By Mike O’Brien ‘23
Knows a Guy
Editor’s note: This article appears in our annual Eggplant Edition, comprised exclusively of satirical articles.
In a recent effort by the NCAA to encourage more upsets in college football, coming as a surprise to many, the Holy Cross Crusaders football team headed down to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to play the famed Crimson Tide in an offseason “friendly.” Although many expected the game to be a relaxed walkthrough for Alabama to sharpen their play calling to prepare for the regular season, this was quite the opposite, as Bama seemed to treat the game like how they matched up against Ohio State in the National Championship. Not only did they go full tilt, but through an NCAA loophole, they were able to return multiple players who already declared for the NFL Draft. Gulp.
Holy Cross won the coin toss, which seemed to be the only thing they won this game, and deferred…which was a big mistake. Not even 15 seconds into the game, Alabama returner Jahleel Billingsley took the opening kickoff back 103 yards for a Crimson Tide touchdown, which seemed to set the tone for the rest of the game. Instead of settling for an extra point, legendary Alabama head coach Nick Saban decided to go for the two point conversion to really rub it in. Tide quarterback Mac Jones took the snap, ran backwards 15 yards, then closed his eyes and threw the ball over his head to a wide open Jaylen Waddle to make the score 8-0 off the bat.
After two pick-sixes from Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II and another pair of identical two-point conversions, the Tide quickly jumped on top 24-0 with 5:46 to go in the first quarter. At this point, the Tide were on pace to score nearly 100 points, but to the dismay of Saban, the Tide seemed to close out the first half sluggishly, only extending the score to 30-0.
Coach Saban was mic’d up during the contest against the Crusaders, and it was clear that he wasn’t happy in the locker room at halftime; a fired up Saban screamed at his players to get back on track, yelling “I don’t care if this is Holy Cross or LSU, we’re looking to bury these guys! Both teams wear purple and we absolutely despise LSU, just pretend it’s them!”
Likewise, Crusaders Coach Bob Chesney’s locker room speech was recovered, and he did all he could to fire up his players to keep them in the game; Chesney passionately told his squad “Guys, whoever puts any points up on the board for us will get twenty servings chicken parm from Kimball for the rest of the semester. Seriously, as long as the scoreboard doesn’t say zero for us by the end of the game, someone will be getting all the chicken parm they can eat.”
Holy Cross’ special teams struggled in a big way against Bama. Receiving the second half kickoff, the Crusaders looked to advance the ball past the 15 yard line for their biggest return of the day, but HC’s ball carrier got drilled by Alabama linebacker Christian Harris for a scoop and score touchdown to get Bama back on track. After a quiet 134 yards in the first half, Heisman winner DeVonta Smith exploded in the third quarter, posting 371 yards and three touchdowns. The Tide were now up 62-0 with two minutes to play in the third quarter.
It seemed that all of the Crusaders had given up on the game and the opportunity to score some extra chicken parm; except one. Somehow, the Crusaders had moved the ball enough upfield to set up a potential 55 yard-field goal. When Coach Chesney sent out the punting team, junior kicker Derek Ng approached Chesney and asked for the chance to kick a career long FG. With nothing to lose, Chesney obliged. Ng lined up for the kick, and drilled it. The HC players on the field and sideline alike went nuts, as they had finally put points up on the board to make the score 62-3. Nick Saban looked visually confused on the sideline.
When asked about the celebrations over the field goal after the game, Saban shrugged his shoulders and said “Good for him, I guess. It was a nice kick. Oh, and why did I keep hearing them scream something that sounded like ‘chicken parm’?”
Holy Cross’ celebrations seemed to rub Alabama running back and projected first round NFL draft pick Najee Harris the wrong way. With just thirty seconds left in the game, Harris took a handoff from Jones and rather than running out the clock, Harris trucked past three Crusader defenders for a 68 yard touchdown. Then, although not on special teams, Harris demanded that Coach Saban allow him to be on the kickoff unit, further demanding that they execute an onside kick. Saban obliged, and Harris recovered the kick himself and took it for a touchdown with zeroes on the clock to make the final score 78-3.
After the game, Harris told reporters “I was upset because chicken parm is my favorite meal and Coach Saban never lets us eat it. It’s b******t, man.”
Congratulations to the Crusaders on a valiant effort against the best college team in the country, and come back next week for a post game analysis on HC’s upcoming game against the New England Patriots.