Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Texas A&M - 10/13/12

Where do I start? Is this really happening? This is like watching Rudy or Facing the Giants. My favorite quote from Facing the Giants is "Attitude is the aroma of the heart. If your attitude stinks, your heart is not right." I think this La Tech team has it's heart right where it needs to be. We have gone to a place that I thought we were capable of but only dreamed we would actually get to. We have taken on the Big, the Bad and the Ugly and look at us now. We even knocked the Sin out of Sin City. Who knows what will happen next. I am very proud of my green drawers and I know they have carried me through this part of the season so far. I am so proud of this team and I can not wait to see where we are headed to next. Cloud 9 and I are still chilling as we get ready to prepare for Texas A&M in Shreveport. This will be an 8:15 PM start and the game is on ESPNU. This is going to be a strange week for me as I won't be going to my normal tailgate spot. Many of our tailgate neighbors (Bobby & Andrew) already have tailgate spots at Independence Stadium and have asked us to join them.
It will be pretty cool, but I will still feel naked not cooking something. I apologize about the naked thing as that would not be a pretty site. Now it is time for me to seriously get ready for the game. Texas A&M is 5 - 1 with their only loss against Florida at home. La Tech and Texas A&M are both ranked in the top 25 and they both bring in a high powered offense. Did I just say La Tech is ranked in the top 25? Wow! How incredible is that? We deserve all of this national attention and I am loving it. Before I get carried to far I really want to explore this all male cheerleader thing. I am not sure I understand the concept. I guess I need to correct myself as they are not cheerleaders, they are yell leaders. This group of 5 is composed of 3 seniors and 2 juniors. Not only do they yell at you they use a variety of hand signals called "Pass Backs" to direct and intensify the crowd. Really? Their fans really need hand signals so they know what to do next. That is just like "How many Aggies does it take to change out a light bulb?" Tight white pants, hand signals and yelling at you sounds like there is some funny stuff going on behind the scenes.
A warning has been issued on I-20 all the way from Dallas to Shreveport to remove all of your goats and sheep along with cutting down as many of your stumps as you can. As the Aggie fan base makes their way to the great state of Louisiana they are interested in testing out the East Texas and Northwest Louisiana goat and sheep population. Ha Ha! That is funny right there! We spoke with Matt several times during the week. He was on point, focused and was stoked for the game against the Aggies. He said practices have been intense and the team is very focused. He thought all of the practices and meetings have gone very well. He said he is kicking the ball well. They have watched a lot of film and the Aggies run some stunts with their line on FG's and PAT's. They are still working on kicks to the left side between the hash and the corner of the end zone along with some sky kicks and a few different on-sides kicks. I know Matt gets tired of me asking him "Why" all of the time, but sometimes I just don't understand the reasoning on this left corner thing.
I guess I never will. We made our way over to Shreveport Friday afternoon. We caught up with my parents and checked in to the hotel. Around 5:30 PM we headed to Chimi V's at exit 21 off of I-20. Chimi V's is a Fajita Factory/Sports Bar. Flip and Bobby (owners) have invited the cheerleaders and our mascot to a pep rally at 6:00 PM. Janet's parents and her aunt along with her brother's family joined us there as well. Flip and Bobby had a table set aside for us and this place is just awesome. Flip and my dad have shared a few bottles of wine at our tailgate spots in Ruston over the last couple of years and this partaking of wine would not end today. Flip was ready with the wine as he opened up several bottles of Caymus. It was really good and very kind as you can not beat an awesome glass of wine! We got to talk with some of the cheerleaders and my niece Mikayla had her picture taken with a few of them along with our mascot. There was a television crew there and we got to see their broadcast live on the TV's as they filmed some of our pep rally.
The margaritas were flowing, the wine was flowing, the fajitas were sizzling and the queso was amazing. If you get a chance to go to Chimi V's you will not be disappointed. Thanks so much to Flip and Bobby for an amazing experience. After our awesome meal we headed to the El Dorado for some gaming fun. Matt had a couple of high school buddies (Jake & Colton) coming up from College Station for the game. Jake was the QB on Matt's high school team as was Matt's only holder he had in high school. We ran into them both at the El Dorado. It was good to catch up with them. After enough of this gaming fun we headed back to the hotel to unwind with a good bottle of red wine and then it was lights out. Saturday morning came early and I was itching to head to the tailgating area. I was told to calm down as this was going to be a long day. My dad and I along with my father and brother in-law made our way over to Maxwell's Market to grab a few things. I have been to Ross's place several times and he has some very unique things, but one thing caught my eye this time that I have never seen.
They have this sauce called Zee's Secret Sausage Sauce made specially for grilled sausage. Are you kidding me? That is so awesome! We made our way back to the hotel and regrouped. I was ready to go and at 12:00 Noon we headed for the white lot. With the big ice chest in tow we made our way over to Bobby's tailgate area. Andrew's spot was just behind Bobby's. Bobby's group was cooking ribs, brisket and pulled pork and Andrew's group had jambalaya and fried fish. It is always great to get to visit with them. It was going to be a grand day. The first beer (Fat Tire) is opened and our tailgating experience has begun. Janet's family (Papaw, Meggie, Mike, Melynda & Mikayla), Kasie, Kasie's dad Jeremy, my sister and her family (Cathy, Wes, Parker, Peyton), Mr & Mrs Harper, Mr Hamm, Mr Rust, David & Barbara along with Jake and Colton all made their way over to the tailgate area. The party is on! I will have to admit that we had an Aggie joke experience while we were trying to light the charcoal chimney to get the coals ready to warm up the ribs. It was pretty windy and it took at times up to 4 people to get this thing lit, but to be honest 3 of us were trying to block the wind.
It was pretty funny though. The food was awesome and thanks to Bobby and Andrew for letting our crew hangout. We are so blessed to have met so many awesome people at the La Tech games. I really though their would be more people in the white lot tailgating, but as game time got closer there were more that showed up. Janet along with several others made their way over to see the team arrive. She said that Matt looked focused and she did get a hug. After a few beers and some more awesome food we made our way into the stadium. Janet's boss (Curtis and his family) were coming over from Dallas and I was pretty excited to get to visit with them. We got to watch Matt warm up some. The wind was swirling so it was hard for me to tell how is warm ups had gone. I noticed when he was on the sidelines after warm up that he kept touching his nose. Janet's dads seats were down low and I saw Matt talking to him while he was getting some water. I did not think anything about it and then Janet's dad came up to our seats and said that Matt had broke his nose in pregame warm up. What? How do you do that? Matt told Janet's dad he was kicking some longer FG's and was watching the ball longer than normal to see what the wind was doing.
Matt said he was not looking as one of the equipment guys tossed the ball towards him and hit him on the side of his nose. I guess I will have to find out more from Matt after the game is over. It is game time and I am ready to get this battle on. Matt kicks off and we stop TAM at the 21 yard line. TAM runs 5 plays and runs it in from 40 yards out for a TD. Really? Tech takes the kick and we run 3 plays from our 28 yard line and RA comes it to punt. TAM starts on their 34 yard line and runs 10 plays and scores on a 20 yard pass play. TAM is up 14 - 0. Please say it is not so! Tech starts their next drive at our 45 yard line and runs 5 plays as we go for it on 4th down and turn the ball back over to TAM. Here we go. This is way to early to start this! TAM starts at their 39 yard line and runs 9 plays as they score on a run from 15 yards out. The score is now TAM 21 - 0. Tech takes over at our 25 yard line and we run 3 plays and RA comes in to punt. TAM starts at their 27 yard line and runs 2 plays as the 1st quarter comes to an end.
Wow! We just laid a 1st quarter egg! This is not the start I was looking for. The 2nd quarter starts with TAM running 8 plays as they kick a 26 yard FG. Tech starts their next drive on our 25 yard line and we run 9 plays and our attempt to go for it on 4th down comes up short. TAM taks over at their 37 yard line and runs 9 plays as they connect with a 54 yard FG. TAM is now up 27 - 0. What are we doing? Tech takes the kickoff and we start our drive at our 25 yard line and we run 10 plays as CC hits QP for a 11 yard pass play. Matt comes in and connects on the PAT. This is a start! Matt kicks off for a touch back and TAM will start at their 25 yard line. TAM runs 1 play and scores again on a 75 yard pass play and they are now up 34 - 7. Tech takes the kick off and we start at our 25 yard line and run 9 plays as KD takes it in from the 6 yard line and scores. Matt comes in for the PAT and it is blocked and TAM takes it back for 2 points. What just happened? I looked at the picture I just took and I could not see the line, but the ball off of Matt's foot looked normal.
Wow! @mnels33 is not going to be a happy camper and neither will CD or CT! Matt kicks off for another touch back. TAM runs 7 plays and connects on a 28 yard FG. This is incredible! What is going on? Tech takes the kick off and runs 6 plays and Matt comes in and connects on a 43 yard FG. That kick I was told looked like a flying saucer as it was tipped at the line again. I am not sure what is going on and I guess I will find out after the game. The 43 yard FG by Matt Nelson ends the 2nd half. The score is TAM 39, Tech 16. I think I need to go walk around. I need to re-adjust my thought process and my drawers. Tech starts the 3rd quarter on our 25 yard line and runs 7 plays and we turn the ball back over to TAM after our 4th down attempt failed. TAM starts at their 35 yard line and runs 3 plays and punts. Tech starts at our 26 yard line and runs 12 plays and CC hit QP on a 2 yard pass play. Matt connects on the PAT and the score is TAM 39 - 23. This is better! Matt kicks off and looks like he over kicks it to me and it goes out of bounds in the left corner.
I hate the left corner! TAM starts their drive at the 35 yard line and runs 11 plays and scores on a 2 yard run. TAM is now up 46 - 23. No comment! Tech starts at their 25 yard line and we run 10 plays as CC hits QP on a 5 yard pass play for a TD. Matt connects on the PAT and the score is now TAM 46 - 30. Matt kicks off and TAM runs 3 plays from their 26 yard line and has to punt. Tech takes over at our 26 yard line and we run 6 plays and the 3rd quarter comes to an end. TAM 46 -30. Can we do this? The 4th quarter starts with RA punting. TAM starts from their 20 yard line and runs 3 plays and punts. Tech takes over at their 31 yard line and runs 7 plays as KD runs it in from 21 yards out. We go for the 2 point attempt and CC takes it in. The score is now TAM 46 - 38. Could it be the jump start we need? TAM takes the kick off and starts their drive from their 25 yard line. After 2 penalties in a row SL intercepts the ball and takes it in for a score. Wow! We go for the 2 point play and CC's pass comes up short. The score is now TAM 46 - 44. Wow again! Is this really happening? Matt kicks off and TAM starts on their 18 yard line.
TAM runs 10 plays and scores on a 17 yard pass play. Oh this is going to hurt! Tech takes the kick and we start at our 25 yard line. We run 6 plays and RA hits the punt for 71 yards and we down it at the TAM 1 yard line. Very nice RA! TAM runs 7 plays and JM scores on a 72 yard run. The PAT is missed! How is he faster than our defense? This is not good! TAM now leads 59 - 44. Tech starts on our 38 yard line and CC hits QP on a 62 yard bomb. Matt comes in ad connects on the PAT. This is crazy! Matt Nelson kicks the on-sides kick and it is a beauty as Tech recovers the ball. Tech runs 6 plays as CC hits RH on a 13 yard TD pass. Awesome catch RH! We go for the 2 point play with a chance to tie the game and CC's pass comes up short. Wow! Oh so close! Matt kicks another on-sides kicks and TAM recovers it. TAM runs 1 play and the game is over. TAM wins 59 - 57. Are you kidding me? What a game! After the way this started I really did not know the ending would be this close. I am so sad for this loss, but I am so proud of this team for never giving up and believing they could still win this game. I am exhausted and I am mentally drained.
These games are so long. I am not sure I can even sit down. I watched the team go to midfield after the game. I could tell this was going to be a difficult greeting before they boarded the bus. I saw the team leave the field and head to the locker room. I was disappointed that they did not stay on the field as the Alma Mater was played by the band. We made our way to the gate where the team buses were and waited for Matt and the team to come out. There were quite a few parents and fans waiting for them. As the players made their way out everyone gave each player a round of applause. That was so awesome to see. Matt finally made his way out and he had 24 plus family and friends to give hugs to. After he got to me you could tell he was pretty upset. I asked him about his nose and he said that it was broken. He said one of the equipment guys threw the ball to him and he was still watching one of his pre-game kicks. He said it bleed like crazy. He said he had blood everywhere as he continued to go through his pre-game warm-up. The team doctor and the EMT did confirm that his nose was broken.
They gave him an injection of pain medicine and it was game time. This was now the 3rd time he has broken his noes so I am sure after the season he will need some type of surgery. Now it was time for me to ask about the blocked PAT and the tipped FG. He said the A Gap got pushed back and he thinks #94 got his hand on the ball. He said he still got the ball up good but TAM pushed in. He said on the FG that the same thing happened and he really does not know how the FG went in. He said the sound was more than a tip. It sounded like a thud. He said anyway you look at it and no matter how it happened, that he is the one that kicked it and it is his job to get it through the posts. He thought by that FG going in at the close of the 1st half that it was a momentum builder for him and for the team at half time. He said they work on the on-sides kick all the time and he thought he put it in the right spot for them to recover and sure enough we did.
He said on the 2nd on-sides kick that they pushed forward and TAM recovered. I could tell he did not want to talk about it with me anymore and I understood. He did say this type of loss is tough and I will hurt on the way home. Sunday is already here and it is time to get ready for Idaho. We will watch film tomorrow and we will learn from our mistakes and then move on. We said our goodbyes and headed back to the hotel. Even though it was well into Sunday morning I needed to settle down with a adult beverage or two. I sit here and think about this team and that Matt is still 8 for 8 on FG's and 39 of 40 on PAT's. It is just amazing! We met up with family for breakfast and then headed back to North Dallas. This is one of the tougher games that I have personally experienced. I feel like I got punched in the stomach and I wanted this win so bad. I am still very proud of this team as I know they never gave up. They never quit and they showed that until the bitter end. We did hear from Matt Monday morning after he met with the team doctor. He told Matt that he will need surgery to reconstruct his nose.
They will find a surgeon after the season is over and he gave him prescriptions to battle any infections that might crop up and for the pain. Matt is a tough young man and this will not stop him from achieving his personal goals and the teams goals. While I am disappointed with the outcome I know this team will grow from this as we head into WAC play. Many thanks to all of the family and friends who made their way over to Shreveport to watch our Bulldogs. It really means a lot to us and we are so blessed with all of the support! I am ready to take on the Spuds and I will leave the Texas A&M game alone. Idaho is up next in Ruston. These potato heads are going to be heading into a buzz saw when they hit the field at Joe Aillet stadium.
They will never get their potato head parts put back in place after we get done making mashed potatoes out of them. Idaho is 1 - 6 for the season with their lone victory over New Mexico State. Go Dawgs!  This will be a tough week for me as I reflect on all of the what if's! I am not going to retire my green drawers just yet. I know I have 7 more victories out of them. Then who knows, I might just have them framed and hung up with my other sports memorabilia. A special thanks to Donny Crowe, Jeremy Onken and Louisiana Tech University for the use of two of the photos used in this blog.
What a blast it is and we are so blessed to have the honor to watch Matt Nelson and this La Tech team. I appreciate all of those who are following my journey. I can't wait to share my thoughts with everyone as the season goes on. It is such a blast to follow Matt Nelson through his eyes and this Bulldog team. I write from the bottom of my heart and what my feelings are at that time and sometimes I get carried away. I am very passionate about La Tech Football! I am just a College Football Fan and I Love College Football! Until our paths cross again have a blessed week! College Football Dad!