In fact I'm rummaging through the memory banks to recall a similar game that has so many individual moments, any one of which could have turned this into a loss... but didn't.
Biggest clutch performance to win a big close game since -- the Holiday Bowl vs Texas, maybe? The USC overtime shootout in '99? Most of the other recent Big Close Games like this one have, sadly, turned out on the losing side (think UCLA in '98, the '98 CW, the Holiday vs OK, Stanford in '01, Stanford in '95. And most of the OT games haven't had this much on the line. In '94, the Arizona game was a come-from-behind thriller.. but it wasn't back and forth, there wasn't an OT, and it was a defensive struggle.
So many moments. Down 10 points in the 3rd quarter, and it seemed the offense had been sent out to die in the desert -- all those possessions without so much as a first down. Interceptions. Fumbles. AZ flying all over the field. The Ducks were being dominated. It felt like the game was over.
Then it began to turn.. slowly.. starting with the BOINK FG bouncing through -- when do they EVER bounce OVER? -- to get it within a TD..Thinking "Oh, it was short, he barely kicked it... HUH??"
then the blown coverage on the bubble screen after we make the long drive to tie it at 24. :"Dammit.. it's just not their night.. oh well, might as well keep watcihng.."
Then, going for it on 4th and Too Many, and not making it.. giving them the ball with 4 minutes left, and all they needed was a first down to get into FG territory, make it a two possession game.."Damn, CK's going to get killed over that decision, just like Belichick."
Then Stoops playing not to lose, Oregon getting it back, making the clutch throws, conversions on 3rd and 4th, getting Dickson open for a nanosecond, just long enough to get to within a point...
Then the bobbled snap that somehow Costa handled like a fifth-year junior...
Then losing the toss and having to go first in OT... and converting more long 3rds.. and finally hitting Maehl sliding in the end zone on a miracle catch...
then the WTFumble..
then losing control and giving up the tying TD.. and the tired D has to get on the field again..
and finally getting One More Stop..
The symbolism at the end was perfect: Masoli, after all those Superman moments, walks the winning points into the end zone like Clark Kent exiting a phone booth.
What started out as a very pedestrian Saturday turned out -- starting with LSU-OleMiss, to the Big Game, to Our Big Game -- to be pretty damn entertaining, didn't it?
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