“Don’t stop believing.”

The greatest feeling I’ve ever had in my life was when I watched a 34 yard field goal sail through the uprights at Mackay Stadium on Friday night.  It was surreal.  Finally after 5 years of hard work, I truly felt like we had done our best to accomplish our goals we set out for ourselves.  We were no longer wasted potential, we didn’t let an opportunity slip through our fingers, we seized the opportunity and took advantage of it.

We had beat the #4 team in the nation, Boise St.

We are 11-1, and now we are in full control to become WAC champions when we travel to Ruston, Louisiana to play Louisiana Tech on Saturday.

Now, we’ve won a few big games this year. We beat the #24 ranked Cal team at the time in Mackay Stadium as well at the beginning of the year.  We went on the road and came back to win a nail biter against Fresno St a few weeks ago.  But this Boise St game, this is something we’ve had marked on our calendars since the last time we played them.  For a full year all we heard was are you playing good enough to beat Boise state?  Are you lifting enough in the weight room, to be able to beat Boise st?

Every time we stepped on that football field we were grinding.  Working, trying to get better, so we could beat Boise st.  We were all tired hearing about how great Boise St was and how they deserve a shot in the national championship, that they have the best defense in the nation and we would be hard pressed to score points with them.

We didn’t buy into all that though.  We just focused on getting better, playing our best game against other teams and trying to continue to focus for the big game we all knew was coming the day after thanksgiving.

Then that day came, and we fell behind early. A position we’ve been in before, but we didn’t quit, we didn’t say oh damn, they’re better than us, this is what’s supposed to happen. We kept grinding.  Grind ’til we get it, is something you can hear players all over our sidelines saying throughout the game.

As an O-line we made our mistakes early, I was apart of it. Emotions were running high, top 5 team in Mackay Stadium, Senior day, WAC championship implications on the line, what more could you ask for right?

Well, we still had to settle down and play our game.  We did that as the game went on, and you could see us dominate the line of scrimmage throughout the 2nd half and the scoreboard reflected that.  We closed the 17 pt deficit and sent the game to Overtime.

After a few missed fields goals by Boise St, we were given our opportunity to go on a game winning drive, knowing that we just needed to hold on to the football and get a few more yards to get into field goal range for our kicker, Martinez.  Then I watched a 34 yard field goal sail through the uprights and I knew that I had cemented my place in history at the University of Nevada being apart of the best football team that had ever strapped the pads on and played for the Wolf Pack.

We all believed it. Every time we broke practice as a team we broke as “WAC Champs.”  We knew what we wanted, and we knew what we had to do to get there.  We might as well have broke the huddle”Beat Boise St.”  Now that we have beaten Boise St, we have an even more important game this saturday against LA Tech, playing to put a ring on our finger!

There’s two more games left in the season, and they’re both championship games. Two more opportunities to cement our legacy, two more opportunities to put Nevada on the map.

This season just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?

 

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About johnwbender

John Bender Graduate of the University of Nevada Offensive lineman for the Calgary Stampeders
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5 Responses to “Don’t stop believing.”

  1. Bird says:

    That was a nice little second-half jog downhill, yeah? Impressive drive after impressive drive right through them. What a game to experience- thank you Union and thank you sir!

  2. Darren says:

    Great post ! What a fine example of a team not only setting a goal but having the commonality of faith, hard work, good coaches and of course talent. As you advance these last two games and then the next step of life after college I hope that life continues to bring you success in every aspect of every thing you do. I regret not making it up there 11/20 due to the weather. Maybe a bowl game? 🙂 Keep in touch, Darren

  3. Patrick H says:

    I’m thankful to have you representing my alma mater and I’m happy that you and the rest of the players recognize that the game vs LaTech is as big as the games vs Cal and Boise State. Gotta get that WAC title. You guys really are making memories…ones that the entire community won’t soon forget, if ever.

  4. Neil says:

    Can’t thank you enough John for what you’ve done here at THE University of Nevada. Happy Senior day and I hope to be watching you play on Sundays. Where ever life leads you, thank you for being such an outstanding representative of the Wolf Pack.

  5. Rich L says:

    Awesome job all year and your entire career! You and the rest of the lads deserved this win! No go beat the crud out of LaTech and whoever we play in the bowl game!!

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