Charlie Strong, that is. In the locker room. On his players. (With a hat tip to Apocalypse Now for the slightly colorful source material providing inspiration).
Have you seen a clip of that joyous moment, after the game, when Coach Strong and the players joined for a moment in a much-deserved celebration? If not, I urge you to check it out here.
We should hold hands and revel in this for just a minute: Texas hasn’t beaten a ranked team at home since 2008. That’s a long dry spell, people. On Saturday, Texas whipped up on West Virginia and beat them by SEVENTEEN POINTS. I feel faint just typing it.
My local utility company had a service outage at the substation right by my house. Meaning my electricity shut off without fanfare at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Now, my dear husband was working in the garage, allowing me to enjoy my “enthusiasms” alone. Well, with the pets. Who were terrified by this point because, screaming. I digress. I raced to the garage, certain my hubby had either 1) electrocuted himself, or 2) shut off the power without warning me to work on something. Neither possibility was acceptable. Turns out he was as mystified as I. So, I missed the entirety of the fourth quarter. The power came back on in time for me to see the very end of the A&M / Auburn game. Losing on a butt-fumble has to be a tough way to go. Sorry, Auburn, but congrats, Ags!
For once, ‘Horns fans, we were the ones celebrating a resounding win, and not crying into our nerve pills.
Folks, we got a glimpse into the football machine being constructed at Texas. Anyone who doubted Coach Strong can take several seats. This man, and his staff, are the real deal, and they will lead us out of the desert. If we give them time.
It was discussed all week—Texas needed to perform on both sides of the football to shut down the potent West Virginia team. The first half: good night nurse! Lights-out on both sides of the ball. The second half: what is going on and do you even football.
Luckily, the defense kept the game in control. WVU didn’t score a touchdown until the FOURTH QUARTER. This is an offense used to scoring at least 30 points per game. They were shut. Down. Completely. The fearsome Kevin White was a non-issue. Late in the game, WVU had some success running the ball, but it wasn’t enough to even bring the game within range. It was all Texas, all day, and oh my, did it feel good! As I posted on Twitter, the Texas defense is burdened with glorious purpose.
Well-known spirit animal, Johnathan Gray, had his first 100-yard rushing game. Malcolm Brown ended with 90 yards rushing. Both players got dinged in the waning moments of the first half, after hard hits to the upper body. Like the honey badger, they slept it off at halftime, and came back ready to go.
While Gray and Brown were on the sidelines, we got to see the future of the Texas run game. And we liked what we saw.
I really hope you caught Gray’s 39-yard run for a touchdown. It was just me and the pets, and after the play, I woke to my Aussie licking me in the face. So much yelling, I must have used up all my oxygen. Totally worth it.
Positive takeaways from this game:
- Texas has a burgeoning, potent offense. It’s happening, people.
- The defense proved it isn’t a fluke. Texas D played hard-core against a high-scoring, ranked opponent. They are to be feared.
- At last, at long, long last, we have a punter. Welcome, #35. Make yourself at home, and feel free to continue pinning opposing teams’ offenses inside their own 3-yard-line.
- Offensive play calling. On 3rd down and short, there is no need to go downfield on a fade route every singe time. Vary it up a bit.
- Swoopes sets the pace for the offense. We need two positive halves for him.
- There is a defensive scheme aside from 3-3-5. Try it out.
Final score: Texas 33, West Virginia 16. One step closer, my friends, to a bowl game. Next up, Okie State. And for the first time this season, I’m looking forward to what’s next.