Blast From The Past
Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC Tags:
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I know, these two teams both play in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and no matter who won this game, it was not going to instantly make the conference look all that better nationally after the horrid 1-6 record the league took in week one of the college football season against out of conference opponents. But despite what you think about the ACC, you have to admit this was perhaps the most entertaining game to be played thus far in 2009, and that elite athletes on both sidelines were laying it all on the line play after play after play in front of 82,000 rabid fans. The ACC needed this game, and needs these two teams - the 'Noles and the 'Canes - to play like this each week. If they do, the league will soon have a few teams with national impact, which is what the idea has been all along.
Yeah, I am an ACC fan. If you read the stuff on this site at all you know that. And last week was hard to take. I saw our league lose to William & Mary and Cal and South Carolina and Alabama and Baylor and Richmond. It was bad. I did not like it. But I also knew that this is a long season and that there are many out of conference games to go. I knew that GT and UNC and FSU and Miami, and even my own Clemson Tigers, still had a chance to save the season, and that there were many games ahead...
And also, I knew that FSU and Miami had a chance to put on quite a show from Doak Campbell Stadium. How could a game that did not involve an out of conference team give the ACC a chance to look better? Because if you actually watched the game, you could see the quality of athletes involved, and that these two teams are going to seriously win some games. The days of first round NFL players coming from Tallahassee and Coral Gables is coming again - and fast.
This wasn't a game of non-plays like NC State vs South Carolina was. This was a game of big-plays. It was a game of big third down pick-ups and long kick returns. It was a game that saw the lead go back and forth. It was a game that saw 82,000 stand up for 60 minutes without sitting down. It was a quarterback duel, and a good one at that. FSU's Christian Ponder finished with 296 yards and 2 touchdowns while the 'Canes Jacory Harris finished with 385 yards and 2 touchdowns in return. Harris glides as he floats around the pocket, and is reminiscent of Vince Young and Jamarcus Russell.
It was also a game of defense, and with 12 minutes to go, the FSU defense nailed Jacory Harris when Greg Reid broke through the line and hs teammate took it to the house for an FSU touchdown and a 29-24 lead. For the two-point conversion,the 'Nole receiver was absolutely hammered in the end zone, but held on to the ball. That was the kind of game this was. It was a game of plays made, not plays un-made.
So as it came down to the end, ironically it was a non-play that let Miami steal the win. Ponder had a man, Jarmon Fortson, wide open in the end zone on the game's final play, but threw it short, and his receiver was unable to scoop the ball as time expired. After such an exhausting game, it seemed that neither sideline knew quite how to act. It was one of those games where neither team should have lost. It was the third straight failed pass attempt to Fortson in the final 14 seconds.
A kick again played a bad part for FSU. After Dustin Hopkins made a 52-yarder earlier in the game, he missed an extra point. This proved important later in the game as FSU could not try a game-tying field goal, but instead had to go for the end zone 4 times from short range.
Again, this game did not include a non-ACC team. So it is hard to say that this game helped the league all that much as far as national perception. But this game was more about the ACC showing off what are supposed to be its premier teams, and you have to admit that they put on a show. I know as well as anyone else that despite the fun that this game was to watch, and despite the obvious talent on both sidelines, the ACC needs these two teams to take this game and use it as a blue-print for how to play each game. The intensity was there, the focus was there, the hard-hitting was there, the execution was there. If these two teams can package these things together from here on out, the ACC will stop being the butt of many college football jokes. But they have to beat some out of conference teams.
So Miami gets the win, 38-34, and will most-likely crack the polls tomorrow morning. FSU meanwhile will probably fall back to around number 25 from number 18. Both teams have a shot to help the ACC get back on track as Miami hosts Oklahoma soon, and FSU gets BYU.
So as a Clemson fan, I say "damn, this is going to be tougher than one would want you to think as far as winning the ACC." For outside of Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech and North Carolina, Miami and FSU are going to be tough teams to beat.
The ACC needed this game BAD to show it could still play some football....Now, it must win its remaining out of conference games.
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