Troy players shine in Super Bowl

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 3, 2008

The issue: The Giants won the Super Bowl with significant contributions from players who graduated from an Alabama university.

Our position: Congratulations to the Giants and also to former Troy University athletes Lawrence Tynes, the place-kicker, and defensive end Osi Umenyiora.

The Super Bowl is history. Most people did not have interest in the game because the New England Patriots were supposed to have won the contest handily over the scrappy New York Giants, who were a wild card shot anyway.

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But the game is never over until that final second ticks off the clock.

The Giants won.

Mississippi has a lot to brag about. After all, the father of Giants quarterback Eli Manning is the famed No. 18 of Ole Miss

and New Orleans Saints fame, Archie Manning. Archie also is the father of another Super Bowl MVP quarterback, Eli’s older brother, Peyton Manning.

But Alabamians also have reasons to be proud. A couple of Troy University alumni held their own Sunday, and, indeed, contributed mightily to the Giants’ overall success.

This is Lawrence Tynes’ fourth year in the NFL. The 29-year-old kicker, who was born in Greenock, Scotland, finished high school in Milton, Fla., and later went to play at Troy University.

While at Troy, Tynes set school records for 45 career field goals and 262 points. In 2003,

he went to the Candaian Football League and played for the Ottawa Renegades. There he holds the records for the most field goals in a single game and most field goals in a single season. In 2004, he went to the Kansas City Chiefs to follow in the shoes of Morten Andersen. He was traded to the Giants last year after a poor year in 2006.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Tynes missed a couple of field goals that likely would have won the game against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship

Game. A third time proved the charm in overtime after Tynes connected from 47 yards out. That boot sent the Giants to the Super Bowl.

And, in Sunday night’s game, Tynes kicked to put the first 3 points on the board, then added the PAT to seal the win after Plaxico Burress’ go-ahead touchdown reception.

But it wasn’t all offense for the Giants.

Lineman Osi Umenyiora, a defensive end from Auburn, who was drafted out of Troy,

Umenyiora had three solo tackles out of four total.

Key, though, was Omenyiora’s recovery of a Tom Brady fumble after the ball was stripped by Giant defensive end Justin Tuck. That stopped the Patriots from adding to the lead late in the game.

Umenyiora was drafted in the second round in 2003 out of Troy, where he finished second in the nation with 16 sacks.

In his first year, he started every game for the Giants and logged 70 tackles and 14.5 sacks, making him second in the NFL .

In 2004, he picked up a fumble in a game against the Baltimore Ravens and scored his first NFL touchdown by returning the fumble for 50 years. The second TD came in October of this season against the San Francisco 49ers after Umenyiora sacked Trent Dilfer, forced a fumble, recovered it and raced 75 yards into the end zone.

In the fourth game of this season Umenyiora posted six sacks against the Philadelphia Eagles to set a Giants’ franchise record. He’ll make his second Pro-Bowl appearance soon as the only Giants player voted to the team by the fans.

While the boy from Mississippi might have stepped into the limelight because of his position, it does not prevent the rest of us from congratulating these two fine products of Alabama college football for their play this season.

After all,

in this state, football is king.