First, congratulations to the ‘Horns for a respectable 37-17 win against Wyoming! I’m sure those of you who were able to view the game, either in person or on the mythical Longhorn Network, enjoyed a respectable first showing. In news from the Poor Planning Department of Me, I signed up for a sailing class months ago, with the first on-the-water session being yesterday. Meaning I was trying not to crash a sailboat as the ‘Horns were kicking off. Alas, my game post-mortem comes from stats and reports from people whose lucky eyeballs drank in the action as it occurred.
I also want to say thanks to all of you who read my inaugural post! I appreciate you tuning in. I got some good feedback, and requests to discuss certain players (*cough*Malcom Brown*cough*). Trust, I will get to it. We have a whole glorious season ahead of us! Some of the feedback, though, came from my Duck homies, since I had some “things” to say about Duck football love vs. Longhorn football love.
Look, I love the Ducks. It’s hard to live here and not become a fan. I see Autzen Stadium almost every day, since I practice at the Serbu Juvenile Justice Center right across the street. This is the time of year when we break out the light jackets, and also when I can hear the football team at their morning practice when I get to court. Music blaring, scoreboard on… it’s a fun and exciting season. The Ducks delivered an old-fashioned butt-kicking to Arkansas State, and look to be riding a rocket straight to the top. That means more exposure for the school, better recruits, and an all-around improvement in the sports programs. So Ducks, I love and support ye.
But I love the Longhorns more. You knew that when we met. It’s no secret they were my first and strongest collegiate love. I can love you at the same time, but when these two go head-to-head…well, try to remember our good times.
Now, on to what other people thought of the game!
Fun fact: Wyoming QB Brett Smith went to high school with my daughter. West Salem Titans, represent! While he racked up a respectable 276 yards passing, he also threw two interceptions in the second quarter. Texas took proper advantage and answered with two touchdowns, sparking the offense.
Those of us who are Old and have been watching football a long time remember the Southwest Conference, which existed from 1914 to 1996. No, I did not see the first game in 1914, smart alek. There were charter members from several states, but ultimately the conference consisted of all Texas teams plus Arkansas. Incidentally, it was Arkansas who first broke from the SWC and spelled the end of the conference. We never liked them, but that sealed it. You could always count on SWC teams to be tepid in the first half, and bruising in the second. Well, to be fair to SMU, their players’ checks sometimes didn’t arrive until halftime, so.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at a Texas game, both as a student and as a real person, scratching furrows down my face during the first half of a game while the team played like Pop Warner rejects, only to have them come roaring to life in the second half, leaving us all drunk with victory. And, some of us were just plain drunk. Texas continues that trend to some degree, even today. Part of their strategy is to simply grind the other team down until they submit, generally sometime in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Texas usually has the depth to send in fresh body after fresh body. From all accounts, the Texas offensive line brought it last night against Wyoming, but were slow to get momentum going in their favor. After the defense made two interceptions, the offense got in sync and began to make things happen.
Most notable last night was the ground game. This is the smashmouth, up-the-gut football we all love. Joe Bergeron and Malcom Brown rushed for 110 yards and 105 yards, respectively. They made big plays and carried defenders downfield like human rickshaws. Texas likes its running game, and showed the power at its disposal last night. Johnathan Gray, my spirit animal, only saw five snaps and rushed for eight yards. I know what’s going on here. He wants to wait until I can watch the game before he explodes downfield in a shower of glitter and triumph. I support this plan.
David Ash had no interceptions! And that’s a cause for celebration. If he’s going to be at the helm, he must continue to play clean games. He won’t be mistake-free, but dumb-mistake-free is a great goal to have. He still has work to do—long downfield passes are nonexistent, and he tends to underthrow receivers. Against teams like West Virginia and OU (oh, it burns to say this) those mistakes will result in turnovers. We can’t have those, unless we’re talking about pastry, then yes, please. The receiving corps, including tight ends, didn’t see a lot of action last night. I’m hoping to see a more balanced approach in the weeks to come. We can’t live and die by the run anymore, unless we do, then I’ll just be wrong.
In other Big 12 news, new member West Virginia University is certainly representing the conference nicely. They came away with an impressive 69-34 win over Marshall. WVU QB Geno Smith was on fire. We should be afraid of this guy. Very afraid. However, note that Marshall hung 500 total yards on WVU.
And OU! What the heck? I was able to watch some of the game against the UTEP Miners. Holy cow, I haven’t seen such great comedy since Bridesmaids. The Miners man-handled the Swooners, sacked their beloved QB Landry Jones, and generally embarrassed Stoops & Co. for most of the game. I cackled, I shouted, I scared the dogs. The OU receivers apparently sprayed their gloves with football repellant before the game. It looked to me like the OU offensive line has some significant weak spots. The receivers were off, and the running game was not established until very late in the game. Several news outlets today are listing OU among the most overrated teams this season. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch. And yep, I’ll continue talking smack until we meet at the Cotton Bowl in October. You all know from experience that game is a crapshoot. One team will hand the other its behind. You know which way I hope that goes.
Next week, New Mexico comes to our house. Again, the game will be made of unobtanium for us slobs who don’t have the Longhorn Network. I’ll be breaking down the stats and reviewing predictions in the coming week. Until then, enjoy your Labor Day!