Game of the Year - Revenge Against the Hogs
Revenge is a dish best served with a side of bacon. Yes. It was a trash line and I didn’t take any joy in writing it, but the alternative was to not incorporate it. Rock. Hard place. This article.
Moving on . . . Editor - Please delete previous line. It makes me want to vomit.
Recall 2016 when Kenny had transferred from A&M and the fans were fraught with hope and unknown potential of what the season could bring. Those hopes were quickly dashed with a double overtime loss to Arkansas in the second week. Missed field goals and Kenny doing kenny things (i.e. throwing into double coverage behind the receiver off his back foot for an interception) were present in the game in what would be a microcosm for the season. There was good, bad, and most definitely ugly. Perhaps the most frustrating element to the 2016 game was that we were so close in so many ways. Being down by three scores to have a 21 point fourth quarter to take the lead only to give up a score with two minutes left. We then marched down only to have a field goal blocked to send the game to overtime. It was in overtime when we were fooled (for the second time) by the double reverse pass. It was a game of what could be, followed by a season of what could have been.
Moving into 2017 there was no certitude that anything would be different. Kenny was still at the helm and a lot of doubt crept into the minds of fans. Certainly not you, reader, of course; you remained tried and true throughout. I tip my cap to you. But for everyone else, bowl eligibility was a question that entertained and could not be answered from the outset.
The Arkansas Game, in a lot of ways, was largely uneventful. Sometimes the most satisfying rewards in life are. Kenny did some Kenny things, like throw an interception or fumble at the goal line. Jalen Reagor tried to one-hand a ball that would have been otherwise a touchdown. The defense was solid, perhaps even outstanding. Darius Anderson had over 100 yards and touchdown. We saw what would become a theme in the Wildfrog formation with Sewo at the helm. It was a mixed bag of a game in a lot of respects. At the end of the game, some people thought we should’ve won 42-7, and others remember that we were only up 7 in the fourth quarter and that was because their kicker botched two short field goals. In addition, without the late Darius Anderson touchdown and ensuing fumble on the kickoff to have Sewo score on the next play, the score would have remained 14-7. So why again is this a game of the year? Well largely because I got to choose. But also, and more importantly, because this game marked that the season would be different than last year somehow. The victory that was achieved was not about lighting up the scoreboard or the statsheet, however. It was about demonstrating who was the better team. It was about giving reassurance to the fans that anything was possible this season.
In less than two days fall camp will return and with it, the heat, the vintage Patterson run-around, and most importantly, hope. In many ways, August is my least favorite sports month. The NBA is over, College Football has not returned, baseball is pretty dead, and the only thing ESPN wants to televise is the little league world series. Woof. I do not want to meet the person who makes time to watch it; It’s easily the worst sporting event to watch on tv. Give me the World Series of Darts over the LLWS. Give me Lumberjack competitions over the LLWS. Give me billiards over the LLWS. I don’t even need professional level billiards; I would take random footage of a poolhall over it. It’s a true signature that TV packages are going the way of the dodo. I would be happy to pay per event. How did we get here?
The only redeeming quality of August is fall camp. I consume all media about it. I meditate on every word the spills out of Gary’s mouth like it’s a word puzzle for me to solve. I stoically study the depth chart and wonder whether its a mind game or a form of inspiration. But most of all, I think about the upcoming season, and how with a couple calls, rolls, bounces going our way, that anything could happen. I can’t wait.