Last week was fun with the smattering of games — some big, a lot of them small — but now the season is in full speed mode with the NFL’s debut of its 100 season of professional football. Football is everywhere and everyone is happy unless of course you hate football. Sorry champ.
Shootout In Texas
Baton Rouge sports and people getting way ahead of themselves go hand in hand. Every win is met with national championship talk and every loss is met with calls for a coach to be fired. It’s a wild business up river.
Yet, here is one thing that may be a fact – LSU finally has a quarterback.
After all of these years of talk about just being one quarterback away from competing the Tigers’ Joe Burrow has stepped into the spotlight and looks to be a leader. Last year, Burrow showed that he had the make up of a solid, top-level college football quarterback. He led the team to a 10-win season and Fiesta Bowl win but the perennial loss to Alabama remained and Baton Rouge still wanted more. Could this be the year?
Before anyone gets carried away, it should be noted that the press and coaches love over ranking the Texas Longhorns and Notre Dames of the world so, in the end, Saturday’s 45-38 shootout victory over #9 Texas might lose some of its shine but Burrow’s performance should not.
Burrow absolutely lit up the Longhorn secondary going 31-for-39, 471 yards and four touchdown passes. Burrow’s 471 yards passing ranked second-most in program history and for the first time ever the school had three receiver with over 100 yards receiving. It was a performance for the ages and, yes Baton Rouge, get hyped, your quarterback has arrived.
Tulane Fights On
The Tulane Green Wave went into Jordan Stadium in front of 85,000 plus Auburn Tigers fans and put up a good fight but were simply outmanned in a 24-6 loss.
Tulane’s offense impressed on their first drive, going nine plays and 48 yards before Merek Glover kicked a 44-yard field goal. The drive would see quarterback Justin McMillian connect with Amare Jones for 19 yards and McMillian would also run for 22 yards on the drive. Tulane’s defense held the Auburn Tigers attack in check through the first quarter, creating three three-and-outs and recovering a fumble. At the end of the first, the score was 3-0 for the good guys and Uptown was smiling.
Bo Nix, Auburn’s freshman quarterback, would get hot in the second quarter, hitting a wide open Will Hastings for a 31-yard touchdown and later, connecting for 40 yards on a pass that would take Auburn down to Tulane’s one-yard line. Eli Stove would punch it in to give Auburn a 14-6 lead heading into halftime.
The second half would prove frustrating for the Green Wave as the offense would end the night never having found the end zone and Auburn slowly pulled away for a 24-6. Moral victories are never fun but the Green Wave put in a respectable show against one of the top teams in the country.
Tulane plays the role of overdog this week when they host the Missouri State this Saturday, Sept. 19 at Yulman Stadium. After this expected win things get really interesting really quick as Tulane opens up AAC play hosting the Houston Cougars on Sept. 19 in a major showdown.
Revenge Tour Begins
The big weekend of college football and Sunday’s slate of NFL games were all just appetizers as the city is buzzing for tonight’s Monday Night Football match up between the New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans.
It’s a bang up way to open the season as the Texans are playoff contenders in the AFC and are led quarterback Deshaun Watson are in win now mode with the additions of Laremy Tunsil, Kenny Stills and Carlos Hyde.
It will be interesting to see the Saints offense in action without the services of Mark Ingram, who left for the Baltimore Ravens. The Saints brought in Latavious Murray to fill that loss and Murray looked pretty good in limited action. Another question is how will the Saints handle Alvin Kamara? Will the Saints have Alvin banging between the tackles more often?
In the passing game, attention will be paid to who is going to step up and be the second receiver to allow Michael Thomas not to be covered up with double teams. Everyone’s favorite spokesperson, Drew Brees, needs that second option. A healthy Ted Ginn Jr. is a benefit but the team needs one of the younger guys to step up as well. Hopefully we’re singing Tre’Quan Smith’s praises this season.
Last but not least, because offensive line is not a sexy position group, but none of this matters if the center position is not locked down quickly. The Saints drafted Eric McCoy in the first round to do just that and he will get the first crack on Sunday. Good luck to that young man and to the rest of the Black and Gold!
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Urban South Brewing’s “Who Dat” Golden Ale
Playlist Recommendation: Kermit Ruffins – “Drop Me Off In New Orleans”
Around the Way
The news was not unexpected. Jokes and memes had already been made by the time news became official — Antonio Brown is a New England Patriot. The Oakland Raiders did the right thing by cutting a guy who obviously never wanted to be there without losing money in the process but, damn, this is rough news for the NFL.
Maybe Brown will burn out in New England too, but Bill Belichik has a history of bringing in players who weren’t happy with former employers and getting them to the Super Bowl. At least we now know who the Saints will play in the big game.