First, a moment of college football, as I witnessed from the treadmill an incredibly bone-headed coaching move.
Northern Iowa advances to I-AA finals
Matt Tharp intercepted Barrick Nealy’s third-down pass after Brian Wingert made a 25-yard field goal to give Northern Iowa a 40-37 overtime victory over Texas State in the Division I-AA semifinals on Friday night.
Northern Iowa tied it at 37 with 1:27 left on Terrance Freeney’s 2-yard touchdown run and Eric Sanders’ 2-point conversion pass to Justin Surrency. Sanders, who passed for 417 yards and four touchdowns, was 6-of-7 on the 72-yard tying drive.
Texas State had a chance to win in regulation, but the Bobcats (11-3) ran out the final 1:16 to set up the overtime, drawing boos from the crowd of 15,712.
Texas State, after giving up the lead, had the ball outside their own 25 yard line with over a minute on the clock, a full hand of three timeouts and an exciting offense that had already put up 37 points. The choices: try to hit deep and break it open, knowing the opponent is out of timeouts in the event of a deep turnover; pass toward the sidelines and try to move into field goal range; mix in runs, which had been somewhat successful, with passes and try to drive, knowing you have the timeouts in your pocket. The decision: repeatedly take a knee, even though the opponent has the momentum after their scoring drive and two-point conversion. Frustrate and confound your players and home fans by not even trying to execute any kind of two-minute drill. My thoughts watching on the treadmill are as follows:
ESPN2 then showed fans.
WTF? [followed by boos]
The Deuce then showed Texas State players on the sidelines.
Texas State lost in the first overtime. I can only assume the team never wasted time during days and months of practices on the two-minute drill.
U.S. draws tough group in World Cup
South American powers Brazil and Argentina drew European opponents they might want to avoid in the first round of the World Cup. That was still better than the United States, which got double trouble Friday.
Defending champion Brazil will play its first match against 1998 semifinalist Croatia. Argentina wound up with the powerful Netherlands in its group.
The United States, which advanced to the quarterfinals of the last World Cup in 2002, was drawn into a strong group with Italy, the Czech Republic and Ghana.
“It’s a very difficult group,” U.S. captain Claudio Reyna said. “You have perhaps three teams that could have been top seeds.”
Well, that sucks. I’ll watch a good chunk of the World Cup, if only for the global spectacle that it is and the huge interest in my internationally-diverse workplace. That said, it’s soccer, and that’s quite a hindrance towards dedicated viewing. Should the U.S. not advance from group play, it may be headlines only for me.
Still, garnering far fewer headlines, is a quadrennial world championship that I will be paying far more attention to (and may actually attend):
2006 World Lacrosse Championships
London, Canada will host the 2006 international lacrosse championship, the ninth such tournament dating back to 1974. Currently, a record 23 countries are scheduled to participate in the festivities, which will start on July 13 and culminate in the finals on July 22.
Trust me, it’s a far more exciting game than soccer, especially for spectators.