The Bigger the House, The Bigger the Blunder

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Was this finish better than the “Kick-6” in Auburn v. Alabama? Was it as stunning as the Miracle at the Meadowlands? How about Stanford vs. Cal and “the band is on the field!”

I’d say this is probably a solid #2, right behind Stanford v. Cal. It was better than the Kick-6 because had that play simply failed, the game would still be tied. This was going from a .2% win probability, to “HOLY S*** did that just happen!?” Granted, this game didn’t come at the end of the season like Kick-6, and the National Championship stakes are lower. But it had a blood rivalry, a polarizing coach you could gleefully snark at for losing, and of course both involved lowly “footsmen” on the gridiron: always the most dismissed members of any team.

Oh, and then you had the game winning player dislocate his hip crossing the goaline. You had a fan having a Fred Sanford style “gripper” in the stands.

And this poor schmuck local sports guy just HAD to do his live shot before the game was well, actually over!

You mix all that in, and we’re talking a “Sweet Dream Pie” level of sporting moment.

As for the punter, hey life will go on, mate. Keep Calm and Aussie On, but this football thing might not be your deal.

Hell, did you know the guy is a MODEL back home in Melbourne!? I can assure you, that botched punt will not diminish his lifetime sweater-pulling factor by even 1/10th of a percent! I mean… dreamy. No?

Still he botched that play worse than any play I can remember. The athletic effort was a D-, the mental awareness to not just fall on the ball was an F-. I don’t really feel bad for him. I feel bad for the rest of the team.

I need to note, that while the punter had an impressive 80 yard punt, that kick was almost blocked on his own 5 yard line. I bet it was wind aided, and it rolled forever: which is the big bonus of these new “rugby style” punters. I don’t know how they coach up protections on these kicks, but it looks like they need 3 “protectors” behind the line of scrimmage, which reduced blockers on the wings, and cover guys. It also appears these 3 guys must slant in a coordinated manner, as the punter takes his running kick.

It just seems ripe for breakdowns, if you ask me.

I suppose the larger lesson falls on Coach Jimmy Hardpaw. And that lesson is simple: college special teams are a FREAK SHOW. Always have been, as long as I’ve been watching games. Probably always will be. In fact, they should be made into an AllState “mayhem” commercial with Dean Winters.

I’m the Aussie punter with the weird way of kicking…
You just put the entire game in my hands…
And I’m about to get very, very nervous….
And if you didn’t tell me very VERY explicitly to FALL on the ball….
then you’re gonna hate this decision.. for the rest of your life…

And if you love those commercials as much as I do… then you should certainly spend 11 minutes on this AllState mega-reel, which includes at least 5 or 6 hilarious versions that I have never seen.

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Steve Czaban is a 25 year sports radio veteran, who hosts an afternoon drive show in Washington D.C. "Czabe" also writes and edits his own commentaries for www.czabe.com and other on-line and print publications. He can be reached at czabe@yahoo.com.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Lost in all the “choke” discussion is the fact that Hardpaw has gotten them in to a BIG soul-crushing game opportunity in his first season. Rebuilding? Fuggedaboutit. They are already a top 10 team and were on their way to the playoff before this blunder. If Michigan is 1-4 and this happens, who cares? But both teams were unbeaten. And that made it big.

    • Sorry Tom, Michigan lost its first game of the season against Utah. Not unbeaten, not on their way to the playoffs. Wishing is nice and all, but keep it real.

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