Something Bulls fans can enjoy, 24-7
TERMINAL C, HARTSFIELD AIRPORT, ATLANTA -- I was going to throw in Gate c7c, but the dateline was already getting long.
I'd like to be able to blog a lot more than I will in the next few minutes, but I'm (a) beat (b) in the middle of a rough car-rental shuttle-tram-plane-shuttle-car stretch of about six hours and (c) sooooo ready to take some actual time off from the blog and all things USF. (Until the Wake Forest game, which will put the vacation on pause for a few hours).
Best image from Pizzaweek? Had to be senior linebacker Patrick St. Louis clutching a game ball as if it were a newborn baby. St. Louis didn't have a single tackle Saturday, and you could argue he deserved a gameball just for lining up "on one leg," as coach Jim Leavitt said, at least two weeks sooner than he should have from the ankle injury he suffered against West Virginia. No, the game ball was for Wally Burnham, who lost his mother, Cora, at 6 a.m. Saturday morning. We should all have three non-family members who love us as much as St. Louis, Stephen Nicholas and Ben Moffitt love Wally Burnham. Heck, three family members for a lot of people. Great day for USF's defensive assistants, who worked together to call a great defensive game, taking Burnham's plan and tweaking it as necessary to hold the Pirates to one touchdown.
What else can I say? I think you can learn a lot from Matt Grothe in knowing that he went back on the field and tried to play after taking a hit on his ankle that skinned the front of his right leg and gave him a fractured fibula. As much as Grothe was the guy who absolutely got the Bulls to Birmingham, it was nice in a way to see Pat Julmiste get to close out his career on the field, riding out the most impressive scoreless half the Bulls could ask for. Didn't lead them to a single point, but Julmiste moved the chains, kept ECU's offense off the field, ran for two fourth-down conversions and helped his senior class go out as winners. He's been through a lot in five years, so I think he deserved that.
I can't tell you how cold Jim Leavitt must have been after getting his third cooler-dump of this season. It was about 50 degrees at Legion Field, enough that I ran to my car to get a jacket at halftime. You don't know how cold that cooler is until you see it -- tons of ice floating in it -- enough that athletic director Doug Woolard, wearing the kind of suit that doesn't take well to five gallons of really blue sports drink, moved an extra 10 yards downfield just to keep himself out of the splash zone. Congrats to Will Bleakley and St. Louis, two seniors, for a well-executed soaking.
Walk-on running back Ben Williams -- and you won't be able to call him that in a few weeks -- had a great first quarter to set USF up with a 14-0 lead, but this was a game where Stephen Nicholas deserved MVP honors. The Times has a policy where reporters don't vote on such things, and I believe the Tribune didn't vote either, so I'm not sure how many media ballots were actually turned in. Nicholas had two big sacks and was second only to George Selvie in tackles, so if I'd voted, I think I would have gone with him. Was special to see Williams, as humble a Bull as you'll fine, answering media questions next to Leavitt after the game.
My flight isn't boarding as fast as I would have liked, so I'm actually getting to write a lot. Did I mention that I doomed myself on Birmingham's best ribs Friday night? In Wednesday's paper, we ran a fun story where Robert McCullum recommended his favorite things in town, and Jim 'N Nick's barbecue topped the list. Now it was a gathering already for USF's alumni, so our story was only partially to blame for the insane number of Bulls there Friday night. So when our waiter gets to the table at 6:30, I ordered a half-rack of baby back ribs. His response: "We're out." So I had the pulled pork, which was plenty good, but I missed out, but I had Dreamland on Thursday, so I'm not complaining.
They're boarding, so I'm going to call it a night, and perhaps a year. Happy holidays to all the regular readers -- can't promise I'll post again until 2007, but lineup those comments and I'll get to them before too long. Get it? 24,7? Too much fun with the headlines ...