Notes from the North Endzone: ULM Edition

If you vote for the Heisman, stop reading here. If you are an ESPN talking head, stop reading here. If you vote in the AP or Coaches poll, stop reading here. Please just notice that Arkansas won 31-7 over University of Louisiana at Monroe and then move on to something else. Okay? The rest of you, well, you are welcome to about read my experiences at the game, but if you do come across any of the above figures, you have to limit the conversation to the final score and the fact that Ryan tossed three touchdowns. That's all that they really need to know, right? The picture to the left is your correspondent in the field in front of the new War Memorial press box after the game.


* My brother joined us for this game, even though he didn't have a ticket. He got one from a guy on Markham that put him down in the ULM section, what little of it there was. I promised him I would mention his joke of the night. Like the nut of a reverend in Florida, Houston has threatened to burn his playbook. All three pages!

* There is no truth to the rumor that the Ole Miss Alumni Association (Little Rock Chapter) was flying a banner over War Memorial that said "Fire Nutt." But there was a banner being flown over head. Some candidate for Lt. Governor was urging us to elect him. I am not going to give him any additional publicity by mentioning his name.

* Other signs that it is a political year include signs themselves all up and down Markham, one posted right after another. Most were upright when we were walking to the stadium. Most were horizontal and tattooed with footprints by the time we were walking back. Get CNN down here to report on voter discontent! haha.

* I got my first glimpse of the new press box from Markham, and I was ready to declare it a complete success (and I am hard to please architectually speaking), but I noticed when we got inside that they had done away with the old SEC signs that ran across the front of it. I wish they had kept those. But overall, the press box looks much nicer.

* Oh my gawd! Somebody has shrunk Tusk! Well, actually, if you recall, our Tusk died earlier this year. So we are still with baby Tusk. I am sure he is being fed a steady diet, but he has some ways to go to get to a very intimidating look. He's just cute at the moment.

* The Little Rock fire department was on hand to present the colors for the occasion of September the 11th.

* A former player from the seventies who has passed away was honored before the game. I am ashamed that I can't recall the player's name, but I do recall that the tribute got a key Razorback fact wrong. They mentioned that he was on the winning 1978 "Sugar Bowl" team. I think they meant 1978 Orange Bowl. How many of the other 50,000 or so noticed that with me, I wonder?

* I also noticed two errors in Razorback history in the program itself, which happened to have Seth Armburst and Demarcus Love on the cover wearing Adidas (Does Nike know?). The two errors were Clint Stoerner playing for the Hogs from "2005-07" and again with the Orange Bowl, which was played in "Dallas, Texas." Hmm, I went back and looked at past programs for LR games. These same mistakes were in there all of last year. Curious. I am a big fan of AMC's new espionage series "Rubicon" that started with a coded message imbeded in crossword puzzles. Is some secret Razorback cabal sending a message for some type of swine operation through glaring errors in the program? Haha.

* It was announced that we had a record attendance by the UofA band itself, which has ballooned to 350 members, so said the announcer.

* On the field itself there are two black slaps with AT&T on them to mark this territory for AT&T, and we had a moment of Jeff Long on the field with some AT&T representative. I refused to clap for corporate advertizing. 

* The heat and humidity were awful. We had hardly a breeze all night. Plus, if you say 50,000 people were there at the game, each worth 98 degrees, then it was 4,900,000 degrees in there! Hotter than the sun! haha.

* I think we saw an offense that possibly has gotten into believing its clippings and success from last year and a defense that has gotten just damn tired of reading all of its negative clippings. That seems to me how the two sides of the ball looked last night.

* I heard somebody behind me sum up the going for it on 4th and 14 as just "arrogant and stupid." I thought pretty much the same thing, but it could also be read as Petrino saying to his defense that I really believe in you guys. And they were worth believing in except for that one series that ULM scored on.

* The mystery of the running game? BP (Before Petrino) we were known in the SEC as a running team. Now we are known as a passing team. Why can't we be known for both? I made the correct prediction a few times during the game of hand-off to Broderick Green to be stuffed at the line. Uggh. I also made the prediction before the game that Joe Adams would score. I was surprisingly wrong on that one. But I still enjoyed the catches that he did make.

* On the radio before the game, Kevin Scanlan was quoted as saying that Mallett would certainly replace him as the UofA's leading quarterback in terms of completion percentage. Hmm, was that the jinx of the night? Mallett, when he is on, he is on. But it is glaring obvious as to when he is off. The back to back delay of game penalties were, I think, a result of what happens when Ryan gets flustered.

* ULM only had one player on field, or one would think. We heard Luther Ambrose's name mentioned all night. But my mother and I always heard Luther Vandross in our heads.

* I never thought I would get tired of saying "1st down," but when your team can only make first downs and not manage to score somehow, you do get tired of the futility of it all.

* Hated the whole half-time experience. You just can't enjoy it when you are up on ULM just 7-0 and have memories of our narrrow escape two years ago dancing around in your head. I expected any moment to be tapped on the shoulder by Earl from "My Name is Earl." "See, Kevin, I want to tell you about Karma. This is what you get for being happy about Ole Miss's defeat last weekend."

* Well, Earl, never did that. We won 31-7 with 499 yards of offense, but it took a long time to feel comfortable in this game. But I am thinking, maybe this was the type of wakeup call the Hogs needed before going to Athens.

* I did spend some time contemplating the fact that next year, likely without Ryan Mallett, I'll be watching the Hogs face off against a more experienced ULM team, but my same seats in the endzone will cost me over 100 percent more than what they cost last night. One idea that I had while sitting there frustrated with the Hogs, just donate what I normally pay for tickets to the university itself and not be there when ULM finally gets the win they seem to be getting closer to every year.

* Something that  I didn't know at the game, but learned in the paper the next morning. The crew that officiated the game was the same crew that officiated the Arkansas / Florida game from last year, the one that got them suspended. Were they trying to make nice? For there were two passes that everybody in our section thought were out of bounds, but they ended up giving to the Hogs as completions. The scoreboard at War Memorial gives you once chance to see a replay, and that is it. So maybe Wright and Childs were truly inbounds.

* I can't conclude without a fashion notation. I thought the uniforms looked better than last week's version. I like the red tusk like stripe over the word "Razorbacks" down the pants leg. I always thought the Hog on the helmet said "Razorbacks." It is such a good logo that it doesn't need to be spelled out on the uniform itself. You don't see the Longhorns with "Longhorns" written down their pants. The logo does the job.

* A sign of the times? I had to tell my mother to get her head out of facebook and into the game itself! But if I can imagine the facebook updates from War Memorial, I imagine the words "Hogs" and "Playing like Crap right now" in there somewhere.

* The saddest (but not really sad) moment of the night was when I spotted a kid with a McFadden jersey on. A Raiders Mcfadden jersey. Oh, our lost hero! A truly sad moment was when my mother told me that Eddie Christian (famous for the lawsuit against Nutt) had died at 48 from a stroke, about a month ago. In our small state, she is best friends with his mother-in-law. I had met Eddie on one occasion. I think he rather wasted his time and energy on that lawsuit. But who knew he had such a short time with us? For all of us, one day there will be a last Razorback game.  I sure hope mine is a win!

* On the drive back to South Arkansas, we saw the ULM convoy of busses pass us into the night with their tv screens on. They were watching Penn State vs. Alabama and no doubt thinking about the afternoon when they beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa and how tonight it looked like they might do something similar in Little Rock. But for a stingy defense that covered for the offense while it tried to get its sh-t together, they might have pulled off a victory.

* Though he gets his share of mockery here at Arkansasexpats, I am going to let Wally Hall have the last word, for I think that blind hog found an acorn in summing up the game: " The Hogs are better than they showed Saturday night, but they did not make their biggest improvement between the first and second games, which is another old football proverb." No, they didn't. But as a famous Georgian once said somewhere outside our next destination, "Tomorrow is another day."  

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