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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Week 11 - Hell's Bells

The DFT crew invaded Tempe for the weekend battle royale between my Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the ASU Sun Devils, AKA the Saints versus Satan Worshippers. Tempe is a far cry weather wise from the winter conditions the Tailgate experienced last weekend in Pullman. With temperatures forecasted to be in the high 80’s I packed shorts, t shirts, sun screen and a giant thirst for more college football. The Major joined me again along with Tailgate Tony Seber AKA Pauley Walnuts and Jeffery “Dahmer” Porter. We joined Head Sun Devil Kevin O’Connor and his crew of 1981 ASU Alums. This would be my 50th Division 1A stadium that I attended a game at. My realistic goal is to hit what I consider the top 100, as I deem many of the 128 D1A stadiums as irrelevant (Pro stadiums, domes, too far from campus, too new to D1A). It is a Marathon, not a sprint as I hit repeat stadiums every year as well. So, I am half way there and living on a prayer according to Mrs. Tailgate.
On Friday afternoon, Kevin arranged for us to get a tour of Tillman’s Tunnel named after ASU Alum and American Hero Pat Tillman. Pat was an undersized overachieving linebacker who earned 2nd team All American honors and scholastic All American accolades during his four years in Tempe. He went on to play in the NFL and in 2002 he turned downed a lucrative contract to enlist in the Army and go fight the dirt bags in the Middle East. As with everything Pat did, he excelled in the Army and earned his Ranger tab. While on patrol in Afghanistan, his unit ran into an ambush and Pat paid the ultimate sacrifice for his country. It was determined later on that a cover up took place and Pat was actually struck down by what is called friendly fire (the biggest oxymoron in the Military as there is nothing friendly about taking on lead from anyone). It was quite an honor to see and experience the impact that Pat had on ASU. We also toured the ASU Hall of Fame room.


It was an honor to walk through Tillman's Tunnel.
On Friday night Kevin invited me and my crew to sync up with his gang on the famous Mill Ave in Tempe. We misunderstood him and thought he had encouraged us to stay at Jeff’s house and watch the movie We Are the Millers. So, we all put on our snuggies, curled up on the couch and ate our individual quarts of ice cream and burned gazes into the TV Screen watching this epic flick. Of course we were called soft, weak, other unspeakable names, and Bieber for this miscommunication, but we did get to watch that Jennifer Anniston scene about a dozen times.
Our Friday night Pre game at Jeff's house.
Saturday AM, Jeff’s brother in law Shannon volunteered to be our DD for the day and drove us over to the Tailgate spot in the north lot right next to the entrance of Sun Devil stadium. Along with the Major’s “Bawstun Pops” Bloody Marys, grub was provided by Portellos of Chicago fame. Italian beef sandwiches, Italian sausages and hot dogs along with many coolers chock full of beverages.  In a small world incident, one of Kevin’s classmates is Chris Dyrek who owns a Cable Company along with his business partner Eric Jackson. Both were at our tailgate. So as long as they buy some gear from me I can potentially call this a business outing. If not, I now have incriminating pics of you both. Two of Kevin’s posse live in Wisconsin and we have arranged a Tailgate in 2016 at Camp Randall in Madison. They have promised to teach me the Jump Around. Also present was Dennis Fitzgibbons, QB at Columbia University from 1982 -1986. I shared stories of my Pops playing days at Columbia. See the Link for the story I wrote in 2010:  (http://dantailgate.blogspot.com/2010/10/week-8-recap-and-story-of-one-eyed.html). The current QB at Columbia is Stanford transfer Brett Nottingham who graduated with my oldest from High School. Many of the younger crowd in our tailgate sported Notre Dame Schwagg including the son of John Belushi.
Bawstum Pops breakfast in a cup.

The ASU/ND Tailgate in Tempe


ASU Class of 81 and family

Former Columbia QB Dennis Fitzgibbons


The three Devils.


Major, Dan and OC
Tailgating in Tempe

OC and the Wisconsin boys Mike and Dave

Touching gold
A conflicted crew
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tempe has not had this much excitement for a game since the days when Jake Plummer ran the show here in the mid - 90s. We entered sold out Sun Devil stadium for the 1:30 kickoff with temps in the high 80’s and the fan base at a fever pitch. Hence the nickname the Inferno or House of Hell was reinforced. With ASU coming in with the #9 ranking and Notre Dame #10, this game had significant meaning on the national playoff scene. The student section was as large and fired up as any I have seen. The band was cranking out tunes and fireworks were going off. Sun Devil Stadium has quite the picturesque setting as it is nestled between two small mountain peaks. Current seating capacity is around 70,000. The ASU Athletics Department did an excellent job in recognizing Active Duty and Veteran Military members throughout the game as it was Military Appreciation Day at Sun Devil. The only complaint I have is with such a large band, why do the stadium PA people blare piped in music throughout the game, especially AC DC’s Hells Bells? This is college, not NFL and you are a big time program. Use your band more effectively. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, there was also the skinny meth head obnoxious Stain who couldn’t even spell ASU sitting in front of me that I wanted to shove down the stairs a few times. Other than that it was a great College game day environment.
The Little Devils

Panoramic view of Sun Devil Stadium

The Pride of the Southwest
The game started out with ND taking a 3-0 lead. Then the Sun Devils caught fire fueled by four turnovers by Irish QB Everett Golston, ASU scored 34 unanswered points. The Devil’s crowd was ecstatic. I on the other hand, was not. My phone was blowing up with Texts from ND fans and haters alike asking if I was suicidal. Notre Dame finished the half by scoring their first TD of the day narrowing the deficit to 24. The second half opened with ND putting together a beautiful drive that ended in another turnover in the red zone. Then the unimaginable happened, ND stopped turning the ball over and their D shut down the Taylor Kelly led offense. ND scored 21 unanswered points to close the ASU lead to 3. Just when it looked like ND would take control of the match, Taylor Kelly drove the Devils down the field for a Touchdown. Notre Dame got the ball and started marching down the field until Corey Robinson, son of the Admiral bobbled a pass into the arms of an ASU defender who streaked 54 yards for a devastating score.  The ASU lead was now an insurmountable 17 points with just minutes to go. The Sun Devils would score once more to put double nickels on the Irish for a 55 -31 score. I along with the other Irish fans left the stadium feeling like a run over skunk on a country road. Hats off to the Sun Devils for a strong win.
Taylor Kelly engineering another drive


And so the Devil torments me after the loss


To the victor goes the spoils
Around the Country – ESPN had dubbed this weekend as Separation Saturday with six games featuring teams that were both ranked in the AP top 25. In those games, #6 TCU proved it is no fluke by pounding out a 41- 20 win over #7 Kansas State at Amon Carter in Fort Worth. LSU lost to itself and gave Bama an OT win in Death Valley at night. A 15 yard unsportsmanlike flag on the Tide five yard line toward the end of regulation kept LSU out of the end zone and a kickoff out of bounds gave Bama an extra 15 yards on their ensuing possession. Tide had 20, Tigers 13.  In the Night game in the Big Ten, Ohio State out pointed their opponent Michigan State in East Lansing 49-37. Urban celebrated with warm Pizza. My nephew a junior at MSU, nearly earned Bieber honors this week for not going to Gameday and waving the DFT banner. I am having my lawyers redraft my last will and testament. Oregon took top bill in Utah running away from the UTES 51-27. In Norman, Oklahoma, the Sooners became the Laters as the Baylor Bears said see you later Boomer Sooner with a resounding 48-14 massacre.  Two big upsets on the day had Texas A&M return from the dead and Shock War Damn Eagle in Jordan Hare and the Longhorns resurrected from the ashes to topple the Mountaineers. In FCS action, North Dakota State lost for the first time in 33 games to Northern Iowa.
Bieber Award – Much consideration was given to awarding Ole Miss and Mississippi State the weekly honors with their non- defensible choice of patsy opponents during the thick of the playoff race. Shame on you both, but there was someone else whose action was more Bieberesque than yours: It seems as though Utah’s Kaelin Clay, inspired by his idol Douchean Jackson did the unthinkable against Oregon. In the 2nd Quarter with the teams battling for momentum, Clay caught a long strike in stride and was on his way to what appeared to be a 75 yard score. However, the rule clearly states that the ball must cross the plain of the goal line. Young Mr. Clay decided to showboat and drop the ball a good yard and a half short of paydirt. A heads up Duck player picked up the ball and ran 99 yards the other way for a Duck score. The infraction was bad enough for Bieber potential, yet it was the idiotic celebration dancing that young Clay did in the back of the end zone with two other moronic teammates while Oregon was running the other way for six that sealed his fate.  You may not have scored on that play little Clay, however you win the Bieber award on this great day! 
 

 

 

 

Salute to our heroes – With Veterans Day this Tuesday I would like to give a shout out to all Active Duty Service Members and Veterans. I would like to give a special nod of respect to Clemson Tiger football player and War Veteran Daniel Rodriguez. His book is called Rise and can be purchased on Amazon (of course through the link in the upper left of this blog: http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Soldier-Dream-Promise- Kept/dp/0544365607/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415580173&sr=1-1&keywords=rise+by+daniel+rodriguez . Additionally, active duty Navy Seal Tom Hruby saw his first action of the year for the Northwestern Wildcats. Here is the link to his story: http://patch.com/illinois/evanston/33-year-old-active-duty-navy-seal-plays-his-first-college-football-game-0?utm_source=newsletter-daily&utm_medium=email&utm_term=good%20news&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_content=article-national
Next week, Mr. and Mrs. DFT will join the Kernan family at Hampden Sydney College in Virginia for their son Joey’s final home game against arch Rival Randolph Macon in what is simply referred to as “The Game”.  This will be my first Division III game I have been to since my days at Frostburg State in the 80s.
Happy Tailgating!
 
Twitter Activity for the week:

 

 



 

 
 



 
Lexi and her Dad Mooch Byom at NMSU game
 
 



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