Game Ball & Helmet Stickers: The Evil Empire
Trust me, what I'm about to say hurts me more than it hurts you, but it must be done. As the fourth-quarter came crashing down and Ohio State was winning the battle inside the “Shoe,” an old friend made an appearance on the screen. He used to wear Blue and White, his sons wore the uniform and his namesake galloped for over 2k rushing yards as a senior at Penn State. He was a molder of men and churned out more NFL talent than one can count. In 2014, he switched allegiance but most of us never held it against him due to the circumstances as we all moved forward. Somewhere deep inside I have to believe that Larry Johnson Sr. still holds a small place in his heart for us, even as hard as it was watching him celebrate on the opposite sideline. In the end, an old friend came back to haunt us, but for all those memories and for a job well done on Saturday night, the man we affectionately knew as LJ gets today’s Game Ball. Until we meet again…
As for Helmet Stickers, I could go on and on. Saquon fits the bill for his two touchdowns. The Wizard comes to mind for having ice in his veins up until the bitter end. Koa Farmer, DeAndre Thompkins, DaeSean Hamilton, and Mike Gesicki would normally get the nod as well, but not today. We came so close but ultimately came up short and are far beyond the days of claiming moral victories as I mentioned already. This one stings enough as it is, participation trophies need not apply.
So here WE ARE at a crossroads, victims of a 39-38 defeat to the Evil Empire on their own turf. It hurts. We all had visions of ‘Bama dancing in our heads and for most of Saturday afternoon, those visions were alive and well. Funny thing though, I awoke this morning and sure enough the sun rose in all its normal glory. We're 7-1 with a whole lot of football left to be played and anything but out of the playoff race. We may not be in the driver’s seat like we were, but we're still in the race. Up next, a final swing in the Gauntlet with a trip to Sparty before things ease up again to end the year. Meanwhile, the teams we look up to now have their hardest tests. Keep your chinstraps buckled my friends, we gave the Evil Empire all they could handle and then some and if my hunch is correct, this squad of Lions will bounce back with a vengeance and ROAR.