Sunday, December 21, 2014

Bowl Wins Freshens the Place Up a little bit

It is amazing how much better this place looks after a win, huh?

Things were getting pretty foul--not that everything is in the clear, now--but things certainly are feeling a lot better with the Camellia Bowl win Saturday in an absolutely great football game.   I can hear the haters now--I know, USA was a 6-6 Sun Belt opponent, but I don't care.  It was a really nice win for us.

I had to go back and look this up.  BG's last win before Saturday was NOVEMBER 12--so BG had gone a month and 8 days without putting one in the W column.  That's bound to get anyone cranky.  Than, you lose to your arch-rival, blow a winnable game at home, lose by a record margin in the MAC title game, toss a couple arrests in there...not great but it it all looks a little bit better after a win.  The sun is shining into the kitchen in the morning again.

More to come in the next day or two, but my concerns about this game had been written...that South Alabama came into a game in which they felt they were "making history."  This was the huge thing in the history of their program.  The body language from inside our program just didn't seem ready to match that enthusiasm, and I feared one of those bowl games where something goes wrong and one side races away and the other just watches.

I give our coaches and our players 100% credit.  That did not happen.  We competed with energy and enthusiasm from the opening bell.  BG certainly didn't play a flawless game, but they played their best game in many weeks--certainly their most complete game--and that's a tribute to a bunch of guys playing for each other and for pride for the program and they have my respect for that.

Perhaps no player has to be as satisfied as the game's MVP, James Knapke.  He has taken a ton of heat from some cases for things he could have done better and in other cases unfairly...anyway, as always happens, the team's entire failing is put at the feet of the QB.

Knapke had a huge game out there, and at no time more than in the play that won the thing.  USA had just taken the lead for the first time in the game.  There was only 1:20 left to play.  BG was on its own 22 and needed only a FG, but things were certainly looking dicey.

BG lined Roger Lewis up in the slot and found him 1-1 with a safety.  They called his number....launching from the slot he got a running start and he went right down the field.  Here's the thing...this is a pass/fail test for Knapke.  There are no advanced metrics here.  His team needs him to make this throw ONE just have to have it...and he did make it, a perfect throw that not only was catchable for Lewis but catchable in stride so that could he could do what he does, which was to turn a little bit of space into a gut punch, rip the heart out of USA's chest touchdown pass, a complete jaw-dropping ending that will echo for years.

Knapke had to make THAT throw...and he did.  As Coach said after the game, the words James Knapke are now under the words BART STARR on the bowl trophy, and that's pretty awesome.  Even more so, because it is possible that he will not play another meaningful down for our program, and his name will still be under Bart Starr's.  That's pretty cool.

Anyway, more to come, but for now, a great, great football game and a credit to our guys for coming out and getting it done.  I think it will provide a lift for everyone as the off-season slogs along.

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