BRING ME SOME SMELLING SALTS! THE SKID MARK IS OVER! TEXAS BEAT A RANKED TEAM AT LAST!
Good thing I had my fainting couch handy, because I needed it. The ‘Horns went into Jones Stadium the underdog, and came out victors. In case you’ve been traveling outside the universe, Texas stunned Tech (and all the Texas fans), coming away with a 32-21 win over Tech. Texas scored first, which is unusual for them. The score was tied briefly in the first quarter, but then the ‘Horns regained the lead and never looked back. For the sake of my mental health, I’m just going to gloss over the third quarter and say, “Not quite what we expected. Ahem.”
How about David Ash? I can’t say enough positive things about this young man. Last week he played a garbage game, as you may have read in an earlier post. That’s right, I said he played like garbage. He would likely agree with me, if I had the chance to speak with him, which I don’t, but I’m not bitter, so stop saying that. All week leading up to the Tech game, the sports press had a field day, ginning up a story where none existed. “QUARTERBACK CONTROVERSY AT TEXAS!” screamed the headlines. Obnoxiously. Coach Brown simply responded that David Ash would start against Tech, the end, good day sir. And start he did! Start AND finish. With a flourish.
Now, Ash is a sophomore. He’s still a young player, but he has a season behind him. He has a season’s worth of learning plays, players, coaches, opponents, and how to keep his cool. That’s the real asset he brings to the game—ice water in his veins. When he’s off, he’s really off. Luckily, it doesn’t happen too often. And it says so much about him as a player and a competitor when, after a game like he had against Kansas, he simply shows up for practice and keeps trying, harder than the week before. I was watching the pre-game broadcast, fully expecting the station to cut away to an ice dancing competition or something, and spoil my day. (PS, I love ice dancing. So fun! So fluid!) Didn’t happen, good thing for Comcast. One of the pre-game presenters pointed out that David Ash showed up long before any other players came into the stadium to warm up. He was focused and intense, and he played like it. His statistics back up his calm and efficient leadership: he completed 11 passes out of 19 attempts (impressive!) for 264 yards. He threw for three touchdowns. Quite a banner day.
Let’s say more good things about the offense! No sign of garbage this week. In fact, one player had a career-high game. Who, you ask? MAGIC MIKE DAVIS, of course!
(This isn’t Mike Davis, by the way. He would wear a shirt with his tie, of course, like a civilized person.)
Davis had four receptions for a blistering 125 yards, and two touchdowns. One of those touches was that 75-yard glitter spiral that made me swoon and reach for my handkerchief. I was overcome. And no dropped passes for him! Davis is a solid go-to receiver for Ash, and performs flawlessly when the team needs him the most.
Also having an awesome day was my spirit animal, Johnathan Gray. He’s like an antelope! Every time he touches the ball you hold your breath, thinking, will this be the play where he breaks through the secondary and rides that unicorn across the goal line? We’re still waiting, but it will happen. Gray impresses me like Ricky Williams impressed me. He’s a mature player already. He has moves, he’s strong as an ox, and fast. Remember the tidbit about his dad playing for Tech? Apparently his dad felt it was appropriate to wear a Tech jersey to the game. LOLWUT? And! He sent a photo to Coach Brown of baby Johnathan wearing Tech gear. Blasphemer. Look, if my kid were a star running back for an elite university, I’d at least have on something to support the school. Yes, even if my kid played for Notre Dame or Oklahoma. Because it would be my kid! So after Johnathan tore up the Tech defense, I wonder how many times he said “IN YOUR FACE” to his dad? In my mind, he said it about 500 times, and even called his dad at 2:00 in the morning to say it again. For the day, Gray carried the ball 20 times and racked up 106 yards. This is his second 100+ yard rushing game. He continues to be a human rickshaw on the field, and slash through defenses. He is one to watch, and a true asset to the offense.
The offensive line overall had a stellar outing. Bryan Harsin gets an A- for play calling this week. I had to take off points for the third quarter, which we’re not talking about. After the abysmal outing last week, it’s nice to see what he’s really made of. And it’s wonderful to see the offense play up to its potential.
Now, it’s time for me to get out a knife and fork and eat some of those nasty things I’ve said about the defense. Not all of them—I’m saving room for later. One good game does not a recovery make. Much to my surprise, I found myself actually praising Manny Diaz on Saturday. After Tech went three and out on their first possession, I could tell the defense showed up to play. No cotton candy wisps for you, Tech! Despite injuries at key positions, the defense stepped up as a unit and kept a very prolific offense from really getting anything going. (Aside from the third quarter, shhhh.) How about Carrington Byndom? He was all over the Tech receiving corps, stopping offensive drives, batting down passes, and most importantly, blocking a Tech field goal attempt. The defense kept Tech from ever really establishing a rhythm on offense.
So folks, this game was won on both sides of the ball. Hallelujah!
Let’s talk stats for a minute. They are surprisingly even. Texas came away with 427 total yards of offense to Tech’s 441. Tech had 25 first downs, while Texas had 18. The important difference is that Texas scored on almost every drive (except the third quarter, which doesn’t actually exist). Tech was penalized 9 times for 85 yards. They put the “penal” in “penalize,” hyuk hyuk, don’t forget to tip the wait staff, I’ll be here all week. Moving on! Neither team had a turnover, which is a surprising stat. And both teams had almost equal times of possession: Texas at 30:30 and Tech at 29:30.
What’s the most important stat? That Texas held Tech to 22 points. This is an offense used to scoring 40+ points per game. Seth Doege will leave Tech having never beaten Texas, ever, the whole time he played there.
Perhaps the best thing for me was seeing Coach Brown at the end of the game, red-faced and leaping around the sidelines, overcome with unrestrained joy. Well played, sir. Well played.
Texas moved up to #17 in the BCS poll. Perhaps we’ll have a season after all.
Until next time, keep your horns up! Hook ’em!