By Ryan Divish
CHATTANOOGA - Game Day!! Yessssss!!!
First of all, a reminder, all times are Eastern Standard Time because, well, that's what time it was in Chattanooga.
Second of all, my watch has no numbers on it. Huh? No numbers. It has little fake diamonds at the four main corners. It's simply and totally impractical, and all about looking cool, which is what I live my life by. So basically, my times aren't exact.
The times I wrote down are as close as I can get. I guess I could get a cool digital watch that would give me exact time down to the millisecond, and I could also jam a pocket protector into my shirt pocket and jack my pants up to armpits.
10:07 a.m. - Yep, we get up that early. Why? Well, let's see because some idiot, I think his name rhymes with can, set the alarm clock ahead two hours. His justification: "Well, it's two hours ahead of time in Montana."
My buddy Ryan's response: "What, do you think they set it to Montana time because they knew we were coming?"
10:08 a.m. - Pass around the bottle of Ibuprofen, each of us taking six.
11:50 a.m. - Head to the famous "Sticky Fingers" barbecue restaurant. I don't even like ribs that much, but I will eat theirs. Basically, every meal consists of a pork product, baked beans and about two other side dishes. And also hot wings. It's my dad's dream menu.
11:52 p.m.- The entire place is packed with Griz fans, who are hollering and screaming and drinking. Hey, it's noon somewhere.
12:04 p.m. - Nothing like an entire plate of swine doused in spicy barbecue sauce to cure a hangover, and don't forget the beans and the hotwings and the coleslaw and the spicy fries. God, our room is going to reek later.
1:02 p.m. - After racking up close to a $200 bill among the five us, we head back to the room to get ready to start tailgating. Yes, the game starts at eight, but still ...
2:05 p.m. - The fifth car of James Madison co-eds pulls into our parking lot. One girl assures us that even more our coming. I take back all the bad things I wrote about the Days Inn.
2:47 p.m. - Chris jumps into the pool at our hotel. Two problems: 1. It isn't heated. 2. The temperature has been getting near freezing every night. He hits that water and is back out in two seconds. Can you say, shrinkage.
3:42 p.m. - Top-10-hottest-girls-I've-ever-met list is starting to get rearranged thanks to Sarah from JMU, who told us she watched the Griz game on TV last weekend, by herself, because she wanted to.
5:01 p.m. - Arrive at the pavilion across the street from Finlay Stadium. Griz fans as far as the eye can see. The nation is in full force.
5:15 p.m. - Each beer is $4 a piece, which leads Ryan to ask: "What are they laced with - gold?"
7:45 p.m. - Head into the stadium to take our seat, because as George would've said if he was there, "I don't miss the smoke." Referring to when the Griz run out of the tunnel.
7:50 p.m. - The Griz run out of the smoke. I would give up my truck, my job and my Playstation 2 to run out of the smoke at Washington-Griz stadium in Missoula.
8:06 p.m. - Three plays into UM's first drive and I notice large chunks of the field are being turned up as the players run. The local paper ran a big story on the new sod being put in the stadium and I wonder, "Did they put it in yesterday?"
8:14 p.m. - Touchdown!! After marching the Griz down the field, Craig Ochs scrambles and hits Jefferson Heidelberger on a 4-yard TD strike. With the exception of a false start and a bad QB draw, UM wasn't close to being stopped. The TD is the first JMU has surrendered in the first quarter all season.
8:17 p.m. - JMU's offensive line is huge. Not big, but close-a-buffet-line huge. These guys haven't missed many meals, or anyone else's for that matter.
8:20 p.m. - JMU forced to punt after three plays. I smell a rout.
8:25 p.m. - UM's Lex Hilliard trips on the turf on a run. The field officially is destroyed. It looks like a field full of gopher holes south of Chinook. I've seen cow pastures with better grass.
8:28 p.m. - Ochs throws his first incompletion. He completed his first eight passes for over 100 yards, showing that the people who didn't select him as a Walter Payton Award finalist we're obviously smoking crack.
8:32 p.m. - UM attempts a fake field goal on fourth and 2. It's obvious that kicking is going to be difficult. Not to second guess, but why try a fake kick leaving the play in the hands of your kicker? Why not try and have Ochs and the offense convert?
8:39 p.m. - End of first quarter. Griz lead 7-0, but it feels like they are dominating.
8:47 p.m. - UM trainer runs onto the field to cut off a piece of netting protruding from the field. This field is a joke and the NCAA better be upset with these pathetic conditions.
8:53 p.m. - JMU has third-and-6 situation. I don't care if there is only around 7,000 Griz fans, we are loud.
8:54 p.m. - JMU's kicker just banked in a 28-yard field goal off the right upright. Are you kidding me? That should have been a miss.
8:59 p.m. - Ochs hits Heidelberger on a short pass and the speedster runs up the sidelines, apparently for a big gain. Refs rule him out of bounds after 12 yards. The Griz sideline is upset with the call. They had a good reason to be.
9:02 p.m. - Talmage just dropped a sure touchdown pass in the end zone, and I think I just saw Chris dry heave. That play was big. You just can't do that in championship situations.
9:03 p.m. - Carpenter's 45-yard field goal attempt - "shank" you very much.
9:22 p.m. - JMU has 4th and goal from the 2-yard line and converts for a touchdown. I am starting to get irritated as the Dukes go up 10-7.
9:24 p.m. - Ochs finds Heidelberger for a big pass, giving UM a chance at a 25-yard field goal. But nope. A holding call erases it.
9:28 p.m. - Halftime. JMU 10, UM 7. How can we only have seven points. It could have been at 14-7, 10-10, 17-7 or 17-10 in our favor. We SHOULD not be losing 10-7.
9:29 p.m. - Unfortunately, no tailgating at halftime. Probably, a good thing. I'm so nervous. I gotta, I gotta, I gotta find a bathroom.
Well, this has been plenty long. I will put the second half in tomorrow. Believe me, it gets very interesting.