Game Review: CMU Chippewa vs Kent State Golden Flashes, 11/4/11, 6pm
Weather: Chilly – 30 degrees; Ticket Price: $10; Attendance: 10,132
“Well worth the money” by Tree
Dix Stadium is small for a Division I field, but it is well built and clean. There is video scoreboard and the site lines for the stadium are good. My seat was $10, general admission on the forty yard line. I walked right in and bought the ticket at the gate. The concession stands were fairly standard, but they did sell funnel cakes. There was also a great addition to the normal concessions. One of the local high school teams was selling $2 tickets which could then be turned in at the next table for a cup of beer. I could not think of a better fundraiser, and my mood went from happy to downright giddy at getting such a value. The cheerleaders were out selling programs and I felt very much at home. I made my way up the stands and found a nice aisle seat and settled in for the game. There were about 10,000 fans in attendance, including “Waldorf and Statler” (1) sitting in the row in front of me. I will have more on those two later.
Kent State is in Kent, Ohio, which is about an hour to hour and half drive from Cleveland and Pittsburgh. With Cleveland being so close, it would be a good weekend trip if combined with a stop in Canton to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame and maybe catch a Browns game. This was a Friday night game and I found a free lot on campus with shuttles to the game. There was tailgating at the stadium but I missed that. It did look like it was fairly well organized. It was chilly at 30 degrees.
This was a nationally televised game on ESPN 2 and the MAC did not disappoint. It was a back and forth affair with plenty of big plays. Kent State had a better mix between running and passing but there was no quit in the Chippewa. It was tied 14 -14 at the half. Kent State scored the next 10 points with three of the points coming after an interception. I had a feeling this could be a tight finish, because the Flashes were struggling to contain the Chippewa. So late in the fourth quarter, CMU threw a 50 yard bomb to get within three. On the ensuing kickoff, the Chippewa kicker booted it out of bounds. I knew that was a bonehead play, but I also knew the kicker did not do it on purpose. So the poor kid came to the sidelines and I can’t remember if it was the head coach or the special teams coach, but whoever it was spends the next five minutes chewing this kid out. As I was watching this, I thought this coach must know that stress/fear was his kicker’s chief motivator. Or, the coach was a complete moron. Judging by the kid’s body language, it was the latter and not the former. CMU was only down three and there was about five minutes left in the game. I would have been pumping the kid up, not tearing him down. If the game was going to come down to the kicker, he had better be more resilient than a superball (1).
Of course, the CMU defense played inspired defense and the offense drove down to the Kent 11. All they needed was a 20 yard field goal as time expired and we would be in overtime. The kicker shanked it, game over. Kent State won a tight one and that CMU coach should have been brushing up his resume.
Personal Notes from the game:
The first half was great and the evening cold had not yet set in. If the not for Waldorf and/or Statler, passing gas every five minutes it would have been great. Kent State came on to the field to “Enter the Sandman.” I wondered if Virginia Tech knew about that? At half time, Waldorf decided to head to the can or the concession stand. At least I hope he was planning to hit the restrooms after nearly crapping himself the entire first half. He was a little older but I guess he wanted to show everyone that he’s still limber enough to get around a crowded aisle so he did not ask anyone to move for him. It would have only inconvenienced a couple of folks and they were happy to move for him. He insisted that he was fine and proceeded to nearly take a header down the stairs. Somehow he got his balance and got upright, but the smart money says there was a broken hip in his future if he did not learn to swallow his pride. On the other hand, he was still out there hitting the games live and in person so I had to respect that.
As the second half rolls in, the temperature started to drop and I realized I was a little out of cold weather practice. I had two layers on bottom and four on top but it wasn’t quite enough. I made a mental note to start bringing a blanket, my manhood be damned. I was amazed that the college coeds were running around in skinny jeans and light jackets. My only thought was that there was no way those girls could be warm enough. It also occurred to me that I should not be mocking Waldorf and Statler. Clearly, I am closer to their generation than I would care to admit to given I used a word like “coed”. Despite the cold weather, the fans stuck with it. They would get particularly rowdy whenever Akron was mentioned. Based on the insults and jeers, the Akron game, for the “Wagon Wheel”, would be a game worth going to. With a tight game, I found myself cheering the Golden Flashes on. When the CMU kicker missed the uprights, the fans erupted with joy and I was high fiving Waldorf and Statler.
There is one last thing about Kent State. It is most known for “Four dead in Ohio”, but the football program does have some chops. A number of NFL stars played there including Joshua Cribbs, Antonio Gates, James Harrison and the great Jack Lambert. Okay, so Gates played only hoops at Kent State, but still. And Lou Holtz is an alumnus too. So my question for Kent State is this. It is the start of the fourth quarter and to fire up the fans, they play a video mash up of a bunch of action movies? It is a clip that I have seen at least a dozen times at any number of pro games. Why not put a compilation of Kent State Alumni playing in the NFL? Heck, just use Harrison (who was at the game I attended) and Lambert footage and you have enough viscous hits to get any stadium whipped into a mad frenzy. My guess is they don’t want to offend the fan base which has the misfortune of rooting for the Browns. C’mon KSU, come on over to the dark side…
(1) NOTE: I felt compelled to provide some further guidance on Waldorf and Statler and Superballs as both those references went right over the heads of my sons.
Waldorf and Statler are the two old-guy muppets that would heckle the show from the balcony.
Superballs are very small rubber balls that bounce like crazy.