I keep saying this season feels an awful lot like 2007. The Tech/FSU play had all the makings of a play that throws a giant wrench in the whole playoff deal. That year, a team w/ 2 losses made it into the championship game. This year, I think a team with 2-losses gets in the playoff. But that’s neither here nor there. 2015 feels like 2007 for the dawgs, too. Do you remember those 1st 7 games? We had a first year play caller, as Mike had taken over the reins for the Tech game and VaTech games the year before, but it was his first full season. He struggled to get out of the gate.
We started off 5-2. We had a 16-12 loss to South Carolina (led by Blake Mitchell) in which we failed to score a TD. We beat a decent Okie St. team. We beat Saban’s first Alabama team in OT, which lost to LA-Monroe and went 7-6. We were absolutely listless in Knoxville, losing to UT 35-14, and we scored the last one as a garbage TD very, very late. We had beaten Western Carolina handily, and an Ole Miss Team coached by Orgeron (his final year) that went 3-9 and 0-8 in the league. Ole Miss scored first, and fumbled on first and goal at the 1 with a chance to go up 14-0. They actually tied the game at 17 all with under 10 minutes to go in the 3rd Qtr. This is a team that went 0-8 in the SEC. Brandon Coutu hit a game winner at the buzzer to beat a Vandy team that went 5-7 in Nashville. A few weeks prior, in Knoxville, Thomas Brown broke his collarbone and was out for several weeks. We were beat up and largely a disappointment after the dazzling win over Okie St. We took a week off and we rested.
7 games into the season, here were Stafford’s stats:
115 for 229 (50.22%)
Here were Knowshon’s stats:
119 rushes for 619 yds
We approached 9th ranked Florida ranked 20th. 11 spots behind the Gators.
Here we are again at 5-2. We have a loss in a lopsided score in which our offense was non-existent. We have a loss that was maddeningly frustrated because we just couldn’t punch it in when needed. We lost in Knoxville and our starting running back was injured there. We are 23rd and the Gators are ranked 12th…11 spots ahead of us. Now, take a look at Lambert and Sony’s 2015 stats through 7 games, compared to Stafford and Moreno’s.
100 of 156 passing (64.1%)
89 rushes for 508 yds
With a similar stat line from our QB and RB, we lined up against a team ranked 11 spots higher than us with a QB who would win the Heisman THAT YEAR and man-handled them like never before. We hit a couple deep passes. Are Malcom, Godwin and Izzy as good as Massoquoi, Bailey and Mikey? I’d say they are better. The catalyst for that run at the end of ‘07 was a suffocating defense led by a pass rush that wouldn’t stop, namely Marcus Howard. Are the rushers we have capable of turning around our defense? Were Stafford and Moreno THAT much different or better than Lambert or Sony. I’m saying this with a serious face. We had seen Matt come alive at the end of his freshman season, but really he had just show flashes at the start of the ’07. He was wildly inconsistent, more prone to INTs and much less accurate.
I have no idea what’s going to happen on Saturday. I don’t remember how I felt pregame in 2007, but I remember how I felt when I saw us dancing in the end zone. I knew we had come to play in a way that we NEVER had before on the river. We stayed relentless all day. I can tell you this; 2007 was the last time My wife went to the Cocktail Party, and she’s loading up at 3 p.m. Thursday to head out again. When you look back at all that, you realize how incredibly improbable the end of that 2007 run was. We essentially looked like we look now till that point in the season. And something snapped.
Here’s for more snapping on the banks of the St. John’s, and may the ghost of Trinton Sturdivant dance again.