Pigskin Opening Night: Owls & Zebras MIA

While savoring the beginning of the college football season last night, I couldn’t help but think of one of the sport’s most infamous moments. Which happened a half century ago. (I apologize for getting in touch with my inner Earl Cox, though this has nothing to do with Wah Wah Jones.)

Viewing Rice’s Owls, playing with all the panache of my woeful J.M. Atherton Rebels, stumble and bumble to a 0-19 deficit against an only marginally better UCLA squad, I thought of Dicky Moegle. (It’s pronounced may-gel with a hard g. Research indicates the 50s Owl All-American later changed the spelling to Maegle, so people would pronounce his name correctly. As if that spelling made a big difference.)

I thought, wow, Rice would be a lot better if Moegle were playing. And the former scatback is 78 years old. Rim shot please.

Moegle was a hell of a player. He toiled 7 seasons in the pros after graduation. He was having a great day against Alabama in the ’54 Cotton Bowl. Yet the game is most remembered for Tommy Lewis’s unprecedented tackle of Moegle when the Owl was on his way to a length of the field TD.

Check it out:

Getting it back to this season, I don’t have much to say about that game. I didn’t watch much of it. The stands were eerily empty, and those fans there were herded mostly into the end zones. In the few plays I saw, Rice tackled like they were playing flag football. They apparently never threatened the ever-rebuilding Bruins.

Frankly, Moegle might have helped. Even at his advanced age.

* * * * *

Vandy’s Jordan Matthews had a pretty good game against South Carolina. Eight catches for 147 yards including a 78 yarder for a TD.

It’s the one he didn’t catch that sealed the deal. Not that it was his fault. The Commodores fell behind with about 12 minutes to play and were staging a last drive to try to pull off the upset. On fourth down with 1:47 to play, Matthews couldn’t hold on to a first down toss from Jordan “Yes I’m Aaron’s Brother” Rodgers.

Like I said, not the wideout’s fault. South Carolina DB D.J. Swearinger clearly, and well within view of the back judge in stripes, grabbed the receiver’s arm, obviously preventing him from catching the ball.

No flag on an obvious pass interference. The Gamecocks ran out the clock. Ball game.

Who knows if Vanderbilt would have scored? They do have a not quite ready for prime time look about them. Still, the ‘Dores shoulda had four new downs to give it a shot.

Connor Shaw proved resilient, returning to play with a shoulder injury.

And the Ol’ Ball Coach proved he can adapt as the 68 year old limps into a new season. He eschewed his pass at any moment offense for an effective run-oriented attack that proved effective. He also displayed an ability to adapt, going with a full ballcap in the rainy first half, rather than his trademark visor. He returned to his comfort zone in the second half.

* * * * *

To parrot what my pal Pat Forde does at the end of his always entertaining Forde-Yard Dash column, now at Yahoo Sports, I’m putting out an APB for Tommy Lewis, that Crimson Tide reserve who jumped off the bench to tackle Dicky Moegle/Maegle.

– Seedy K

One Comment

  1. cbcard
    Posted September 1, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Wonder of wonders. AHS won big last night. Probably a sign of the impending apocalypse.

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