School is now in full effect and starting to take its toll, but it will certainly be worth it when I get closer to my MBA. The program here is very challenging, but it is great because we are put into a lot of different situations that we can use in the business world.
In addition, Hurricane Ivan was wreaking havoc all over the panhandle of Florida and South Alabama, including Pensacola Beach. My family just recently moved from Pensacola Beach to Tampa, but they still have their house on Pensacola Beach (at least what was left of it). Our house didn't get the worst of the hurricane, but it sure didn't get the best. Our house was substantially damaged, but some of our neighbors' houses were completely washed away into the ocean. It was really shocking to see the damage that a single storm can put upon a community.
I started out the football week by sitting in with the offensive coaches for 5 hours while they broke down Indiana State film. We then set up our game plan for the week. It really gave me a great chance to break down tendencies on my opponents and get a head start on film for the week. I enjoyed sitting in with the coaches because I got to break down film from a different perspective.
Practice really went well this week, and we seemed to be ready to beat Indiana State for the first time in school history. We had a good game plan, and we stayed focused.
The game started out bad for us when Indiana State jumped out to a quick 14-point lead, but we answered back quickly. We marched the ball right down the field and scored on them to cut the lead to seven. On our next drive, we ran the ball all the way down the field. On one of our inside zone plays, Nick Turner (RB) fumbled, and I happened to be only a couple of yards from the ball. I scooped the ball and ran it in for a touchdown that tied the game up. We went into halftime tied up at 21 after a great 80-yard run by Ronald Lane on a draw play. We seemed ready to come out and explode in the second half after out 21-point second quarter.
The second half didn't start as good as we would have hoped. Indiana State blocked a punt into the end zone and scored its only points of the half. Our defense held them to just 43 yards in the second half. They didn't even cross the fifty-yard line, but our offense couldn't get going. We tried a couple of different things in the second half but it never seemed to go together. I had a nice catch in the flat and picked up 17 yards to keep a drive alive, but we later couldn't capitalize on it.
Ryan Salyer, our former back-up quarterback, really stepped up. He finished 17-23 for 197 and no interceptions. In addition, we had two running backs, Ronald Lane and Nick Turner, that each went for over a hundred yards. We had nearly 500 yards of total offense, so we remained explosive, but we failed to punch the ball in when it counted. Once again, we were the better team on the field, but for the third year in a row Indiana State somehow found a way to outscore us.
Individually, I fought through my sickness and other off field distractions, and managed to play fairly well. I played well against their All-American defensive end, and I also managed to make some big plays. We just need to keep moving ahead because we have conference play coming up, so this is when it really counts. If we want to give ourselves a chance at being on top of our conference, we are going to have to come together and keep working hard. We are a good, talented, hardworking team, so things are bound to fall in place.