Exactly how many elements and obstacles must one overcome to win a bowl game these days? First it requires at least six wins, usually more. The Ohio Bobcats knocked that requisite out of the way thanks to an easy draw of a schedule. They needed to overcome injuries, and they managed. Then they needed their punter to shut up for like two weeks and enjoy Boise.
Then came the actual obstacles in the Idaho Potato Bowl against Utah State, both real and fictitious, en route to that wild 24-23 victory:
- Getting back on track after a bad snap resulted in a safety, followed by a touchdown putting them in a 9-0 hole.
- They then had to come back from a 23-10 deficit in the third quarter.
- They had to play against a team wearing blue jerseys, on a field on which the actual home team wasn't normally allowed to wear blue jerseys.
- They had to do all this while dreaming of potatoes on the sideline. Rich, mouth-watering potatoes.
No sweat! They got to within six points on the final drive. Then came even more obstacles.
- Overcoming a missed Utah State facemask penalty that would've set up a first and goal.
- Overcoming a fourth down play that resulted in a first down catch by LaVon Brazill, perhaps a touchdown.
2a. Overcoming the referee having to REVIEW THE PLAY TWICE to assert a first and goal on the 1-yard line.
- Waiting for Tavaris McMillian to fall on his own accord, it seemed. On the game-winning play, it really looked like McMillan, the Utah State linebacker, had Tyler Tettleton in the open field, but stumbled in pursuit of the running quarterback, who rolled out on a seemingly broken play for the game-tying touchdown.
Football games aren't easy. I'm not entirely sure how anybody has the stamina to actually win one of those things. Yet they do; teams win 50 percent of time time. Until tonight OHIO had won postseason games (bowls, MAC Championship Games) zero percent of the time and despite a year marked by near-triumph and a teaspoon of disappointment, the victory finally got there and the Bobcats can forever say they won 10 games in 2011.