Friday, September 21, 2018

The Home Opener

Back when TigerBlog was in the newspaper business, he started out covering high schools for six years before moving up to colleges for five.

It was during that time that he first began to cover Princeton sports, as an aside.

The first events he ever covered in Jadwin Gym, though, had nothing to do with the Tigers. He's not sure what order they were in, but he's pretty sure they were 1) the New Jersey state wrestling championships, 2) two Princeton High School state tournament tennis matches and 3) a tennis seniors exhibition series featuring some of the greatest players ever.

After a press conference in Jadwin for the senior tennis event, TigerBlog found himself talking to two of the players, who had no way to get back to their hotel and were going to call a cab. Instead, TB offered to give them a ride, which is how he ended up having Cliff Drysdale in the front seat of his Volkswagen Rabbit and Rod Laver in the back seat.

They were nice guys.

His other story of giving someone a ride isn't quite as good. When he started covering colleges, he also covered a little bit of the Giants and Jets in preseason.

Remember Ken O'Brien, the Jets' QB? TigerBlog asked him to talk one day and he said he was eating lunch and would meet him afterwards by a spot in the parking lot, something that TB doubted would actually happen. So what happened? O'Brien was there, right when he said he'd be, and he gave TB all the time he wanted.

One day, TB was writing a story on one of the Giants rookies and he asked George Young, then the GM, for an interview. Young said sure, but could TB give him a ride from the field back to where his own car was parked, a little ways away.

TigerBlog said sure, and Young jumped in and chatted away.

TB thought about that when he read the story earlier this week about why Young said he would never have hired Bill Belichick as the head coach of the Giants. If you missed the story, Young essentially referred to Belichick as a poorly dressed lacrosse guy.

That's funny stuff.

That's back when TigerBlog rooted for the Giants. He's stopped doing that.

Speaking of lacrosse guys, the Princeton men's lacrosse team opened its season a year ago against Monmouth in the first meeting ever between the two. That game went two OTs before Princeton won 9-8.

Coming up tomorrow will be the first meeting ever between Princeton and Monmouth in football. Maybe this one will go two OTs also?

Princeton is 1-0 after its convincing 50-7 win at Butler last Saturday. Monmouth lost its opener to FBS opponent Eastern Michigan before coming back with wins over Hampton and Lafayette, and the Hawks were an NCAA playoff qualifier last year.

Princeton's first-ever opponent was of course a team from New Jersey. That was Rutgers, back in 1869, in the first football game ever played.

This time, it's Princeton first game against a New Jersey opponent since the Tigers last played Rutgers, back in 1980. Monmouth didn't even have a team yet back then.

This is actually Year No. 26 for Monmouth football, as opposed to 149 for Princeton football. The Hawks have had one coach for their entire existence, Kevin Callahan, who has a record of 146-119.

TigerBlog is almost certain that Callahan, by the way, is former Princeton men's basketball coach Bill Carmody's brother-in-law. He knows for a fact that Callahan's son Kevin is an assistant coach at Columbia, whom Princeton will play in its Ivy opener a week from tonight in New York City.

Monmouth, by the way, is not on next year's schedule, which features non-league games against Butler (home), Bucknell (away) and Lafayette (home).

Through three games, Monmouth has thrown it 111 times and run it 103. The Hawks have outrushed their opponents nearly two-to-one, averaging 203.7 and allowing 103. It's been fairly even in the air, with 859 yards gained and 862 allowed.

Princeton, obviously, sprinted past Butler, scoring just 26 seconds into the game on a John Lovett to Jesper Horsted pass and then adding on another Horsted TD, two rushing TDs from Lovett and two rushing TDs from Charlie Volker, among other things.

It's Community and Staff Day at Princeton, including a youth clinic at Weaver Track and Field Stadium. Kickoff for the game is at 4:30.

All of this, by the way, makes TB wonder when the last time it was that the Tigers opened the season with consecutive games against teams they had never played before. He'll have to look that one up.

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