Super Memories 2018

Super Memories 2018

When the Super Bowl arrives each year, we like to peruse the rosters and see who in the game we may have seen before they turned pro that will conjure up Super Memories 2018 of college seasons and games past we saw them play in on their journeys to the top.  We check our computer files, old programs, wrinkled newspaper clippings, and we then scan our fading or distorted memory banks for points of interest we’d like to share. Kind of like a “we knew them when”.   Hopefully we caught a few in action on purpose or even by accident in a picture.  

      This year, a quick perusal of the two Super rosters recognized about thirteen players on both the Patriots and on the Eagles who we had seen dating back from 2002 up until our 2016 season.  Some of the memories are vivid and personal.  Others are stirred by the aforementioned research over available materials looked over about an hour.    We don’t have the time nor interest to report on every player, but we pulled some prominent and some not-so-prominent names of players from our past playing both squads. Here’s names that shook loose some Super Memories 2018 before Super Bowl LII. The list depicts the player with his current position he’s playing in the pros, his position in college, his alma mater, and the years we watched his particular team in action when he was on the roster.

Eagle players:

TE Brent Celek, TE Cincinnati, 2004 – Celek played as sophomore for the Bearcats under HC Mark Dantonio when they visited 0-4 Army at West Point . Back then, both teams competed in Conference USA.  Cincy came in with their typical mediocre record of 2-3.  Army on the other hand, started off the season poorly with a record of 0-4.  However, the Cadets struggled more mightily than that, they rode a 19-game losing streak.  Celek caught two TD passes this day of the four thrown by QB Gino Guidugli.  Army answered the first one with four straight TDs in the first half to take a 26-7 lead.  Celek’s second TD also came in the second period to close the score to 32-29 at intermission in favor of Army.  A FG and a recovered fumble in the end zone by Army in the second half ended their losing streak by beating Cincy, 42-29. The Cadets in Michie Stadium stormed the field, tore down a goal post, and heaved it in pieces to into Lusk Reservoir outside the stadium.  It was a thrilling upset for the beleaguered cadets.   As for Cincinnati in the Associated Press report after the game, QB Gino Guidugli was quoted saying, “This is the most disappointing loss of my life.  We’re probably the laughingstock of the nation.” Celek caught ten passes for 130 yards and one TD for the Eagles this season.

WR Alshon Jeffery, WR South Carolina, 2011- While our daughter Alex attended the University of South Carolina becoming a die-hard Gamecock fan, we got to see her team play each of the four years.  Twice, we attended the season-ending traditional rivalry against Clemson.  In 2011, Steve Spurrier’s No. 14 Gamecocks hosted Dabo Swinney’s No. 18 Tigers. This was for the “state championship” Spurrier would say.  The two teams clawed at each other in the first half with the Cocks leading 17-10 at halftime.  QB Conor Shaw threw his second TD pass of the game in Q3.  The two teams exchanged FGs in the final period, but WR Alshon Jeffery capped the scoring with a tremendous 18-yard TD reception in back of the end zone to put the game on ice for a 34-13 Gamecock win.  He caught two passes for 29 yards.  With a win in the Capital One Bowl over Nebraska, they finished 11-2 overall and ranked No. 9.  Jeffrey would leave the program after this, his junior season. He ended his Gamecock career with 183 receptions for 3,042 yards and 23 TDs.  In 2017 for Philadelphia, Jeffery knabbed 57 receptions for 789 yards and nine TDS.

OT Lane Johnson, DE Oklahoma, 2012 – Well we can’t resist saying that we never saw the player who promised everybody in Philadelphia a beer after the Eagles win the Super Bowl.  Even Bud Light stepped up to sponsor him.  We can’t say he starred or even played when we saw his Oklahoma Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl in New Year’s Day of 2011.   I bought the tickets well in advance of the two teams being invited figuring it was going to be a big match in this traditional major bowl game.  For my son Eric, who was 15 at the time, and for me, the aura of this game was kind of disappointing.  UConn, winners of the Big East that year with an overall record of 8-4, showed up as the competition in Glendale. Hell,  I’d seen them win twice in good games over other mediocre Big East competition in East Hartford a three-hour drive from home earlier this season.  They beat WVU, 16-13, in overtime, and they edged Pitt,30-28, in a well-played game.  I didn’t plan to come all the way out to Arizona to see them play again, especially against the likes of a football dynasty like Oklahoma.  The winner of the Big East had to get into one of the majors, and I regretfully picked this one.  UConn played OU tight through the first half, but the No. 6 ranked Sooners (12-2) with QB Landry Jones and RB DeMarco Murray eventually rolled them, 48-20.  As for Johnson, our new beer buddy, he wasn’t listed in the top two tiers of the depth chart, and he didn’t play on the offensive line either.  He roamed the sidelines that day as a sophomore DE.  This shows that everyone gets to the top somehow or other. If the Eagles win on Sunday, he will lead the team in beers purchased.    Hey Lane, even if the Eagles don’t win, pass one over here to Jersey!

UW Husky DT No. 11 Elijah Qualls squares off against Alabama in the CFP semi-finals in 2016 in Atlanta.

T Elijah Qualls, DE Washington, 2016 – Alabama went on to defeat Washington, 24-7, to go on to the championship two play Clemson after we saw these two tangle in Atlanta for the CFP semi-final.  When did you ever see a #11 jersey at DT?  That was Qualls’s number at UDub.  He now wears #98 at the same position for the Eagles.  He didn’t see much action this year as he posted a mere four tackles.  We don’t see him being a force to be reckoned with in this Super Bowl.  Maybe in the future.

UT DE Derek Barnett (9) tracks down Northwestern QB in 205 Outback Bowl.

DE Derek Barnett, DE Tennessee, 2014-16 –  For thee three consecutive bowl seasons, I picked my schedules in advance based on proximities, budgets, and travel schedules to attend as many games as possible, not knowing who would play (as usual).  For three consecutive years, my eyes hurt from all that Tennessee Orange filling the stadiums.  Barnett was active in the last two games I watched them in.  The Vols went 3-0 in all three games basically dominating all three Big Ten teams they faced and outscoring them in all three by a combined score of 128-58.  The reality though was that in the first one, they whipped up on Iowa so bad, they had guys who hadn’t played all season playing defense the second half after scoring most of their points before halftime.  In the TaxSlayer in Jacksonville, they beat up on Iowa 35-7 by halftime on the way to a 45-28 win as the Hawkeyes scored three TDs in the last period.  In the Outback down in Tampa a year later, the Vols slammed Northwestern, 45-6.  And in 2016, Nebraska fared a little better than the previous two reps from the Big Ten West but still lost in the Music City, 38-24. The rookie made 21 stops, tallied five sacks, and forced a fumble for the Eagles this season.

 

Barnett pursues Husker RB in his final collegiate game at the 2016 Music City Bowl.

Next up:

Patriot Players:

 

 

WR Danny Amendola, WR Texas Tech, 2007 – On September 22, 2007, we watched Oklahoma State defeat Texas Tech in a wild, shoot-out, 48-45. Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell threw for 646 yards, fourth highest ever in a single game in college football history.  Tech played under pass happy HC Mike Leach.  On the receiving end of Harrel’s passes, Danny Amendola latched on to 13 passes for 192 yards and a TD.  Tech had a chance to win the game late on its final possession as a Harrell pass glanced off the shoulder pad of another future draft pick, Michael Crabtree.  Of course, the final story line was all about Mike Gundy’s postgame tirade: “I’m a man!”  With New England, Amendola has 79 receptions this year for 855 yards and four touchdowns.

WR Kenny Britt, WR Rutgers, 2008 – Among the trio of Rutgers players for the Patriots, Britt was “saved” from the Cleveland Browns late in the 2017 season, he landed with the Patriots. Two other former RU players have been mainstays of the New England secondary since being drafted right from the “Banks on the old Raritan”.  DB Devin McCourty was selected by the Patriots in the first round of the 2010 draft, and DB Duron Harmon was brought on in the third round of the 2013 draft.  McCourty stands out in our RU memories as he and his twin brother, Jason, played in the RU secondary together.  Jason still plays DB for the Cleveland Browns after eight seasons with Tennessee.   Over the span of these three RU players years now with the Patriots, the Scarlet Knight had a record of 4-3.  Bill Belichick attributes the former Scarlet Knight players’ skills and capabilities to their experience playing under their HC at the time, Greg Schiano.   Schiano is now the defensive coordinator at Ohio State.  The two DBs will be looking to both win their third Super Bowl rings with the Pats.  Britt is seeking his first ring.

R-U Rutgers! Rutgers rah!

LS Joe Cardona, Navy, 2011-14 – Cordona started as the Long Snapper for the Midshipmen for four years in Annapolis.  We saw him and the Mids attain a 7-5 record over those years.  In the 2013 game versus Hawaii, he caused a fumble on a punt return that led to a Navy TD in a 42-28 win over the Rainbows.  Since he’s been with New England, he’s started in every game.  He is stationed at the Naval War College in Newport Rhode Island still serving in the US Navy.  Of all the teams in the NFL, it makes sense that the Patriots drafted him in the fifth round in 2015.  New England HC Bill Belichick’s late father, Steve, served as a football coach and a phys ed instructor at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland for 34 years from 1956-1980. Bill Belichick is a graduate of Annapolis HS.

Go Navy! Go Joe Cardona!

DB Stephon Gilmore, DB South Carolina, 2011 – Gilmore was not only a classmate and a teammate of the Eagle’s WR Alshon Jeffery’s at South Carolina, he also roomed with him there.  We saw them both play against Navy in a 24-21 win and in the win over Clemson in 2011.  Both moved on to the NFL after their Junior seasons. In his final season in Columbia, Gilmore made 46 tackles and four INTs.  Gilmore was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the first round at No. 10 overall.   On Sunday, he will cover Jeffery on several occasions for the first time in his NFL career.

LB David Harris, LB Michigan, 2006 – Harris and the entire front seven of Michigan held Penn State to  -14 rushing yards and tallied seven QB sacks in a 17-10 win over the Nittany Lions in Happy Valley.  The Wolverines finished No. 8 at the end of the season with an 11-2 record. One was a 42-39 loss in the regular season finale to Ohio State before losing to USC in the Rose Bowl.  Harris garnered first team Big Ten defense honors.  He made 103 tackles that year. The Jets drafted him in 2007 in the second round 47th overall. This is his first season with the Patriots. He totaled 1.5 sacks, 16 tackles,  and 3.3 assists. He will be fired up to win his first Super Bowl ring ever as well.

Happy Super Bowl!

About Steveo

This website is dedicated to my unique and ongoing adventure to continue to see every major Division 1A (I despise the moniker "FBS") football team play in person at least once. I've seen all 124 teams in existence as of 2013 play and plan to attend games with the five newest editions in the next few years. This also records my ongoing adventures attending as many college football games as possible every season. I "officially" started this crazy goal in 1979. The upcoming 2014 season will be the 35th straight year of sharing this fun endeavor with others in person and through weekly reviews about each game I attend. Entering 2014, I have attended 459 NCAA football games at all levels. My book, Tales from the Tailgate: From the Fan who's seen 'em all! published in 2011, tells my story over 30 years of when I attended a game in person played by each D1A team for the first time. Now, I haven't attended a game at every major stadium on each campus (yet) because I'd probably be unemployed and definitely divorced by now. However, I'm proud to report that I remain gainfully employed and have been married to the same woman ("Saint Laurie") for almost 25 years. We have two kids that have recently ventured away from our home in Byram Township, NJ over the last few few years. Our daughter Alex is a junior at the University of South Carolina (Go Gamecocks!), and our son Eric is now enlisted in the United States Navy (Go Navy!). You will find that my site and my book focus on enjoying a passion for college football and great opportunities to have fun with friends and family around the country.

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