I think I have finally removed all of the honey that these darn honey bears left on me. This team from the middle of nowhere Arkansas poured enough honey on me that I thought I was going to have to wear the honey pot home. No way was I going to do that. Even though we were down with not much time left, I saw a team come together and believe in each other! A win is a win no matter what.
There are good wins and ugly wins and I will take a win every time! Now we have to get ready for the pussycats. Since I have spent most of my early beer drinking days following the pussycats I was somewhat familiar with their offensive approach! I think they call it an “Air Raid” You have a 6th year senior who is going to break all of the U of H passing records and you know he is going to try to rack up the yards. I feel confident that our defensive coaches will come up with schemes that CK has yet to see.
I talked to Matt everyday during the week. I am freaking out at some of the things that he has shared with me. The team is jacked and the emotions are running higher than normal. Practices have been intense and his kicks with team have gone well. Matt shared with me some of the kicks they were practicing and I fainted twice. Wal-Mart is going to make so much money off of me this year. I hope they keep my brand of drawers in stock! I never knew there were so many kinds of kicks that a team could prepare for. I guess I will have to wait and see what really happens, but if they do a few of them I am going to be spending more time in the men’s room than normal!
Our journey to Ruston starts late Friday afternoon. My dad’s sisters were going to be in town for the game. They all have been in trying their luck at slots and blackjack. My dad and my uncle Bob even found time to go visit Mr. Ross at Maxwell’s Market on Thursday. Ross has such a great selection of stuff to choose from that I could stay there all day just looking. My dad picked up some LA 31 which is a lager that drinks like a fine IPA. Man was it good! Make sure and visit Ross with Maxwell’s Market next time you are in Shreveport. Once we made our way to Ruston. I knew I needed to go to Matt’s and get all of the tailgate stuff.
I wanted to get setup before the morning. I called my dad when we were a few miles away and he said to meet him at the tailgate spot before we went to Matt’s. Ok, this is just wasting time. Heck no it was not! All of my tents, tables and grills were all setup. You have to be kidding me! This is so awesome! Please let me have a beer!
Many thanks to all of those involved in the Miracle that happened at tailgate spot 52! While I was celebrating this awesome good deed with my parents, Aunt Suzi, Uncle Glen, Aunt Pat, Uncle Bob, and my awesome wife, Mr. Harper showed up to visit for a little bit. Mr. Harper is such an incredible person and a good friend! I know he and my parents drive the furthest of everyone too every home game. 12 Hours each way is dedication!
It was getting pretty late, but we still had time to run to Ponchatoula’s for an awesome meal. It was really good! We made our way to the room and enjoyed a nice bottle of wine before retiring. Morning came pretty early, but the excitement of game day had me wide awake! After a quick stop at Walley World for ice we made our way to the tailgate spot. I was ready for this one. On the menu this morning was bacon and pancakes. I was going to test my new old school flat top out again. Cajun Mary’s and jacked up cranberry juice was the morning adult beverage. Dan “The Equipment Man” Matthiesen came by early so I could test out the bacon and the special pancake mix.
Dan approved so I knew I could proceed and serve the rest of the group. Coming to the stadium early in the morning and making it an all day affair is an awesome experience. I wish more would do the same thing. I kid you not the aroma of bacon cooking outdoors makes you want to put a little of the fat behind your ears. It has an amazing scent and what a great thing to share. Everyone approved of the food so that was a feel good thing! After cleaning everything up it was time for a little me time in my chair and a cold beer in my hand.
I had 2 hours to kill before we had to get ready for lunch. Mr. Harper and Mr. Hamm came by to visit. My dad brought a special bottle of red wine and we celebrated with Bobby (tailgate neighbor) I don't know how many of you who have been to Alaska or not, but Alaskan Amber is the bomb! Tyler & Matt both had friends who went to Alaska over the summer and brought me a few bottles back. With memories of Alaska we had a special moment as we savored the awesome brew! It is always great to visit with them on game day! On the menu was beef and chicken fajitas with all of the fixings’ We fired up the Weber Kettle grill with our special blend of mesquite lump charcoal and got the flat top ready for our mix of onions and peppers.
We had a super large group this weekend. Janet’s parents (Meggie & Papaw), brother (Mike), sister-n-law (Melynda), niece (Mikayla), Aunt Barbara and Uncle David made their way to Ruston as well. The family support is so fantastic. We see family more during football season than we do the rest of the year. It’s a good thing! Matt attending La Tech has been such a blessing to all of our families.
The grill and flat top is good to go. Since we had so much food to cook we had to setup an assembly line. Mike (Brother-n-law) manned the flat top and took care of the peppers, onions and tortillas and Papaw (Father-n-law) to care of all of the slicing of the fajitas. We timed everything just right and everything was good to go. Let the feast begin! I am telling you these fajitas were amazing! Everyone brought stuff to go with the fajitas so toppings of any kind were available.
While we were stuffing our faces, Ross from the world famous Maxwell’s Market brought us some of his super jumbo shrimp with one of his magical sauces to sample. I think I need to bathe in that sauce. The shrimp were wonderful as well. Thanks so much for the samples. Mr. Rust came by and we loaded him up with as many fajitas as he could eat. He just was not sure after the first one if it was any good so he had to try a few more. At the end I think he came to the conclusion that they were darn good.
You know when you eat this much food you need to kick back and take a nap. Oh I wish I could, but the team has just arrived and I need to go see what type of face Matt has on. I got a head nod as he walked by so I knew it was game on. It is time to pick as much up as we can before we head to the stadium. Janet has made her way to her seat to watch Matt warm-up. She has to know exactly how his rhythm is and she can only do this visually! Mr. Rust and I share a few more adult beverages and then make our way to the stadium. We find some of the family and take our seats on the 2nd level, front row behind the band. I am just going to throw this out there, but I hate tuba's! Excitement is in the air. I don’t hear any air raid signals so I know we are ready for a battle.
The team comes down the tunnel and we have smoke and now we have adult sparklers and a canon that fires off after every score. Matt kicks off and drives it deep for a touchback! Houston goes 4 and out and we take possession and drive down the field and score on an LC 1 yard rush. Matt connects with the PAT and Tech is up 7 – 0. The 2nd quarter starts and we drive down the field and Matt connects on a 30 yard FG. Houston comes back and scores and then Tech drives down and scores as well. Then Tech gets the ball back and drives down to set Matt up for a 47 yard FG. Matt goes out to kick and Coach Levine from Houston calls timeout to try and ice Matt. Matt's general rule is to go off of the field and come back in to the field of play like he is going out for the first time. Coach Levine recruited Matt pretty hard before Matt made the commitment to attend the great university of Louisiana Tech and I know he wanted to test his mental toughness. The snap is good, the hold is good and the kick is on it's way and Matt connects for a 47 yard FG. That young man is back. MB picks him up in celebration ! How cool is that? This is awesome! Matt kicks a squib kick and the half comes to an end! Happy Dance! Tech goes in at half ahead of Houston 20 – 7. Can you believe? Congrats to Ms. Toni for winning the Ultimate Tech Fan award at halftime! Sounds like a sushi celebration to me! I am stoked right now! Tech is playing lights out. The 3rd quarter begins and after a series by both teams Tech drives down and sets up for a 42 yard FG and one of those wacky plays takes place as a fake FG is executed to perfection. Matt fakes the kick,
TB completes a 12 yard pass to MB and a first down is achieved. Hoo Ya! Matt had 2 guys coming in from the sides to take on and when they tried to get up Matt grabbed both of their legs for a double take down! I am sure the adrenaline had kicked in! Thank goodness the refs were watching this well executed play and not the double take down! 2 plays later and the end zone is our friend. Wow! This is amazing! The 3rd quarter ends with each team scoring and Tech is up 34 – 14! I am starting to do a happy dance, but I know in the back of my mind that the pussycats have a quick scoring offense. The 4th quarter begins and before I can come back from the men’s room the pussycats have scored twice. What is going on? Where is this conservative play calling coming from? This looks like Guy V Lewis trying to win a national championship against NC State in 1983. It is not going to work and it did not work as U of H scores again! We worked so hard to have this happen!
Tech gets the ball back and our coach’s clock management rears its ugly head! Our clock management is like pee wee football. What the heck are we doing? The game comes to an end with the pussycats wining 35 – 34. This is not right! This team and the fans deserve more! How can you let a QB snap the ball with 10 plus seconds on the play clock? Something is not right or are coaching staff is not on the same page. Please explain to me how this happens. This would have been a signature victory for this program we lay a silver egg! I hope CD takes responsibility for this loss. I am not pleased! We make our way up to visit with Matt after the game.
Matt makes his way out and you can tell he is upset! His passion for this team and winning shows all over his face! He did not want to talk about his personal achievements as it did not matter. A win is a win and a loss is a loss as a team. There are no personal victories in football! Even though Tech lost it was pretty cool to see the kids come up to Matt and ask for his autograph. My thoughts are going everywhere as this team should be 3 – 0! I put the blame on the coaches. This is my opinion only! I can’t say anymore as I will probably step outside the box and say something that I will regret! My mouth and fingers are closed! I am proud of this team and will support them no matter what! We made our way to Rasing Canes and brought food back to the hotel to eat. Matt and Kasie met us at the hotel and we all ate dinner together.
After we finished eating dinner Matt received a call from BC (roommate) and he informed Matt that their house was flooded and they had 3 inches of water in every room of the house. We made our way over to Matt’s house and sure as shoot there was water flowing out of every door and the whole house was completely flooded. A hose on the washer had busted and water flowed for about 4 hours before it was cut off. The guys had several friends who came over to help and some went to the church to get wet vacs to help get the water out. I cannot believe the whole house is flooded. We help Matt as much as we can and about 1:30AM we head back to the hotel. I felt horrible for the guys. Matt’s computer was dripping water and everything in all of the guy’s room was soaking wet. I hope the land lord has insurance and can help these guys out. We loaded up and left early Sunday AM headed back to North Dallas. With my new job with Drytac I had a 5:00PM flight to Bentonville Sunday afternoon and time was of the essence.
Many thanks to Aunt Pat, Uncle Bob, Aunt Suzi and Uncle Glen for making the long journey down from Kansas City. Words cannot say thanks enough! I also want to wish a very special 14th birthday to my niece Mikayla! Happy Birthday from Uncle J! Many thanks to all of those who helped cook and clean up after the game. We are blessed with such a great family! Mississippi State is up next. The cow bell groupies are herding in their barns! The Texas A&M colored team is a bulldog want a be team! I don’t know much about them except we are going to offer up a butt kicking to these cow bell clanging rednecks! Listen to me! I am talking like a Mississippi State redneck! Not! I am talking like a La Tech Bulldog who is going to kick some cow bell butt! I will leave the pussycat game alone as I mentally prepare for this fake bulldog team in Starksville! Find a new mascot! The real bulldog is already taken! I appreciate all of those who are following my journey. It is such a blast to follow Matt Nelson through his eye 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, but I am very passionate about La Tech Football! My opinions on the coaches and their decisions are only mine and no one else’s. Don’t forget to listen to J Ford with Bleed Tech Blue on ESPN 97.7 FM every Tuesday night. 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!