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January 2, 2006
Fiesta Bowl Live Blog

I've started this a bit late -- I kept falling asleep waiting for the game to start when I was going to prep for this post.

4:10 PM CT - Two minutes into the game, and the Irish have driven the field for an impressive score. Brady Quinn got a couple of chances to air it out, and the Irish topped it off with a long run off-tackle for the score. 7-0 Irish, 12:59 left in the first quarter!

4:15 - OSU picks up a first down, but only after all the receivers got covered ...

4:17 - Troy Smith hits a wide-open receiver (Ginn) for six points. Tied up at 7-7, 10:02 left Q1. Looks like a shooting match here today, folks.

4:27 - So far, the difference to me is that the Irish have been able to run the ball -- and they've stopped the Buckeyes on the ground. We'll see if that continues.

4:30 - OSU holds at about midfield - first punt of the day fair-caught at the 10. ND needs a three-and-out.

4:31 - The Nokia commercial about the "lady" who gets offended by a man offering his number for her cell phone is ... weird, man. What's that supposed to teach us about Nokia -- it's for losers?

4:34 - The Irish need a spy on Troy Smith. They did a nice job picking up the screen on the next play, though.

4:38 - The Irish get the first break of the game -- Troy Smith fights off a sack he should have taken and winds up coughing up the ball. The Irish live off these turnovers and they have ony 15 yards to go for a TD.

4:40 - OSU defense stiffens, forces a 4th down ... and the Irish fail to convert. Bad move. Should have taken the easy points at this stage of the game.

4:41 - I was wondering what Hugh was doing, but he doesn't appear to be live-blogging the game. His co-blogger, the lovely and talented Mary Catherine Ham, is spending today learning about good winterizing and the virtues of wood-burning fireplaces, and the limits of influence that a blog award brings.

4:45 - OSU has started running the ball a bit more effectively now, but they commit a stupid penalty after getting a first down.

4:51 - Ginn starts off the second quarter with reverse for 68 yards and a TD. He almost hot-dogged it too early, but made two remarkable cutbacks to fake out the pursuing Irish defenders and stumble into the end zone. OSU 14-7. Dang.

4:58 - Notre Dame gives up a three-and-out -- not a good way to answer the score. A good punt still gives OSU decent field advantange. The Irish have to continue to run the ball -- it's worked so far during the game. Why they used three straight passes on this series is kind of baffling.

5:03 - Note to Krum: it's always the retaliation that gets called. IOW, stop being stupid and FOCUS ON THE GAME, not the trashtalking.

5:09 - The option is really effective against the Irish defense. If they can't get a turnover here, OSU could really put them behind the eight-ball.

5:10 - As I was writing that, the option pitch coughs up the ball and the Irish recover.

5:17 - Yeah, I wouldn't believe me either, but it was the truth ...

5:17 - Brady tosses it deep as a reminder to OSU not to get to comfortable coming in close on defense.

5:20 - Weis has spotted something on the slant; it seems to have suddenly opened up for the Irish.

5:25 - Good punt coverage puts the ball on the two. The Irish need a defensive hold here.

5:27 - I've never heard of that before -- the ref stopped play and used the public address system to scold ABC for its camera placement! OSU gets the first down, and then scores on the next play. Not looking good for God's Team.

5:37 - OSU wants to go in for the kill at the end of the half. They own the big play today, no doubt ...

5:43 - The Irish block the chip-shot field goal to take something positive into the halftime locker room. HALFTIME.

5:57 - That was a great moment during halftime when Tostitos brought Lt Vera home and surprised his girlfriend -- and then he surprised her again by proposing on national TV. Good thing she said "yes". It brought a tear to my eye, but who among us didn't have a moment of thinking, "What if she says 'No'?"

6:11 - The Irish finally force OSU to punt after Brent Musberger noted that the Buckeyes had converted all of their third downs in the first half.

6:16 - Can we stop talking about Brady Quinn's sister being AJ Hawk's girlfriend? Brady's sister is cute, but I didn't wait six weeks for this game just to live it vicariously through her angst.

6:26 - "Can Baby Brother and the Quarterback Guru regroup?" BLEAGH. I have always despised Brent Musberger, and now I remember why. The Irish special teams, however, come up big with a second blocked kick to keep it to a two-touchdown gap.

6:31 - Going back to the slant, it's still working ...

6:35 - The Irish take advantage of the short game that OSU allowed and drove the field for a TD. The Irish blew the PAT, but still stay within a TD and a 2-point conversion despite getting thoroughly outplayed so far. 21-13.

6:42 - Is it a fumble or an incomplete? Looks like a fumble to me, but I'm biased. The Irish defense is still playing with some heart ...

6:46 - No fumble, and the Buckeyes get a FG finally on their third try. 24-13. We're still in it, but I'm not sure we deserve to be. OSU has outplayed the Irish on both sides of the ball, and only through some scrappy play and turnovers have we remained in the game.

6:53 - Last quarter, and the Irish can still come back, but they'd better play better than the first three if they're going to do it.

7:07 - OSU adds a field goal, but that only puts the game out to 14 points -- still a two-TD game. Unfortunately, I may have to run out before the game finishes. I have a dinner date with my granddaughter, of which she just called to remind me. ("Grandpa, when are we going to eat pizza?") I may have to catch this on the radio the rest of the way.

7:13 Samardziaj finally pulls one in and puts the Irish back into the long game...

7:22 - Gotta run. Granddaughters trump the Irish. It looks like the Irish may be ready to score, and I'll be listening on the radio. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 2, 2006 4:09 PM

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