Full confession: living in California, I hadn't had a chance to see this year's Razorbacks on TV until Friday's game against LSU (the Dmac and Jones-less Hogs aren't much of a national television draw, apparently). So, not only was it fantastic to see them win in such dramatic fashion, it was also nice for me to actually watch the Petrino-led Hogs for the first time.
As it turns out, I made up for not seeing any of their earlier games by obsessively watching my Tivo'ed version of the 2nd Miracle on Markham throughout the rest of the weekend. I think I watched the entire 4th quarter four times, and the final drive a few more times than that. During that immersive process, I managed to hatch several thoughts about the game...here are the first few:
* the fascinating psychological dynamic of the Dick brothers. My wife made the good point that maybe what the Hogs needed all along was this sense of brotherly competition at QB...Nathan comes in and wants to finally step out of Casey's shadow so he does well at first, but when he peters out we bring in Casey who desperately wants to redeem himself after the embarrassment of getting supplanted by little bro. In other words, a solo Dick brother might not quite get the job done, but put two Dicks together (tee hee) and you're gold.
* along those lines, the sight of Casey falling to his knees and sort of putting his head in his hands at the emotion of it all after throwing that final TD pass was truly one of those "why I love sports" moments. Unforgettable.
* the defense really deserves a tremendous amount of credit for their efforts from the middle of the 3rd quarter on. When LSU went up 30-14, it was looking like a final score of something like 47-17 was inevitable, but the 'D' locked it down and set up the big comeback with stop after stop. Most impressive.
* more on the defense: football is pretty simple...the two teams line up, and whichever one is tougher is generally able to impose their will on the other. One team wins, the other loses...it's very unambiguous. When Arkansas turned the ball over on downs with about five minutes left, all LSU needed was two first downs to close out the game...a simple matter of imposing their will on the Hogs by running it up the middle over and over. Everyone knew it was coming, but this time it was our guys who were the bigger men. Very satisfying.
* speaking of satisfying, that 3rd down sack on Jordan Jefferson by Matt Harris and Jerrico Nelson that ended the possession described above was a thing of beauty.
* and speaking of being bigger men, how awesome was Dennis Johnson? Yeah, he was dominant in the 1st quarter, but some of my favorite plays of the entire game were watching him fight for yardage to extend drives in the 4th. He had a few runs that will only show up as two or three yard gains in the stats, but were truly inspiring to watch as he literally dragged multiple defenders across the 1st down marker. All heart. Talk about imposing your will...
That's it for now...more fond reminisces coming soon!(more at www.razorbackexpats.com)