The #16 Notre Dame women’s basketball team scored another easy victory today over the Saint Francis (PA) Red Flash 82-39. Besides a small stretch in the fist half it was business as usual for the Irish. Notre Dame jumped ahead 17-2 on the Red Flash only to see some fire come out of the visitors. St. Francis went on a 15 -2 run to bring the score to 19-17. The Irish recovered, and pulled away easily the rest of the game. If not for some sloppy play at the end the Irish would have easily scored 88 points again getting the entire crowd Big Mac’s. The defense forced 24 turnovers today. They are really something to watch, and the players off the bench are as good or better on defense. The 39 points allowed were the lowest total by the Irish since March of 2005. The defense is really suffocating, and will face a big test next Saturday when #3 Tennessee comes to town.
On Boxing Day in Canada I was able to see another new stadium. The Motor City Bowl was played in Ford Field in Detroit. When you first hear Detroit you think of the murder capitol of the world, but the area the field is in is very nice. Directly across the street from the field is Comerica Park the home of the Detroit Tigers. I was there in 2003 to watch the White Sox get beat 1-0 by arguably the worst team in baseball history. This trip was much better though. The field itself was very nice, and since I really did not have a long road trip to the bowl this year I bought the better of the two plans on the suite level of the stadium. The amenities up there were very nice, although we could not find one hot dog on the entire 200 level. We had restaurants like Big Boy to chose from. The stadium being fairly new is still in very good shape, and from what I could tell there would not be a bad seat in the house. I may have to go back someday to see my Packers take on the Lions. The stadium holds about 65,000 people, and seemed as if it could get very loud inside. I have not been to many NFL stadiums, but this is by far the best one that I have been to so far.
CSD’s grade: 5 stars
Last night I thought I was just going to a rematch of a game that I saw earlier in the season. I did not know that I would witness a great football game. Purdue had a 21 point lead in the second half, but LeFevour had the kind of game that people have come to expect from him. He picked Purdue apart in the second half. That culminated with a touchdown pass with 1:08 left in the game that tied the contest at 48. LeFevour finished the game with 6 touchdowns total. A bowl record tying 4 in the air, and 2 on the ground. He threw for 292 yards and ran for 113. He is fun to watch, if he is not playing your team. Curtis Painter had a great game as well. He ended up throwing for 546 yards (a bowl record) and three touchdowns on 35-54 passes. He is now plastered in the Motor City Bowl record book. He led his team down the field in a minute to set up the field goal by Chris Summers. Summers has to be the story of the year. Last year he was not even allowed to kick an eighteen yard field goal against Michigan State to win the game because he was so erratic. Last night we take a slight loss in yardage to get him in the middle of the field to kick a forty yarder. The kick was true, and Purdue won one of the best games I have seen in college football 51-48. With Painter throwing for over 500 yards you knew that the receivers had to have a big day. Greg Orton caught nine passes for 136 yards and a touchdown, Dustin Keller ended his career with the Boilers with 7 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown. Jake Standeford went out with a bang. He caught eight passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. Not bad for a former walk on who did not even get a D1 offer. It was nice to see his hard work pay off for him. It was nice for all of the Seniors to go out with a win. Maybe some of this momentum will carry into next year. It had better, because we play Oregon in the second game of the year.
By the way, I don’t ever want to hear the phrase “LeFevour on the keeper” ever again. It seemed to be said entirely too much last night. Also to all of the Chippy fans who felt the need to keep making fun of the Purdue fans by repeating “woo woo”, I hope you had a safe trip home. You did not seem to like it when we took up your cheer when we were playing well. I guess we will get to do it all over again the third week of September in Ross-Aide next year.
Tomorrow I will be in the murder capitol of the world to watch my last football game of 2007. This has been a down year for football in my world, but hopefully it will end on a good note. Purdue was part of the bad year in football. They started off so strong scoring 52 points in their first two games. Then they faced Central Michigan in Ross-Aide Stadium on my brothers birthday. We raced off to a 24 point lead in the first quarter putting up huge numbers. The crowd thought that they would see a record setting performance like the one against Ball State in 2004. After the first quarter we just sort of phoned it in for the rest of the year. Central Michigan really took it to us in the second half, and more importantly we lost Jaycen Taylor with a broken arm. Taylor was the heart and soul of the team, and his presence was missed. He is back now, and should be part of a two headed monster at tailback tomorrow night. We won the game 45-22, but we looked very bad in the second half.
Central Michigan will not lay down like they did in the first half in September. They have a great quarterback that just had a bad first half. Looking at the stats LeFevour only ran for 26 yards, but I remember an option play that we could not stop. He would fake the run up the middle, then run around end. When we geared up for that the play would go up the middle. He is a great quarterback that will give our defense fits if we don’t put some pressure on him and contain him. He can beat us with both his arms and his legs. He is one of only two players to rush and pass for over a thousand yards in a season. The other player is Vince Young. That is pretty good company. I am watching the MAC Championship game from this year while I am typing this, and he has looked pretty good so far. The one mistake that I have seen him make was when he was pressured he threw into double coverage for a pick. The Chippewas had the best offense in the MAC, and we will have our hands full tomorrow night.
As I said earlier we scored 24 points in the first half. It should have been at least 35. Former Boilermaker Selwyn Lymon fumbled the ball on the 5 yard line when we were driving, and we blew another drive in the red zone and had to settle for the field goal. At the time we just thought that it was no big deal. We had an offense that could not be stopped. We found out as the season progressed that we just played some cupcakes early. I have seen all over that people are saying that Painter is the key tomorrow. That may be true to some extent, but I think our two headed monster at tailback and the line will be key. If we can establish a ground game and keep our defense off of the field we will be fine. During the Michigan State debacle all I kept saying was that we need some longs drives to let the defense rest. We did not get them, and the Spartans ran all over us. Taylor and Sheets need to take some of the pressure off of Painter. That being said, I would like to see Painter have a good game. I have been on his bandwagon since he took over for Kirsch, but I am only hanging on by one arm ready to jump onto another one. I love the guy, and still think he could be so much more, but I can tell who he is going to throw to through the viewfinder on my camera. He just does not seem to see the field. With the loss of Lymon we are down a reciever, but in the end we may be better off. Jake Standeford will take his place. We still have Orton and Bryant who can both be gamebreakers. Desmond Tardy will have to be a go to guy next year, so why not start one game early? I really think that good things can come from the offense tomorrow.
On another note tomorrow will be the last game for some of my favorite Boilers. Since I came back from Iowa I have followed the Boilers to every home game, and even most of the away games. I have really enjoyed watching these guys play for better or for worse. Hopefully we can get a win and send them out the right way.
Tomorrow is a do or die day for this team. We can win and build something toward next year, or we can lose and continue the slide that this team has been on. We have not won a bowl game since 2002. We have not scored a first quarter touchdown since the game against Georgia. We need to right some wrongs tomorrow. It may not be the bowl that we wanted, or a signature win, but a win is a win. I think that we will win, but the outcome will not be decided until the last couple minutes of the game. Go Boilers!!
My Prediction: Purdue 44 – Central Michigan 34.
Yesterday George Mitchell released his report on steroids in baseball. He listed a bunch of player names, but only had two basic sources that he got them from. As much as the list pains me to see, the fact that so many others could be guilty as well hurts as well. Some of these guys were just plain stupid. They either created a paper trail by buying online, or by writing a check. Come on. You are worth millions. Can’t you find a discrete way to buy you drugs? I don’t see the local drug dealer on the corner taking checks or selling online. Anyway here are the names as provided by ESPN.com:
Armando Rios, Marvin Benard, Barry Bonds, Bobby Estalella, Jason Giambi, Jeremy Giambi, Benito Santiago, Gary Sheffield, Randy Velarde, Lenny Dykstra, David Segui, Larry Bigbie, Brian Roberts, Jack Cust, Tim Laker, Josias Manzanillo, Todd Hundley, Mark Carreon, Hal Morris, Matt Franco, Rondell White, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Chuck Knobloch, Jason Grimsley, Greg Zaun, David Justice, F.P. Santangelo, Glenallen Hill, Mo Vaughn, Denny Neagle, Ron Villone, Ryan Franklin, Chris Donnels, Todd Williams, Phil Hiatt, Todd Pratt, Kevin Young, Mike Lansing, Cody McKay, Kent Merker, Adam Piatt, Miguel Tejada, Jason Christiansen, Mike Stanton, Stephen Randolph, Jerry Hairston Jr, Paul LoDuca, Adam Riggs, Bart Miadich, Fernando Vina, Kevin Brown, Eric Gagne, Mike Bell, Matt Herges, Gary Bennett Jr., Jim Parque, Brandon Donnelly, Chad Allen, Jeff Williams, Howie Clark, Nook Logan, Mike Judd, Ricky Stone, Derrick Turnbow, Wally Joyner, Rafael Palmeiro, Paxton Crawford, Ryan Jorgenson, Ricky Bones, Ken Caminiti, Rick Ankiel, David Bell, Paul Byrd, Jose Canseco, Jay Gibbons, Troy Glaus, Jose Guillen, Darren Holmes, Gary Matthews Jr., John Rocker, Scott Schoenweis, Ismael Valdez, Matt Williams, Steve Woodard, Dan Naulty.
Where are the names on McGwire and Sosa? Bonds is a no brainer after the BALCO deal, but some of these guys just plain dissapoint me. When I first saw Wally Joyner’s name I thought ‘no way’ Reading the blurb about him you see that he said he tried them three times, and then quit. He was probably trying to live up to the high expectations put on him. Scott Shoenweis actually had the steroids delivered to him at Comiskey Park. What a great move that was. He was outed a couple of months ago for this, so his name was not a total surprise. Palmeiro was another one that shocked me when he was caught. Like many I was fooled by his finger pointing in front of Congress. A couple of months later after hitting his 500th home run, and getting his 3,000th hit he is suspended for steroids. Here is someone that I thought was a great guy, and his image is tarnished. A sure Hall of Famer that used drugs for just a little too long. Now talk is that he may not see the Hall even with his numbers. Another sure Hall of Famer is Roger Clemens. I suspected this, and I would not be surprised if his idol Nolan Ryan used them at some point as well. Nolan was way too good long after most have trailed off. How many no-hitters did he throw at the end of his career? David Justice now makes some sense to me. How could a man hit a woman like Halle Berry unless he was on steroids. Looks like he has lost twice so far. One name that made me laugh was Todd Hundley. He was a bust using ‘roids. How bad would he have been without them?
This is a sad day for baseball, and a day that I will always remember. The players that I idolized growing up now appear to be nothing more than high paid drug addicts.
The #17 ranked Notre Dame Women’s Basketball team forced 27 turnovers tonight to beat the Valpo Crusaders 94-56. Ashley Barlow once again led the Irish with 19 points. She had 15 of those in the first half when the score was a bit closer. The promotions at the Lady Irish games continue to be part of the fun of going. At halftime they had a teddy bear toss to benefit Toys for Tots. The floor of the Joyce Center was covered with stuffed animals for needy kids. It was really something to see. Once again the Irish scored over 88 points, so everyone in the crowd got a free Big Mac. Just like last time the crowd was going crazy as the Irish got closer. People stuck around in a blowout to cheer their team on. Brittany Mallory once again gave the crowd what they wanted. She is singlehandedly fattening the Irish faithful. Another bonus was that our section was voted the most spirited section so we all received $10 McDonalds gift cards. Too bad I don’t eat fast food anymore, or these would be must see games.
Unlike the Notre Dame football team, the women’s basketball team made some positive history yesterday. For a large portion of the game I did not think that history would be made. Purdue had a gutty performance to stay close, or lead the game. FahKara Malone was a big factor in that. She toyed with the press that Notre Dame tried to put on her. She is a difference maker for sure. It was nice to see her back on the court. Purdue did a great job of stopping Charel Allen, but Ashley Barlow picked up the slack. Barlow had 22 points, most of those coming in the second half. Her rebounding and defense also make a big difference on the court. Danielle Campbell had 13 points and 5 blocks for Purdue, but she missed a lot of easy buckets and made some bad decisions with the ball. She looks like the type of player that just needs the confidence to know that she can do it. When she knows what she can do she will be tough to stop. Notre Dame took the game in the end 61-48. Purdue held an eight point lead late in the second half, and I thought about what a great upset this would be. Notre Dame then destroyed that lead quickly to make a game out of it. Both of these teams are young, and next year should be a battle. I can’t wait for the game in the Joyce Center.
Eight years to the day from my first Purdue – Notre Dame matchup I will attend my fifth. From what I have seen this year, this game will not be close. Notre Dame comes in ranked #16 in the country, and Purdue is struggling at 3-4. Notre Dame has a nice balance of players that keep the opponents on their toes. They go after the ball and force the opponents into mistakes. Purdue misses Katie Gearlds and Erin Lawless who graduated. They are also without Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton and Jodie Howell who will both miss the season because of injury. Four of five starters from last year are not playing. The fifth, sophomore point guard FaKara Malone, has missed parts of the last three games because of a head injury. She will be important to the Boilers success tomorrow. Looking at both teams you would say that Notre Dame would win in a blowout. The x-factor in all of this is my presence at the game. Of the first four games that I have been to, the favored team has lost three of them. The last two years are great examples of this. In 2005 the Irish were ranked #10 and the Boilers were ranked #24. Purdue shut down Megan Duffy, and took the game. Last year Notre Dame was struggling, and Purdue came in ranked #10. The Irish used pressure and hustle to erase a huge second half deficit to beat the Boilers. I am looking forward to this game, and everything that it means. I will watch Notre Dame play Purdue in any sport that they play. They are my two teams even though I am supposed to just like one and hate the other. My prediction for the game is Notre Dame 75 – Purdue 52. I only think it will be that close because Notre Dame will pull their starters. Notre Dame has never won in Mackey Arena. That will change tomorrow.
Here is a great video that my brother sent me. Ron Cherry finds a new way to describe a personal foul in this game from a couple of weeks ago between Maryland and NC State. This video is just too good not to share. Enjoy!
Tonight while I was riding my exercise bike I was watching the Notre Dame basketball game from last night. While I was watching it they replayed the speech the Jim Valvano gave at the 1993 ESPY’s. I love how this man looked death right in the eye, and thought of others. He knew that he would not be here much longer, but he started a foundation that would be. It has helped others including his daughter who is a cancer survivor now. I really did not know much about Jimmy V while he was living, but through his efforts I know much more about him now. The V Foundation for Cancer research has helped many people already, and will continue to do so. If you want to donate to the foundation here are two ways to do it. Call 1-800-4-JIMMYV or click on this link www.jimmyv.org. Just for a refresher I have included a link to his speech that I found on YouTube.