The Sleeping Beauty, or Texas in the First Half

Well, ‘Horns faithful, we can chalk one up for the good guys. While I’d like to forget that garbagy first half, sometimes it’s good to know what NOT to do. We’ll get to that in a minute.

Y’all, I’m exhausted so I have to collect myself before going on. This was quite a weekend, and I’ve been fighting a cold, which puts a hitch in my get-along. Friday night, gridirongirl hosted a “Football 101” event. Lovely editrix Nichole put the event together, with special guest stars Kenny Wheaton and Damon Griffin, formerly of the Oregon Ducks and the NFL. Also on-hand was surprise guest Gary Campbell, running backs coach for the Ducks. I had the absolute pleasure of meeting some fellow bloggers—shout out to Tracie (Alabama), Erica (Notre Dame/Patriots), and Brenda (Oregon State). What a treat to meet you! Saturday ushered in a gridirongirl tailgate before the Oregon game, and later the bloggers retired to Buffalo Wild Wings to talk football. For three hours. It was a match made in heaven and I certainly hope we do it again. gridirongirl 4LYFE!

Back to the game. Gentle Readers, you’re all aware of my special feelings about the Longhorn Network. They make me feel all the bad feels. My wonderful husband went online and found a way for me to listen to the games live during those times when no amount of American dollars can put the games on my teevee. I can’t describe the relief I felt when I heard the dulcet tones of Craig Way giving me and my brainwaves the play-by-play. I kept listening to the game, even while I was talking serious football with four other women at a loud restaurant. Oh, and the hubby was there. Have I told you he’s terrific? He absolutely enables my sports addiction, or as I like to call it, my “enthusiasms.”

So why talk about “Sleeping Beauty?” Because the ‘Horns’ offense was asleep on its feet during virtually the entire first half. Did Maleficent give them a pre-game speech then stab the players with a spindle as they went out onto the field? Whatever the case, the first half was garbage, garbage, garbage. However, let me say this: If the ‘Horns have to play like garbage, this was the game to do it. Non-conference, first game of the season, work out the kinks, make sure everyone remembers how to football. With about two minutes left in the half, David Ash swanned in as Prince Charming. Although there were no reports of on-field kisses, he still knocked the sleep out of the offense and brought things roaring back. Second half, things got even more interesting, and Texas took control in convincing fashion.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the record-setting offensive effort the ‘Horns put up. 715 yards of total offense—356 passing, 359 on the ground. These are the kinds of numbers you expect with the up-tempo offense. Ash went 20-28 for 343 yards, with four touchdowns. Can’t leave out the two interceptions—down the road, Ash can’t make these kinds of mistakes without a huge cost. Here’s hoping he got those out of his system. Here’s a surprise for you—the leading rusher was Jalen Overstreet, a freshman, putting on a great debut performance. He rushed for 92 total yards and two touchdowns. More, please! The leading receiver was Malcolm Brown with 109 yards. Daje Johnson was the second-best, with 67 yards. I caught some highlights of Johnson and was blown away. He continues to impress. As for David Ash, he earned his spot as Prince Charming. The team looks to Ash for guidance when things don’t go well. He once again showed grace under pressure, maturity, and leadership. Well done!

It’s a bit more difficult to provide any insight on the defense, without watching the game. If you look at New Mexico State’s offensive stats, you get a picture of a defense that did some things well, other things not so much. Here’s a plus: The Aggies punted nine times. Texas punted three times, and the Aggies had zero yards on punt return. They lost 50% of their fumbles, but so did Texas. Their time of possession was 36:12, but with the up-tempo offense, this will mean less and less, when Texas has two-minute scoring drives. The Aggies had poor third down efficiency, but good fourth-down efficiency. At this point in the season, I have not yet begun to panic. My Manny Diaz voodoo doll is still packed in chicken feathers from last year. We shall see if he comes out to play.

Next up for Texas is a game I can actually watch—the BYU Cougars. The ‘Horns released their depth chart today, but let’s leave something to talk about for next time. Or, if you want to follow me on Twitter, you can see it there. Seriously, follow me: @TXgridirongirl. And I hope you listened to the Texas Exes pregame podcast featuring yours truly! More to come in the future. For those of you, like me, who suffer without LHN, you can see some terrific highlights at: http://scores.espn.go.com/ncf/recap?gameId=332430251&confId=4

Until next time, keep your horns up! Hook ‘em!

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