Thursday, September 27, 2012
Titans win a wild one
I was one of the thousands of Titans’ fans who left LP Field Sunday afternoon when Tennessee went up on Detroit 41-27 with 1:16 left.
Good friend Don Brooks and I thought we would hustle on toward the car and try to beat some of the post-game traffic. We had a three-hour drive back to Holly Springs.
As we departed the stadium, we talked about how it was one of the best games we had ever seen, particularly in person.
It was a wild one.
The Titans had scored 21 points in a five-minute span of the fourth quarter to grab what looked to be a secure advantage. The scores came on a 105-yard kickoff return, an amazing catch on a 71-yard pass play and a 72-yard fumble return when a Titan stripped the ball from a Lion ball-carrier.
But shockingly, our excitement started shifting a bit.
As we were walking back across the bridge in Nashville, a fan listening to the game on the radio, said, “They (meaning Detroit) scored.”
We assumed it was 41-34, which it was, but there had to be little time left for anything else crazy to happen.
As we moved closer to the downtown area, some fans of the Lions started shouting – “It’s tied. It’s tied.”
Come to find out, Detroit had gotten an onside kick and then had been successful on a “Hail Mary” pass on the last play of regulation. The extra point sent the game into overtime – 41-41.
That’s when my wife sent me a text – “overtime?”
My response was “we left.”
“Oh no,” she replied.
“Glad we did,” was my next test. “Terrible to let them come back like that. We’re heading on to the car.”
Leaving downtown Nashville in Don’s pickup, we listened to overtime on the radio. The Titans kicked a field goal to lead 44-41. Then it wasn’t looking good, as the Lions drove down the field well into Tennessee territory. But hallelujah, the Titans made a huge stop on a fourth and one at the 7 to end the game.
Don and I gave each other our last “high-five” as we traveled west on Interstate 40.
The win was a huge relief, particularly after what we sat through Saturday night in Bowling Green, Ky.
That was our first stop on the weekend football trip, which had been planned for a couple of months.
The college football matchup was between Western Kentucky and Southern Miss. But it turned out to be no contest at all. The Hilltoppers trounced the Golden Eagles 42-17.
I’ve liked the Golden Eagles since going to some games there in the late ’80s following my move to Mississippi. But I support them much more now, since a lot of my money goes to the Hattiesburg campus, where two of my children, Emma and Andy, attend college.
USM has been a consistent winner for a long time. But it appears a major rebuilding task is at hand.
It was tough sitting through that game Saturday night. I did not get to cheer any, but instead had to listen to the largest crowd ever at Western Kentucky’s stadium applaud their team.
We stayed until midway of the fourth quarter and then went to a local pizza restaurant with a couple of Don’s friends who live in Bowling Green.
It was a good trip, thanks in large part to the Titans.
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