How appropriate that college football’s wackiest, most scintillating weekend, since Moses called that Red Sea trickeration to lead the Hebrews over the Egyptians, vaulting to the top of the standings of the Mideastern Conference, ended on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the holiest of the Jewish High Holidays.
Ten Top 25 teams lost. Four of the Top 5.
Katy Perry showed up on Game Day.
Verne Lundquist paid his respects to Chris Schenkel and Bud Wilkinson.
The epicenter of college pigskin shifted to the Magnolia State.
The Pac 12 totally lost its bearings.
There were so many game turning interceptions, it was obvious D Coordinators have been studying films of Israel’s Iron Dome vs. Gaza’s Grad Rockets.
Several long time wannabes morphed into possible contendas.
There is no other place to start than in the Bluegrass.
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After season upon season of the vice versa, in the 4th Q last night, the University of Kentucky Wildcats snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. With extreme prejudice. And a swagger that heralded, “this is only the beginning.”1
Frankly it doesn’t matter a bit that the Gamecocks coughed up a last quarter lead for the second Saturday in a row. Nor that the Ol’ Ball Coach sounded and looked like a guy who, on this same first Saturday in October next year, shall be awaking in the morning, looking forward to a 10:42 tee time rather than a 3:30 kickoff.
This, UK’s second SEC W in a row, underscored that there might actually be a regime in place in Lexington that will make the months before tip off relevant in years to come for something other than Midnight Madness Tent City.
These Wildcats were down 14 early. And tied it.
These Wildcats were down 7 midway. And tied it.
These Wildcats were down 14 with 8:06 to play. And tied it.
Then won it.
Get back, Jo Jo.
UK RB Jo Jo Kemp ran himself to exhaustion — literally — and Kentucky to victory. With about 3:00 or so on the clock, and UK down 7, Kemp took the snap in Wildcat formation for umpteen consecutive times. After three consecutive carries himself for gains of 11, 9 and 6 yards, he could hardly breathe, tapping his helmet, looking for respite from the sideline.
It never came.
On the next play, running on empty, he scampered 43 yards to the Gamecock 6, where he collapsed. Literally. After a one yard Mikel Horton plunge, Kemp, invigorated????, returned and slithered into the end zone for the tying TD.
After which, he, limp, was fireman carried to the sideline by a Wildcat in civvies.
The coup de grace. On South Carolina’s ensuing possession, D tackle Mike Douglas batted a Dylan Thompson toss into the air. Bud Dupree snared it for the winning Pick 6. Ashley Lowery sealed the deal with another pick with a minute and a half to play.
* * * * *
There is an odd city ordinance in Oxford Town, one which underscores how much they love Ole Miss football.
The town is dry on Sundays.
Except on college football weekends.
Which means that today, when the revelers eventually awake after last night’s paaaaartay celebrating the Johnny Rebs rolling of the Tide, they shall be able to stagger over to Soulshine Pizza, listen to the Allmans on the PA, and savor the W the day after with a Mimosa, a Bloody Mary or the brewski of their choice. Or, should it be their wont, all three.
I trust the lawn at The Grove is littered this a.m. with discarded cocktail dresses. This is the kind of win they haven’t savored at Ole Miss since Eli and Peyton’s papa played QB. And a coed’s gotta do what a coed’s gotta do.
As for the current signal caller, Bo Wallace, I trust he savored the victory over top-ranked Alabama in a manner befitting Bob Khayat. Who, for ye uninitiated, was the 50s Rebel, who starred as much off the field as on it. By being the only fellow, who, legend tells us, dated both Mary Ann Mobley and Linda Lee Mead. Which southern lasses were not only Chi O sorority sisters, but Miss America in consecutive years, 1959 and ’60.2
After yesterday’s program defining W, I trust the frat boys made every southern belle a Mississippi queen.
Senquez Golson’s stunning interception in the end zone sealed the deal late. I trust he also savored the spoils of victory.
But it was Bo Wallace who threw two TD tosses in the last 5:29 for the W.
* * * * *
Oh yes, across the cotton fields and catfish farms and abject poverty that define the most southern of states, in Starkville, Mississippi State battered #6 Texas A&M up one side of the helmet, then the other.
Bulldogs 48, Aggies 31.
It was hardly that close.
The maroon-clad Bulldog fans celebrated by clanking their ubiquitous cowbells all through the magnolia-scented night. Which, if not quite as romantic as the celebrations in Oxford, was no less joyous. Or raucous.
* * * * *
Keeping with the atonement theme, as well as whodaeverthunkit?, one of the teams across the land standing 5-1 is, uh, Rutgers.
That the newest Big Ten member bested beleaguered Michigan is another sign that the landscape of college football is changing in this, its first playoff year. Or getting back to where it once belonged.
Because I cannot say that the State University of Bruce Springsteen hasn’t ever been a playah. Rutgers did play Princeton in the first college game . . . ever. November 6, 1869. You can look it up. Among its stars through the seasons was a fellow you might have heard of. Paul Robeson. He went on to glories in other disciplines.
Anyway, the Scarlet Knights imitation of the Iron Dome was not a pick.
Kemoko Turay blocked a Wolverine FG attempt at 3:01 to secure the win.
And pound another nail in Brady Hoke’s coffin.
* * * * *
My long, long, long day of sports ended with San Francisco’s lengthy win over the Nationals in 18. The longest, time-wise, post-season baseball game in MLB history.
I’m advised UCLA was among the ranked team felled yesterday. At home, like several of the others.
But, ya know, enough was enough. It was after midnight and I was, frankly, too tired to chug a lug and shout.
So, I went to bed, dreaming of what it would be like to be Bo Wallace.
— Seedy K