Archive | October, 2013

Of Roaches and Rain Delays

30 Oct

TEXAS_tcu13Texas 30, TCU 7

Oct. 26, 2013 • Fort Worth, Texas
 

For our last two games against the Horned Frogs, we went the authentic route and spelled Texas with actual frog legs. Alas, this gameday was a crazy-busy one, so there was no time to hunt down some of the tasty amphibians.  Besides, I’m sure real horned frog legs would taste nothing like chicken! Instead, we went with the ol’ Darrell K Royal quote about TCU after the Frogs spoiled Texas’ perfect 1961 season: “They’re like a bunch of cockroaches. It’s not what they eat and tote off, it’s what they fall into and mess up that hurts.”

Disclaimer: As a DFW resident, I know tons of wonderful TCU fans, and I am in no way trying to say their team is a bunch of roaches. I also acknowledge that TCU has held its own of late, including that big 2011 Rose Bowl win. Still, this is a little nod to Texas history—not to mention an easy spelling medium to find this close to Halloween.

Last Thanksgiving, the Frogs managed to ruin our turkey dinners, embarrassing our woefully unprepared team in front of a national audience. This time around, with us all coming off the high of beating our arch-rival, it was easy to imagine our guys crashing back to reality right there in Amon G. Carter. TCU was even favored by 2! And honestly, until TCU fumbled deep in their own territory, it looked like we could be in big trouble. Fortunately, we managed to build a 10-point lead in the second quarter and my heart rate was starting to chill a little. But then the weather diverted our attention—and our plans for an early bedtime.

Kra-POW!

Kra-POW!

Watching the lightning streak across the sky to our left, we were optimistic that the storm would stay north of us. We checked and rechecked the radar forecasts on our phones, hoping against hope that the rain we’d been promised would just stay the heck away. With 6 minutes to go in the first half, though, officials cleared the field and the wait was on.

Rain, rain, go away...

Rain, rain, go away…

Ever so patient

Ever so patient

At first the delay seemed like a good thing, giving us a chance to use the restroom and grab something to eat. But then the lightning just kept on coming. We knew that each close strike meant another 30-45 minutes of waiting, so with each crash, we cringed. By the time the game resumed 3 hours and 6 minutes later, most of the sell-out crowd had headed home. The more hardy of us were able to upgrade our seats, opting for the nice chairbacks in our case.

We're back!

We’re back!

Our reward for sticking it out? Seeing a dominating Longhorn performance on both sides of the ball! After the delay, the game was never in doubt. That would’ve been plenty of “payment” for our loyalty, but Mack had another surprise up his sleeve: He burned Tyrone Swoopes’ redshirt! With David Ash still out and Case our only QB, Mack must’ve wanted to give Swoopes some snaps in a low-stress situation. Apparently Swoopes and the staff were OK with putting him in, and this late in a game with a 23-point lead seemed pretty darn low-stress! We certainly hope Tyrone will turn into the world-beater he seems destined to be, and when he does, we’ll be able to say we saw his first snap as a Longhorn.

Swoopes under center. The redshirt's gone!

Swoopes under center. The redshirt’s gone!

It’s crazy to think that this Longhorn team is the same one that lost to BYU and Ole Miss. But here we are, 4-0 in the Big 12 and after 42 days, finally—FINALLY!—heading back home to DKR. With the defensive improvements and the stronger running game, who knows what our team can accomplish? Hook ’em!

Some highlights:

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Never Doubt Pumpkin Power

15 Oct

TEXAS_ou13

Texas 36, ou 20

Oct. 12, 2013 • Red River Rivalry, Cotton Bowl, Dallas

 

Way back in 1995, the Horns played SMU in the Cotton Bowl during the State Fair of Texas. It was strange, being in the same setting as the annual Texas-ou game but without the crazy, hyped-up rivalry environment. It was at that game that Pumpkin Power came to be. My mom had packed us some of those Halloween candy pumpkins because (a) they’re tasty and (b) they’re orange! Whenever our guys needed a little extra mojo, we’d nibble on a pumpkin, and whadyaknow, it worked! Thus began the legend of “Pumpkin Power.” Once October rolls around, either my best football buddy or I will pick up a few candy pumpkins to pump up the power.

So Saturday, there we were in Fair Park, scared to death our two-loss team was going to get clobbered by the #12-ranked sooners. We checked off all our Texas-ou to-do’s: got there early, wore orange, saw Big Tex, ate Fletcher’s corny dogs for breakfast, bought our eight-ticket beer. What else could we do to help our team? Out came the Ziplock baggie with the candy gourds.

Man, those pumpkins must’ve been mighty powerful. How else can you explain this game? Not just one but two 100-yard rushers! A punt returned for a touchdown! A pick 6! The most bee-YOU-tiful over-the-shoulder TD reception! A backup QB looking every bit like the college football hero we dreamed he could be! Even Bevo was going nuts.

AWESOME SCENE.

AWESOME SCENE.

In many ways, this game reminded me of 1989. That year, we were also coming off a whew-worthy 31-30 win over an underdog (Rice), and no one picked us to beat the sooners. In that game, we took photos of the scoreboard in the first quarter, just because we didn’t expect to see our guys in the lead for very long. When we broke our four-game losing streak to ou that year, it felt like our half of the Cotton Bowl was going to explode with joy. Yes, we were thrilled to beat our arch rival, but more than that, we were SURPRISED.

Fast forward to 2013. A schedule conflict (and dad duties) kept one of our friends from attending the game for the first time in 27 years. Our other tailgating friends had stayed home, unwilling to sit through the beat down everyone could see coming. Turns out only the DFW locals in our group made it to the game. What a shame! About the only thing that could’ve made this day better would’ve been high-fiving our friends who had suffered through all those other losses with us.

Oh, and the weather. THAT could’ve been better. With temps in the high 80s and direct sunlight on us most of the game, we were melting out there. This was the hottest game we’ve seen all year since the others—even our August game—were in the evening with pleasant breezes.

But you know, even though we were sweating like crazy, we still got goosebumps. How could we not? Our guys were playing their guts out, making big play after big play on both sides of the ball. Was it better coaching? The determination of our seniors? Just a bad day for the Land Thieves? Maybe. But I wouldn’t discount the pumpkins!

Lots of photos this week: game pix with a Big Tex and a little Nutella thrown in. Be sure to scroll down past the slideshow for a couple of fun videos!

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From my phone:

 

 

From TexasSports.com:

 

A GIF of Chris Whaley’s rumbling pick-6 (which was the first time I’d ever heard of the internet sensation, “Fat Guy Touchdown”):

whaleytd_medium

 

And this goofy GIF of Daje’s punt return for a TD:

punter_medium

All Eyes on ‘Eye-owa’

6 Oct

TEXAS_isu13Texas 31, Iowa State 30

Oct. 3, 2013 • Ames, Iowa
 

The last time the Horns played a Thursday night, non-Thanksgiving game was way back in 1993, and since that was pre-marriage/kids/mortgage, it seems like a lifetime ago.

Speaking of lifetimes, this game nearly ended mine. I didn’t tweet this, but I concur: “Death by Texas football. That’s how I’m going to go.”

There were so many moments that nearly did me in: too many third-down completions short of the first down, a “Hail Mary” to end the first half, a stupid late hit in the endzone, a couple of fumbles… Oh, the fumbles! That potential fumble on the goal line that the refs called down? The replay official did not find sufficient video evidence to overturn the call, so the Horns kept possession. That led to Case’s winning TD late in the game. (It’s a good thing the Twitterverse did not get to make that call because it would’ve—rightly—gone the other way.) But even after that bit of drama, with less than a minute to go, the palpitations kept coming as Iowa State marched down toward field goal range.  It wasn’t until Jackson Jeffcoat intercepted a deflected pass that Longhorn Nation could at last exhale—and finally drop the defibrillator paddles.

Sheesh. Enough of that.  Even while we kept our eyes on Iowa State, the best thing to watch in our living room Thursday night was our little Daisy:

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