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Got home from Madison late Saturday night, turned on the TV to unwind, saw Virginia was leading BYU 42-38. At halftime. In football.
Had to see that to the end. You don’t see that kind of game every day, or any day most places.
Late in BYU’s 66-49 win, Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong clearly was hurting after hitting the turf the wrong way on a keeper. He stayed in the game because that’s what players do if they can. He immediately threw a poor pass, a rarity for him.
It got intercepted. Armstrong gingerly left the field pointing to his rib cage, saying, “It’s broken.” The man has passed for a nation-leading 3,557 yards and 27 touchdowns, and he was looking at an overnight flight from Utah to Virginia with a broken rib and his great season in jeopardy.
Saturday, USC wide receiver Drake London was carted off the Los Angeles Coliseum field with an air cast on his right leg. This was after he had nine catches and two touchdowns against Arizona to up his season totals to 88 catches (third in the nation) for 1,084 yards.
London dragged an Arizona defender into the end zone on his last play, a 6-yard touchdown. The defender rolled London’s leg. London immediately knew he was seriously injured.
As he took the ride no player ever wants, London wiped away tears. His season is over.
“That was horrible, to be honest with you,” USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell said.
During Wisconsin’s 27-7 win over Iowa Saturday in Madison, the Badgers’ Clay Cundiff was taken off the field by ambulance after suffering an awful-looking leg injury. He was rolled up from behind while blocking. It happens.
Teammate Jake Ferguson, who caught a touchdown pass in the game, was bent over and distraught after seeing what happened to his friend and fellow tight end.
Perhaps miraculously given the reactions of Ferguson and his teammates to the injury, Cundiff was released from UW Hospital Saturday night.
Meanwhile, emotional pain was expressed across Iowa and College Football America on Saturday. Anger and woe can be heard from one corner or another every week during the season. Fifty percent of the teams that play lose, and 100 percent of their opponents come to compete.
It’s one thing to be noted for missing a block, or missing a field goal, or getting burned by a receiver, or overthrowing a receiver, or dropping a pass. We don’t and can’t pretend it didn’t happen. When someone makes the choice to perform on a big stage, they’ll get critiqued.
Unless a player is a bad actor on or off the field, however, that’s where it should stop. It’s not that there’s an unsilent majority hating on the players, but over-the-line junk does get said about them.
It seems odd and kind of comical that people get so frustrated and furious about losses when they have a sliver of the investment in the result compared to the players. Maybe that’s part of the fun of fandom, making yourself feel low so the highs will mean even more.
But the players? They put their physical well-being on the line every play.
You're human. Your team lost.
They know that they have to get better.
But I promise you, no one's more disappointed in the loss yesterday than the team.
THEY did the drills. THEY hit the weight room. THEY put their bodies on the line. THEY wanted to win more than you wanted them to.
THEY are fully aware that they have to get better. THEY are fully aware that THEY let you down.
Tyler Kluver, a Hawkeye player from 2013-17, posted this Sunday morning:
I promise those guys feel it all, It’s heavy on a morning like today. It’s, in a way, part of the un-buyable, ultra valuable, experience of D1 football. Being humbled in front of thousands, showing up the next day and owning it, and working to get better.
You read and heard the outrage and rage over losing performances in Iowa and across the land Saturday. Hopefully, none of us needed an air cast or ambulance because of it.
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