The losing streak against Kansas State is OVER. There was a lot of rejoicing in my household, where I was watching the game alone. Because no one will watch football with me, for good reason. The dog kept running in and out of the room to check on me, because I was shrieking like a lunatic. I’m amazed the neighbors didn’t call the police. Good thing I’m typing this because I no longer have a voice.
Let’s talk about pregame first. Folks, it is not in my best interest to suffer through a game announced by Brent Musburger. He is an Enemy of the State of Me and has been for many years. I declared an intifada but no one will listen. When I turn on my teevee machine and see him it makes my twitch come back and I need my nerve pills. Thankfully, he actually had some good things to say about our beloved ‘Horns tonight. I thought I was dreaming late in the game when he said, “The Longhorns turned in their most impressive performance of the season.”
I can’t be the only person who would like to see Eminem just go right into the control booth and call the game. His musical interludes were a highlight.
When Steve Edmonds made a big stop with that huge QB sack on K State’s first possession, I thought perhaps, just maybe, we were in for a different and better experience tonight. Indeed, we were. I’m glossing over that first Texas possession, when they started the game by muffing the kickoff and getting a delay of game penalty before ever snapping the ball. Erase, erase, erase.
After that embarrassing start, David Ash and the Texas offense settled in and went to work. It was great to see Jaxon Shipley get some action, showing off his amazingly reliable hands. Not content to have Shipley hog the spotlight, well-known spirit animal Johnathan Gray made an impressive hit on a K State lineman and knocked him to the ground. Then unicorns sprang from the earth and carried him off the field.
I softened toward Musburger just a skoosh when he called Nate Boyer his “favorite player in college football.” Rightly so, I might add. He’s a junior, and is the holder for Texas. Before that, he was in the Green Beret Special Forces, and earned the Bronze Star. He was a hero before ever taking the field.
Musburger also admitted that Texas “dominated in the first half.” So obviously the apocalypse is nigh. Go to Costco tomorrow and stock up.
The screaming started in earnest when Marcus Johnson made his impressive reception early in the game, getting things going for the ‘Horns. In total, Texas used eight different receivers for 19 receptions and 225 yards. #2 became #1 when Kendall Sanders hauled in an amazing 63-yard touchdown. Ash was killing it.
Texas used five different ball carriers who combined for 47 carries and 227 yards. That includes the gutsy fourth-down run by Alex De La Torre that made me lose consciousness for about 90 seconds. That was amazing. Johnathan Gray showed his promise all game long. He had 28 carriers for a career-best 141 yards. Oh, and two TDs. He ran over, through, behind, around…pick your preposition. He ran early and often and impressively.
As for Greg Robinson…well, I’m a believer. I can give him a pass for last week’s game, when he had only a few days to get things rolling as the new defensive coordinator. This week, the defense looked like an entirely different squad. In my pregame post, I noted that Texas had to work on defending against the run. Apparently, Coach Robinson reads my blog, because otherwise he would not have come up with the idea. (Work with me.)
The defense played with heart. There’s no other way to describe it. They defended the run with pretty darn good efficiency. K State ended with 390 yards, which is a far cry from the thousands of yards racked up against the Texas D in the last two games.
Let’s pour one out for our homies injured in the line of duty tonight. David Ash was out in the second half to be evaluated for a new head injury. Sigh. Those are serious, folks. I support keeping Ash out and avoiding a serious brain injury. Ash doesn’t have to sacrifice his brain for football.
Also out of the game was Jordan Hicks, which gave me a huge sad. No word just yet as to the extent of his injury. Fingers crossed he just tore a cuticle or something. And, Texas had its first ejection under the new rules enacted this year. Keep in mind these rules are meant for player safety. This topic was covered by gridirongirl editrix Nichole, which you can read here. It’s worth checking out, as you will see these ejections happening all season. Steve Edmond was ejected for “targeting” the K State QB. He sat out the second half and will sit out the first half of the Iowa State game. Bummer.
Despite the clear improvements on defense, Texas could not stop the long passes to Lockett. He caught everything that came close to him, and most importantly, those big plays downfield. So long as the defense continues improving, I have no complaints. The D came up with three important turnovers in the second half; two of them were in the last minutes of the game and sealed K State’s fate: a 31-21 loss. It’s about time.
After the game, Case McCoy told reporters, “It came down to us as a team, fighting,” Indeed.
The ‘Horns have a bye next week, which allows time for healing, and time for practicing. Texas next faces Iowa State on the road on October 3rd. I’m hoping my vocal cords recover by then. Hook ‘em!
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