Monday, September 18, 2017

Kicking Off With A Win

Just when TigerBlog started to think that all of the college football games on his TV late Saturday afternoon were deadly dull, along came Florida and Tennessee to change all of that.

Did you see how this one ended?

The teams were tied at 20-20 in the final minute of regulation. Florida had the ball, in its own territory, seemingly going nowhere after wasting nearly 30 seconds without calling a timeout. As it turned out, that might have been a genius move, since it meant there was no time left on the clock after Feleipe Franks hit Tryrie Cleveland between the "8" and "9" on his uniform from nearly 70 yards away for the winning touchdown.

It wasn't a Hail Mary, per se. It was just Cleveland, wide open behind the defense somehow as time was running out. And it was Franks, who threw the most perfect deep ball ever thrown, for the win.

Other than that, it was a dull late afternoon of games on TV. Lots and lots of games. Seemingly on every channel.

Back when TigerBlog was a kid, there were a handful of games on per weekend, if that. And they all seemed to have Oklahoma, and the wishbone offense that the Sooners ran, in them. The wishbone was actually a fascinating offense, one that relied on force, deception and intelligence - but back then just seemed dull, since the Sooners almost never threw it.

There were also two Sunday college football highlight shows, narrated by a man named Bill Flemming. According to his Wikipedia page, he was born in 1926. That's nuts. That's making TB feel a little old actually.

One of the shows was one of the top games of the week. The other featured a few games that were showcased.

Now, it's wall-to-wall college football every Saturday, starting at noon, and sometimes before noon. When TB was a kid, that time slot, by the way, belonged to "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle."

The Princeton Tigers opened their season this past Saturday, with a noon kickoff, and defeated the University of San Diego 27-17.

The story of the game was quarterback Chad Kanoff, who threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns, all of which went to Stephen Carlson, who caught two passes total a year ago. Carlson became the first Princeton player to have at least three receiving TDs in a game since Michael Lerch had that legendary game against Brown in 1991, with TD catches of 64, 79, 90 and only 45 yards.

Kanoff's big game vaulted him into third place all time in passing yards at Princeton, and in doing so moved ahead of Jeff Terrell and Jason Garrett. That's two Bushnell Cup winners and two all-time Princeton greats, not to mention the current head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

By the way, of the 15 highest single-game passing yardage totals in school history, a total of 11 of them were between 1981-85. Look at the scores from some of those games when you get a chance.

The 352 yards that Kanoff had through the air did not move him into the top 15, but they were the second most in Princeton Stadium history by a Princeton quarterback, behind only the 367 Connor Michelsen had against Brown in 2014.

Kanoff now has 4,388 passing yards for his career. He trails only Doug Butler, with 7.291, and Matt Verbit, with 5,202.

Kanoff would catch Butler by averaging 320 per game for the next nine games, by the way.

Jesper Horsted set a Princeton Stadium record with 12 receptions against San Diego. Horsted, a junior, is also a big-time baseball player at Princeton.

As for Carlson, what is known about him? He's from Jamestown, the one in New York, the one that appears to not be far from Lake Erie. Like Horsted, he's a junior with good size, at 6-4, 225, and he had one reception against both Lehigh and Penn last year.

From his bio on, it appears that he's an engineer and that he likes to play the saxophone.

Next up for Princeton is a trip to Lafayette, this coming Saturday at 6. Lafayette is off to a tough start at 0-3, with losses to Monmouth, Sacred Heart and Villanova.

Lafayette is coached by John Garrett, a 1988 Princeton grad and the brother of Jason and Judd. John is in his first year as the head coach of the Leopards.

After that, it's back to Powers Field at Princeton Stadium for the Ivy opener against Columbia.

As for the opener, it was a chance to play, and to play an opponent that's used to winning more games than it loses. John Lovett, last year's Bushnell Cup winner as the Ivy League's Offensive Player of the Year, was on the sideline Saturday with his No. 12 and his arm in a sling, which wasn't a good sight.

But seeing how Kanoff was throwing the ball? That was in fact a very good sight for Princeton fans.

In fact, there were a lot of things to like about the 2017 debut beyond just the final score. Now watch how quickly the weeks fly by, and see if Princeton can get to November with some meaningful games to play, which is always the goal of every season.

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