When it comes to these bowl games, much like the Chick-Fil-A Bowl last year, it’s hard to get to worked up and angry about the game, even if Georgia Tech laid an egg on the national stage. I mean, there’s only so many days that we get free of toddlers, staying in a nice hotel, and having a schedule of do-whatever-we-want. I mean, I was way more incensed about the basketball team losing to Georgia than the Orange Bowl. So, we’ll talk about the game a little and then move on.
After watching the game, it was evident that had Ricky Stanzi stayed healthy, Iowa would’ve been in the mix for the National Championship. They were that good. A lot of people want to say that Kirk Ferentz’s squad “figured out” the triple option scheme by Paul Johnson, but it’s not so much that as the fact that Iowa dominated Tech on the line, both offensively and defensively. On offense, Iowa gave plenty of time to Stanzi to find an open receiver. They picked on Jerrard Terrant and only after he gave up two touchdowns did he respond with a Pick Six that at least eased the pressure on him. Terrant’s interception was huge because it appeared the game was quickly heading to a blowout. After that, things settled down, but on the other side of the line, Iowa’s defensive line gave Tech no time to operate their offense. You can’t do a B-Back dive when the tackle is wrapping up Dwyer as he gets the ball and you can’t do the pitch when someone is already in between the quarterback and the A-Back seconds after the snap. There just wasn’t much for Tech to do. To Johnson’s credit, he made some nice halftime adjustments and Tech had two nice drives in the 3rd quarter, one that should have ended in points had the wind not pushed the ball back in Scott Blair’s face and one that ended in a touchdown. It looked like Tech still had a chance in the game, despite being statistically dominated, until Nesbitt threw an interception and on the next drive Dwyer made a desperate decision to change direction and lose 11 yards and put Tech in the hole at 2nd and 21 on their own 1. The much-maligned defense managed to hold it together until they sold out on the run and inexplicably Brandon Wegher still managed to evade everyone and make it to endzone. Game Over. It’s Cold. Let’s Go Home.
Despite frigid temperatures, the coldest Orange Bowl ever, we still had a good time. The tailgating in the afternoon was enjoyable and most of the Iowa fans were pretty cordial. Adriene and I really enjoyed the Riverside Hotel, which was accommodating even when the heat stopped working in our room (something that you would think would never be a problem in Miami) We loved that we arrived on Saturday to an art fair and we loved that we had plenty of choices of restaurants within walking distance. During the art fair, we were so hungry from missing lunch while traveling we bought a hot dog being cooked by the staff of Mango’s. Maybe it was just because we were so hungry that it was the best hot dog ever. It was enough though to convince us to try them again later in the week for dinner. I’m happy to say the bleu cheese crusted steak was even better than the hot dog, probably one of the better meals of the week (the breakfast at Le Bonne Crepe was really good, too)
After a couple days of vacation, it was a roundabout trip for Miami to Jacksonville by plane and then on the road to Savannah where we were reunited with our girls and had dinner at a Savannah institution, Carey Hillards (I already want to go back.) The next day it was a drive home to, surprise, snow in Atlanta and back into work emergencies, stress, and everything that we left behind. Life is already back at its torrid pace, but even if it was too cold to sit on the beach, it was nice to at least drive by and wistfully look out the window for a couple days.