Blog Entry

My thoughts on last night's national title game

Posted on: April 7, 2009 5:36 pm
Edited on: April 7, 2009 5:39 pm

First off, congrats to the Tar Heels and their fans on their championship.  You guys are really annoying to us Big Ten fans, but what can we do?Smile

The Magic just wasn't there for the Spartans last night.

Ever have that horrible feeling before a game that this isn't gonna be the night for your team?  Well, when the sportscasters stated their prediction before the game that State would pull off the upset, I had that feeling.Cry  I think they jinxed it...Frown

Next, I will say something that hasn't been stated on any of the columns I've read here on CBS about the game, such as this, this, and this (which talk about Tar Heel dominance and how they always knew that UNC was too good for MSU despite their previous articles that State had a good chance of pulling off the upset), State could have won.

Of course, this is an obvious statement.  Going into a game, each team has a chance of winning.  But I mean, down 55-34 at halftime, we (State) could have came back and won.  We could have matched the records set by the Tar Heels for "most points in the first half" and "largest halftime deficit," not to mention the personal achievements of the players, with "largest second half comeback."

North Carolina practically opened the door for us.  They even tried to usher us in, but we tripped on the doorstep, if that analogy makes any sense.

UNC, I'm not taking ANYTHING away from the 1st half performance of your team.  You guys were on fire.  As much as I loathe you guys, I was impressed.  The Spartans were impressed too - so much that they gave the ball back to you.  Almost twenty times as I recall.  In the first half, you guys backed up your insane offensive show with a strong defensive stand.  In the first half, the Spartans could have been better, but North Carolina DOMINATED - there is absolutely no denying it.  I walked away to buy concessions (watched the game at the local theatre) feeling that UNC deserved to win it.

Then came the second half.  Ugh.

North Carolina basically stopped playing offense.  In the second half, they looked human.  But we couldn't take advantage.  Time after time, North Carolina missed a shot or turned the ball over.  Opportunity knocked, time after time after time.  But my Spartans couldn't take advantage, missing shot...

after shot...

after shot.Yell

It wasn't so much that we were losing.  It was the fashion in which we were managing to do it, after lighting up two straight Big East #1 seeds in ten days, that was frusterating.  The Spartans must have gotten a severe case of the jitters or something.  No MSU player was on top of their game the entire night.  Each time we had a chance to chip away at the lead, we missed the shot or turned it over.  I can only hope that we learn from the experience, as North Carolina did.  We were a young team, and most of our key players should be returning for the 2009-2010 season.  Hopefully next year, we will be better prepared, and can continue to produce for one more game in the tourney.

Quite frankly, I was surprised that State even reached the national championship, and I'm taking nothing away from their season - that was a heckuva run we made.

Congrats to both teams on a great season!Smile

Until next time, Go State!  Hopeful 2010 National Champions!Wink




Since: Jan 1, 2012
Posted on: January 9, 2012 8:40 am

My thoughts on last night's national title game

Undefeated LSU stayed on course to reach the BCS title game by beating  in overtime in early November, the Tigers’ only close victory of the year.

Turns out the Crimson Tide wanted a rematch.

They’ll get it Monday night at the Superdome, where top-ranked LSU and No. 2 Alabama will meet for the national championship in a showdown that guarantees a sixth consecutive BCS title for the SEC.

The Tigers (13-0) proved to be the dominant team in college football this season, using their versatile offense and overpowering defense to roll over opponents - except for one. That would be the Tide, who hosted LSU on Nov. 5 in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup of teams that have each captured a BCS title during the SEC’s five-year reign.

Containing a Tigers team that ended up averaging 38.5 points - 12th in the FBS - Alabama took a 6-3 lead in the third quarter. The Tide couldn’t hold on, however, as LSU tied it early in the fourth and won 9-6 in OT on ’s third field goal in a game in which no touchdowns were scored.

The loss appeared to put an end to Alabama’s hopes of a second national championship in three years, but the Tide (11-1) had other ideas. Bouncing back from that defeat with three lopsided victories, they edged  by a .0086 margin in the BCS standings before earning the chance for revenge in New Orleans.

While some argued the 11-1 Cowboys deserved the trip to the Superdome, this matchup seems appropriate considering Alabama was the only team not to lose to LSU by at least 13 points.

“This could be a totally different type of game,” said Tide coach Nick Saban, who led LSU to a Sugar Bowl win at the Superdome after the 2003 season for a share of the national title. “There’s so many good players on both sides of the ball for both teams.

“There’s so much opportunity for this game to play out completely different and have a completely different flavor than the first game.”

Other than Alabama, LSU outscored opponents 491-131. The Tide’s defense - ranked first in the country at 191.3 yards per game, ahead of second-place LSU at 252.1 - will again face the challenge of shutting down the Tigers’ offense.

This time, it will be for another championship. Alabama captured the 2009 BCS title, while LSU is seeking its first since the 2007 season.

“This team loves the big stage,” said Tigers coach Les Miles, the AP coach of the year.

LSU quarterbacks  and  split time and combined for nearly 2,000 passing yards and 20 TDs while capably directing a ground attack that averaged 215.2 yards - 17th in the country.

Jefferson, expected to start this game, was suspended four games for his role in a bar brawl in August. He ended up rushing for 248 yards, making him one of five Tigers with at least that many. LSU was led by (755) and  (700).

If Alabama succeeds in containing LSU’s offense for a second time, the final score of this game could be similar to the first matchup. The Tigers are the first school with two first-team All-American cornerbacks in Tyrann Mathieu and .

Mathieu’s performance made him a Heisman Trophy finalist after he emerged as perhaps the most dynamic all-around player in the country. He had two interceptions and forced six fumbles for an LSU team that led the country in turnover margin at 1.69 per game.

The sophomore was even more spectacular as a punt returner, tying for the FBS lead with 16.2 yards per return. That was due in large part to game-changing performances in the last two contests - he had three returns for 115 yards and a 92-yard touchdown in a 41-17 win over  on Nov. 25, and brought four punts back for 119 yards and a 62-yard score in a 42-10 victory over then-No. 12  in the conference title game Dec. 3.

Those efforts made his one-game suspension in October for failing a drug test - teammates Ware and  were also suspended - seem like the distant past.

“I think (only) we can stop us,” said Mathieu, who also has 1 1/2 sacks. “I think we made a lot of bad decisions, personal mistakes, but we corrected it. We never gave up on each other.

“As everything was going on, I definitely think we grew closer. We started to believe in our coaches more. We started to definitely come closer within the locker room. So I think the leaders definitely started to stand up, and hats off to our leaders.”

Claiborne brought back an interception 45 yards for a TD against the Bulldogs, one of his six picks on the season, and also returned an INT 33 yards versus Alabama. The junior led the nation in interception return yards with 173.

The two cornerbacks benefit from a powerful LSU pass rush that recorded 37 sacks, led by ends  (9.0) and  (8.0).

LSU’s size and depth on defense played a major role in wearing down opponents. The Tigers outscored opponents by a stunning 267-61 after halftime, including 35-0 against Georgia.

The Tigers limited Heisman Trophy finalist and Doak Walker Award winner  to 89 yards rushing Nov. 5, but they could have their hands full as Richardson ran for 505 yards in the last three games - 203 against  - as Alabama outscored those opponents 111-42.

The junior was sixth in the country with 1,583 rushing yards and fifth with 20 TDs on the ground. He also had three touchdown receptions and 327 yards receiving.

“We have great respect for that Alabama team,” Miles said. “I can see that it certainly was a great game against them at their place, and we certainly respect that outing and that team and we learned that they’re very capable.”

LSU may need its defense to be at its best - and perhaps get a few more big plays from Mathieu - as it tries to earn a second win against the vaunted Tide defense. Alabama is led by , who had 8 1/2 sacks and 17 tackles for loss, and fellow linebacker , who recorded a team-leading 81 tackles - 9 1/2 for loss - and three sacks.

Upshaw and Hightower were among six Alabama All-Americans, and the Tide led the country with four first-teamers.

“We would trade all our awards for a national championship,” said offensive tackle , the Outland Trophy winner and one of the first-teamers.

Along with getting production from Richardson and their ground game, the Tide may need at least a solid performance from quarterback . The junior went 16 of 28 for 199 yards in the first meeting with LSU, getting sacked twice and intercepted once.

Alabama leads 45-25-5 in a rivalry that dates to 1895. The last five matchups have been decided by nine or fewer points.

Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: May 4, 2009 4:58 pm

My thoughts on last night's national title game

Thanks Ifonlyweknew for the compliments!Smile

Since: Jan 13, 2009
Posted on: May 2, 2009 1:47 pm

My thoughts on last night's national title game

Great blog MuffinMan, very well written and insightful. I was pulling for State as well, I can not stand Tar Heel nation. 

Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: April 8, 2009 4:49 pm

My thoughts on last night's national title game

I agree with everything you said Buc.  Thanks for commenting.Smile

lol Big Joey, yes State should have won.  But not playing like they did...

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: April 7, 2009 8:32 pm

My thoughts on last night's national title game

Sorry about your Spartans, MM.  One word, though.  Turnovers.  Not going to win many games coming up empty 21 times before you even get a shot off.  I love Tom Izzo.  There's always next year.  Shoot, my Gators didn't even make a tournament until Dwayne Schintsuz in 1987.  And now we've gone dry two years in a row.  MSU did as much to beat themselves as the Tarheels did to beat them, but in the end, I think the better team won, although maybe not as lopsidedly as the numbers and most panelists are saying. 

Since: Feb 15, 2009
Posted on: April 7, 2009 5:39 pm

My thoughts on last night's national title game

MSU should of won



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