THEATER OF THE ABSURD - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Nice work today from Jackson Clarion Ledger columnist Rick Cleveland on the psyche of Jasper Faulk, the unfortunate Southern Miss DB captured forever as "the guy" covering Tyrone Prothro on the latter's completely impossible, superhuman catch against USM last September, as the play gets scads of air time during the WWL's ESPY promotions and sells thousands of paintings in Alabama:
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Cleveland is not exclusively a Southern Miss guy - he writes on whatever sports topic he likes, keeping it in-state 99 percent of the time - but he does rightly dwell on a facet of "The Catch" only a USM sympathizer is going to remember: it completely turned a game the Eagles were firmly controlling.
Prothro had burned John Eubanks on the first play of the game and Alabama had gone up 10-0 very quickly on its opening possessions, but Brodie Croyle was intercepted for a touchdown on the Tide's third possession, Faulk made a nice punt return to set up a short, easy score moments later and USM scored a third touchdown to go up 21-10. And Alabama had done nothing positive whatsoever since Croyle's interception.
The most frustrating element of Prothro's catch was that it came on a hopeless fourth-and-18 play with less than a minute to go before the half, when Croyle was under pressure and just heaving up a no-shot prayer from about midfield. The terrible luck combined with the mere mortal fan's sense of disbelief as he pressed the ball against Prothro's helmet to form the most sickening possible feeling of exhiliration. 'Bama scored the next play to pull to 21-17, pretty much dominated the second half and won 30-21.
It's tough to say, because the Tide in the second half did to USM what it always does to USM (that is, establish obvious physical dominance with superior athletes, wearing them down even without running away on the scoreboard), but it's very tempting to believe that, sans Prothro's catch, Southern Miss hangs on to that 11-point halftime lead and pulls another nice little road upset to open the season. It's nice to think that - We had 'em! - and plausible enough, at least for USM defensive coordinator Jay Hopson:
As for Faulk, he's a senior projected as a starting corner this season after a couple as a backup safety and special teams guy. SMQ, personally, would rather see a young guy win the job.
I remember good and well that Southern Miss was in charge of that game. Alabama's 10 point lead evaporated in no time flat and I hurled a litany of abuse at my television after Southern Miss' first score that was apparently heard in Tuscaloosa (I was living in Florida at the time.)
It certainly made for a memorable last meeting between our teams (at least the last meeting on the long-term contract.)
I've always had respect for Southern Miss and I want to see them do well even though they played my two teams year in and year out (Alabama and UAB.)
I'm going to the Southern Miss v. Marshall game in November. If you're going, I'll have to say hello.
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And don't let the name fool ya - second guessing the phenomenal athletic feats and split-second decisions of college kids under extreme physical duress is for every day of the week.
AWWW!! The totally nicest people, like, ever!...
How much football does he watch? Dude's got insights on -everybody-, and by everybody, I mean everybody. Throw in some of the best writing in the blogosphere, and we're talking about a daily must-read.
- Burnt Orange Nation
SMQ starts to sound more and more like the Gregg Easterbrook of our ideal memories every day - whip-smart, systematic, omnivorous in his intellectual tastes and yet unafraid of the cheap joke.
- Every Day Should Be Saturday
Sunday Morning Quarterback is one of our favorite football blogs on the internet.
- State Fans Nation
Sunday Morning Quarterback is a killer football blog if you are a college football junkie. It is run by one of the most thoughtful, intelligent, and analytical writers in the college football blogosphere...The guy is thorough and detailed and provides a level of analysis you are not going to find anywhere else .
- Bruins Nation
Just another hack writer who hasn't done one lick of research...
...the pride of Southern Mississippi ever since Brett Favre turned into an ESPN soap opera, has the sort of prose knack that can keep you riveted to a preview about any one of D-IA's scrubbier members ... should be given gifts.