Poulson's Pulse -- Sept. 28
Sept. 28, 2009
I wanted to start this particular entry with a big thank you to all the fans, friends, and families that stuck with us through the rain and saw us through till the end.
Now, to the game. This being the opening game to our Ivy-League portion of our schedule, we knew ahead of time that it was going to be a difficult task to begin with to come away with a victory against UPenn. As it has been since I have played at here Lafayette, I knew that Penn is always a tough team and even with our previous victories against them, we expected nothing less than what they brought this Saturday night.
Pre-game went smoothly and even though I personally love playing in night games, especially in our home stadium, the wait we have to endure leading up to games is always brutal. You lie around, eat breakfast, have meetings, lie around some more watching other college ball on TV, eat lunch, more meetings, and then eventually start getting dressed for warm-up.
Tensions flare, excitement really starts to build and the biggest task for most guys is not to get too riled up too early. For me personally, I like to do as little as possible during the course of the day (although that is my basic dream day for everyday of the week) and basically focus on what I need to do to be prepared and ready when the game finally does arrive.
Well, I think everyone was much focused coming into this particular game. We came out swinging (as coach Dougherty always tells the d-line as a necessity to win each game is to come out swinging). The defense played a stout and disciplined first half of football. Everyone had their job to do and we were able to execute well.
The offense was firing on all cylinders as far as the passing game with Rob Curley throwing the ball around to his impressive, developing corps of receivers. This is not to credit Rob, Mitch, Mark, Nate, and the other receivers alone, as the protection provided by the offensive line really bought those guys the time and chance to make plays. The running backs impressed me this weekend with some seriously hard-nosed, non-stop effort that was buying us yards all throughout the game.
The defense broke down a bit to end the second quarter by letting up a field goal, which seemingly carried over to the second half. Mistakes were made, tackles were missed, and assignments blown. Penn changed things up quite a bit offensively that shook up the defense enough to create some big plays and let up some very valuable points.
Penn tied the game with our offense seemingly stuck in a rut and our defense ultimately being ineffective enough to keep the lead.
The fourth quarter: the score is tied and we need to respond in the biggest ways. Every lift, every running workout, everything Coach Potts (our strength and conditioning coach) always preached to us: You need to finish games. That starts with every lift and every rep every day. We need to finish.
We were not about to roll over. The defense snapped back into form shutting down Penn's offense as best as we could, as their defense attempted to do the same to ours. The ball went back and forth with Ian Dell forcing a crucial fumble and Eric McGovern recovering it. Davis was given the opportunity to kick a field goal with a minute left in the game to win it for us and unfortunately came up short. But the team never let down and we marched back onto the field.
This was the first college overtime and even career overtime I had ever been involved with. I was excited and eager to get back to playing as we waited for the coin toss. The defense was up first. Time to get back to work. We managed to hold Penn's offense out and fortunately for us they missed their field goal. The offense was given the opportunity to win the game for. And they capitalized. Driving the ball, we eventually set up for a possible game-winning field goal.
I couldn't look in all honesty. It had nothing to do with my confidence in Davis because I have plenty of that in him. It was the thought of missing: a bad snap, a missed block, a bad hold, the rain, everything was running through my head. And then Anthony Scriveri came over to me and said: What's your problem? He's going to make it." He proceeded to laugh a bit and says "he's got this."
And the rest, as they say, is history. The kick was good and we ran off the field with the win.
I am very proud of the effort and never-say-die attitude this team is showing. Hopefully we can keep things rolling and have a good week of practice leading into our next tough challenge: Yale. A very well-coached and disciplined team, Yale is looking to be a very tough opponent as always and we'll do our best to prepare and focus for another tough game.
It's time to take the next step. The last one was a big one for us, and each one to follow will be just as big.