Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Finally: BOWL GAME!

Goodness, where to begin?

I flew out of RDU about 6 p.m. Wednesday evening. The airport and flight went perfectly. I arrived at the Gaylord to a glass of wine and my smiling family. Now let me start by saying the Gaylord Opryland is by far the biggest, craziest place I've ever been. It's constantly busy and slightly touristy, but absolutely breathtaking nonetheless. Here are a few pictures from in the hotel.

One of many pretty waterfalls at the Opryland Hotel.

We had a lovely dinner at a steakhouse in the hotel and went to bed to prepare for the long day ahead of us on Thursday. My brother and I woke up at 6 a.m. while everyone else was sleeping. We proceeded to do a bowl game dance and giggle like little girls. We are always giddy with football, especially giddy with bowl games and unrecognizably giddy with bowl games that aren't in Charlotte.

After a walk around the hotel with my incredible tour guide (if you are lost, you want my 9-year-old brother with you), we got ready and boarded the Rams Club Bus to head into Downtown Nashville. Here are some bus pictures:

After the bus ride, we arrived at Wild Horse Saloon for a Rams Club pre-party. We ate, drank and enjoyed the music of Chase Rice. Chase played football at Carolina when I was in school. He was a couple years younger than me, so I didn't know him, but I did have a class with him. This year he was runner-up on Survivor Nicaragua. He is trying to make it in country music and now lives in Nashville. I must admit, I've never watched Survivor until Chase was on it. I have a slight (okay, major) crush on him. So when the following picture was taken, I was pretty happy.

Chase and I!
After Wildhorse, we headed off to the game. I can't even begin to describe this game. It was a close game throughout. Carolina was down three with barely any time left. There was huge confusion about what unit was supposed to come on the field and the clock ran off. The refs said, "The game is over," Butch shook Dooley's hand and we prepared to go home with another bowl game loss.

BUT WAIT. "We've been buzzed from the box. The previous play is under review." It turns out TJ (sweet sweet TJ) spiked the ball with one second left on the clock. We got a penalty for having too many men on the field, but one second was put back on the clock. The field goal until took the field and Baby Connie (Casey Barth) hit a field goal. OVERTIME.

Tennessee won the toss and decided to go second. After a few plays, TJ scored a touchdown on the quarterback sneak. Casey hit the extra point. Tennessee's turn. Tennessee scored a touchdown on an awesome catch and hit the extra point. (Side note: Tennessee's quarterback is so annoying. He's a freshman and does rude gestures the entire game. Makes me even more grateful for Teej.) DOUBLE OVERTIME.

We win the toss and elected to go second. Tennessee meanie-face quarterback Tyler Bray throws an INT right into the hands of fabulous senior Quan Sturdivant. Oh my goodness. Freaking out. Our turn. We run a couple of plays and then Casey comes in and nails the field goal. GAME OVER. CAROLINA WINS. I'm tearing up just talking about it. Those boys deserved that game and I couldn't have been happier. I don't have any pictures from the actual game, but I do have one from right after we won.

We weren't excited or anything.
It was an amazing game. We went back to the hotel and got to high-five all the players. It was all very surreal. We capped off the trip with New Years Eve at the beautiful Grove Park. Heavenly.


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