Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Vault: 2000 Orange Bowl - Third Quarter

The Tide get the ball to start the second half. Epstein boots this one high and deep to the one. Milons is brought down at about the 25, but there's another flag on the field. Lynn Swann interviews Carr coming out the locker room. The players keep slapping him on the back as they run by. He's disappointed about stopping ourselves with penalties, but I guess the speech didn't take because the refs tacked 15 onto the end of that return.

Then Renes leaps across the line and takes an offsides penalty. He must have seen something there that the refs didn't. Then another flag. Jebus. A false start rolls that one back. Finally, they fake the end-around and pitch to Alexander, but the ball flies over his shoulder as a parade of Wolverines try unsuccessfully to corral the ball before it slips out of bounds. Unreal. 'Bama goes deeeep, but the receiver trips and they have to punt and DiAllo Johnson takes it up to the Michigan 41.

First play is a screen to Shea who gets hit and fumbles the ball! It rolls harmlessly out of bounds. Brady takes the snap, barely sidesteps one defender who can't spin him down and manages to avoid the cleanup man and fires downfield to no one in particular. On the very next play, David Terrell heads 20 yards down the right sideline, takes a couple steps toward the middle of the field and Brady puts it right on the number. Terrell immediately shakes the corner and he's gone. The deep safety enters the picture on the goal line, but is in no position to make the tackle. It turns out Marcus Knight held position well enough that the safety couldn't get around him quickly enough to make a play. And just like that it's tied up at 14-14.

Epstein kicks off and makes the tackle, but it's not that dire as the Tide start from their own 28. Watts seems to be the more effective quarterback even if he specializes in high looping passes. This one goes to Alexander at the 40 on play action, where Whitley stops him immediately. Watts has time to make his next pass up to Milons despite a pair of Wolverines in his face. 3rd and 1, and obviously Alexander's going to get that, but you don't expect him to break four tackles on his way to the endzone. Dude is a beast in this game. 21-14.

Cross takes another kickoff up to the 25. Another fullback screen for no gain. False start brings it back five more. Brady from the gun for another screen, this one to Thomas. Griese points out the lack of efficacy here as the MMB rolls up "Duel of the Fates". Brady looks downfield and holds it, holds it, holds it, and gets sacked. PUNT! It's a nice kick, but Milons has a ton of room to snake through the punt return unit all the way to paydirt. Griese thinks this game might've just broken open with the Tide up 28-14.

Michigan starts at their own 28. Brady immediately goes deep, but it skips off Terrell's fingertips on a skinny post. Quick drop to Terrell for a gain of 8. From the gun, to Terrell again for the first and not much more. Another quick out to Terrell with a little bit of YAC yields 7. Brady bombs it deep from the 47, but overthrows Marquise Walker by a fair bit. Shea comes over the middle on a crossing route to pick up 14 and the first. Michigan tries to switch it up by running Thomas between the tackles, but we're still waiting for that line to impose its will so he only picks up 2. Brady drops back from under center and Terrell picks it out of the air over his head while being tackled on the 20. Nice catch from B.A.D. Another simple-looking out, but the corner has overcommitted and Terrell can just shift around him. With a nice block from Marcus Knight, Terrell stalks into the endzone. Surprisingly, there's no flag. 28-21 and it's a ballgame again with 5:32 left in the 3rd.

Epstein with a nice, deep kick and Milons takes a knee. Zow is falling over as he makes the handoff to Alexander, who's immediately snowed under. Renes (+2) blew up the play by bulldozing the center back onto Zow's leg. Screen pass to Milons for 15. Whitley knocked him sideways at the end of the play, but it was also Whitley who totally missed him at the line. Whitley and another blitzer are handled as Zow steps up from the gun, but his WR drops the ball. The high punt is fair-caught at the Michigan 41.

Brady's pass is behind a stock-still Terrell, who can't dive back for the catch. "GO!" "BLUE!" is heard as Shea takes another screen and rumbles through a tackle for 7. Brady completes the first down to Shawn Thompson up at the 'Bama 47 or so. Brady then hits Terrell, who makes a nice shift, but this corner forces him inside, where help is on the horizon. When B.A.D. cuts back again to the outside, he makes the tackle, limiting the gain to about 8. On the next play, Brady unloads, but Marcus Knight has his fingertips two inches too close to his body. Shea comes up on a crossing route, Brady hits him, and Shea keeps trucking through the 'Bama secondary to the 15. Finally, A-Train gets on track, running just inside his right tackle for exactly 10. Thomas trips as he hits the hole and can only make 2 on his next attempt. Play action pass by Brady to a wide open TE Bill Seymour, but a stretching Seymour can't reel it in. On 3rd and goal, Thomas gets the handoff and walks into the endzone. We have a tie ballgame, folks! 28-28.

Bruce Madej praises Brady's ability to keep the team calm, and the man has a point. This is the Brady that the rest of the world would come to know as a Patriot and starlet-impregnator.

Epstein boots it high and short and Richards takes it from the 12 to up near the 27. Alexander strings the play out along the left side of his line, threatening to turn upfield and then just racing up the sideline for 8. Milons gets the handoff on the end-around, but nobody's surprised and he loses a yard. They send Alexander up the middle for no gain. So ends the third quarter.

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