Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sports Chowdah Update For September 20th- Cardinals Have Pats Seeing Red; UMass Gets Rolled Big Time in the Big House; Fading Rays? Sox Show Signs of Life vs Tampa

AP Photo/Tony Ding
NCAA FOOTBALL- To hardly anybody's surprise, the UMass Minutemen walked into the Big House at Ann Arbor last weekend and got slaughtered by #17 Michigan. The Wolverines jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter before UMass got on the board thanks to a Brendon Levengood FG to make it 14-3. After the Wolverines made it a 21-3 game, Minutemen Freshamn DB Christian Brit picked off Michicgan QB Denard Robinson and ran the ball back for 32 yards for what would be the Minutemen's only TD of the game.

Although Levengood would get another FG before the half, there was just no stopping the Wolverines offense and that would be all the scoring UMass could muster as the Wolverines cruised to an easy 63-13 win.

I seem to remember not too long ago that UMass was capable of putting up a much more spirited game in the face of overwhelming odds at Ann Arbor while the Minutemen were still in the Colonial Athletic Association. For now, however, their promotion to the FBS and the Mid-America Conference has gotten them an 0-3 record and 'home' games on the opposite end of the Bay State from the Amherst campus. In their first three games as an NCAA FBS program, the Minutemen have been outscored 145-19.

This upcoming weekend, UMass will play yet another road game in the Midwest as they travel to Oxford, OH to take on the 1-3 Miami Redhawks. Kickoff will be at noon eastern and the game will be streaming on ESPN3. Saturday's game also marks the Minutemen's Mid-America Conference debut.

ELSEWHERE IN NCAA FOOTBALL: BOSTON COLLEGE- Turns out UMass wasn't the only FBS team from the Bay State that could only muster 13 points against an opponent in the Midwest last weekend. Althought the Boston College Eagles briefly took the 10-9 lead against the Northwestern Wildcats in the 2nd quarter of Saturday's game at Evanston, IL, Wildcats special teams kept the Eagles pinned deep in their own end late in the game. With Boston College trailing late in the 4th by a score of 15-13 and after a three and out with the ball on their own 1 yard line, Northwestern got the ball back on the Eagle's 44 and managed to capitalize on their excellent field position thanks to a Mike Trumpy 27 yard TD rush with less than two minutes to go in the 4th to make it 22-13. That was actually the only touchdown on the day for Northwestern as they go on to sport a 3-0 record. The Eagle's only TD came late in the first half when QN Chase Rettig connected with Jonathan Coleman for a 31 yard pass and run.

The 1-2 Eagles have this upcoming weekend off before hosting the (currently) undefeated Clemson Tigers on Chestnut Hill on September 29th.

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
UCONN HUSKIES- So out of all the FBS teams in New England, currently the UConn Huskies are the only ones with a winning record after their weekend trip to College Park, MD.

The Huskies Scott McCummings and Lyle McCombs each rushed for a TD, while Nick Williams returned a punt for a TD and Chad Christen's 34 yard FG would prove to be decisive in Connecticut's 24-21 road win over Maryland on Saturday. The Terrapins had closed to within a FG and got the ball back on their own 42 yard line with 3:37 to go, but the drive fizzled on the UConn 40 when Terps QB Perry Hills was unable to convert on 4th and 18.

Next week, the Huskies will travel to Kalamazoo, MI to take on the 1-2 Western Michigan Broncos- their second Mid-America conference opponent of the young season. Kickoff is at 2:00 PM Eastern time.

OTHER UCONN HUSKIES NEWS- The Boston Globe and the New London, CT The Day are reporting that officials from both UConn and the University of Notre Dame may be interested in playing a regular season game at Fenway Park during the 2014 season [might as well, since its not as though they're currently playing baseball at Fenway- am I right? NANESB!].
The Day has learned that the schools are in negotiations to play again in 2014, but this time at Fenway Park in Boston.

Discussions between both schools could produce a football game between the University of Connecticut and Notre Dame at Fenway Park in Boston in 2014, two UConn sources said told The Day on Monday.

The sources said that personnel changes in both athletic departments have slowed talks somewhat, but that "there's definitely some traction there," alluding to a potential Notre Dame-UConn game.

Red Sox general manager Larry Lucchino told the Boston Globe the Red Sox are "actively" looking for a game at Fenway as early as 2013. Lucchino said he wasn't aware of specific talks with either UConn or Notre Dame, but that's the type of game in which they are interested.
Sources from both schools reportedly agreed that if it happens, this would be considered a 'home' game for Notre Dame. A number of Notre Dame 'home' games have taken place away from South Bend, including this year's season opener against Navy at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.

In recent years, Fenway Park has played host to concerts, English Premier League soccer, the 2010 NHL Winter Classic and NCAA Hockey matches. Throughout its 100 year history, Fenway has also played host to football games from the Patriots, Redskins, Boston College, Boston University, Dartmouth and Holy Cross. The last time Fenway Park hosted football was the 1968 regular season finale of the then-Boston Patriots where they beat the Cincinnati Bengals by a 33-14 final- one of only four wins that season.

If UConn and Notre Dame do agree to play on Yawkey Way, this would not be the first time a purpose-built ballpark hosted a college football contest. In 2010, the University of Illinois and Northwestern Wildcats played at Wrigley Field. In the Bronx, Yankee Stadium played host to a regular season game between Notre Dame and the Army Black Knights- this is in addition to hosting the Pinstripe Bowl at the end of December. On the West Coast, San Francisco's AT&T Park was home to the Cal Golden Bears during the 2012 season as the on-campus stadium was undergoing rennovations and also hosts the Kraft Foods Fight Hunger Bowl at the end of December.

MLB- On the major-league level, there really hasn't been alot taking place since the Red Sox had their disastrous 1-8 road trip that effectively ended any lingering notion of sneaking into the playoffs- despite the expanded format this year. The subsequent homestand was just as unkind, with the Blue Jays coming in and sweeping Boston and the Yankees taking two out of three. Despite standing on the bottom rung of the ladder to the AL East cellar, the Sox seemed to snap out of life over the last week, taking two out of three from the Blue Jays at Toronto's Rogers Centre and winning the first two of a four game set with the struggling Tampa Bay Rays. However, after shellacking Boston by a 13-3 final on Wednesday, the Rays have a shot at salvaging a splot of the series and reviving their rapidly wilting playoff aspirations- currently the Yankees and Orioles are within a half game of each other for the AL East lead while Tampa Bay trails by 6 and a half games.

Thursday night's contest will see Clay Buchholz [11-6; 4.33 ERA] against David Price [18-5; 2.54 ERA]. The Game gets underway at 7:10 ET and will be televised on NESN.

NFL- It's not often that New England loses early in the season, let alone at Gilette stadium, but that's exactly what happened at Foxbourough in Week two when the Pats plaed host to the Cardinals.

This was a constest that was largely won and lost on FGs, with the Cards getting on the board early on a 38 yard Jay Feeley FG. Brady's first pass of the game was picked off at the 36 and although the Pats kept them out of the red zone, Feely was able to nail another long FG to make it 6-0 Arizona. Gostkowski was able to put New England on the board with a 46 yard FG of his own late in the 1st and then tie things up at 6-6 with a 34 yard FG in the 2nd. While the Pats took a 9-6 lead on a 51 yard Gostkowski FG to open up the second half, the Cardinals were able to take advatage of a blocked punt on the Pats 11 yard line and punch it in from there for the game's first TD. The Cardinals then closed out the 3rd quarter marching the ball down a much longer field where QB kevin Kolb rushed up the middle for another Cards TD to make it a 20-9 game. With just under 8 minutes to go and good field position, the Pats got as far as the Arizona 35 yard line before Gostkowski made good on a 53 yard FG attempt to make it 20-12.

After forcing Arizona to go three and out on the next posession, one almost had the feeling that Brady and the Patriots offense had something special in the works as the methodically marched down the field from their own 18 and hit paydirt with a pass from brady to Gronkowski with just over 2 minutes remaining- although the 2 point conversion failed, it was still a two point game.

Still, what are the odds New England would get the ball back? I mean, one first down frmo Arizona and it was all over- right? Except big Vince Wilfork recovered a fumble from Cards RB Ryan Williams. With a little over a minute to go and the ball on the Cardinals own 30, the Patriots ran a couple of plays to pick up 6 yards. That brought in Gostkowski once again- who had already made FG's from 51 and 53 yards- to try and give the Pats a 1-point edge with just one second left. However, his 42 yard FG attempt sailed wide left and the Cards- who had led the NFL in blocked FG attempts in the last three seasons- came away with the 18-20 win.

New England will next travel down to Baltimore to take on the Ravens for this weekend's Sunday night game. Both teams head into the contest sporting an identical 1-1 record after the Ravens' Sunday afternoon loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The game kicks off at 8:20 ET Sunday night and will be televised on NBC.

ELSEWHERE IN THE NFL NFL Films producer Steve Sabol passed away from terminal brain cancer on Tuesday at the age of 69. Steve and his father Ed were both New Jersey natives who started out as cameramen for the National Football League. The father and son duo got their break in 1962 when they secured the rights to the NFL Championship Game between the Packers and the Giants. In his college years, Sabol was an all Rocky Mountain Conference running back who majored in Art History. An avid film buff who studied cinematography and art history and wanted to portray the best values represented in the game, Ed says his son was 'uniquely qualified' to helm what would eventually become NFL films. In the early years of NFL Films, Steve would serve as camerman, editor, head writer and narrarator [I own a couple of the Patriots Super Bowl DVDs and I must tell you the production values are top notch- doesn't hurt that they're narrarated by the late Harry Kalas, too- NANESB!].

Featuring montage editing, dramatic soundtracks and slow-motion film or video, Sabol's NFL Films Presents productions were sometimes more compelling than the actual games they highlighted. Sabol's NFL films also pioneered wiring coache sand players for in-game audio, the best of which would be featured in an NFL Films Presents production. These were some of the innovations that helped Sabol win more than 30 Emmys throughout his career at NFL Films. At the very beginning, ESPN signed a contract with NFL films to gain access to their archives while Steve Sabol himself played a role in the 2003 founding of the NFL Network.

The NFL announced that each stadium in the league will play a brief tribute to Steve Sabol before kickoff in Week three.

No comments:

Post a Comment