Monday, September 23, 2013

An Optimist's View Of The Opener

Lehigh had just taken a one-point lead with 2:45 to go in the game Saturday night when Gary Walters walked into the PA booth.

Walters asked TigerBlog what he thought, and TB said he was pretty sure that Princeton was going to rally and pull it out.

TB is an optimist.

This time, he was wrong.

Still, after watching the first 60 minutes of Princeton football for the 2013 season, TB could conclude that there was much to be optimistic about.

Princeton lost 29-28 to Lehigh.

The pessimists can say these things:

* Princeton was outscored 26-6 in the second half after leading 22-3 at the break

* Lehigh's Brandon Bialkowski completed 42 of 57 passes for 430 yards and two touchdowns

* Lehigh gained 513 yards of offense

The optimists, however, have much more on their side.

Princeton gained 501 yards of offense itself.

DiAndre Atwater carried 13 times for 111 yards and two touchdowns. That's an average of 8.5 yards per carry, by the way.

Roman Wilson caught nine passes for 168 yards and a touchdown. That's 18.7 yards per catch.

In all, nine different players caught at least one pass for Princeton.

And then there was the night that Quinn Epperly had. 

Ostensibly a quarterback, Epperly was 6 for 8 passing for 100 yards and a touchdown. He carried the ball five times for 19 yards and another touchdown. And he caught two passes.

How many players will ever throw eight passes, run five times, catch two passes and have a passing and rushing touchdown, all in the same game?

Princeton was creative offensively, with big play capability running and throwing the ball. And the Tigers were creative. Super creative.

Princeton played much of the game will multiple quarterbacks on the field, something that few teams do and which poses all kinds of issues for the defense. For Princeton, having depth at the position and a player like Epperly - with so many different skills - is a great luxury.

It's also how you win in football. Get your best athletes on the field, your best playmakers, and put them in position to make plays. Even if it requires thinking outside the box a little.

The biggest problem Princeton had on opening night wasn't its schemes or personnel. It was the fact that this was Game 1 for the Tigers and Game 3 for the Mountain Hawks.

There's fitness. Then there's game fitness. That's what is in TB's mind the biggest issue with having such a late season opener.

And this was a very humid night, one that ended with rain as the fourth quarter wound down. It was not an easy night to being playing for the first time.

Now there are nine games left for Princeton. The Tigers are at Georgetown next weekend and then home against Columbia for the Ivy opener in two weeks.

TigerBlog thinks Princeton Stadium is a great place to see a football game, especially under the lights. The illumination of the field enhances the appearance, and that was the case Saturday night.

It helps to have an exciting game, and an exciting home team.

Princeton had both of those on opening night. It didn't have a win, something that would have ben great to pull out at the end.

But hey, there are nine more games to go, including seven in the league.

TigerBlog is very optimistic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Remain optimistic TigerBlog! The Tigers can and will win if given an opportunity to play football.

Stop the high school comedy coaching and let this team play!