So I was in Santa Fe over the weekend, attending a belated wedding reception, which means drinking for free, hanging out with a few old friends, eating a lot of green chilies, and thus having weird experiences in the bathroom. Before I left, I set the generic brand Tivo to record the Packers/'Queens and the Badgers/Idiots Out Wandering Around, and religiously avoided the television during game times.
And hallelujah, come Saturday afternoon, a celebratory text message from my Michigan fan friend arrives. The Dirk Terrentz curse has been broken, with Donovan at quarterback no less. Hell, yes. God, do I hate Iowa. I watched the triumphant victory Monday night, after getting back. It was an odd game. First, we won with a backup quarterback, one that had actually looked terrible during his spot duties this season (he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown against Western Illinois for god's sake). He performed pretty well, I thought, throwing decent short and intermediary balls, and breaking out some very good runs in key situations. His arm seems decent, but Swan saved him on those two deep balls. Swan had one on one coverage, and made great plays to make the catch, but the second deep pass was dramatically underthrown, because Swan had that guy beat. Stocco is undoubtedly a better passer, and I'm certain that defenses would respect the pass more with him behind center. But Donovan is very reminiscent of Brooks with his running. He's confident, shifty, fast enough, and willing to take off pretty much at any point. It'll be interesting how things shake out with him and Alan Evridge (a starter at Kansas State last year who transferred to Madison and is sitting out his season).
But even though Donovan played pretty well, the most surprising aspect of the Badger game was home we were still able to win despite the fumbles and the uncharacteristic and repeated defensive breakdowns. I refer, of course, to Lance and P.J.'s fumbles, the absurdly open short touchdown passes, and the 60-yard pass play to a tight end. So we played a very flawed game, without a starting QB and corner, at another decent team's stadium, and still managed to win.
Excellent. Now enough of this close game stuff. Lets kick the hell out of Turner Gill's Buffalo team this weekend.
Now onto the Packers. It is always, always wonderful to beat the 'Queens, particularly in the HHH Dome, that is, the worst stadium in the NFL. Even under their new, bizarrely named owner and the steely gaze of the new Childress-mustachioed, zero-tolerance regime, they're still obnoxious. What makes that game awesome, is that like the Iowa game, we were nowhere close to playing a complete game. We couldn't run the ball and our secondary continued to have terrible lapses (Billy McMullen?). Hawk also seemed to have his best game. The play where he beat the double team of those two backs was fabulous. And on McMullen's second (??) touchdown, he forced a fumble right on the goaline. Yes, it was recovered for a touchdown, but it could have been important. Whatever.
I think the problem with the 'Queens may be their offense. The have a great rushing defense because Pat Williams is probably the best run-stopper in the league. Their pass defense is, in a word, semi-passable. But there's no one particularly special for them on offense. Their best player is Hutchinson, and he's a guard for god's sake. Did you see Cullen Jenkins beat him for a sack? Chester Taylor is a decent back, but Ahman's still probably better. Troy Williamson has continued to not develop (ha!). Driver is also probably better than any of their wideouts. Brad Johnson is older than Favre and actually looks it. Point is-- 'Queens are going nowhere unless they miraculously draft some fantastic player late in the game. We should beat them at Lambeau, too. Yee haw.
And to finish it all off, the Badgers' basketball team won their first game of the season handily, beating Mercer easily. Taylor shot the lights out, and though we couldn't hit free throws, it didn't matter, and everyone played, Bohannon the most of any frosh by far. I doubt that that'll last, Bo tends to cut back to people that don't do things he doesn't like, that is, turn the ball over or play poor defense. Hopefully, the younger guys will figure out ways to satisfy his various leanings, get back on the court, and let their athleticism glow, as if it were some variety of geri-curl gel.
All in all, a fabulous sporting weekend. Maybe I should move to New Mexico.