), a QB by trade, also managed to complete 4 of 5 passes for 69 yards and 2 TDs.
Boston College drops to 6-4 on the season and this game has to be one of the more disappointing efforts this season. Even in a game they might've been likely to lose, you would've hoped for at least a better effort and not a game full of one error after another.
Alabama - The Crimson Tide spent most of their night on Saturday trying to figure out how to shake off LSU. They trailed late in the game 13-10 and had just 50 seconds in which to tie or win the game. Blake Sims (pictured below) finally was able to do something against the Tiger defense and led Alabama on a drive that got them a tying field goal. Alabama went on to win the game 20-13 in overtime to raise their record to 8-1.
It was Sims who threw a 6 yard TD pass to receiver DeAndrew White (pictured below making winning catch) to win the game. Sims finished the game 20-45 for 209 yards and 2 TDS.
The first TD was to Amari Cooper, who set school record for both the career and single season in receiving yards. He also set the school record for catches in a season. Cooper (pictured below) had 8 catches for 83 yards and that score.
The defenses were a big storyline in the game. While Alabama had the edge in total offense, they couldn't seem to do anything to stop the LSU run game. The Tigers actually out-rushed Bama 183-106. Unfortunately for Les Miles and crew, Bama shut down the passing game holding them to just 76 yards in the air while sacking QB Anthony Jennings twice and picking him off once.
For the Tigers, their defense did what no other team has done this year. They pretty much shut down the ground attack for Alabama. Yes, the Tide finished with 106 yards overall, but they didn't score a rushing TD and while T.J. Yeldon had 68 yards on the ground, the Tigers forced him into a costly fumble late in the game. That fumble led to the field goal that gave LSU that 13-10 lead.
In the playoff ranking system, Alabama is still on the outside looking in. I don't know how this game will affect their standing. Because you never know how people are going to react to a close win over anothe ranked team. But for me, fandom for Alabama aside, I think they belong in that Final Four playoff.
Mass Maritime - The Buccaneers picked up their third win of the season thanks to a 27-7 victory of Plymouth State yesterday. E.J. caught 6 passes for 29 yards, while Richie caught a 16 yard pass to go with 29 yards on 5 carries.
Cody didn't hit the box score for the game, but leading up to the game, he was profiled in the Boston Herald for his battle with cancer last season. You can check out the article reprinted on the school's website HERE.
Despite a fairly lengthy leash when he first started at Indiana, coach Tom Crean has not been able to return the Hoosiers to any real semblance of their glory days. Now, thanks to discipline and injury issues, Crean finds himself on a VERY hot seat. Meanwhile, despite a plea from Hoosier legend A.J. Guyton to former coach Bobby Knight, it seems the feud between Knight and the school is still ongoing. You can read more HERE.
Boston College Men - The Eagles opened their exhibition game slate with a 92-53 rout of AIC. You can learn more about a few players with the following interview pieces: Steve Perpiglia, Will Magarity and Idy Diallo. You can read even more player interviews on the team's news page.
Hartford Hawks - The women's team via a partnership with Team IMPACT has adopted 6 year old Zoey Brown. You can read the story HERE. (Thanks to Lynnepep for reminding me about this story).
There's also a video availabe which you can see below.
Tennessee Lady Vols - Isabelle Harrison has come a long way in her time with the Lady Vols. The team, according to this article is going to be counting on her continued improve play to help try and carry them back to elite program status. However, it is going to be harder than expected to start the season because coach Holly Warlick announced player suspensions related to academic issues (namely skipping a class, it seems). You can read more about it HERE.
It shows the disparity between the men's and women's athletic programs in college. Skip a class for the women, get suspended. Be a budding crimelord like Jameis Winston, watch the coach twist himself into a pretzel defending you so you can keep playing.
Boston College Women - The Boston College newspaper The Heights had a season preview look at the team. You can also check out this Q&A interview with team captain (and my personal favorite player on the team) Nicole Boudreau.
If you missed my blog post on the early start of the Boston Celtics from yesterday, you can check it out HERE.
Former Baylor star Isaiah Austin was slated to become an NBA player, but saw his dream die when pre-draft physicals saw him diagnosed with career ending Marfan's Syndrome. You can catch up with him as he begins a new life both in and out of basketball via this link.
During the New York City Marathon, the NBA took part with an all-star relay made up of retired NBA stars, commissioner Adam Silver and a few WNBA legends as well. New York Liberty assistant coach Katie Smith was one of those that took part. You can see a photo of her after her part of the relay ended below.
While the Red Sox offseason news will likely focus on their scheduled meeting with free agent Pablo Sandoval next week, I thought I'd take a second to mention that one of the key figures in the recent Red Sox success (with rings from 2004 and 2007) has retired. Yes, The Greek God of Walks aka Kevin Youkilis, has ended his career. His career didn't end the way you would've hoped it would, but he'll always be a member of the Red Sox to me.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
The only high school sports team still active for me is the Wareham High football team. And sadly, they've become the team that other teams look to get better on. For the second straight week, their opponent has come into the matchup winless and left the Vikings with an asswhipping. This time it was Dedham putting a beating on the Vikings, 34-0.
TV - You can check out the recap of the latest episode of Arrow via this Pop-topia.com link. By the way, I tweeted out how much I liked the appearance of Charlotte Ross in the episode, and the actress hit the favorite button on the tweet.
Music - I am a fan of Irish and Celtic music singer Marc Gunn. He recently posted a streaming version of his science fiction song "Browncoats Keep Flyin'" on Soundcloud. As a big Firefly/Serenity fan myself, I loved the song. You can check it out HERE. You can check more of his sci-fi songs on his Sci-Fi Drinking Songs CD. Check out http://www.marcgunn.com for more information.
Queen released a streaming version of a new song that will be released. It was a song they recorded during the creation of their album The Works but it was never used. So yes for those rock fans paying attention, that means this is a new song featuring vocals by Freddie Mercury!
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter - @TheOneTrueJay
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Did you see that epic beatdown last week? I know the Chicago Bears have been a team in a downward spiral of disarray the last few weeks, but damn they got their butts whipped. I don't think anyone can say that they expected to see the Patriots win 51-23.
Tom Brady had a fantastic day as he threw for 354 yards and 5 touchdowns as he just annihilated the Bears pass defense.
Hell, even backup Jimmy Garoppolo saw some playing time when Brady was given about 1/3 of the fourth quarter off. Garoppolo completed all three of his passes for 22 yards. He did get sacked once, but even that sacked ended up biting the Bears on the behind.
The guy who sacked the rookie QB was Lamarr Houston. He got up from the tackle and started celebrating like it was a huge deal, instead of the meaningless sack in a game your team is losing by 25 points (at the time). And Houston ended up tearing his ACL during the celebration and is out for the year.
Rookie running back Jonas Gray led the Patriots with 86 rushing yards, but it was receiver Brandon LaFell and tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Tim Wright whose names were called out most often by the TV announcers.
LaFell caught 11 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown, in his best game yet as a member of the Patriots.
Tim Wright had 61 yards receiving and a TD catch and is starting to look like he can be counted on as the second half of the tight end tandem with Gronkowski. The Patriots having the threat of a one-two punch at that position like they did before Aaron Hernandez decided to reveal how much of an ass he is will give the offense a lot of different looks to employ.
Of course, when you have Rob Gronkowski catching 9 passes for 149 yards and 3 touchdowns, you are pretty sure your team is having a good day. It was Gronkowski's strongest performance of the season and a sign that he is definitely "back". One of those touchdown catches was a beautiful display of brute force. After catching the pass and starting his run, he simply brushed off the first defender to lay hands on him. He then proceeded to get into the end zone carrying at least one other defender over the line with him.
Overall, the defense did a solid job of containing the Bears offense. Darrelle Revis picked off Jay Cutler to end the first half while Rob Ninkovich (#50 in photo below) recovered one of the two Chicago fumbles on the day and ran it back for a TD. The "D" also sacked Cutler three times.
But the Patriots rush defense is still a mess. Despite the 28 point victory, they can't seem to really stop or even slow down opposing team's running backs. Matt Forte ran for 114 of the Bears' 153 rushing yards. He also caught a 25 yard TD pass on a play where he just burned the defender.
As the weather gets colder, more windy and blustier, teams are going to end up putting the ball in the hands of the runners and if the Patriots don't figure out how to stop a rushing attack soon, the playoffs (should they come) are going to be short lived should they come up against a team that can run the ball and exploit their weaknesses even more fully than the Bears did.
By the way, as bad as things are going for the Bears right now, the New York Jets are even worse. After getting killed by the Buffalo Bills (a team missing their two best players), radio host Mike Francesca went off on the Jets in a rant that, as you might expect, went viral. You can see it below.
With his continuing the blind to the world around him defense of his players despite their numerous run-ins with the law, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher has managed to, according to Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel, become the most disliked coach in America.
The terrible season for Michigan has claimed its first victim. Athletic director Dave Brandon "resigned" this week. While reading this piece from SI.com's Michael Rosenberg, I couldn't help think that Brandon was a bigger gaping butthole than previously thought. Check out the article to see what I mean.
Boston College - The Eagles headed to Blacksburg yesterday to play Virginia Tech. A win would make BC bowl eligible. How'd they do? Well before we get to that, I wanted to mention that thanks to a performance that featured 10 tackles (including 2 sacks), the ACC named Eagle defensive end Kevin Kavalec the conference defensive lineman of the week.
Also, it seems people are really starting to take notice of the thus far outstanding rookie campaign of running back Jon Hilliman. Jack McCloskey of ESPNBoston.com has a good piece about the freshman HERE.
As for the game against the Hokies, the Eagles seemed to think they could coast to the finish after building up a 23-10 lead in the second half of the game. It was like they were doing their damnedest to give the game away.
After Virginia Tech scored first, the Eagles rallied back to take a 14-10 lead going into halftime. The Eagles held Virginia Tech to just 14 yards rushing yards in the first half. Once the Eagles took that 23-10 lead, their defense began to get picked apart via Hokie QB Michael Brewer who finished with 345 passing yards. The Hokies scored 2 touchdowns to take a 24-23 lead. After Boston College kicked a field goal to go up 26-24, the Eagles got the ball back and seemingly capped off the game when QB Tyler Murphy ran for a 57 yard TD (pictured below). But Va. Tech rallied once again, scoring a touchdown to set up an onside kick attempt.
But the kick was recovered by Boston College and they went on to win 33-31 in a game they really should've had in hand for most of the second half. The win moves them to 6-3 on the season. They are now bowl eligible for the second straight season under coach Steve Addazio (pictured below).
Offensively, the Hokies outgained BC in total yards 414 to 368. But the BC defense held stout against the run and only 69 of those yards for Virginia Tech came on the ground. They collected three sacks and linebacker Matt Milano recovered a fumble (pictured below).
Tyler Murphy was 8-15 for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns on the day. He hit running back Marcus Outlow for one score while receiver Charlie Callinan ( #83, pictured below) caught the other TD pass. Murphy also finished as the lead rusher on the day with 122 yards. He broke Doug Flutie's record for career rushing yards by a QB during the game.
Running back Myles Willis (pictured below) had a beautiful 68 yard TD run on his first carry of the day but he finished with just 79 yards total. Meanwhile, the Hokies managed to stop Jon Hilliman, who finished with 8 carries for just 6 yards.
I don't know exactly what the deal was with the Eagles, but the coaching staff can't be pleased with the team's inability to hold a lead. Becoming bowl eligible is a good thing but they will need to figure out how to toughen up against the pass if they want to continue their winning ways and get into a good bowl game. And it would be nice if it was a bowl game where they had a chance to win instead of being the sacrificial lamb to a team their defense can't possibly hope to stop.
And you have to give credit to Virginia Tech. They could've packed it in for this game but they saw a challenge and rose to the occasion, particularly when they saw that the Eagles pass defense had no idea how to stop or slow them down all that much.
You can see the game highlights below.
Mass Maritime - Yesterday afternoon, the Buccaneers hosted Framingham State. It was senior day for Mass Maritime as the game was their regular season home finale. Unfortunately, Framingham State just put a beating on MMA and won 45-0. E.J. caught just 1 pass for 2 yards in the game. Richie got some playing time in the game and carried the ball five times for 25 yards. The Buccaneers are now 2-6 on the season.
It was another crappy week for me this week as I lost in both leagues. I'm really glad I don't do this as a means of making money. I'd be broke.
New York Liberty assistant coach Katie Smith is going to be one of the participants in the NBA's All Star Relay during the New York City marathon today. It should be interesting considering she posted on Twitter how she hasn't really done any running in the last year. Also, Smith posted on her blog this week. It is the second part of her tale of her dog Logan. You can check it out HERE.
SAN FRANCISO GIANTS
Thanks to one of the best pitching performances in postseason history from Madison Bumgarner, the San Franciso Giants knocked off the Kansas City Royals in the deciding 7th game of the World Series this week. TV ratings were in the toilet (I didn't watch much action at all myself), but it was a tension filled series throughout and the Giants can now lay claim to the "dynasty" term. Congrats to the Giants.
The Boston Red Sox made a little off the field news this week when the club announced the re-signing of closer Koji Uehara. It is a two year 18 million dollar deal.
In managerial news, Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Paul Molitor will be named the new manager of the Minnesota Twins.
And the Chicago Cubs fired Rick Renteria after 1 season so they could hire Joe Maddon in his place. I know Maddon is the most sought after candidate the Cubs could've hoped to land, but I have a problem with at least part of Theo Epstein's statement announcing the firing of Renteria (pictured below).
He said, ''We saw it as a unique opportunity and faced a clear dilemma: be loyal to Rick or be loyal to the organization. In this business of trying to win a world championship for the first time in 107 years, the organization has priority over any one individual. We decided to pursue Joe.''
I'm sorry, but if you don't show loyalty to an individual, you aren't showing loyalty to the organization. An organization is made up of individuals and if you expect to have those individuals show their loyalty, it should be returned in kind. I know that the team "HAD" to pursue Maddon, but Epstein's statement read as being so sanctimonious, it affects the believability of the whole charade.
The Celtics opened up their season on Wednesday (they had a game last night as well) against the Brooklyn Nets. No one is really happy with how the offseason's quest for a big name free agent came up empty. An expectation of a playoff berth is something so far in the back of anyone's mind, that it seems almost foolish to even write about that here.
But for a first game, the team actually looked pretty good. I was only able to watch the first quarter of the game, but the Celtics took things right at the Nets and controlled the contest from opening tip to final buzzer. Rajon Rondo actually played. Originally he was going to be out to start the season but then in the days leading up to the season opener, he started playing it coy as to whether he might be ready to play from Game 1.
And play he did. He finished with 13 points, 12 assists and 7 rebounds. And he wasn't the only player to give a very positive first impression of themselves. Eight of the ten players who saw the floor scored in double figures. Kelly Olynyk led with 19 points and Jeff Green added 17 as the Celtics buried the Nets 121-105.
As always, one game does not make a season. However, it was a nice breath of fresh air to see the Celtics open up with a win.
Mount Saint Joseph University - Today is the day. Lauren Hill is scheduled to take the floor for MSJU and play her first and only college basketball game. WNBA star Elena Delle Donne announced this week that she is going to attend the game to show support, while other WNBA players have been posting videos online and donating money to the charity started by Hill and her family. The game is at 2 pm today, so I'll have to write about those events next week. But if you read this early on Sunday morning and want to try to watch the game yourself, there are a variety of options available. You can get the full list of them HERE.
Hill has also started a challenge similar to the Ice Bucket challenge that swept the country this summer. You can read about her #Layup4Lauren HERE.
And there is another new article about Hill and today's game you can read HERE.
Tennessee - Though she can't play until next year due to the NCAA's transfer rules, Diamond DeShields is still making her presence known with the Lady Vols as they get ready to start their season. You can read about her decision to transfer from North Carolina and more HERE.
As for the Lady Vols as a team, they are ranked #4 in the preseason poll. GO VOLS!
The Lady Bears were picked to finish 6th in the MVC conference this season.
ACC Men's Basketball Media Day - Media Day for the men's basketball teams in the ACC conference was held this week and thanks to the erupting academic scandal at North Carolina, questions about academics as well as other off the court topics sent a number of coaches running for cover. You can read more about the lack of "leadership" shown at media day in this Yahoo! Sports article by Pat Forde.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Upper Cape Girls Varsity Soccer - The final game of the season for the Rams was against Holbrook. Thanks to two goals from Krystle and two from her sister Amber, the Rams took the match 4-2. They finish the season with a 7-10-1 record.
Wareham Football - With the convoluted playoff setup for Massachusetts football now underway, the Vikings have a variety of unfamiliar opponents for 3 out of their last four games. Up first was the winless Coyle-Cassidy team. Well, winless no more after Coyle-Cassidy put a 35-14 beatdown on Wareham. The Vikings are now 1-8 on the season.
Meanwhile, I can't wait for high school basketball season to start up in about a month. I know that I'll be visiting 3 schools for sure this season, with a fourth one likely. I'm not sure about the fifth one because I don't know if that former player of mine will be suiting up this season. There will be more on the upcoming season in future editions of Sunday Musings.
Great Resignation over Principles - Dave McKinney is a writer for the Chicago Sun Times. Or I should say, he was. He resigned from the paper on October 22nd after a series of events that really left him no other choice. He posted his resignation letter online and it is a brilliant expose and takedown on the state of modern journalism. You can read it HERE!
Halloween - How did your Halloween go? It was a pretty busy year for me this year. I had 268 people at my door. I had plenty of candy and comic books to give out to them. In fact, I had way too much of both. I ended the night nearly 300 comics still left over and the bowl of candy was full after I dumped what was still in the bags into it.
For the most part, the people coming to the door were better behaved than in years past. But the lack of effort on the part of the older kids (most of whom shouldn't have been out trick or treating anyway) in terms of coming up with a costume rankled me. This year I only gave out one special prize for a good costume.
My sister and her boyfriend came over this year and saw first hand how the night goes with me passing out stuff.
The younger kids were very excited about the comic books. I even got told "You're awesome" by one little guy. Of course, I responded with "I know I am".
You can see a photo that my sister took of just some of the 552 comics I had available last night below.
Books - I picked up a couple of new books this week. The first is a new Star Trek: The Next Generation novel by author David Mack. It's called Section 31: Disavowed. The other book is the David Baldacci thriller The Target, the most recent paperback installment of the author's Will Robie series.
TV - Here's the Pop-topia recaps for this week's new episodes of The Flash and Arrow.
Movies - Keanu Reeves is back on the big screen in the action film John Wick. Here's the Pop-topia.com review.
There's a couple of new movie trailers to check out this week. The first is the final trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.
The second clip is a teaser trailer for The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 and Part 2. The odd thing about this one is that the first part isn't due out until May 2018 with part 2 due May 2019. The trailer was captured via a fan's cellphone during the big Marvel presentation this week where the company unveiled their "Phase 3" movie plans including films on the characters Black Panther and Doctor Strange.
Here's the trailer for the new Fast and the Furious movie Furious 7.
Music - And finally for the week, I have my long-gestating review of the brand new Accept CD Blind Rage is now available to read via this Pop-topia.com link.
All Saints Day follows Halloween and so it seems like a good time to take a quick look at the current Saints in the sports world starting with my 2013 Team of Destiny, the appropriately named team from New Orleans. The Saints have risen to a mediocre 4-4 record, but that is good enough in the suddenly awful NFC South for First Place. Going into this season, it seemed like the NFC had its Power Structure in good order, but halfway through the season, we have chaos. All, that is except for my 2014 Team of Destiny, the Detroit Lions, who are quietly crusing right along in the NFC North. While in the AFC, all seems right in the world as the usual powers are just that in 2014...and then there's Saint that gave us an excellent mid-season mini-classic is none other than that normally devilish NFL Schedule Maker who set us up with a Broncos - Patriots match up for Sunday afternoon. Bless you, my son!
Here are a few other Saints in my book from the current world of sports....
>> Jay Gruden, for pulling off that Monday Night Miracle for the Redskins...and for making up for the sins of his brother in the broadcast booth who was particularly hiduous behind the mic last week;
>> Joe Madden, for willingly taking on the role of Cubs Manager and perhaps finally providing deliverence for all those lost souls who are Cubs fans;
>> MadBum, who delivered a Fall Miracle to San Francisco as the Giants won another World Series...and for everyone else who lives in baseball purgatory waiting for Post Season Glory, well, there is always next year (spoken like a true Cub fan wannabe).
>> Gordy Howe, Mr. Hockey who is recovering from a stroke, belongs in Hockey Heaven but here's hoping he stays with us just a bit longer so we can say "thanks for the memories" at least one more time
Got a few Saints that need to be on the List...post 'em up here and give them their due!
Have a great Saturday...good day to sit by the fireplace, it seems, and watch football!