Monday, October 9, 2017

The View From Field Level

TigerBlog has seen pretty much every Fifth Quarter on Powers Field after a Princeton football game since Princeton Stadium was built.

This past Saturday, he saw it from a different vantage point than he ever has before. The field itself.

The Fifth Quarter, if you've never been to a Princeton football game, is what happens on Powers Field after the game goes final. It's a 15-minute period in which fans are invited down to the field to run around, throw a ball, do whatever little kids want to do. And it's where the players meet their families - and sign autographs.

TigerBlog usually sees this from the solitude of the PA booth, high atop the stadium. This past Saturday, though, TB wasn't able to get to the game for the start, so he ceded the PA responsibility to basketball/lacrosse voice Bill Bromberg.

When TigerBog did get there, he got to do some things that he doesn't usually get to do. He watched a little from the stands. He went down the field for awhile. And, after Princeton defeated Georgetown 50-30, he stayed on the field for the start of the Fifth Quarter.

TB's conclusion: Princeton Stadium is a great place to watch a game. There are no bad seats, and most of them are pretty much right on top of the field. The visuals throughout are appealing.

TigerBlog spends most of his time watching football - and lacrosse - games from press boxes. They're high up. They're warm when it's freezing out, which comes in handy for early season lacrosse. They have food and all.

But there's nothing better than watching a game from field level. He used to do that for lacrosse, back before stats were kept electronically, and he does miss it.

From the field, there's the sound, the smell, the colors, the reactions, everything that's missing from the press box. That's what TB got to experience Saturday from the field.

At one point, TB was standing in the end zone after a Georgetown touchdown. As Princeton awaited the kickoff, he asked his colleague John Bullis - one of the two OAC video guys - if he would like to return one kickoff in the game. Bullis said this: "Yeah, and I don't even need pads."

TigerBlog said he would try it, though he would have to insist on the pads.

As for the game itself, Princeton trailed 10-0 before scoring the next 50 points. Then Georgetown scored the final 20.

Chad Kanoff had a great day, going 25 for 29 for 313 yards and four touchdowns. In the process, he moved past the 5,000 yard mark for his career and past Matt Verbit for second place all-time at Princeton with 5,234 yards.

He trails only Doug Butler, who had 7,291 yards in his career in the early 1980s. That leaves Kanoff six games and the need to average 343 yards in those games to catch Butler.

Will he do it? Unlikely, but then again, TigerBlog said the same thing about Olivia Hompe last spring and she ended up breaking the record for points in a career in women's lacrosse.

As Kanoff continues to throw the way he has been, it appears that Jesper Horsted will make a real run at Kevin Guthrie's record of the 88 receptions. Through four games, Horsted has 35 catches - a pace that would give him 87.5 in 10 games.

Horsted and Stephen Carlson both have five TD receptions in four games, which is a pace for 12. The school record is 11, set by Derek Graham in 1983.

The Ivy League football season is 40 percent of the way over, and this is shaping up to be about the wildest one TigerBlog can remember. As he stood on the field Saturday, he checked the app on his phone to see that Cornell was holding off Harvard, and would eventually do so by a 17-14 count. Yale was up 27-14 on Dartmouth at the time, but the Big Green came back to win that one. In fact, TB didn't find that out until hours later, because he'd never checked the final.

Who is the Ivy favorite now? There are two teams unbeaten in the league - Columbia and Dartmouth. Columbia takes on Penn this weekend. Dartmouth, 2-0 in the league, is at The U this weekend - and by "The U," TigerBlog means Sacred Heart.

Princeton is at Brown Saturday.

As for the rest of the season? That's to get sorted out over the next six weeks.

This past weekend? It was just a nice day to be watching a game, and watching it from the field.

As the Fifth Quarter started, TigerBlog was standing next to his colleague Kellie Staples, the Senior Associate AD for External Affairs. Her younger son Cole was standing next to her as the final seconds ticked off, and he was ready to go.

Kellie tried to explain that she didn't have a football for him to play with. Cole, who is in the five or six range, spoke for every kid ever when he said: "that's okay. Let's just run around."

And that's what the Fifth Quarter is all about.

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