Archive | October, 2014

Happy Halloween!

31 Oct

09_texaspumpkin

05_longhornpumpkin

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Cat Scratch Fever

27 Oct

Kansas State 23, Texas 0

Oct. 25, 2014 • Manhattan, KS

To think we were so looking forward to this game! Maybe, just maybe our team had turned a corner and could put together four quarters of offense to add to the (mostly) tough defenses we had seen so far this season.

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My son was especially looking forward to K State—ever since I’d bought the Trader Joe’s “Cat Cookies” for Spell Texas. After each game he’d ask if it was safe to open the package yet, and for weeks I’d been saying no.

The cookies might’ve been worth the wait, but the game surely wasn’t. It’s hard to be excited about our offense when we didn’t see any. This was just my second game to watch on TV (thanks to away games that were close to home), so I anticipated sitting back and enjoying the game from the comfort of my couch. But not only was this one frustrating, it wasn’t at all FUN.  And our first shutout in 10 years? Yikes.

At least the cookies were tasty.

It’s a Twister

19 Oct

Texas 48, Iowa State 45

Oct. 18, 2014 • DKR
 

The twisty red candy that spelled TEXAS this week paid tribute to the weather phenomenon that represents Iowa State. And twisters were appropriate for this game: Our stomachs were all tied up and twisted until that last field goal sailed through the uprights.

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Passing Mustard

18 Oct

ou 31, Texas 26

Oct. 11, 2014 • Cotton Bowl, State Fair of Texas
 

There’s nothing like Texas-ou. Nothing! On what other day can you eat Fletcher’s corny dogs for breakfast, chase them down with 8-ticket Shiner, all while basking in the presence of Big Tex? This year we combined two out of three of those for our Spell Texas pic.

Years ago we spelled Texas with corny dogs (Fletcher’s, of course–the ONLY State Fair corny dogs, truly),

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but this year, we went with the dog-as-canvas approach. One of those delightful mustard-ketchup stations with the red and yellow striped canopies provided the “paint.” After a little creative squirting, Texas was spelled.

For the first half of this game, it seemed like Texas had cast a spell on ou. Our D was solid as usual, giving up just 3 points. (Stupid kickoff return and pick-6 accounted for the other 14 the sooners scored.) Meanwhile, our sputtering offense came to life, scoring 13 in that first half. And the stats were oh-so-lopsided:

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Then ou roared back in the second half, breaking the game open and taking a 31-13 lead. It looked like we were in for another spanking, but then it was the Horns’ turn to come to life. With just under 5 minutes to play, we pulled to within 5. Our tenacious D was all over the sooners’ offense, but they managed to convert two third-down plays on the way to running out the clock. In spite of all our mistakes, even though we killed ourselves with poor clock management and penalties, we were just one third-d0wn stop away from getting the ball with plenty of time for another TD.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda. None of the numbers matter except the score at the end, so here we are, encouraged by the team’s improvement but bummed with the results. With our 2-4 record, we’re off to our worst start in my lifetime. Funny thing, though: It doesn’t feel that bad. We all know we’re short-staffed thanks to Coach Strong’s newer, tougher standards for players. We all know that injuries have hit us pretty hard. We all know (oh, how we know) how much losing sucks. But we see improvement. Our defense has faced some powerhouse offenses and held its ground, and our new quarterback is coming into his own. And as we saw Saturday, these guys keep fighting, keep hustling.

That’s a big reason why so many of us cheered our losing team after the game. A spontaneous stadium yell (Texas! Fight!) broke out as soon as the team assembled in front of the band for “The Eyes.”

The atmosphere is always amped up for Texas-ou, but this felt different. Even though we lost, we were celebrating that Texas fight, that grit that brought us back from 18 down to within 5. That postgame ovation was our way of saying that we’re here for the losses because they’ll make the victories even sweeter. And we believe those victories are coming! I love that the team seems to have noticed our energy. Coaches Strong and Bedford both mentioned fan support in their Monday press conferences. They know we’ve got their backs. We believe!

We also know that win or lose, ou still sucks.

Some highlights:

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Sidenote about the Big Tex corny dog photo at the top:

I posted that picture to Instagram and to the Fletcher’s Facebook page, and then something funny happened. Fletcher’s shared my picture with its fans, who seemed to dig the shot. More than 200 people liked the photo, and 36 of them shared it on their own FB timelines. Crazy! My little off-center, too-dark photo was making the rounds.

The University Co-op took notice, too. I tagged the photo with #CoopGameDay to enter the Co-op’s weekly photo contest and was delighted to find this on Monday:

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$300 to spend at the Co-op? As Tex would say, “Howdy, folks!” Now if I can just find $300 worth of merchandise there that I don’t already own… Thanks so much, Co-op!

Nauseating

6 Oct

Baylor 28, Texas 7

Oct. 4, 2014 • DKR
 

Czech Stop honey bears, Teddy Grahams, even Waco-born Dr Pepper have all helped us spell Texas for past Baylor games, but this year, we used Pepto Bismol. Why Pepto? To pay tribute to the Bears’ rallying cry, of course. Haven’t you heard of their (much lesser) version of Hook ’em, “Sic(k) ’em, Bears”?

Turns out the Pepto was a pretty good choice considering how many gut punches we took through the afternoon. Ouch. From the blocked FG returned for a Baylor TD (the only score in the first half) to the goal line fumble, from the over-the-top showboating that cost us a huge gain to the atrocious officiating that cost us precious momentum, this one was pretty tough to stomach.

But hey! Our defense made Baylor’s top-ranked offense punt! Multiple times! Our tenacious D did not give up any points in the first half! Except for those two lousy turnovers, our stats on both sides of the ball match up really well with the Bears, who were ranked #7 in the AP Top 25 coming into this game!

Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s all true, but like UCLA three weeks ago, this was another one that got away. Our D was just worn down and worn out in that second half, and our offense, in spite of some bright spots, struggled to—oh, you know, what’s that word again?—SCORE. Yes, Baylor’s defense has been impressive all year. Yes, we did better than anyone who has tried to contain Baylor’s productive offense. Yes, we can see definite improvement in our Horns. But when can we see that orange Tower?

After the game Coach Strong talked about how our team needs to learn to close out these tough ones. And here I am again, saying I believe in Coach Strong. I just KNOW that big turn-around moment—a massive upset or a come-from-behind, unifying game—is right around the corner. I could feel it against UCLA, and I felt it versus Baylor, which makes those losses that much harder to take.

Maybe, just maybe that big moment will happen Saturday in the Cotton Bowl. Our defining, breakthrough victory is overdue. Surely someone has told Coach Strong how we tell time around here.

Pregame and game photos:

My niece and her daughter were our guests for the tailgate and game. It was fun to see the whole experience through my great-niece’s 9-year-old eyes!

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One of our tailgate hosts got us a trailer to keep all our canopies and other supplies together.

He's been our starting quarterback for just four games, but I gotta say, I like Tyrone!

He’s been our starting quarterback for just four games, but I gotta say, I like this Tyrone fella!

Apparently, I'm not the only one with Swoopes Fever!

Apparently, I’m not the only one with Swoopes Fever!

Other shots:

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