Monday, October 2, 2017

Fast Ball

Once again, TigerBlog, Yom Kippur and Princeton football all came together.

If you don't know, Yom Kippur is the holiest day in the Jewish year, a 24-hour fast to atone for ones sins for the previous year.

When TigerBlog was a kid, his mother would never have let him do anything so seemingly contrary to the holiday like attending a football game. As TB has gotten older, he's found himself in situations like this past Saturday, when Princeton had a home football game during Yom Kippur.

This has happened before, including the time at Brown when he 1) saw a Brown player in uniform at services before the game and 2) broke the fast at a Wendy's off I-95 on the way back. There have been other times, including once at Lehigh. TB was doing radio that day, and the radio booth was right next to the food.

As far as TB can remember, the game this past Saturday was his first as the PA announcer for a home game on Yom Kippur. He figured it would be a lot to be doing the PA while not having eaten for nearly a day by then, so he decided to alter his fast, going from noon Friday to noon Saturday.

Maybe this isn't exactly how it's supposed to be done. On the other hand, it did roughly correspond to sundown in Israel. And hey, 24 hours of fasting is still 24 hours.

If you've never tried to fast for 24 hours, it seems more daunting than it really is. Yes, you get hungry. No, it's not overwhelming. The worst part is looking at the time and thinking about how much longer you have to go.

If you really wanted to make it tough to atone for sins, then instead of going 24 hours without eating, it should be having to go 24 hours without using a smartphone or computer or checking email or getting texts or using social media. But hey, it's a 5779 year old religion.

There was a reception in the Class of 1956 Lounge in Princeton Stadium for the game, which meant there'd be a lot of food set out. TigerBlog waited until he'd reached 24 hours and then ate one of those big pretzels.

As for the game itself, Princeton dropped its Ivy League opener to Columbia 28-24 on a 63-yard touchdown pass with 1:12 remaining, after Princeton had rallied to take the lead on a 27-yard TD pass from Chad Kanoff to Stephen Carlson 86 seconds earlier.

The game featured a combined 712 passing yards, but it was hardly a shootout, or at least what you think of as a shootout. 

In fact, the key number for the game wasn't the 712 passing yards - 400 for Columbia quarterback Anders Hill and 312 for Kanoff. It was Columbia's 11 for 21 third-down conversion number.

Often times, third-down conversion numbers tell very little about a game. In this one, they were huge.

It wasn't just the 11 conversions. It was the 21 third downs themselves. Those two numbers combined led to a 13-minute edge in possession time for the Lions. Again, that's another number that's often misleading, but in this game, it mattered.

Princeton continues to get great production from its wide receivers, especially Carlson (eight catches, 146 yards and his TD) and Jesper Horsted (eight catches, 96 yards).

Princeton had some chances that slipped away. Columbia did too but in the end made the big plays it needed to get the win.

So what does it all mean?

The two road teams both won this week's league games over last year's co-champions, as Princeton fell to Columbia and Dartmouth won at Penn Friday night. Harvard has looked good the last two weeks after an opening loss to Rhode Island. Yale is unbeaten. Columbia is too, for that matter.

Still, there's an eternity to go in the league race.

Princeton is out of the league for the last time this coming Saturday, when Georgetown will be on Powers Field for a 1:00 start. After that it's six league games in six weeks, not an easy road at all. Speaking of the road, it starts on the road, with trips to Brown and Harvard.

Losing the league opener is not a great road to the championship, but there are too many games left to worry about that.

Princeton has won 11 Ivy titles, but the Tigers haven't won two in a row since 1963 and 1964. Also, Princeton has never won a league title in a year in which it lost its first league game.

Then again, just because something hasn't happened, or hasn't happened in more than 50 years, doesn't mean it can't happen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, it's time to pull a Princeton women's volleyball 2015 run. Indeed, winning a share of the title after starting the season 0-1 in a seven-game season is child's play compared to doing it after starting 0-3 in a fourteen-game season.

Let's make some more history.