Thursday, November 29, 2007

Just a Couple WVU Things

Thanks to Brian and John for the next couple articles:

Credit Mike Casazza of the Charleston Daily Mail:

Twas the night before Pittsburgh, when all through my mind,
Were visions of couch burnings, both yours and mine.
Firemen were resting and acting quite lazy,
But they knew that things were about to get crazy.

The players were nestled, Markell did his dreds,
While visions of Bourbon Street danced in their heads.
There were Quinton’s gold teeth, Larry’s son in his lap,
While the quarterback made noises to sound like a cat.

When down in the end zone there arose such a noise,
They sprang from their homes and called all their boys.
To the field they flew, fast as Devine,
Making sure to pick up the offensive line.

The invaders had arrived at the stadium early,
These Panthers were looking noticeably surly.
There was a point to this late-night trip through the hills,
They were out on the field doing defensive drills.

With a dapper old coach who combed his mustache,
You knew in a moment it must be Wannstedt.
He’d made his name as a defensive master,
And he whistled and shouted for them to run faster!

“Watch Slaton! Watch Schmitt! Watch Reynaud and White!
Watch option! Watch bubble! Could be a rough night!
Let’s stand at the goal line and build a big wall,
And keep them from their shot to play for it all!”

As they began to believe his bold rally cry,
There was a flash and a pop up high in the sky.
They reacted the same, with a quick double take,
What they saw made them stop in their cleats and quake.

On the top of the stadium a man made his stand,
As he calmly adjusted his Nike wristbands.
He said “My name’s Rich, as you surely know,”
Then ran down the bleachers with Mountaineers in tow.

They were dressed all in gold, from their heads to their feet,
And they looked like they’d win a 12-team track meet.
A bundle of plays he had in his book,
And there was no mistaking that confident look.

Pitt’s eyes, how they widened! Their hearts, how they pounded!
All for the biggest game since this brawl was founded.
One side had momentum, the other desperation,
This battle wouldn’t wait for the eyes of the nation!

Caridi was roused from a much-needed sleep,
So were Hickman and Hertzel, the last with a bleep.
They brought their pens, paper and elaborate prose,
To witness this battle of bitter old foes.

It was dark and cold, your breath you could see,
But that didn’t stop the kickoff of Pat McAfee.
The tackle, of course, came from an old Hawk named Emery,
And so started this game that would soon be a memory.

They spoke so few words as they went to work,
But score after score drove the visitors berserk.
The Mountaineers rolled, as was expected,
While the Panthers backed off, clearly dejected.

There was a Gatorade shower that gave poor Rich shivers,
While no one seemed happier than one Vaughn Rivers.
They exclaimed after singing about Almost Heaven,
“Well see you in New Orleans on January 7.”

Subject: Article in Hartford newspaper
Football: Mountaineer Field Is Full And Rocking
November 25, 2007

Chilling is the best way to describe the post game experience Saturday evening at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, W.V. after UConns 66-21 loss in the game that decided the Big East championship. Chilling in more ways than one.

The experience on the field immediately following the game sent chills down my spine. And then there was the freeze out in the interview room following with UConn coach Randy Edsall.

First, about what happened on the field. There were never any explicit directions offered as to how the media was supposed to make their way down to field level at the end of the game and by the time I had sent my early early story for most other media members had already cleared out of the press box and made their way down behind the end zone near the visiting team tunnel on the field.

So John Silver from the Manchester Journal Inquirer and I departed the press box in search of the secret way to field level. Lets just say that after about 100 "excuse mes" as we waded through fans in the stands we found our way to the Mountaineer Field turf just as the
game came to an end.

It was there standing on the field that I experienced something amazing. I knew things were different in Morgantown before the game when the place was 95 percent full 15 minutes before kickoff. I knew this was truly the experience of big time college football.

But the post game just solidified that fact even more.

No matter how hokie one might think John Denvers "Country Roads" might be, it was just absolutely amazing to stand on that field and listen to a stadium that size recite the song in unison. There we were, the game over, and there had to still be 50,000 people who
werent going anywhere.

On Nov. 17 there wasnt even reason for UConn players to take a victory lap at Rentschler Field after beating Syracuse to finish off a perfect 7-0 home record this season. There was virtually nobody left in Rentschler by the time the game was over.

And yet here there were more then 50,000 fans who stuck around not only until the end, but long after the end of a game that was basically over midway through the third quarter Saturday in Morgantown.

This was what big time college football is about.

Simply, it was a stunning experience like no other Ive seen in two years covering the UConn football team.

Shawn Courchesne, 3:57 a.m. from the Hartford Courant

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