Anyone who’s watched Monday Night Football in the last several decades knows one of Chris Berman’s go-to catchphrases when narrating a breakaway touchdown shown in the 3 minutes of Sunday highlights they put together every week: HE COULD...GO...ALL...THE...WAY!
But what if he couldn’t? What if he couldn’t even get half the way? What if he couldn’t even get underway? What would that look like?
Ferentz Frighteningly Foreshadows Future Futility
A video made the Internet rounds last Thursday courtesy of the Big Ten Network in which they asked each head football coach in the conference what is, in their opinion, the most overrated statistic in the sport.
If Chairman Kirk Ferentz of the Iowa Hawkeyes hasn’t made his disdain for you, the fans, clear enough, he spells it out with his answer.
Normally, leaning into the joke is pretty fun and a relatable sign of humility. In his case, though, it’s a sly middle finger with the implication “even if what you say is true, what are you going to do about it?”
Anyway, his words would age remarkably poorly, but we’ll get to that soon!
As you may remember, last year one member of the Indiana Hoosiers came out of the tunnel with a jersey reading “INDINIA” on the front.
Fox Sports had a different nomenclature for the Crossroads of America:
Fox also did this during the pregame show pic.twitter.com/9vowsijOmR— Ray Lockman (@lockmaaaan) October 8, 2022
Yep. Fox Sports’ intro graphics just referred to them as “INDIAN”
For some reason they did figure out how to spell Michigan
Kirk Ferentz Eats His Words
Judging from that video, Kirk clearly thought that defense, special teams and some well-timed lucky bounces would be enough to beat Illinois as had been the case for several years.
In the second quarter, the Hawkeyes put that to the test. There was a sequence of events in which they:
- Started a drive at their own 27
- Punted from their own 16
- Recovered the ball after it bounced off the returner’s helmet, taking over at the Illinois 35
- Lost 6 yards in 3 plays
- Punted a second time
- Forced a fumble on Illinois’ second play of their ensuing drive, recovering it at the Illini 5 yard line
- Backed all the way up to the 23 with an incompletion, a rush for a loss of 3 and a 15-yard penalty
- Gained 9 yards on 3rd down
- Moved to the Illinois 9 via an Illinois offsides penalty
- Kicked a 27-yard field goal
So...Iowa had a sequence where they ran 18 offensive plays, lost 21 yards on those plays, punted once, recovered a fumble, punted again, recovered another fumble and kicked a field goal.
If your team needs to do all of that to get 3 points, you might consider a change at offensive coordinator.
Artur The Artist
Fighting Illini quarterback Artur Sitkowski is no stranger to Fall’s Tarts, having been involved in what was overwhelmingly named 2019’s Tart of the Year
When Big Time Tommy DeVito went down in the first quarter against Iowa, it was once again Art’s time to shine. With Illinois leaning on Chase Brown and focusing more on keeping the chains moving than making chunk plays, Art was fairly patient, hitting 7 of his first 9. By the fourth quarter, he’d posted the following:
10-15 for 16 yards is an incredible stat line. And I need Illinois to win badly pic.twitter.com/wv63TkCnbR— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) October 9, 2022
That is absolutely correct. I checked it several times. Art Sitkowski was 10 for 15 for 16 yards. This was made possible by many throws near the line of scrimmage and specifically by poorly executed screen plays that lost 6 and 9 yards (the latter of which also produced one of the fumbles from the earlier Tart)
On the ensuing drive, Sitkowski threw an absolute laser to the left sideline, hitting a well-defended Brian Hightower in stride. Two plays later, he scrambled for 11 yards. Seldom-used receiver Jonah Morris made an athletic catch at the Iowa 8 and Sitkowski was cooking.
Chase Brown took the ball to the 4 yard line, and then OC Barry Lunney, with the nation’s leading rusher in the backfield, called a passing play. Sitkowski rolled right and looked downfield, where Pat Bryant was blanketed by Cooper DeJean with safety Quinn Schulte sitting there in zone coverage as well.
I was over a hundred yards away in the south horseshoe watching this play go into the north end zone. Sitkowski threw the ball and I immediately started screaming.
In the end, Sitkowski finished 13 for 19 for 74 yards, no touchdowns and a pick. This was eerily similar to his game-winning line from last year’s Penn State contest when he went 8 for 19 for 38 yards, no touchdowns and a pick.
It certainly looks like he’s getting the start against Minnesota.
Jimbo Fisher Makes Kirk Ferentz Proud
With one more chance to gain the final two yards of the field for the goal line, Jimbo Fisher’s Texas A&M Aggies lined up to go for the kill against mighty Alabama. Under minimal pressure, Haynes King threw a strike to his receiver who was running a short comeback route.
Even if he’d caught it, he would have been on the sideline at the 2. Nice playcalling Jimbo!
LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL pic.twitter.com/IAlUeiKGFp— Mr Matthew CFB (@MrMatthewCFB) October 9, 2022
Florida State Punter Tries To Have His Cake And Eat It Too
At a certain point when you roll out, it’s time to decide if you’re going to get rid of the ball or try to run for the first down. We have a name for that point. It’s called the line of scrimmage.
Florida State’s punter in the clip below rolls right. It’s 4th and 17 from their own 18, so NC State is not sending pressure or even looking for the fake. One man is in pursuit as the punter advances, but he has a blocker. He’s actually gonna do it! He could make it 17 yards!
A couple yards past the sticks he reconsiders, remembers he’s a punter and punts. You can’t do that!
YES FLORIDA STATE PUNTER YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS pic.twitter.com/emwAvqT14P— Mr Matthew CFB (@MrMatthewCFB) October 9, 2022
The legendary official’s call of Turner Corcoran’s ejection from the Nebraska - Indiana game won last week’s vote for Tart of the Week
Tart of the Week!
This poll is closed
Kirk Ferentz Talks The Talk
Kirk Ferentz Walks The Walk
Work Of Artur
Jimbo Came At The King, Missed Badly
Punter Declines Glory
. What do you think wins this one?