Surprises, oddities, strange happenings — and it’s why we watch the games

Last weekend put a smile on the faces of many sports fans. I have many friends and family who happen to be both Ohio State Buckeye and Cleveland Browns fans. Do you think they were smiling?

The day before THE game in Columbus, my nephew and I agreed that Ohio State “could” win the game. We also agreed that we would not be surprised if they got blown out. Under no circumstances did we think it would be the Buckeyes dominating the action. But, that is why they play the games and why we watch them.

Ohio State was 10-1, playing in the Shoe, AND was the underdog. Perhaps more significantly, Buckeye fans understood why. Ohio State was seemingly four or five plays away from being 6-5, Michigan had just the one loss to undefeated Notre Dame and deserved to be the favorite.

Then the game began and I’m not sure who was more shocked. It might have been Wolverine fans, but then again few Ohio State fans saw this one coming. A 62-39 drubbing and it was Ohio State heading to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship game.

Then there was the final minute of the first half. With the Bucks leading 21-6, you could have made a lot of money by betting the halftime score would be 24-19. That’s right, three scores for a total of 16 points happened in less than a minute and it could have been more. Who saw that coming?

The next day the Browns went to Cincinnati to play the Bengals. It is true these Browns are better than the “Clowns” that won one game in the last two years. They also were on a 25-game road losing streak so … No Browns fan was putting this one in the win column before kickoff.

The Browns jumped out to leads of 28-0 and 35-7 before winning by 15. I asked my friends which game was most surprising and no one could decide!

Staying with football for the moment, did you catch the LSU-Texas A&M score? With the scoreboard reading zeros it appeared LSU had come away with a 31-24 victory. The officials however, decided to put one second back on the clock and the Aggies scored a TD. The extra point sent the game into overtime. No one — I mean NO ONE — could have predicted what was going to transpire next.

The two teams traded field goals in the first extra session. They then traded TDs with an extra point. College rules say that if a team scores a touchdown starting in the third overtime it MUST go for a two-point conversion. The theory is that most games won’t go past the third overtime.

Apparently these two schools didn’t get that memo.

Five more overtimes were played and here is the scoring for each. 8-8, 3-3, 6-6, 8-8 and 6-8. Texas A&M prevailed 74-72!

I wonder if some fans left the game early. You can bet some did and you can also bet that, 20 years from now, when they tell the story of this classic game that they will choose to omit the part about them leaving before it was over.

In searching for some other odd sports moments I found a couple from the sport of baseball, but space restraints will keep me from including them in this column. I will save them for a later date, but I promise you won’t have to wait for baseball season to peruse them.

So let me finish with one more oddity from the sport of football. If you follow the NFL you are well aware that many kickers have struggled this season. The Browns cut their kicker after missing a potential game winning field goal. The Minnesota Vikings cut their rookie place kicker after missing more than one kick in an early season game.

Other kickers have struggled but retained their position (at least for now) with their current teams. One of those was Mason Crosby of the Green Bay Packers. The veteran missed three field goals and an extra point in a game earlier this season and I can still see quarterback Aaron Rodgers consoling him on the sideline after the game.

Another kicker who duplicated Crosby’s feat was Cody Parkey of the Chicago Bears. A few weeks ago Parkey missed three field goal attempts as well as an extra point. So why is his less than stellar effort different from Crosby’s? Well, let me tell you.

All of Parkey’s missed kicks hit the upright! Three of them clanked off the right upright and the other one plunked the left upright. That’s right — to quote John Madden — they all “doinked.”

One could not go out and TRY to hit four kicks off the uprights. It could never happen, right?

If the world of sports teaches us one thing it’s to “Never say never.”

Al Stephenson is a sports columnist for The A-T.

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