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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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

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