Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fresno State 11/6/10

It seems like the Boise St. game has lingered on forever. We had so many what ifs in that game. We had blind zebra's, a prison inmate on the loose and a WAC Commissioner who graduated as a smurf! When you have all of that going against us it made the task at hand impossible! Boy Karl should be handcuffed, painted blue and strapped to a jack-ass dressed in a referee's uniform! Come on Boy Karl, your love for the Broke Back Mountain Broncos was shown to the nation in HD! You have to be so proud! All I can tell you is that I am ready for a home game. I am ready to serve up some home cookin'! We are given another 10 day week and I know our coaches will be scheming! November is upon us and not only is it “No Shave November” it is "The Battle of the Bone" No Shave November? Really? My research tells me that this is a tradition at some colleges in November where the man does not shave his facial hairs and the ladies do not shave their leg hairs (not good). I wonder what the winner gets. A big can of Nair? Sounds like everyone is getting ready for furry winter! HaHa! In New York "The Battle of the Bone" is a wing eating contest, but in our neck of the woods it is the "Big Dawg Battle" Fresno State, how can you even claim to be a Bulldog anyway? Your mascot looks like a cross promotional ad for a Friskies commercial. Do you bring your liter box to the games? You should be ashamed to have a cat named Timeout as you mascot! You are not a real Bulldog! Matt had a few bumps and bruises from the prison inmate ambush to heal from, but more importantly he was getting ready for Fresno State. After practice Saturday Matt & Kasie (Matt's girlfriend) made their way to Dallas for a quick visit to our new pad in the North Dallas area. We made pizza and watched college football into the wee hours of the night. It was a blast listening to Matt watch a game. We found some cheap tickets online and went to see Jacksonville play Dallas in the Space Ship from Mars on Sunday! We got there early so Matt could watch Josh go through his warm ups. Josh is really kicking the ball well. It was pretty weird to see Josh and Chris Boniol down on the field together. One as a current player and one as a kicking coach! It was like a La Tech kicker’s reunion except they were missing Matt Stover. Matt did run into Melissa (Josh's wife) and got to visit with her before the game started. Josh had a lot of family at the game. It was a good game and Jacksonville came out on top. Matt & Kasie decided to stay Sunday night and get up early Monday morning to head back to Ruston. Matt had weights at 11:00 AM. It was a short visit, but a great visit! I talked to Matt several times during the week. Practice was going extremely well. The team is hungry for a win! He said he kicked very well when kicking live with the team. The ball was making a good popping sound off of his foot and he was getting great height on all of his kicks. The special teams had a couple of new stunts that they might run if Fresno State lined up a certain way. The special team’s game is way too complicated for me. There are way too many options! I guess that is why I am a bleacher coach. I am not exactly sure, but Matt did say they were going to stay in Shreveport on Friday night. My tailgate preparation started on Wednesday. I had 5 gallons of chili to make. Our menu consisted of chili, chili dogs, Frito pies; lamb chops (for my uncle Glenn) and soft baked pretzels before the game. There would be pork tenderloin sliders, more chili dogs and grilled smores after the game! We have family coming in from Kansas City, Dallas, Houston (Surprise) and from Florida (The Villages). The guest list consisted of Pat & Bob (aunt/uncle), Glenn & Suzi (aunt/uncle), Scott & David (cousin’s husbands) John & Carol (mom/dad) T-Bone (family friend), Cathy, Wes, Parker & Peyton (sister's family), The Gunell's (family friends of 5), David & Barbara (Janet's aunt/uncle) Kaeley (Barbara's granddaughter) and Meggie (Janet's mom). I don't think I am missing anyone. Wow! That is a lot of people! That makes 24 with Janet & I and that will put a few butts in the seats! We loaded up the suburban Thursday night and hit the road to Ruston early Friday morning after we boarded the dogs. After a few stops along the way we roll into Ruston around 12:30 PM. We checked into the Fairfield Inn and iced the coolers down. My parents, T-Bone and my aunts & uncles have been in Shreveport since Wednesday. You know when you are retired you have an urge to gamble! We met Matt at Johnny's Pizza around 1:30 for a quick lunch before he had to report to the field house. My aunt Pat and uncle Bob had been to the bookstore and had several bags of La Tech goodies. Their granddaughter Sierra is a big Matt fan and he signed a shirt and a hat for them to take back to her in Kansas City. The pizza was really good! Uncle Bob, thanks for lunch! After a fattening lunch we headed over to the stadium and set our tents, tables, grill and chairs up for tomorrow. It makes it really nice to get this part already taken care of and many thanks to the La Tech Police for keeping an eye on all of the tailgaters stuff during the night. It was going to be fun time in Shreveport tonight. We were celebrating my aunt Suzi's birthday and my cousin’s daughter Kelsey who plays for UMKC (University of Missouri Kansas City) was playing Centenary in volleyball tonight. This was going to be my first college volleyball game and I was pretty stoked. It was a great match and UMKC won 3 matches to 0. Kelsey played awesome! Great spikes, great blocks and amazing serves! Their team was staying in Shreveport for the night so Kelsey got to go to dinner with us as we celebrated aunt Suzi's birthday. Happy Birthday Suzi! We made it back to Ruston around midnight and game day was already here. We loaded everyone up and landed at tailgate spot 52 at 8:30 AM. It was a very brisk morning and it was the perfect temperature for a day of food and football! After about 30 minutes of additional setup we are good to party. The bloody mary's are made and the grill is lit. Chili is warming in the pot and the bowls are waiting! About 10:30 some of the family starts to arrive. Mr. Hamm, Mr. Rust, Mr. Garland and Mr. Harper came by to visit as well. We did find out that my aunt Pat and Mr. Harper were born in the same year and on the same day. What a small world we live in. Mr. Harper, thanks for all of the water! Bobby & Julie were making jambalaya today. Bobby had this incredible jambalaya pot/burner that he was cooking in. He even had a stainless steel paddle! Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is one of these please! Bradley, Dusty and Bryan made fried fish and chips. The fish was fried to perfection and was awesome! Thanks for sharing! You guys are awesome! John (dad) and Flip agreed at the last home game that they would each bring a bottle of wine for a few of us to sample before the game. No one was disappointed as they showed up with a bottle of Caymus and a bottle of Nickel & Nickel. The bottles were gently opened, then poured and we swirled, sniffed, toasted and sampled these amazing wines! Thanks to John & Flip for sharing! I finally got to sample Bobby's jambalaya and it was incredible. The rice and flavor were perfect! I was in jambalaya heaven! You are an amazing cook Bobby and I am fortunate that I get to watch! The chili is hot, the foot longs are on the grill, the Frito's are in the bowl, the lamb chops are searing, the beer is flowing and the soft baked pretzels are warm! Finally food is served! About damm time! You made everyone wait forever! The tailgate grub was pretty good! What a great day for football! The weather is great and spending time with the family is even greater! We hear the sirens and the team is arriving. We make are way over to tailgate alley and get to see Matt before he heads into the stadium. As always his game face is on! After a few more beers it is time to head into the stadium. We need to bottle this weather! We take the opening kickoff and in six plays we hit pay dirt. Ross to Taulib and Matt connects on the PAT. Fresno St. fumbles on their first possession and we take advantage with a little trickery as Richie hits Ross for a 42 yard scamper. Ross fumbled at the goal line and Taulib recovers. Matt connects on the PAT and we are up 14 -0! Do you believe? Fresno answers with a TD and the score is 14 - 7. We take the ball and march down to the Fresno St. 27 where we are faced with a 4th down. CF decides to go for it and we fail. When you are within the range of your kicker you go for the points. IMO this is a momentum killer when you are sniffing the red zone and you do not execute and come away with some points! Fresno St. connects on a 49 yard field goal and the half comes to an end with La Tech up 14 - 10. Our 2nd quarter consisted of 6 plays for a total of 15 yards on two possessions. How do you do this? We trade punches in the 3rd quarter as we both score a TD. The 3rd quarter comes to an end with the La Tech up 21 - 17. Four fingers are up as we get ready to start the 4th quarter. Before I can blink, Fresno St. scores 16 points with two touchdowns, a field goal and a missed PAT. Tell me this is not happening! Fresno St. kicks off to us at the 4:10 mark and it is “Saturday Night Livas” to the house and a Matt PAT! I don't think Phillip was even touched. I think we have a chance. We hold them to a punt and oh no it is intercepted and Fresno St. runs it up the gut for another TD. We take the kick off at the 2:20 mark and score a quick TD. It is a high snap and the PAT is blocked. Penetration is a bad word when you are on offense. We had no blocks last year and this year we have had 2! Maybe we need to move back a half yard or so! We still are in this, but it is going to take a recovery on an on-sides kick to get the ball back with only 1:12 left in the game. The kick is made and it is a bunt kick! Why do you do a bunt kick on an obvious on-sides kick? Everyone knows what you are going to do. If I were the coach I would of called a spike right of left! I guess that is why I am in the bleachers! The ball goes 8 yards and the ball touches a Fresno St. player almost at the same time Matt gets to the ball. Matt has the ball at the bottom of the pile and the scrum is on. When the dust settles Fresno St. has the ball and runs the clock out for a 40 - 34 victory! I am exhausted and speechless! This game was there for the taking! Most of the family made their way over to the locker room area to visit with Matt and take some photos. I am sure he will not be a happy camper! I have to get the grill lit and I really, really need a beer! The family all made it back over to the tailgate area and shortly thereafter Matt made it over. He was a great guest of honor, but you could tell he wanted to scream! I did not ask him much. He had a pretty good scraping on his left arm. Matt said that once the ball touched the Fresno St. player he grabbed the ball and it got clawed away from him under the pile. He said you do not want to know what happens under there and he promises that if he is in that position again that no one will get the ball away from him! You could tell he was pretty upset with how the game ended. Pork tenderloin sliders, foot long dogs and grilled smores are served. Wow this has been a long day! The thing that stands out to me the most was that this team never quit or gave up. They played to the bitter end! Even though we came up short on the stick I still love the heart and the desire of this team! I will go to war with all of these guys! Our night comes to an end and I my back is stiff and I need a glass of red wine! I want to thank all of the family and friends who made their way into Ruston this weekend from many parts of the United States. We are so blessed and the support of Matt and La Tech has been incredible! Please have safe travels back to your homes! I want to give a special shout out to John & Carol (mom & dad) for making 4 home games and 1 away game this year all the way from The Villages, FL. Many thanks for all of the support! My 2nd shout out goes to Matt Nelson. He was officially named to the ESPN Academic All District Team for District 6. District 6 consists of D1/1AA schools in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. This now makes him eligible for the ESPN Academic All American award! Matt is not only dedicated to his craft on the field, he is also dedicated to his grades. We are all proud of all of your accomplishments Matt! Thanks for taking us on your journey! Sunday morning gets here faster than I anticipated. Janet & I load all of the tailgate stuff into the suburban and get ready to head back to Dallas. Matt stops by and we load him up with the leftover food. He was on his way to breakdown film before he headed to church. I don't know that much about New Mexico St. They are 2 -7 and have wins against New Mexico and San Jose St. This will be the 3rd Aggie team we have played this year. They have a kick returner who is averaging 28.4 yards on 30 kick returns. I was looking at their fight song and it reads like they already are going to lose. That is hilarious! New Mexico St. Fight Song: Aggies, Oh Aggies! The hills send back the cry, we’re here to do or die! Aggies, Oh Aggies! We’ll win this game or know the reason why! And if we win this game, we’ll buy a keg of booze, and we’ll drink it to the Aggies ‘till we wobble in our shoes! I know that there is no guarantee for a win, but we need to get the road game monkey off of our back! We need to take one game at a time! I predict the bulldogs will score at will and will score often. Best of luck in Las Cruces Bulldogs! Go kick some Aggie tail! I appreciate all of those who are following my journey. It is such a blast to follow Matt Nelson through his eyes and the Bulldog team! I write from the bottom of my heart and what my feelings are at that moment. I don’t intend to hurt anyone, but I am very passionate about La Tech Football! Everything I say comes from my heart! I am just a College Football Fan! Don’t forget to listen to my friends at Tech Nation Radio every week. May your Football Season be filled with many Football Victories, Sunny Smiles, Sandy Dreams and Travel Your Way! If you know anyone who needs help with their travel plans just let me know. Until our paths cross again, have a blessed week! College Football Dad!