Keith Smith pulling in a TD pass to bring the Boilers to within 3 early in the fourth quarter
Jimmy Clausen on the toss
Robert Hughes getting taken down by Mike Neal. No horse collar called on this play
Today will mark the 11th time that I have seen my favorite two teams line up against each other. In that time I have seen some great games. From the way the two teams have played so far this season I think today will be another one. I can’t see Purdue pulling away from this one, but the Irish have the weapons to do so. The hardest part about calling this game is the health of Jimmy Clausen. If he can be productive today the game will be easily won by the Irish. If he cannot go, or is slowed up by injury that opens the door to the Purdue upset. The Boilers need to get Ralph Bolden going to have a chance. They cannot rely on the arm of Joey Elliot if they are going to have a chance. Bolden looks to be the real deal so let’s give him the ball a little. What do you say?
I forgot to pick last week’s winner, but we all know that I would never have picked Northern Illinois to win. That being said I will put my record on the season at 2-1. Here is the prediction for this week:
I think the Irish will clear the stadium early in this one. I would like to see a closer game. I may even get a closer game, but my gut says no.
Yesterday I made my second trip in as many days to USCF to watch the Sox and Twins play. This was the second time this year I did the double, but my first time watching the same two teams play. Once again I got in early enough to watch batting practice, and luckily enough Michael Cuddyer hit me a baseball. So in this season alone I have caught more baseballs than I ever have combined. That is a good year. It was the 72nd college or pro sporting event that I attended this season, and the 85th professional baseball game that I have attended. Anyone who knows me knows that these are two significant numbers to me. It was also my last Sox game of the season most likely. All of these events should have led up to a good day. Unfortunately they did not.
Once again the Sox were down early. They were down 4-0 in the fourth inning. They did chip away at the Twins though. Heck Jermaine Dye even put the bat on the ball last night. He went 3-4 with two home runs and four RBI’s. His lone out on the night was a line drive to left in the 2nd that was hit right at the fielder. This kind of production would have been nice in the second half. This may have been the last time that I would see Jermaine in a Sox uniform so it was great to see him have a good night. As you can see in the picture the high fives after the second bomb were mailed in. Tyler Flowers almost got his first MLB home run in the 5th, but settled for his first MLB extra base hit. That about sums up the highlights for the Sox last night. The Twins got to Mark Buehrle early and often forcing him out in the fourth inning. Carlos Torres pitched decent, but errors doomed any chance of a comeback last night. I would have liked to have gone out seeing my team win one last time, but you don’t always get what you want. Now we just have to sit back and wonder what club will show up in 2010. The pieces are there. That is easy to see. We just need to get them all going. I am already pumped for next season. Is that sad?
I may have one more game up my sleeve this season. After that I will do a recap showing just how crazy this baseball season really was. Looking back on it I can’t believe I was lucky enough to get most of it in.
An early season purchase on eBay has left me with two remaining games this year at the Cell. I have one ticket to tonight’s game and two for tomorrow’s game. If you feel like going to the game tomorrow night leave a note in the comments section. The game is not as exciting as I thought it once might be. The Sox are all but out of contention with very slim playoff hopes. Those hopes are pinned on the next few games against the Twins and the Tigers. Tonight the Sox face off against a familiar face for the Twins. The last time I saw Jeff Manship pitch was on April 22, 2006. I had attended the Blue-Gold game at Notre Dame Stadium, and I walked over to the baseball stadium to see the Irish play some baseball against Rutgers. The night before Jeff Samardzija pitched before a sold out crowd. This was a good crowd as well. Jeff Manship was part of the dazzling pitching staff the Irish had that year. He is shown to the left just after the release of the ball. He was a good pitcher with a high ceiling. That day Manship pitched seven quality innings. He gave up three runs on six hits, but had some great run support and won 15-3. He struck out eight during his outing. Jeff has been called up by the Twins in the thick of the playoff hunt to give them some innings. I am glad to see him up in the Majors. It will be great to see him pitch again although I hope he has a short outing. My love for Notre Dame only goes so far. The Sox rate much higher than that. The Sox have not seen much of Manship so it will be interesting to see how they fare against him. Let’s break the mold and get to a young pitcher for once. If we don’t they will start calling up players from single A to give us fits. The run has to begin now.
Somehow this was lost in all of the misery surrounding the game Saturday, but defensive end Nickaro Golding was dismissed from the Boiler squad for “repeated conduct detrimental to the squad.” He was a promising young player, but evidently there was something that he could not deal with. This is slowly starting to seem like 2005.
I did not realize exactly how long it had been since the Irish beat the Spartans at home until they showed the date last night. I have been to some of the games that the Irish have lost in that time span. The date was September 18, 1993. I saw the flag planted on the field after the game in 2005. I was also there in 2003 when a late interception sealed the deal for the Spartans. I did not have the cameras that I had later in life, but the picture to the left shows Marc Edwards scoring a touchdown in the 36-14 blowout. What really made the game special was the fact that my high school team (LaPorte Slicers) had just beaten the Hobart Brickies for the first time in 45 years. I had a slicer shirt on at the game, and everyone kept coming up to me and congratulating me on the win. I did not have much to do with that win, but it was still a great feeling. Who knew that the end of one long streak would coincide with the start of another? This was the second Notre Dame game that I had attended in my life. I figured I had two great reasons to post a little about the game.
I don’t have a lot to say about the way the Boilers played today. After two good games they came out flat. The final score was 28-21 Northern Illinois. On paper that makes it look like a close game, but it was not. This was the Huskies first win against the Big Ten since 1988, and the second in the program’s history. It was a big day for the team from Dekalb. Turnovers and poor execution were the downfall today. Aaron Valentin put us up early 7-0 with a great punt return. He more than made up for that with two costly turnovers while returning punts. Purdue also had a tough time bringing down anyone in a white jersey. Poor tackling led to a couple of career days for Northern Illinois backs. They did have some moves, but that is no excuse for the tackling (or lack thereof) display that I saw today. On the offensive side Ralph Bolden entered the game as the nations leading rusher. He only gained 64 yards on the ground and was ineffective. Joey Elliot had his first poor game behind center for the Boilers. He really was off in his passing today. Next week is a big one for the sports junkie. My favorite team as a child faces off against my Alma mater. With the way these two teams our playing this could be an interesting game. I am sure I will have more on the Notre Dame/Purdue matchup as the week goes on. For now I am searching for a new sport for the next couple of days.