Deion Sanders may well revolutionize the Pac-12 Conference in his new guise as Coach Prime at the University of Colorado (or, spoiler alert, he won't stay long to make much of a difference), but he has left the far better world of Division I-AA to do it. The money will be better and the spotlight he requires will be brighter, but the downside is that he will never again know the adrenaline rush that was Incarnate Word-Sacramento State last night.
The two teams, both led by coaches who will be following Deion into the desiccated gray waste of Division I, met in the FCS playoff quarterfinals and put together a game that should be shown today instead of at least three NFL games we can think of off the top of our heads. This right here is only one reason why: Marcus Fulcher washing down a 35-yard touchdown run with a quick swig of stadium beer. This happened once in a CFL game (and was swiftly banned by spoilsports in the league office), but also CFL players can occasionally be found with a G&T and a pack of Chesterfields in the huddle. Anyway, this intercollegiate version has its own standalone merits.
The kicker of all this is that Fulcher hit the bar after only the third of the game's 17 touchdowns. Had Fulcher done that after all of them, he could have been popped for a DUI on a jet sweep in the middle of the third quarter. As it was, this moment of clarity peaked way too early, as it only gave Sac State a 14-7 lead in a game Incarnate Word eventually won, 66-63. It was the highest scoring and most delightful playoff game in history.
Sac State, whose head coach Troy Taylor just took the top job at Stanford, churned a total of 738 yards of offense and did so despite committing four turnovers. But nobody will remember the turnovers except maybe Taylor because they also did this, and then seven minutes later, this. Yep, that is two (2) onside kicks, one sent down the middle of the field and recovered by the kicker. That, too, is worth a beer.
It should be noted that Sac State didn't actually win the game. The Fightin' Words did, with a 21-yard touchdown from seventh-year senior (!) Lindsey Scott Jr. to Taylor Grimes with 27 seconds left.
The touchdown was one of six that Scott created with his arm or legs, and his four TD passes gave him a record 59 for the season, with at least one and perhaps two more games to play before they either win the championship or head coach G.J. Kinne leaves for Texas State and the comforts of the Sun Belt, where stuff like this never happens.
Sac State got the ball one final time with a chance to win, but a failed Hail Mary throw ended their dream, provided their dream was to win and not merely entertain the hell out of an audience made up entirely of sickos, shut-ins, and state capital barflies. The game had 1,317 yards of total offense, 74 first downs, 182 plays from scrimmage (Sac State had 109 by itself) and lasted until ... oh, about 20 minutes ago. It will absolutely beat hell out of anything we’re likely to get from Patriots-Cardinals or Jaguars-Titans, and will definitely have more points than the Lakers and Pistons will amass by halftime.
And there was beer. Beer at the end of a touchdown is objectively good.