Football Is Back!

Let’s do it again. I need more of the drug.

Jim Rome
August 31, 2020 - 9:11 am
Jeremiah Oatsvall

USA Today


There are a lot of places I could start today. The NBA. The MLB trade deadline. Golf. But I am going to start the show with something I haven’t started it with in a very long time. Football.

And no, this isn’t about whatever it is that Jacksonville is doing by trading Yannick Ngakoue and cutting Leonard Fournette. This isn’t about roster moves. This isn’t talking about what might happen with football, not talking about COVID, or what the hell the Big Ten is thinking or doing. No, I’m talking about actual freaking football. Like a game, with players, and highlights. You remember that thing, right? Well, one of those things took place, ACTUALLY, on Saturday night and it was awesome.

The thing about this show is that normally, by the time Monday rolls around, college football games from Saturday feel like ancient history. But not this time. Imagine walking through the desert, for 7 days and nights, nothing to eat, nothing to drink, you’re hallucinating; you’re losing your mind;  you don’t know what’s real or not. And then on the 8th day, out of nowhere, there’s a table with a nice, ice cold glass of lemonade: never mind the best thing you’ve ever had to drink, probably the best thing that ever happened in your life. That was football on Saturday. We had been wandering through desert with nothing to eat or drink for six and a half months: and it felt like a helluva lot longer than that, since we had had any football, or any highlights. So damn, did that taste good.  Damn, if that wasn’t one of the better moments of our recent lives. 

And no, I don’t give a damn if it was Austin Peay vs. Central Arkansas. I don’t care if it was an FCS game sponsored by a credit union. I don’t care if COVID limited the number of fans. It was football. ACTUAL FOOTBALL. And it was damn good to see it back. We were all Austin Peay or Central Arkansas fans on Saturday night.

And the only thing better than having football back was having this happen on the first play from scrimmage.

That’s not just a 75-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. That’s a 75-yard touchdown from a double-wing option pitch. AND I’M NOT GOING TO LIE: I WAS TOTALLY CONSUMED IN THE MOMENT And it damn near brought tears to my eyes. And I have no emotional attachment to either side or anyone who had anything to do with that game.

I just know that is how you draw it up. Just start the year off with a 75-yard TD run off a pitch to your freshman running back. One play, one touchdown. It was like someone injected me with the greatest drug ever: the drug of FOOTBALL. 

And yes, there was some shaky tackling on that play. And the Central Arkansas defenders could’ve taken some better angles to the ball, but are you really going to complain about that? We had football. 

I want to hear from an Austin Peay fan! Show me your governor’s hat!

Former MLB’er A.J Ellis! Former NBA player Bubba Wells! Noted landscape painter Verner White! Reaction!

And no, it was not a perfect game. The Governors punt team was a little shaky. Actually a lot shaky.

Austin Peay’s long snapper has an arm on him, now. My guy was snapping from midfield and he damn near put that through the goal posts. You know it’s a bad snap when your punter is out there like a centerfield and instead of tracking a ball, has to turn and run with his back to home plate on a ball hit way over his head. Let’s just my man wasn’t going Willie Mays on a deep drive hit by Vic Wertz: look it up: one of the greatest catches ever. That’s not what this was: incredibly enough home slice was able to run it down ultimately and still get off a kick that netted them a loss of 12 yards. 

And yes, I am getting in depth on a college football game between Austin Peay and Central Arkansas. And no, it wasn’t good football: But do I look like I care? Hell no. It wasn’t a good game, it was a great game.

Because it was football. We were actually able to see football again for the first time in forever. There were 22 men on a field that was 100 yards long and they were playing football. Actual freaking football.

I don’t know how much football we’re going to have this year. Nothing is guaranteed to us and we are definitely going to have less football than we normally would, so I’m going to enjoy every single second of it. 

Just like you know I was enjoying it when Jack McDonald picked off Central Arkansas’s Breylin Smith at the start of the second quarter.

I wasn’t fired up because of the interception. Or the 20 yard return. I was fired up because of the sideline celebration. Because the Governors broke out the turnover top hat. That is an incredible look. Whatever your favorite team does to celebrate turnovers, it’s taking a backseat to the turnover top hat. Get a turnover, look like Abraham Lincoln. Win-win.  And completely bad ass. 

And it doesn’t stop there. Because when a Governor gets a turnover, he doesn’t just get a top hat, he gets a cane too. The turnover top hat AND cane. Absolutely legendary. Shut it down. Let’s go home.

All you other programs looking to get creative and viral with your turnover celebrations, please turn in your props now. Because you’re not going to beat it. The turnover and cane are like the 96 Bulls in that competition. You won’t even come close.

And yes, I’m aware that I have spent most of this take hyping the Austin Peay Governors, but it is time to show some respect to Central Arkansas. Because if you know me, you know how much respect I have for the 2019 Southland Conference co-champs. They were tough as hell last year and it doesn’t look like any of toughness graduated. Or moved on. 

That’s just how they’re built at Central Arkansas. They went into the half down 10-6 and immediately started the second half with a 3-play, 56-yard touchdown drive to take the 13-10 lead. Brass. And then, with just under 8 minutes to go, Central Arkansas tacked on a field goal to make it 16-10.

And that is when things got interesting because with just over four minutes to go, Austin Peay got the ball back, down 6. They needed to make something happen. And they did, going on a 7-play, 60-yard drive capped scoring a td.

Jeremiah Oatsvall, if you need him. And Austin Peay did. Now the Governors are back in front 17-16 with 1:40 left. They’ve won it, right? If you were thinking that, then you don’t know my Central Arkansas Bears that well.

Yeah, I said my Bears. Because Central Arkansas quarterback Breylin Smith became a legend Saturday night in that game sponsored by a credit union. Here’s how the drive went. 11 yard completion. 17 yard completion. 6 yard completion. Incomplete pass. Now we’ve got 3rd and 4 from the Austin Peay 39. That’s the point where a lot of guys fold, but not Breylin Smith.

29-yard completion down to the Austin Peay 10. First down Bears and what do you do next? Do you play it safe, eat clock and kick the field goal. Hell no. You go for it.

That is clutch as hell. Courageous as hell. And that, ladies and gentleman is freaking Central Arkansas football. Bear down. Bear Claws Up. Central Arkansas wins 24-17. But the real winners was the entire planet, because it was great to have football back for at least one night. That felt like the Super Bowl, except of the normal two week run up, we had six and half month: that was pure grade heroin that the football guns shot directly into my bloodstream: and it felt amazing. Let’s run it back. Let’s do it again. I need more of the drug.