Friday, December 9, 2011

New Mexico State 11/26/11

I don't know where to begin! I feel like I just won the College Football lottery with this win over the snakes from Reno. I am so glad we came back and shoved that cream pie right in their face! We send them to the MWC with their tails between their legs and a new streak at home. I am not sure what it is really like to be high, but this winning high is one I want to stay on. I keep wanting to sing I Gotta Felling by Black Eyed Peas! Tyler & Matt are going to shoot me for listening to them, but I like the song! It's going to be a great week! Please, just hurry up and get here! I am a little concerned about this game with another one of these Aggie want-a-be's. I am not sure it that is a real word but it sounds right. There is only one Aggie team and it is from College Station! We have everything to gain with a win and they have nothing to lose except a keg of booze! I kid you not!
I was reading some the words to their fight song and I about fell over. "And when 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!" Some drunk admin must of wrote that after one of their field hockey wins! I guess that is what they do in the hills sitting on their letter "A" This is going to be an exciting week for our family! We are headed to Ruston on Wednesday afternoon. My oldest son (Tyler) is driving over Wednesday night from Austin, my parents (John & Carol) and my Aunt Donna are coming over from Florida Wednesday afternoon, and my sister (Cathy) and her family (Wes, Parker & Peyton) are coming over Thursday morning from Houston. This will be the first time we have celebrated Thanksgiving in Ruston with Matt.
We cannot wait for the festivities to get started. Then on Friday our good friends Joe, Julie & Jake Trevino from Cibolo will be coming to Ruston from College Station after the Aggie/Longhorn game. Jake was the QB for Steele HS and was Matt's only holder during HS. He attends Texas A&M now. Then to add more excitement Meggie & Papaw (Janet's parents), David & Barbara (Janet's Aunt & Uncle) and Curtis (Janet's boss) and son Pate will be coming on Saturday. As you can tell our family & friends love their Bulldogs! I talked to Matt a couple of times early in the week. You talk about someone who is pumped up! He is jacked with excitement! He said he is kicking the ball really well. The early forecast has some rain predicted so he is a little concerned with that. NMS has one of the top kick returners in the nation so they are going to working on all sorts of weird kicks. He said it could be like target practice so don't get pissed if I don't kick anything deep. Great!
Just what I need is another reason to watch the kickoff from my camera lens. Oh well! A few more adult beverages before kickoff will help keep me grounded. We met Matt at his house after practice on Wednesday. I had to drop off the ingredients for the chicken & sausage gumbo that we would be serving at our tailgate on Saturday. Matt's refrigerator made it easy to keep things chilled for a few days. Matt had a hankering for a two for one burger special at Portico's, so we headed up there and also met Kasie (Matt's GF) and Jonathan Bale (Tech's #1 golfer) for some grub. We had to get just the right amount of people so we could do the two for one burger thing. The burgers were good, but most of all the company was awesome! We said our goodbyes and then it was off to the Fairfield for a nice bottle of red wine and a comfy bed. Tomorrow morning would actually be a morning I might sleep in a few extra minutes.
Not! As usual I am up early and downstairs on the computer with a coffee in hand.Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you get to eat everything you want, lay on the couch and go back for more! Matt had practice Thanksgiving morning and then the team had a team meal before they were dismissed until Friday. We had a few items to still get for the gumbo and a couple of other errands to run so the morning went by quite fast. Tyler who can work remote had to work from 10AM to 6PM so we were not going to have Thanksgiving dinner until he got off of work. My sister and family made it over to Matt's and we hung out and watched football until Tyler got off of work. I know I am going to catch a bunch of crud for this but we headed to the Cracker Barrel in West Monroe for our Thanksgiving dinner. Besides our family we had Kasie, Jonathan and Hannah go with us as well. Thanksgiving is for sharing and everybody is family to us.
The food was good and the servers who had been serving all day were friendly, but they ran out of stuffing! I was so bummed as stuffing is a must at Thanksgiving! I bet during Christmas I eat more than my share to make up what I missed. All in all it was a great time with family and friends. We made our way back to the Fairfield where we took over the downstairs and watched what will probably be the last meeting between the Aggies/Longhorns for a long time. Man it was a great game as JT boots a 40 yard FG as the Aggies fall short. I need a night cap and then it will be lights out. Friday morning comes slowly and about mid morning some of us make our way over to Matt's house. I have gumbo for 30 plus to make and Janet & Peyton have #33 cookies to make.
I have the roux done, the trinity cooking away along with 7lbs of sausage and 3 rotisserie chickens all swimming in this 24 quart pot. I am not sure Matt's stove can hold this thing. This gumbo smells awesome and the cookies baking in the oven add to the food explosion in my nose. After a family meal at Johnny's and our goodbyes to Matt it was off to get the tailgate spot setup. We were having a Friday night tailgate party with family and friends. Burgers on the grill and a few adult beverages would be on tap. With a chill in the air the heat from the ole Weber it felt like we were camping. The burgers were awesome! The company was awesome and I was ready for some football. Saturday sometime the rain and the cold front would be moving in. It was not a matter of if it was when. From all indications it would hit around noon. This meant I would be serving gumbo around 11:00AM so I could batten down the hatches when the rain started. As Saturday morning arrived I was pretty relaxed.
I am not sure why as I so badly want this team to win and I am normally pretty nervous before the game. Janet and I arrived to the tailgate spot at 7:45Am with all of the food in tow. We got things setup and ready to go. Everything was done and we actually had a few moments to sit and reflect on the season before family and friends started trickling in. The Bloody Mary's were flowing and the good time were about to roll. I had already started heating up the gumbo slowly. I would worry about the water for the rice later. We had some family who left Dallas early AM and gave us rain updates as they made their way to Ruston. We had a real good idea that we were still on track for a noon watering. We so had many visitors stop by the tailgate. Mr. Harper, Mr. Hamm, Mr. Rust, Mr. McGehee (Brought his new son by) and Mr. Garland (Just returned from Korea Friday afternoon) to name a few.
We are so blessed with all of the great people we have met since we have joined the La Tech family! Before I forget, I want to thank the Matthiesen's and the Garlands who helped with extra tickets for our family. You guys are awesome! The adult beverages are flowing, the french bread is on the grill and the gumbo is ready to be served. I have to admit this gumbo rocks! I hope I can remember everything I did so I can duplicate this recipe. Just about everyone has had a bowl or two and now it was on to the brownies and #33 cookies. We could see in the distance and smell in the air that the watering would be soon. We started putting most things back in totes and back in the Suburban. We moved the tables in the center of the tents and all of the chairs around them. Then it hit! Let the soaking begin.
I had already moved the cooker with the gumbo and rice inside of the tents so we were still good for anyone who wanted 3rds. The team did not come in where they normally do so we actually did not know they had arrived. I walked over to the gate and watch Matt warm up some through the fence. He looked like he was making good contact, but he was not kicking with a snapper and a holder. I am sure the ball is going to be slick! After a few more adult beverages I made my way into the stadium. I wanted to be there when the Seniors were announced. I know it is a special time for them to get the recognition that they deserve. It's wet and the kickoff is upon us. The team looks jacked and I gotta a feeling! Matt is going to kickoff and it is down to the 7 yard line and we stop him at the 17. Now that is what I am talking about! Tech forces NMS to punt and we run 12 plays and Matt comes in for a 33 yard FG and it is good.
I was worried about how slick the ball would be and it looks like CL snap to TB was good. Boy I wish the rain would let up some. Matt kicks off with a line drive bullet that NMS had no clue was coming. One of these days our coverage is going to recover one of these funny kicks on the ground. Tech holds them and NMS punts again. Tech runs 10 plays and CC throws a 7 yard TD strike ti TI. Matt comes in for the PAT. The snap is away and it is high and TB has a hard time controlling it and the flying saucer misses left. Looking through my lens the ball never got on the ground and it was on its side when Matt's foot struck the ball. I had a feeling that the ball would become slick in this rain at some point. We exchange a couple of series and the first quarter comes to an end with Tech up 9 - 0. I am ok with this but with this rain I sure would like a bigger lead. Our first series we punt in the 2nd quarter and then CB intercepts NMS. Tech takes the ball and runs off 11 plays as HL scores from 1 yard out.
Matt comes in and the PAT is good. I think it is rain dripping off of my head, but I was sweating bullets. Matt kicks off with another screamer that hit one of the front line and is on the ground again for our taking. Our coverage team is getting closer. NMS throws down field and AC intercepts and takes it to the house for a TD. Matt connects with the PAT and the 2 quarter comes to an end with Tech up 23 - 0. I've gotta feeling! We take the ball in the 3rd quarter and run off 9 plays with a HL 6 yard score. Matt connects with the PAT and Tech is up 30 -0. Are you kidding me? There is no stopping us now. I smell a WAC Championship! Matt kicks off with a high sky right and we really should of recovered this one. It was placed where no one was. Oh, it was so close! We hold NMS on a 4th and 1 and take possession where we turn the ball back over on an interception. Oh no!
Not good! Tech holds them to a punt and CJ takes it 82 yards for another TD. Matt connects on the PAT and we are up 37 - 0. There is no stopping us now! Matt sends another bullet down field. It is pretty funny watching the NMS players duck. They have no clue where he is kicking it. I am not a fan of this style of kicking, but in these weather conditions I will live with it. We hold them and they punt. Tech takes over and runs off 11 plays and HL scores on a 7 yard run. Matt connects on the PAT and Tech is up 44 - 0. Hoo Ya! Can the game end now? Matt sends a low liner down field and NMS takes the ball as the 4th quarter comes to an end. We play ball control the 4th quarter and the game comes to an end with Tech winning 44 - 0. We are Champions! Can you believe? The players and coaches are going nuts on the field. I was so touched when RH & AG came on to the field holding the WAC Champions poster! They are my hero's! We were told there would be a special presentation after the game.
After the game the NMS players shook hands with the Tech players. Then they made there way to the North end zone where they watched Tech receive their WAC Championship trophy and accept an invitation to the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego! This is so cool! At first I thought they were doing it out of respect to Tech, but after I thought about and watched the head coaches finger pointing, I soon realized that this was a learning lesson. You want to be in that position and celebrate like they are then you have to come to play every day and every time you take the field. You want to experience this? Then work your ass off in the off season and come to Spring football with a fire in your belly! Now get to the locker room! That would be my 2 cents as to what was going on. After NMS cleared the field we were allowed on the field.
We finally found Matt and what a celebration it was. I was so proud of him and this entire team. I even got to give Ms. Toni a big hug! Watching them individually hold the WAC trophy was a very special moment. I can't tell you how many tears of joy I shed, but I am sure glad it was raining. It is sometimes hard for a grown man to admit to tears. I sure let them out. We told as many players as we could congrats and took several pictures with Matt. It was so very special that my oldest son (Tyler) was there so we could celebrate this special moment together as a family! This is so awesome and we get to sit back and wait for our opponent in the Poinsettia Bowl. San Diego is going to be rocking on the 21st. I know we will have many family members in attendance. I gave Matt one final hug and he headed to the locker room. To all players and coaches: We are very proud of each and everyone of you! You rock!
I knew I had a mess at the tailgate area, but I really did not care. It could wait until Sunday. When I got back over there Mr. Rust was there and a big hug was in store. Nothing funny going on! Just 2 very proud parents. We celebrated with the rest of the family and friends with a couple of adult beverages. High Fives and Hugs everywhere! Since we had so many members with our group we decided to go get dry clothes on and bring the party to the Fairfield. We ordered pizza and brought the adult beverages in and celebrated this awesome victory. It is so hard for me to explain my feelings. I am really over whelmed and so very proud of this team. They never gave up! After we consumed 5 Big Daddy's from Foxes Pizza and several adult beverages it was time to find a dry bed! What a complete day spent with so many great people. I hope our players enjoy this win and then get back to business. I am sure our coaching staff will keep them reeled in as we still have some unfinished business to attend to in San Diego!
I wish I knew who our opponent was so I could start preparing, but I guess I have to wait until after next weeks games to unfold. They say we have possibilities with Boise State, TCU, Wyoming, San Diego State and a long shot with Air Force. I think a lot of this will have to wait and see what U of H does in the CUSA Championship. A special thanks to Andrew (tailgate neighbor) who saved our tents Saturday night as the winds blew through! Matt we are so proud of you! My words can not express how you have helped me grow as a person! You have so much composure and focus in everything that you do! From football to your degree, you have a goal every step of the way! Your mental toughness will take you places you have never dreamed of. Your passion for your craft shows more and more every time we see you! Thanks so much for letting me live out my dreams through your eyes! I love you man! Oh what a great season it has been! I know we have one more game to take care of business in, but I wanted to thank all of our family and many friends for all of their support this year!
Words will never say enough as to our sincere thanks! We are so blessed in so many ways and give praise to the lord for everything that has happened! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! San Diego here we come! You had better be ready for some Dawgs to come into town standing tall! I can't wait! See you all then! Make sure and watch ESPN December 8th and cheer on RA as he is up for the Ray Guy Award! Best of luck RA! It is such a blast to follow Matt Nelson through his eyes and the Bulldog team! I might not say the right things, but I write from the bottom of my heart and what my feelings are during the week and during the game. I don't intend to hurt anyone's feelings, but I am very passionate about La Tech Football. My opinions on the coaches and their coaching abilities are only mine and no one else's. Thank you so much to Mr. Tom Morris with La Tech Sports Pix for allowing me to use some of his photos for this blog. Don't forget to listen to J Ford and Chris Keagle with Bleed Tech Blue on ESPN 97.7 FM every Tuesday night at 6:00 PM. May your Football Season be filled with many Football Victories, Sunny Smiles, Sandy Dreams and Travel Your Way! Until our paths cross again, have a blessed week! College Football Dad!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Nevada 11/19/11

What a great feeling! We have a golden ticket in our hand. We are bowl eligible baby! I will feel more comfortable with the 7th win for sure! There is no telling where this team is going to take us. Right now I am loving this journey. Nevada is next on our list! I want to beat this team so bad. It is time someone puts these punks in their place and I think it is our time. I am not saying it is going to be easy, but I have a good feeling. They have a great home record and the early forecast looks like it could snow on game day. I always look at the opposing teams athletic website the week of the game. There is always interesting tidbits and weirdness to find. The Nevada Wolf Pack, one of only two teams nationally to use the designation (North Carolina State is the other though they use Woflpack as one word while Nevada uses to words with a capital "P"), has been using the Wolf Pack designation since the early 1920s. In the early 1900s they were called the Sagebrush's. How would like to play a team with a Sagebrush on their helmet? They have two mascots! One named Wolfie Jr and the other is named Alphie. Wolfie Sr must of quit. Don't they know that two is a couple, not a Pack. They really have no clue who are what they want to be. Every time I spoke to Matt he was like a kid in the candy store. He was so excited to go to Reno. Not only was there a pep in his step there was a pep in his conversations with me. I eve have extra pep!
I guess it is contagious. He was concerned about the wind and would deal with the cold temperature. He said he was making good contact with the ball. The snaps and holds have been great all week. He said the team has been jacked all week. All of the practices have been intense and they are only focused on Nevada! Take care of one game at a time and the rewards will come later. He said CD told them that no hand warmers would be allowed on the field. They would have heaters on the sidelines. I remember in 2009 that DD unplugged all of the heaters. Looking at the news Thursday it looks like Reno has wild fires and heavy wind forecast'ed Thursday & Friday. I hope everyone is safe and they get the fires under control before the team arrives! Game Day is here! What am I going to do for 9 hours? Maybe I should of slept in some. I am already nervous about watching the game on the computer. I have not told Matt this yet, but since my trip back from New Orleans during the Utah State game that I have wore the same shirt for all road games. It is just a plain old plaid button down and I wear m La Tech shirt underneath. I said what the heck after the Utah State game and now my lucky road shirt carried me through the road victories and I will be wearing it during the Nevada game. I guess it is my good luck charm. I know I can be a little weird! Janet and I are setup in separate rooms with our own computer. She has already warned me that I cannot use her closet when Matt kicks.
That will be ok! I have other options. As I wait for the game to start I poured a Shiner Cheer. You never know about seasonal beers, but this was actually pretty good. It is time for the kickoff and Nevada is kicking off to us. We run 3 plays and punt! Don't do this to me! Nevada runs 12 plays and we force them to punt. Way to go defense! We run 5 plays and punt again. Nevada takes the ball and rattles off 10 plays and scores on a 20 yard pass play. The PAT is good and Tech is down 7 - 0. This is not the start I thought we would have. Tech starts the 2nd quarter and we punt again. Offense we need you today! Nevada takes the ball and after 3 plays CF fumbles the ball and JC recovers. I hope this is the spark that this team needs. We run 3 plays and punt again. Please don't let this happen! Back and forth a punting we go and the half comes to an end with Nevada up 7 - 0. Thank you defense for keeping us in this game. The score could of been much worse. I need to slow down on the adult beverages. This day has a long ways to go. Matt will kickoff as the 3rd quarter begins. The kickoff goes to the 3 yard line and the return goes to the 31. We cannot allow this type of return. With the height on the ball our coverage should be able to stop them inside the 20. Nevada runs off 11 plays and kicks a 19 yard FG. That puts Nevada up 10 -0. Tech takes the kickoff and we run off 11 plays and Matt comes in for a 29 yard FG. I make my way around to the kitchen and Janet hollers it is good! I hope this jump starts our offense. Nevada is up 10 -3. Nevada takes the kickoff and runs 6 plays and kicks a 24 yard FG. This is not good! Come on Dawgs! Let's kick this thing in gear! We run 3 plays and punt as the 3th quarter comes to an end. Nevada takes the ball at the start of the 4th quarter and Nevada runs 9 plays and scores on a 4 yard scamper.
The PAT is good and Nevada is up 20 -3. I am not feeling good about this. I still have faith, but 3 scores in one quarter will be tough. Tech takes the ball and runs 11 plays and CC hits QP on a 9 yard TD and Matt sends the PAT through and Nevada is up 20 - 10. Let's go defense! Let's take one series at a time! The kickoff is away and the defense holds Nevada to 3 plays and they punt. That is what I am talking about! Tech takes over and after 6 plays CC hit MW with a 14 yard strike and scores. Are you kidding me? The PAT is up and Nevada is only up 20 -17. Matt kicks off and Nevada takes the ball at the 5:50 mark. Let's go defense! Nevada runs 7 plays and we force them to punt. I have a feeling! Tech takes over at the 2:29 mark on our own 8 yard line. Oh lord please be with this team! CC throws a couple of quick passes and we are faced with a 3rd & 12 and CC throws an out pass to HL and he scampers for 23 yards and we move the chains! CC then hits QP for 35 yards and then hits JJ for 25 yards. Oh please let this happen! HL for 3 yards and then it is a 8 and strike to TI and we score The PAT is good. The PAT was so important as that meant they have to score a TD. I am on my knees in the kitchen. I am in shock and I am afraid to watch the last 51 seconds. The kickoff is away and down to the 3. The coverage team comes up big and JC makes the tackle at the 21. Oh defense it is your time to shine! Nevada runs 6 plays and AC comes up with a huge sack with a 10 yard loss and the gun goes off. We won! We won! What a comeback by this team. I get off of the floor and get my computer. The team is going nuts on the field! This is so incredible! I am speechless! Janet and I stand in the kitchen and we have to pinch each other. Is this real? We have the real golden ticket and the WAC Championship is in our control! I am numb, excited and need a drawer change! The dogs are barking and think we are crazy! Oh my gosh! I need a glass of red wine! Congratulations text are coming in! The phones are ringing! Facebook and Twitter are smoking! I think we need to go outside and spray champagne on each other! Stay excited but calm down! We still have more business at hand. Let's enjoy this very special moment and then go do what we do!
Matt called Janet and the tears of joy were flowing! He was overwhelmed with excitement. He said the first person he hugged was HL, then MB, then TB and finally his mental mentor TG. He could not believe it! He said all week that the were so focused and then everything started clicking. He said he burnt the leg hairs off of his left leg. Standing to close to the heater was not a good thing. He also said his left big toe was numb or frozen most of the game. He said that some of the Nevada fans that were still left lined up where they had to walk to the locker room and dropped so many "F" bombs at the team. He thought to himself that yes indeed we are #1. He said he kicked the ball so pure and his placements on kickoffs were placed where CT wanted them. We hugged through the phone and said our goodbyes. What a special moment! We called and talked to our oldest son Tyler. He was so proud of Matt! We talked to family most of the evening and even though it was long distance we discussed the game like we were all there. I am so proud of this team and I am sitting in the back of the plane waiting to see where their next journey will take me. Everybody did their part and rose to the occasion when they were called upon! Oh I do not want to lose this feeling and I need to find a bottle to put it in! Great win guys! Let's get home safely and enjoy this win! The next day it is time to focus on the fake Aggies! There is only one true Aggie team and they are from Texas! New Mexico State has been a roller coaster team this year. I am not sure what they will bring to Ruston. They have nothing to lose and that can be very scary! I feel certain that our coaching staff will have them grounded during the week and then turn them lose on Saturday.
Winning is contagious and that is something that you do not want to stop feeling! I will leave my Nevada journey here! What a ride it was! I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels wherever you may be going! Make sure you get enough to eat, take a nap and eat some more! We will be spending Thanksgiving in Ruston with Matt and many family member traveling from all over the states. This is the first time we have done this in Ruston and we are looking forward to spending time with Matt and all of the family. Best of luck with New Mexico State Dawgs! Stay focused and your reward will be waiting for you! Best of luck to RA as he is one of the 3 finalist for the Ray Guy Award! Bring it home RA! For all of those traveling to Ruston please be safe in your travels. It is such a blast to follow Matt Nelson through his eyes and the Bulldog team! I might not say the right things, but I write from the bottom of my heart and what my feelings are during the week and during the game. I don't intend to hurt anyone's feelings, but I am very passionate about La Tech Football. My opinions on the coaches and their coaching abilities are only mine and no one else's. Thank you so much to Mr. Tom Morris with La Tech Sports Pix for allowing me to use some of his photos for this blog. Don't forget to listen to J Ford and Chris Keagle with Bleed Tech Blue on ESPN 97.7 FM every Tuesday night at 6:00 PM. May your Football Season be filled with many Football Victories, Sunny Smiles, Sandy Dreams and Travel Your Way! Until our paths cross again, have a blessed week! College Football Dad!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ole Miss 11/12/11

Oh my! Where do I begin? Where has this team been? 4 wins in a row is such a breath of fresh air. I will be on a high all week. Those dumb dogs in Fresno need to put their own bone in the graveyard. You need to man up and replace our bone with yours. your graveyard is for losers, not winners! All kidding aside I am very proud of this team. They believe in each other and they do not give up. Great win in Fresno guys! Onward we go to the Grove. Our time to shine against and SEC opponent is staring us in the face.
With the Ole Miss coach being relieved of his duties at the end of the season their team should be in a funk. I am not sure what to think about Ole Miss. They used to have a flag as a mascot and now they have a black bear as a mascot. Are there black bears in Oxford? They don't know what to call their school. University of Mississippi or Ole Miss? I understand that Ole Miss stands for mood, emotion and personality and U of M stands for buildings, trees and people.
Why? I am sticking with U of M! They also have a crazy fight song called Hotty Toddy. I thought that was warm adult beverage after a day on the slopes or maybe they are singing about some dude named Todd. I just don't get it! I think we are going to ruin their homecoming festivities. What do you think? I hope this week goes by fast. We are going to have about 18 family members attend the game.
Janet's (wife) 2nd cousin Elizabeth attends U of M so this game was chosen as the family gathering. It is cool that the game will bring family together that does not normally all get together at the same time except for funerals. I am pretty excited! Let me see if I can get all of the names straight who will be attending.
(John, Janet, Meggie, Papaw, David, Mike, Melynda, Mikayla, Betty Sue, Donna, Marilyn, Kim, Nick, Elizabeth, Whitney, Austin, Nick's brother & wife. I knew I would screw it up. I thought I knew all of the names. Matt called a couple of times. Every time we spoke you could feel the excitement in his voice. He said he was kicking the ball well in warm ups and with team. They worked on some on-sides and sky kicks.
I understand the on-sides but not the sky kicks. Overall his back had been looser most of the week. The team felt pretty confident about wining the game and the possibility of becoming bowl eligible. Let's just say that excitement is in the air! He said they were staying in the same hotel that they stayed in when they played Mississippi State. The same place where you have to pull the chain to start the AC!
Now that is funny right there! Now I sound like a Mississippi Redneck. Our Journey started out Friday by the way of Little Rock and Memphis. Our hotel was just on the Mississippi side, but within shouting distance of Memphis. We went to the Peabody Hotel to see the ducks make their way form the fountain to the elevator on the red carpet. I wonder who cleans up the duck poop on the red carpet? The place was packed full of duck watchers.
We walked around Beale Street for awhile. There was not much action yet as the night had just started. Then it was time to make our way to Rendevous for some ribs. The ribs with the spicy BBQ sauce were awesome! Janet had the brisket and for a restaurant it was pretty darn good. When you have a brother-n-law (Mike) who is a pit-master, it is hard to find a brisket or ribs that even come close to his!
I like to ask the question "Would you order it again?" and if the answer is yes, then it was pretty good! After a few beers and some good grub I needed to scoot my chair back and put my feet up. I was a stuffed puppy! Graceland was our next stop. It would be a drive by viewing. We did stop for a few photos and the lights at the mansion looked pretty cool. We were all beat from our long drive so we called it a night. Saturday morning arrived and after a big boy breakfast at the Cracker Barrel we headed to Oxford.
I not sure I understand this adult beverage thing in Oxford, but we got beer at Walmart and wine at a liquor store that did not sell beer. We drove through the Grove which was pretty cool. Tailgate tents were everywhere, but no one had showed up yet and it was 10:30 AM.  We checked out downtown a bit where we ran into more family. We visited for a bit and then drove back over by the stadium. We found parking almost in between the stadium and the Alumni Association tailgate tent.
It was right next to a grassy hill so we set up operations (blankets, coolers and chairs) and partied like rock stars. The porta potties were close so we were golden! Besides the gale force winds it was perfect football weather for me. Overcast and chilly! About 3:00 we went to the Alumni Association tailgate that was being catered by Taylor Grocery. All I can say is WOW! The fried catfish and fried chicken were out of this world. They had their rig set up with fryers and were going to town.
The deep fried brownie bites were so good that they should have been illegal! Where was the blue Bell when I needed it. I over ate again! Now I need to walk some of this off. The Alumni Association and LTAC should be applauded for that choice. Adam McGuirt with LTAC was kind enough to give us updates on the teams arrival. When they got close Janet, Meggie, Melynda and Mikayla all made their way over to the stadium to see the team arrive.
Janet has to see his eyes! After a few more adult beverages it was time to make our way over to the stadium. We made it in time to see Matt warm-up. It looks like the wind is going to play havoc with the kicking game tonight. Some flags are blowing one direction and some the other direction. This will not be fun! The stadium is kind of cool. It does not look like it holds 60K though. Game time is here so lets get this thing started!
Matt kicks off down to the 5 and U of M takes it to the 25. They run 3 plays and punt and we run 3 plays and punt. I guess both teams are feeling each other out! U of M takes possession and runs 8 plays and scores on a 34 yard pass play. This is not the start I was looking for! Tech takes the ball and we fumble. U of M runs 5 plays and they attempt a 34 yard FG and it is no good. BR would of set a SEC consecutive FG's made record with that kick! Wow!
Tech takes the ball and runs 14 plays and in comes Matt for a 40 yard FG. It is up and away and it is no good. Really? Janet said it looked like the wind pushed it right. I always watch Matt through my camera lens and I can tell by his reaction if it is good or not. Now I feel like I need to puke! We exchange a few more punts and U of M fumbles the ball and Tech takes over. We run 3 plays and Matt comes in for a 35 yard FG and it is no good. Janet said this one missed on the left side. I am really feeling sick now. I guess I was not being very positive as Janet left to go sit somewhere else.
We don't normally sit very close during the games and she needed some positive reinforcement. We exchange a few more punts and Tech takes the ball and CC hits TI for a 21 Yard TD. Matt puts the PAT through the uprights. Now we are talking! The kickoff is away and in to the end zone for a touch-back. If I have my numbers right that was Matt's 10th touch-back of the season and I am sure he was a little hot under the collar after the first 2 kicks. U of M takes the ball at the 3:31 mark and runs 2:56 off of the clock and punts.
Tech has 35 seconds and 95 yards to go. Do you believe? I do! HL scampers 48 yards. CC makes to quick passes to TI & QP and with no time left Matt comes in for a 43 yard FG into the same wind. I am watching Matt through the lens and he is leaning and then all of a sudden the Tech fans are cheering and it was good! Oh my gosh! What a momentum changer for this game. Tech leads at half 10 - 7. This kid is so determined and I am so proud of him for his mental toughness.
Just watching this team go to the locker room with everyone throwing high fives got me a little choked up. Our fans were going nuts and our band was jamming out. What a great feeling! I know we have another whole half, but what a moment! The 3rd quarter starts off with exchanging of punts and then U of M drives down and attempts a 52 yard FG with the wind and it is no good. Tech takes over and runs 3 plays and Matt comes in to kick a 35 yard FG into the wind again and based on Matt's and TB's reaction it was good. Tech is now up 13 - 7. That young man amazes me how he can overcome the first 2 misses and then drain the next 2. I would of been deflated if I would of missed the first 2.
Thank goodness he has his mom's mental toughness! Matt kicks off and on the first play U of M fumbles and CB takes it to the house! Are you kidding me? The PAT is good and Tech leads 20 -7. Hoo Ya! We exchange more punts and then JC picks off the U of M QB and takes it to the house for another score. The PAT is good and Tech is up 27 - 7. I am doing the happy dance and I do believe this team is very special and is destined to win this game! After a huge stop on 4th down and few more punts the game comes to an end with Tech winning 27 - 7. The La Tech fans are going nuts, the players and coaches are going nuts, the band is going nuts. This is so cool! We just became bowl eligible  Really? For real? We finally have a golden ticket! We made our way down to the team buses and waited for the team to come out. It was so cool as all of the fans formed a line and as the band went to their bus and we high five'ed everyone of them. The cheerleaders came out and we did the same thing. Matt made his way out and I gave him a big hug and told him how proud of him I was.
You know me, I am going to ask about the kicks. He said he hit the first 2 kicks pure. The first one started out down the middle and the wind pushed it dead right. The 2nd kick started down the middle and the wind pushed it left. He said the wind was crazy and never blew the same way. He said the kick right before half time that he hit it well and when it took off he said "Are you kidding me?" and then when it hit the upright and went in that he was ecstatic! He said the team went nuts on the field and the locker room was nuts as well. They could not wait to get back out on the field. As each player came out they got a round of applause. It was very cool. I tried to tell each one congratulations and great game. I am sure I missed a few and I apologize to those who I missed. These guys were so thankful that the fans were there and each one I spoke to said thank you and thanks for coming! That is just awesome! We said our goodbyes and the team was on their way back to Ruston.
I bet none of them would sleep on the bus ride home. I am not sure if I will even sleep tonight. I am pretty jacked. I do need to check my drawers though. With all of this excitement I forgot! We made our way back to the hotel and celebrated with popcorn and adult beverages! What a night! I am so proud of this team! When you believe in each other you can accomplish great things! Now we have to get ready for the pesky Wolf Pack. It is going to be a tough game no doubt. They play good at home and it will most likely be cold. I just hope it is not windy on game day. I think the front should push through Thursday & Friday leaving Saturday with decent weather. I feel good about this team going into Reno. I think these guys know that they can win! I will be a nervous wreck watching the game on my computer and running off to the closet during PAT's & FG's. I guess I just need to learn to deal with it. What a weekend this has been! I want to thank all of the family members for all gathering in Oxford to watch Matt and the Dawgs play. It was a blast to get to spend time with everyone.
All of the support means so much to our family. We are truly blessed as Matt and the Dawgs take us on this journey in life. Best of luck Saturday night Dawgs as we move one step closer to the WAC Championship! Make us proud! 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 ruffle any feathers or hurt anyone, but I am very passionate about La Tech Football! Everything I say comes from beneath my feathers! I am just a College Football Fan! Don’t forget to listen to my friends at Bleed Tech Blue on ESPN 97.7 every Tuesday night at 6:00PM. May your Football Season be filled with many Football Victories, Sunny Smiles, Sandy Dreams and Travel Your Way! Until our paths cross again, have a blessed week! College Football Dad!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fresno State 11/5/11

I don't know what to say! I am almost speechless! I know that is hard to imagine that I am speechless, but 3 straight wins is incredible! Our latest win over the spear chucker's was just amazing! Our guys played with so much heart and determination. Makes me want to stand up and pound my chest! There are so many positive things going on right now and I really think that the players really believe in each other. Everyone stepped up and did their part. I am very proud of them all. Wow! Before I know it the Battle of the Bone will be right in front of me. I do not like Fresno State. They stole our mascot name and they associated our Bulldog in their graveyard. Has anyone told them that we are the one and only Bulldog. I hope we kick these no good Shih Tzu's down to the cellar of the MWC. No offense to Shih Tzu owners, but these guys don't even deserve to be in the same classification as the all mighty Bulldogs! I am not looking forward to this week. I really dislike road games that I am not going to. Not only is the week long, but the day of the game is even longer.
I spoke with Matt everyday this week. He said that the director of the FCA for Northwest Louisiana contacted him to see if he would introduce Matt Stover at the dinner that he was going to speak at in Ruston on November, 7th. Matt said he would and would be honored. He had to come up with a 3 to 5 minute speech about Matt Stover and his accomplishments at Tech, in the NFL and how he has reached out to him with guidance on the field and in life. This was really cool! Matt did have to get permission from CD as he would have to miss practice that Monday night as they started preparation for Ole Miss. CD told him absolutely you can do this! Matt was really stoked, but knew his main focus was on Fresno State. Overall he said he is kicking the ball good in warm ups and with the team. They work everyday on the snap timing and the placement of the ball. Anytime there is any deviation then the ball is not going to be where his foot is and this can cause all sorts of problems. That is why they say practice makes perfect!
For whatever reason his back has still been stiff during the day so they are going to try to get him good and stretched before he boards the plane for the long flight to Fresno. He said that he and Colby have a ton of finance homework to do and that should pass a lot of the time. He said the team has so much focus right now and they know they are so close to their golden ticket. They understand that they cannot look back at the past and cannot look forward to the future. They have to deal with what is in front of them today. In my opinion we have a very special group of guys on this team. I told Matt before he got on the plane good luck and always be 1 for 1. I don't worry about his mental toughness. He developed that all on his own. Oh no! Saturday is here and have 16 hours until kickoff. How am I going to juggle this at home tailgate thing all day? I guess I am going to have to drink a lot of water so I can dilute some of these adult beverages. Pacing myself will be very important today. Maybe I need to start a 1000 piece puzzle!
Not! Thank goodness the time changes tomorrow and we get an extra hour. I will need all of the help I can get. The OSU/KSU has been a good game. The Tide and LSPOO are giving the kickers of the world bad kicking JuJu! Where is 9:30 at? This is torture for me! I got my camera out so I could test taking pictures of the screen. This did not work. I was hoping I could just take pictures of Matt on the screen like I was at a home game and the crowd would tell me if it was good our not. I decided that I was going to try the closet approach on FG's & PAT's. My wife and I would be watching the game in separate rooms and if I went to her closet that by her reaction I would know if it was good. I know I am crazy and I will look back at this as one of the stupider superstitious things I have done. Oh well if it works then I am ok with it. It is 9:30 and the team is on the screen. I am ready for some Bulldog football! FSU kicks off and we go 3 and out and punt. Not the start I was looking for. FSU goes 3 and out and punts. Ok, we are now back to square one.
Tech takes the ball and after a quick first down and a 45 yard bomb to QP Tech scores. In the closet I go and the PAT is good. Matt kicks off and FSU runs 4 plays and punts, Tech runs 3 plays and punts. Now back to FSU and they run 3 plays and punt. The defense is playing lights out. Tech takes the ball and runs 5 plays with a MW 22 yard pass to QP for a TD. Off to the closet I go as the PAT is good. It is too early to feel good, but I have a good feeling! No U of H this time! The first quarter comes to an end with Tech up 14 - 0. We start the 2nd quarter as Tech runs 5 plays and Matt sets up for a 26 yard FG. They give me time to get in place and it is good. Tech is up 17 - 0. Hoo Ya! FSU you takes the kickoff and runs 8 plays and scores. Tech still leads 17 - 7. Did this really just happen? Alright it is our time. Tech runs 5 plays and LC scampers 53 yards for a TD. The PAT is good and Tech is up 24 - 7. I need a quick adult beverage and a drawer check. I have a good feeling, but I am still a nervous wreck!
FSU takes the kickoff and runs 5 plays and punts. Then it is CC throwing 75 yards to MW for a TD! Are you kidding me? The PAT is good and Tech is up 31 - 7. Happy Dance! Matt kicks off and FSU fumbles and we recover. My dogs think I ma nuts! We go 3 and out and Matt comes in for a 48 yard FG. I run to the closet and Janet said it was right. I fell to my knees. I know kickers don't make everything, but I want a perfect game for Matt. I need to gain my composure. Janet said he looked like he did not strike it well and it just stayed right the whole time. Maybe I need to stand on the patio instead of the closet! FSU takes over and runs 8 plays. They fail on 4th down and we take over on downs! Defense! Way to go! Tech takes over and runs 4 plays and Matt comes in for a 40 yard FG. I made my way slowly to the closet and Janet started clapping and screaming yes! I knew it was good! I told her not to yell so loud as the neighbors were going to think something else was going on. I was so glad that Matt came back after the miss and drilled the 40 yard FG. The 2nd quarter comes to an end with Tech up 34 - 7. I am worn out and need to slow down on my adult beverage intake!
 Wow! This is so awesome! I have been here and have done this before with the U of H game, but I feel really good about where we are at. Tech kicks off and we hold FSU to a 3 and out. Looking good so far! Tech comes out hot and after 7 plays CC hits RC on a 6 yard pass and Tech scores. I got brave this time and stayed put in my big brown chair as Matt connects with the PAT. Now we need to go for the kill. FSU goes on to score 2 more TD's and Tech wins 41 - 21. I am dancing on the patio! The dogs are confused and the Bulldogs have won another road game. How cool is this? I don't know what to say! I know it is late, but I am going to celebrate. I have an extra hour to play with tomorrow! Matt calls his mom after the game and he was pumped. He was so glad they beat Fresno State. They worked hard all week and everything paid off. He said he caught his 48 yard FG a little thin and it kept pushing right. He was disappointed that he missed, but wanted to celebrate the win with the team. He said the plane ride would be a whole lot sweeter with this huge win. He said when FSU fumbled the ball on his kickoff that he went into the pile and this FSU player kept punching him. The ref grabbed the guy and said he is the kicker, what do you think you are accomplishing? Matt thought that was pretty funny! I am sure there are things that go on in a pile that is pretty crazy. It was time to get on the bus so he had to go. All I can say is WOW! It will be a while before I can go to sleep. I am so proud of all of these guys. I don't have anything bad to say about the play calling except that we need to play with the same intensity in all 4 quarters.
I don't care if we score 60 points we need to be in attack mode. La Tech Football is on the rise and we need to keep our foot down and do not let them get up. I am so stoked! Great win Bulldogs! I hope next week goes by fast. I am going to be working in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Then we will head over to Mississippi late Friday.  It is going to be a long drive, but I am looking forward to whooping up on some SEC butt! Ole Piss has lost their last 12 SEC games and their coach is gone at the end of the year. No better time than to beat these black bears. Black bear? I was reading up on their traditions and their mascot is a black bear that they named Rebel in 2010. What is up with that? I thought you wore a flag! The other thing that is strange is that they say the University of Mississippi is buildings, trees and people. Ole Miss is mood, emotion and personality. One is physical and the other is spiritual. One is tangible and the other is intangible. Sounds like to me that someone was smoking some funny stuff when they came up with this weirdness. Seriously, who comes up with this stuff? I will leave my excitement for next week here. For all of those traveling to Oxford please be safe in your travels. It is such a blast to follow Matt Nelson through his eyes and the Bulldog team! I might not say the right things, but I write from the bottom of my heart and what my feelings are during the week and during the game. I don't intend to hurt anyone's feelings, but I am very passionate about La Tech Football. My opinions on the coaches and their coaching abilities are only mine and no one else's. Many thanks to Mr. Tom Morris with La Tech Sports Pix for allowing me to use some of his photos for this blog. Don't forget to listen to J Ford and Chris Keagle with Bleed Tech Blue on ESPN 97.7 FM every Tuesday night at 6:00 PM. May your Football Season be filled with many Football Victories, Sunny Smiles, Sandy Dreams and Travel Your Way! Until our paths cross again, have a blessed week! College Football Dad!