Sunday, November 12, 2006

Without question, yesterday's game was the best I've ever personally witnessed at Spartan Stadium. I'm not going to say it was better than either of the two times I saw the Spartans beat Stanford in Palo Alto, but this game was about as fun as I'm allowed to have anymore.

And the best part? I really believe this is a sign of things to come.

The Spartans have pulled off upsets before, but they usually involve some quirky plays or lucky breaks that you can't really count on. Just look at this year's other big game, the victory over Stanford. That game included several lucky breaks and, let's not forget this, Stanford is horrible.

Saturday's game included none of that. In fact, I'd argue all the breaks actually went AGAINST us, and we STILL should have won. We were flagged three more times than they were -- one was declined -- and I'm here to tell you that if that game is called down the middle, we win. But that's an excuse, and it doesn't mean we are better or deserved to win.

Still, our guys controlled this game in the sense that a couple of mistakes on our part cost us this game. The first was James Jones' bogus block in the back that erased Yonus Davis' 72-yard score. Even though I don't think it was a penalty, he probably shouldn't have touched him in the first place, since the defender already looked to be falling. The next was Adam Trafalis stupidly trying for a touchdown, rather than running for the first down on the Spartans' second-to-last drive. A first down there would have kept the clock running and at the very least likely led to worse starting field position for the Broncos on their game-tying drive. The last big mistake was Jones' third-down drop on the final drive that again would have resulted in a first down, run more clock and likely prevented the Broncos from needing to drive just 12 yards on their game-winning drive.

Ironically, I believe these are all reasons for Spartans fans to take heart in this loss. Rather than possibly becoming enamored with themselves after the victory, the Spartans are now probably hungrier than ever to win out. While they aren't going to win the WAC, going 9-3 during the regular season and maybe even going 10-3 with a bowl victory would leave this is maybe the most successful season in school history. It would also put us in great position for a preseason ranking next year and be a great boon for Tomey in offseason recruiting.

Of coure, that's wishful thinking. But you've gotta believe the Spartans will be confident heading to Honolulu this week. If they can even win two more games, this team is pretty much guaranteed a bowl berth and is in great position for next year.

So, that's what I'm choosing to focus on after a depressing loss. So shoot me.

Here's the links of the day:

Kawakami liked us in loss
Merc's gamer
Really awesome audio slideshow
Merc's notes
Idaho Statesman gamer
Statesman notes
Statesman column
Chron's gamer


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