Saturday, September 07, 2013

Shame Mask Unity!

November 17, 2012--After 31 years, the Shame Mask spawned by Northwestern beating Northern Illinois to end their record 34-game losing streak finally meets the Shame Mask spawned by Northwestern finally beating a I-A opponent Minnesota!

Wearing the Original Shame Mask, the Miners of the University of Texas, El Paso, came into the game losers of 8 of their first 10 games. That was two more wins than the team wearing the Golden Gopher Shame Mask, Golden Eagles of the University of Southern Mississippi, had in their 10 games. After this game, there will be only one Shame Mask!

At the Sun Bowl in El Paso, UTEP got a 34-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage, but then they turned it over on downs. Three plays later, Southern Miss drew first blood with a 41-yard TD pass from Arsenio Favor to Dominique Sullivan. After a swap of field goals, the first quarter ended with Southern Miss up 10-3.

UTEP quickly overcame that by scoring two touchdowns in the first five minutes on the second quarter, but just as quickly, Southern Miss struck back with a touchdown of their own to knot the score 17-17. However, UTEP ate up the rest of the first half with a slow 11-play drive culminating with a 26-yard field goal for a 20-17 halftime lead.

This lead lasted just five minutes as Southern Miss ended an even slower 12-play drive with a 36-yard field goal to start the second half. And so they stood 20-20 going into the fourth quarter.

UTEP struck quickly with 36-yard and 32-yard passes from QB Blaire Sullivan to set up Sullivan's 9-yard TD run. After a trade of punts, Southern Miss's Favor struck again with an 81-yard TD pass to Quentin Pierce to tie the game 27 all with 6:49 left. However, UTEP's Autrey Golden returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards to retake their 7-point lead. Oh, the heartbreak! How will Southern Miss respond? Fairly well, actually. Back-to-back screen passes from Favor to Tracy Lampley for 26 and 4 yards. Then a deep pass to Francisco Llanos for 41 yards to the UTEP 15-yard-line. Jalen Richard rushes up the middle for 7 yards and then Favor follows with 6 more to set up 1st and goal at the 2. Plenty of time is left. The first run up the middle gains no yards, but then Favor runs a quarterback draw in for a touchdown with the 2:48 remaining. And Coach Johnson decides to go for two for the lead! Favor drops back to pass, but it falls incomplete. UTEP leads 34-33 with 2:48. Southern Miss, with one time out left, elects to kick it deep. They did not get the ball back.

And so the Shame Masks are now united!

Southern Miss had one game remaining, a trip to Memphis. While Southern Miss led 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, Memphis dominated the next two and led 42-10 by the end of the third. Southern Miss got two fourth quarter touchdowns. Thus, Southern Miss ended the season 0-12, the only winless team in 2012.

SMU 34, GGSM{Southern Miss} 6

November 10, 2012--It has been a long season for Southern Miss. In their 2011 campaign, they went 12-2, their 18th straight winning season. Their two losses were by a total of 9 points, and they upset undefeated Houston in the C-USA title game and go to a bowl for the tenth straight year. However, Head Coach Larry Fedora left to take the North Carolina job. South Carolina Offensive Coordinator Ellis Johnson took over, and, well things haven't gone well.

After dropping their first three games by a combined score of 115-51, they led 19th-ranked Louisville 17-6 in the second quarter only to lose 21-17. After a 40-14 loss to Boise State, they rallied from ten down to tie UCF at 24-24 with a field goal with 13 seconds left, only to lose 38-31 in double overtime. In their next three games, only in their 27-19 loss to UAB did their opponent not double their score.

And then SMU handed them their worst defeat of the season. Early in the second quarter, SMU led 10-0 when Southern Miss gave a stirring of life with a 15-yard TD pass, but the PAT was blocked. SMU then scored 24 unanswered. SMU outgained them 435-178.

UCF 31, OSM{UTEP} 24

November 10, 2012--After a bye week, UTEP welcomed Central Florida to El Paso and hoped to send them home with the Original Shame Mask. The Miners took a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter only to see UCF rally at take a 24-10 lead in the first minute of the fourth quarter. UTEP countered to tie the game 24-24 with six minutes left, but then UCF's Latavius Murray's 46-yard TD run on their next possession won the game.

OSM{Houston} 45, UTEP 35

October 27, 2012--This seems like it might have been a close game, but Houston, still feeling the sting of their nine turnovers the previous week that left them with the Original Shame Mask, took control in the second quarter and when they got a field goal five minutes into the third quarter to run their lead to 45-7, it was over.


ECU 42, GGSM{UAB} 35

October 20, 2012--In a back-and-forth game that saw 1001 yards of total offense and each team having the lead in the second, third, and fourth quarters, UAB ended up drawing the short straw. They took a 28-27 lead three minutes into the fourth quarter, but ECU quickly countered with two touchdowns and they hung on for the win.

Tulane 55, GGSM{UAB} 45

October 27, 2012--This time, each team had over 600 yards of total offense. UAB outgained Tulane 622-619, which each team having over 400 yards passing, but UAB also led the turnover category 4-3. Tulane jumped out to a 24-7 lead in the second quarter, but it was a seesaw battle after that, but UAB could never quite catch up.

GGSM{UAB} 27, Southern Miss 19

November 3, 2012--This was not an auspicious start for UAB. After a scoreless first quarter, the second play of the second quarter was a blocked punt for a Southern Miss safety. On their next offensive play, they fumbled to set up a Southern Miss touchdown. Another Southern Miss touchdown put UAB in a 16-0 hole to start the second half. But, whatever they talked about at halftime worked out. They chipped away at that deficit unless a field goal with eight minutes left gave them their first lead 20-19. A late touchdown sealed the victory and passed the Golden Gopher Shame Mask along to winless Southern Miss.

OSM{SMU} 72, Houston 42

October 18, 2012--Wow, did I ever pick the wrong week to stop updating the College Football Shame Mask! Sure, I was applying for jobs and preparing to go to Iceland Airwaves in a week, but still this game was not something to be missed. Shame on me!

I am conditioned to think that a team wearing a Shame Mask that allows 560 yards of total offense and 42 points, they will lose. In this game, however, SMU did just that and won by 30 points! What's their secret? Force nine turnovers! While SMU did throw two intersections of their own, one of which was returned for a touchdown, the Mustangs got six interceptions--two from each of Houston's three quarterbacks--and returned three for touchdowns. A back-and-forth first half ended with Taylor Reed's 6-yard INT return for a touchdown with 1:03 left before halftime gave SMU a 28-14 lead as they went to the locker room. When they came back out, Houston received the opening kickoff and promptly fumbled it so that SMU's Kevin Pope could return it 20 yards for a touchdown, one of three Houston fumbles on the day. An SMU field goal followed immediately by a 10-yard INT return for a touchdown in the next three minutes quickly put the game in SMU's command.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


September 29--When 3-1 Tulsa came to Birmingham's Legion Field to face beshamemasked 0-3 UAB, the last thing they expected was to give up a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the game, but that's exactly what UAB's Austin Brown threw to Jamarcus Nelson.  UAB's next possession went closer to play--Brown was sacked on the first play and fumbled.  Two plays later, Tulsa tied the game.  But then two minutes later, UAB regained the lead with a 5-yard TD pass.  This time, Tulsa countered with two more touchdowns and took the lead.  However, a blocked punt on the first play of the second quarter gave UAB a 1st and goal at the 4, and three plays later, the game was tied again, 21-21.  Tulsa quickly got two more touchdowns and led 35-21 at the half.  It must be time for a UAB comeback!  They got a touchdown on their opening drive of the third quarter, only to surrender one just as quickly.  Backs against the wall, UAB began the fourth quarter with two touchdowns to tie the game 42-42!  And then, well, er, Brown threw an interception that set up Tulsa's go-ahead touchdown, and then his fumble with 1:29 left sealed their fate, Tulsa 49, GGSM{UAB} 42. They would keep the Golden Gopher Shame Mask for yet another week. 

October 6--UAB faced FCS Southeast Louisiana, and the Blazer got exactly what they wanted.  Their defense got things rolling with a 36-yard interception return from Marvin Burdette.  They would only allow 125 yards and 3 points.  Not to be outdone, Austin Brown followed quickly with a 53-yard TD pass to Greg Franklin, and their offense racked up 512 yards en route to a 52-3 victory.   It didn't do so much for the whole Shame Mask thing, but it does feel good.

October 13--UAB took to the road against the Houston Cougars, and again started with quick trade of first quarter touchdowns.  Houston then got three field goals, but UAB took one back just before the half to cut the lead to 16-10.  Of course, in the third quarter Houston had two touchdowns and two field goals, while UAB had a punt, two failed fourth down conversions, and a fumble.  Final score:  Houston 39, GGSM{UAB} 17.

Next up:  East Carolina.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

OSM{Tulane} 27, SMU 26

First, Tulane struggled through a couple of weeks against in-state rivals Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana-Lafayette.  At home against Monroe, the Green Wave lost 63-10.  They were outgained 553 yards to 151, thanks in large part to a team total of -9 yards rushing.  The next week in Lafayette, they lost 41-13, and were outgained 444 yards to 226.   In these two games combined QB D.J. Ponder was just 35 for 83 (42.2%) and of his 333 yards, 71 came on one pass.  He threw 5 interceptions, and he also rushed 5 times for -36 yards. 

Ponder was only playing in these games because starter Ryan Griffin was out with a shoulder injury.  Griffin returned today against SMU, going 17 of 32 for 302 yards, and his 31- and 79-yard touchdown passes led the Green Wave to a 20-3 halftime lead.    However, in the fourth quarter, the Mustangs began to rally.  A touchdown and then another touchdown gave SMU a 23-30, and then a field goal with 1:22 remaining but Tulane up against the wall.  Undaunted , Griffin quickly led Tulane down the field and fired a 16-yard touchdown strike to Robert Kelley with 0:35 seconds left.  Cairo Santos's extra point gave Tulane a 27-26 victory! 

The SMU Mustangs trotted back to DFW wearing the Original Shame Mask. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Again, shame on me for waiting so long into the season to update the Shame Mask!  I woke up this morning and saw a shocker:  UAB was up 6-0 over Ohio State--yes, The Ohio State--in the second quarter.  They scored a touchdown on a blocked punt, but then their PAT was blocked.  This would have to be the biggest upset in the history of the Shame Mask if it held.  Let's get caught up with the first part of UAB's season while they see if they can hang on.

September 1--Troy 39, GGSM{UAB} 29.  The Blazers outgained the Trojans 459-453, and UAB's quarterback Jonathan Perry was 18-33 for 317 yards and a touchdown, and his 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter cut the lead to 25-23. (They went for two but failed.)  However, on their next drive, Perry threw an interception that led to a Troy touchdown two plays later.  On the very next play, Perry was sacked, and his fumble led to another touchdown on the next play.

September 15--South Carolina 49, GGSM{UAB} 6.  UAB hung close in the first half.  They led most of the first quarter 3-0 until South Carolina got a 65-yard fumble return from D.J. Swearengen for a touchdown.  (A hit from from Swearengen later in the game would give him a one-game suspension.)   In the second quarter, UAB knocked South Carolina's QB Connor Shaw out of the game by reaggrevating his injured scapula, but when backup Dylan Thompson came in, the Gamecock offense started to click, and they never looked back. 

Now back to today's game.  UAB got a field goal early in the second quarter to extend their lead to 9-0.  The Buckeyes scored a touchdown, but UAB counted with another field goal to lead 12-7.  However, Ohio State's two-minute drill quickly turned the game around.  Braxton Miller passed for 63 yards and then ran the ball 12 yards for a touchdown with 1:50 left in the half.  Two plays later, UAB fumbled, and Ohio State's ensuing touchdown extended their lead to 21-12.  UAB did not fade away, though.  A 16-play, 80-yard drive led to a field goal to start the fourth quarter and cut the lead to 21-15, and then after a defensive stop, they got in position for another field goal, but this one was missed.  Ohio State scored a touchdown with a two-point conversion after that to send UAB to a 29-15 defeat, but I would say there's no shame in that.

Next up:  Tulsa.


The 2012 Tulane season has had a terrible start.  They opened with a 24-12 home loss to Rutgers, but I will not dwell on this game because in the following week's game, a 45-10 loss at Tulsa, senior safety Devon Walker suffered a broken neck in a helmet-to-helmet collision with a teammate while trying to make a tackle.  His family has requested that details of his condition not be released to the media, but as he was taken off the field in an ambulance, he was not seen to be moving.   Our thoughts and prayers are with Walker and his family and teammates.

After a bye week, Tulane hosted Ole Miss on September 22 and lost 39-0.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Long Offseason: GGSM{UAB}

UAB will have to wait until next fall to try to get rid of that Shame Mask.  It is an unfortunate way to end the season, losing to a team wearing the Shame Mask.  UAB struggled early in the season, losing their first six, including a 49-10 loss to Tulane, the other team that would end the season with a Shame Mask.  A field goal with 40 seconds left game them a two point win over UCF for their first victory of the season, but then they lost their next two games by a combined score of 115-27.  However, they then won a game over the not impressive Memphis Tigers before doing something practically unthinkable--they upset 20th ranked Southern Miss.   A field goal put them up 37-34 with three minutes left, and twice Southern Miss crossed midfield, but twice the Blazer defense held firm to give Southern Miss only their second loss of the season.  Apparently they let this win go to their heads because in their next game, they gave FAU their only win of the season.

Exciting news for Shame Mask fans!  Both Shame Masks now reside on the heads of C-USA teams!  Could they finally meet up next season?  We can only wait with bated breath.

GGSM{FAU} 38, UAB 35

November 26--FAU wore the Golden Gopher Shame Mask into their game against UAB with an 0-10 record on the season.  That doesn't guarantee an unexciting game, however.  FAU's Treon Howard returned an interception 23 yards for a touchdown just two minutes into the game.   UAB mounted successful touchdown drives in the first quarter and early in the second to lead 14-7.  Then FAU's Alfred Morris got going.  The senior running back carried the ball 38 times for 198 yards and four touchdowns.  Not too shabby for the nation's 24th leading rusher.  The last one put the Owls up 38-28 with 1:38 left.  UAB rallied to score a touchdown with 33 seconds remaining, but the onside kick attempt went out of bounds to seal FAU's first win of the season. 

This win assured their head coach Howard Schnellenberger would not have his first losing season.  After a few years in the late 90s as a bond trader, the coach who built the University of Miami into a powerhouse returned to Miami to tackle a new challenge--start the FAU football program from scratch in 2001.  In August, he announced he would retire at the end of the season.  This season notwithstanding, I think his work building the team could be considered a modest success.  In just his third season, he led the Owls to an 11-3 season, losing in the I-AA semifinals, and then in his second and third seasons in the Bowl Subdivision, he won two bowl games.  And perhaps more importantly, this win assured he would not have to wear the Shame Mask into retirement.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Long Offseason: OSM{Tulane}

November 19--Tulane wrapped up its conference season with a trip to Rice.  In a game without much offense, Rice slowly built a 13-0 lead until Tulane finally broke through with a touchown early in the fourth quarter, but Rice countered with a touchdown of their own to win 19-7.   The odd thing that stands out to me from the box score was that each team used two different punters.  These four punters combined to punt 14 times.

November 26--The loss at Rice was Tulane's ninth straight loss after a 2-1 start.  Apart from the game against Syracuse, in which they lost on a last second field goal, they lost all of these games by at least 14 points.  Now, most teams after reaching a record of 2-10 would be putting their pads away until spring practice.  Tulane, however, to advantage of the NCAA's rules quirk that allows a team to play an extra regular season game if they play one of those games at the University of Hawaii.  So, without being close to being bowl elligible, Tulane took a Thanksgiving trip to the islands.  They were not destracted by the lush scenery and held their own against the Warriors in the first half.  The even got a third quarter safety, which allows scores points in my book, and a touchdown early in the fourth quarter cut Hawaii's lead to only 28-23.  However, their defense gave up another touchdown that they could not recover from.  But they got to enjoy a season ending trip to Hawaii.


November 12--North Texas came into Troy knowing what it's like to have worn the Shame Mask, and they don't like it.  The Mean Green took an early lead, but then the Trojans fought back.  Two second quarter touchdowns gave them a 21-17 lead, but then they surrendered a touchdown with 0:42 left in the first half.  Troy regained the lead with a third quarter touchdown, but they missed the extra point.  At the start of the fourth quarter, however, they fell apart, and allowed North Texas two touchdowns in less than 20 seconds.  After a 46-yard North Texas touchdown pass, and Troy's Corey Robinson threw an incomplete pass and then was sacked and lost a fumble to set up a 6-yard North Texas touchdown run on the next play.  Troy rebounded with a 16-play touchdown drive to cut the lead to 38-33, but North Texas chewed up the clock with a 13-play drive consuming 7:28 and turning it over on downs giving Troy the ball with only 0:15 seconds to cover 74 yards.

November 19--Here's something you want when you are wearing a Shame Mask:  A team with a 12-game losing streak comes to visit.  That's exactly what Troy got in Florida Atlantic.  FAU allowed a game-winning field goal as the clock expired to Louisiana-Lafayette, but they had lost every other game by at least two touchdowns.  Also, the nation's worst offense was just what Troy's 114th ranked defense needed.  Both teams started sluggishly, but then Troy turned it on late in the second quarter and never looked back.  They beat the Owls 34-7.

Friday, November 11, 2011


October 29--Tulane led 10-7 over East Carolina in the second quarter, but they couldn't hang on. The Pirates rallied to win 34-13.

November 5--SMU stormed out of the gate and took a 31-0 lead over the Green Wave. Tulane bounced back by returning a fumble for a touchdown on the first play of the second half, and twice they cut the lead to 14 in the third quarter, but SMU held on and won 42-24.

November 10--Tulane held the undefeated Houston's highest scoring offense in the nation scoreless in the first quarter. And they held the nation's leading passer Case Keenum to one of his worst games of the season. His 22 completions and 29 attempts were both season lows, and his 325 yards were the third lowest. He only threw for three touchdowns, which is less than half of his 7.5 average in his last two games. Not too shabby, I guess. What was the end result? Houston still won 73-10. This time the nation's best passing and scoring team did it on the ground. Charles Sims carried just 10 times, but he gained 207 yards thanks to 72- and 56-yard touchdown runs. Oh, and Houston had two 70+ yard punt returns for touchdowns. This was Tulane's last home game of the season. They still have trips to Rice and Hawaii left to try to dislodge that Shame Mask.


October 25--Traditional Sun Belt powerhower Troy went down to Miami to face traditional Sun Belt doormat Florida International, but this time the tables were turned, and it was Troy wearing the Shame Mask. Old habbits die hard, though, and Troy jumped out to a 7-0 first quarter lead, and they led 7-3 at the half. However, FIU's QB Wesley Carroll connected on 76- and 42-yard touchdown passes early in the third quarter gave them the lead. Troy didn't fold things up and go home after surrendering their lead. No, they rallied for a touchdown of their own, and they didn't even let the failed PAT stop them. A minute later, they returned a fumble for a touchdown to take a 20-17 lead at the end of the third quarter. Unfortunately, they gave up a tying field goal in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime. Troy missed a field goal to start the overtime, but FIU's was true to seal the 23-20 victory.

November 5--Apart from the second quarter, the Troy-Navy game was pretty even. However, there was that little matter off the second quarter. Troy had four rushes for 8 yards, two passes for 9 yards, but lost 10 on a sack (not counting the 13-yard pass on the final play of the half), and three punts. Navy started the second with a 48-yard touchdown pass, and then rushed 21 times for 172 yards and three more touchdowns to take a 35-0 halftime lead. They held on to win 42-14.

Next up for Troy: North Texas