A Thursday night game on short rest, many questions to be answered. Will Overgaard and/or Mattes return, and shore up a questionable (to date) offensive line? Will Audie Cole continue his best Nate Irving impression? Will Nate Irving continue his best Audie Cole impersonation? Will that new HBO series about Atlantic City (starring the fantastically creepy Steve Buscemi) be as good as I hope/expect?
Tune in in a few hours to find out some answers. Possibly. BYOB, and think of alternate conversation topics in case the game gets too ugly to discuss. I always heartily recommend lines from The Big Lebowski (note the avatar).
7:09 – About 25-30 minutes from kickoff. The laptop wireless connection is good, and I am waiting on my pizza. Baseball and Simpsons reruns are my pre-game. It’s just such a letdown to watch baseball once football season has started. Yeesh.
7:43 – Thankfully, we have a reprieve from Lou Holtz. Jeebus.
7:47: Big dropped pass. 3rd and 1 turns to 3rd and 9.
7:48 – Predictably, here comes Ruiz. Poor start. Best Ruiz punt ever? 47 yards, great hang time.
7:50 – And there’s Audie Cole AGAIN. Might as well be a mind reader of late.
7:51 – Nice open field arm tackle saves bails out Nate after a HUGE defensive blunder. State will start inside its own 10, though.
7:54 – Here comes some no huddle, all passing. Good idea.
7:56 – Love watching George Bryan go over the middle. That’s the money play.
7:58 – Just like that, Jay Smith cashes in the last 17 of a 93-yard TD drive. The good Russell Wilson is back!
8:03 – Great kickoff coverage, then Michael Lemon drops a Pick Six. Doh! Now Cincy going with the no huddle. Also a smart move. A shootout might be in our future tonight.
8:05 – False start penalty leads to a long third down that’s not converted. Another great punt, and we will start from the 7 once again. Worked out nicely last time.
8:10 – Circus catch by Jarvis Williams, despite defensive pass interference. Beautiful stuff. This is the offense we need to see, making big plays.
8:12 – George Bryan, still a Wolfpack Badass. Mattes is back, but made a big penalty. Still super glad that he’s back.
8:13 – Great effort by Owen Spencer.
8:15 – Fantastic OL play, makes time for RW to loft a bomb, and the Bearcats must interfere. The OL is the story tonight.
8:16 – Mustafa for 31 and the touchdown. Very impressive north-south running.
8:26 – Great defense and a shanked punt, Pack could be up 21-0 before the first quarter even ends.
8:27 – Talk about a wild play. Tip drill caught by Jarvis Williams, but he fumbles into the end zone, and the Bearcats recover. The call was good, and we have a momentum changer. Shit.
8:29 – From bad to worse. Nate Irving is down, and it doesn’t look good.
8:32 – Refs missed a brutally blatant facemask there. Good break for us.
8:33 – Cincy mixing up its blocking schemes, to positive effect.
8:34 – Momentum can be a very fickle thing. And the Bearcat offense is really clicking now.
8:39 – Nice to see Irving back, but the Pack D is still getting gashed.
8:40 – Terrell Manning is really playing much better football. Night and day difference. 4th down, Cincy will go for it. And Manning eats Collaros alive. F-ing awesome.
8:42 – Oops, my internal down marker was off. Manning blew up a THIRD down play, and the punt goes for a touchback. Still Pack ball, up 14-0. Killer for Cincy to get squat from that apparently momentum-changing drive. Now, Uncle Mo is back in red and white.
8:44 – And I don’t care how much John Tenuda makes. He’s criminally underpaid. This guy is Tom O’Brien’s savior.
8:47 – Another huge damned fumble, and Bearcats have it back on our 30. Shit.
8:48 – Collaros has a serious case of the yips.
8:50 – Bearcats get -3 yards on the drive, and badly miss a 52-yard field goal. Oh, how I hope we go for the kill shot after the commercial break. Betcha Owen Spencer agrees with me.
8:57 – I don’t think anybody is going to be asking RW to run anymore. He just can’t do it, folks. But he’s over 10 YPA with his right arm tonight, and I’ll take that any day of the week. Especially Thursdays and Saturdays.
9:00 – This time, the protection finally breaks down. Gregory gets beat bad, and another missed opportunity on offense. Ruiz looks great tonight, though.
9:06 – Almost another Pick Six for CJ. Too bad Collaros short-armed it.
9:07 – Go to the QB draw well one too many times, and you lose a fumble. Huzzah! Pack ball on its own 48ish.
9:09 – Need at least three on this drive, damn it.
9:10 – I don’t think this Dean Haynes experiment is going to work out. He holds the football like a loaf of bread.
9:12 – Once again, we punt from inside the Bearcat 40. Blech.
9:13 – And Ruiz is up o his old tricks again. Another 14-yarder. Double blech. Getting another beer.
9:17 – Horrid coverage on the seam route, and bam, it’s 14-7. Losing this one would be a season killer. No ifs, ands, or buts.
9:23 – We have a Curtis Underwood sighting. And a Curtis Underwood touchdown. But we shank the extra point. Yikes.
9:27 – Bearcats content to run out the clock. And I would rather watch a marathon of “The View” than hear “Doctor Lou” talk NASCAR. That will be an epic violation of the Geneva Conventions.
Halftime – NC State 20 (should be at least 31), Cincinnati 7
9:45 – My halftime viewing is Andrew Zimmern’s “Bizarre Foods.” That loveable, fat, bald weirdo really will eat pretty much anything.
9:51 – Good Lord, are we ever bad at covering the seam route. Thank God the pressure got there. And we hold on 3rd and long. Collaros is going to be awfully sore in the morning.
9:53 – Again, please don’t ever call for RW to run more. He just almost got killed for 5 yards.
9:57 – Great precision on offense. Just fabulous stuff. NFL caliber on this drive.
10:00 – Dana Bible is calling a great game, too. And Wilson almost dies again on a run. Ugh. 3rd and goal.
10:01 – Field goal is BARELY good from 19. A bit disappointing to only get 3, but a 16-point lead is a decent cushion to have. A well-rested defense will take the field next.
10:05 – Josh has sucked on placements, but he’s not letting it affect his kickoffs, which have been excellent.
10:07 – We keep letting them wriggle off the hook. Need more killer instinct.
10:09 – Back to back sacks, with Lucas and Cole making it look like child’s play. Love it. Our LBs are practically giddy with excitement before each snap.
10:16: RW isn’t getting fatser – but the Bearcat D is really getting gassed. The floodgates could open at any moment.
10:18 – The announcers’ litany of excuse making really misses the mark. We were nowhere close to good last season. There is a completely different level of emotion, focus, and preparation in 2010. Right now, we look like an 8-9 win team, and possibly 9-10 because of how shitty the ACC is.
10:24 – This is four down territory.
10:25 – Bad snap throws off the timing, and we can’t get more points. But we really chewed up some clock, and the defense is fully rested for the 4th quarter. Converting yardage and time of possession in more points will come in time. I’m not worried about it being a fundamental flaw in our offensive attack. Feel good about it, since it means we have not even come close to reaching our offensive ceiling. And still up 23-7.
10:31 – 3rd and 1, 4th and 1. Two complete stuffs. Not even close. NC State’s front seven has been incredible tonight. Technically still a two score game, but this is domination like we haven’t seen in ages.
10:37 – Jeff Ruiz in the fourth quarter is a very scary thing. Perhaps he needs one of those sports psychiatrists.
10:41 – Three and out. Collaros is totally shell shocked. And the Bearcat OL is totally gassed and discouraged. Love it.
10:48 – A blocked punt after a freaking Cincy timeout, then a beautiful somersault TD catch for Taylor Gentry. Great night all around.
11:03 – Sorry, ice cream break. Bearcats get a garbage time TD, miss the 2-pointer. No big deal. Churned some time off the clock, then somebody else punted. It will be a final soon, 30-13.
11:06 – Or maybe not. First and goal after prevent defense where the DBs guard nobody. And there’s a TD. Our second team prevent defense is really, really bad. Bishop picks off the 2 pointer, though.
Your Final Score – NC State 30, Cincinnati 19