Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bonjour de la part de la Louisiana Superdome

Bonjour tout le monde from the Superdome, site of tonight's New Orleans Bowl between Troy and Southern Miss. Yep, you'll be subjected to periodic updates at my whim. Game starts a little after 7.

I've done my best to sample the cuisine and give it a hearty endorsement if anyone is headed this way next week for the Sugar Bowl.

They're expecting a record New Orleans Bowl crowd tonight -- with a little more than 30,000. We'll see how many more USM fans are here than the Troy throng.

5:44 -- Former Troy safety Brannon Condren is in attendance. He's been practically all over the NFL this year: Colts, Rams, Dolphins and now the Colts again. "It's been a wild year," he said during warmups. Condren doesn't get many chances to see his college team. "I had a few days off and wanted to come to the game," Condren said. "This is the only game I'll get to see all year, so I came here to watch them one last time."

7:13 -- Safe bet that USM has more fans here than the Trojans. Troy did help make its fans stand out. Fans on Troy's side of the field found New Orleans Bowl towels in their seats when they arrived.

7:21 -- Jorrick Calvin won two prep state championships at the Superdome. Deflecting a pitch and returning it for a touchdown on the first play of the game shows he may still like the place.

7:29 -- Flea flicker makes it 7-7. USM stud receiver DeAndre Brown was a decoy and never moved as New Orleans native Gerald Baptiste scooted unaccosted past the Troy secondary. Brown caught a 9-yard pass on the drive's first play and set the USM single-season record for catches.

7:43 -- Brown just broke his left leg.

7:44 -- He was trying for a long pass and being covered by Troy's Chris Bowens. Bowens went to help him up and quickly started motioning for the trainers. They're already comparing it in the press box to the Tyrone Prothro injury at Alabama. Unfortunately, you'll be seeing that on TV for a while. Horrific.

7:46 -- Brown is doing an Eagle wave as he's taken out on a stretcher.

?:?? -- Touchdown, Troy. Kennard Burton scraped his foot inbounds and the replay official gave Troy a touchdown and a 14-7 lead. It's his first touchdown catch. The Trojans have had 12 players catch TD passes this year, a national best.

8:09 -- End of a marathon first quarter.

8:14 -- William Spight, the pride of Jeff Davis High, sets up a touchdown with an 18-yard catch. Damion Fletcher went 8 yards on the next play to score. 14-14.

8:24 -- Troy QB Levi Brown with an admirable scramble marathon. He went almost to the left sideline, then rolled all the way back to the right sideline and, you guessed it, took a 2-yard sack.

8:33 -- Troy linebacker Boris Lee appeared to hurt his left hand while taking down the USM QB. He has gone to the locker room for -- total guess here -- an X-ray. I'd guess he may have a finger issue.

8:36 -- Lee is back, so likely no X-rays. Some extra tape?

8:40 -- Xavier Moreland just had his first carry, just more than two weeks after breaking a collarbone. His 6-yard gain gave Troy a first-and-goal at the 4.

8:43 -- Troy turns the situation into a 20-yard field goal. 17-14. DuJuan Harris isn't having his best game: 23 yards on eight carries, including a fumble on the first play after Moreland's run.

8:54 -- USM kicks a field goal on the last play of the half. 17-17. An offensive pass interference prevented a likely touchdown on a halfback pass. Looked like a good call. Receiver Johdrick Morris blocked a DB before going out on his route.

9:05 -- DeAndre Brown went to nearby Tulane hospital and has been diagnosed with a fractured tibia. Here's the live blog by Patrick Magee, the USM beat writer for the Hattiesburg American of the Gannett family.

9:22 -- Jerrel Jernigan has tied the 40-year-old Troy season record for receptions. He has 72.

9:24 -- Well, he broke it. So much for Danny Grant's mark in 1968.

9:41 -- Nice little drive (11 plays, 63 yards) nets Troy a field goal and a 20-17 lead.

9:43 -- This game is going long enough that my sidebar for first edition has been banged. If you live far outside Montgomery, check for it on If you get the city edition, you'll get to read all about it.

9:46 -- DeAndre Brown's injury is already on YouTube. Warning, warning, warning. It's gross.

9:49 -- A Cornelius Williams punt return starts a Troy drive at the USM 9. Jerrel Jernigan's 6-yard TD run makes it 27-17.

10:16 -- Troy got caught with its pants down. USM sent in a big package for a fourth-and-two play at the Troy 35. Troy responded with a goalline defense. Oops. QB Austin Davis rolls out and hits tight end Jonathan Massey, who totes Terence Moore into the end zone. Troy's lead now 27-24.

1:25 a.m. -- Just got back to the hotel from the game. Gotta love games that end at 10:53 p.m. Finished notes and filed those at 11:05. Wrote a quoteless game story for first edition and filed at 11:23. The Troy press conference was during that time, so I had to track down the people I wanted (still didn't get Jerrel Jernigan) for our city edition. Returned to press box at 11:55. Rewrote the first item in my notebook at 12:02 a.m. Rewrote the game story and filed at 12:29. Jernigan was the first item in the notes for first edition, but I wrote a separate (very short) story for the city and filed it at 12:38.

Great game. That would have been fun to just watch.

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