Tag Archives: 2013

Just Ducky

7 Jan

TEXAS_oregon13Oregon 30, Texas 7

Dec. 30, 2013 • Alamo Bowl, San Antonio

Yeah, we lost. But if you’d told me our defense would give up just 16 points, I would’ve assumed that meant a Longhorn victory. I wouldn’t have imagined we’d let Oregon’s DEFENSE score on us—TWICE. The pick-6’s weren’t the only problem, though. Yet again, our offense seemed incapable of establishing a rhythm. Certainly, a health J. Gray would’ve helped, but the dropped passes, not to mention the east-west plays, killed us.

An eternal optimist, I’m an unapologetic sunshine pumper, but even I wouldn’t have picked the Horns to win this one. When I first heard we’d be facing the Oregon Ducks in the Alamo Bowl, I figured we were doomed. Playing the number 10 team in the nation, surely we would quack crack under pressure, right? Could our unranked Horns fill the bill, or would we end up looking fowl? Sure enough, every time it looked like we could catch up, we laid an egg.

For this TEXAS, I used rubber duckies (they were actually lip gloss containers!), but I could’ve used another water fowl. After all, this game was Mack Brown’s swan song. Even though I knew it was time for new blood, it was still hard to see Mack and Sally leave the field for the last time. Here’s what I put on Facebook after the game:

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So now the Mack Brown era is over, and a new coach is waiting in the wings. Under his leadership, may we not just stay afloat but take wing and SOAR.

Game highlights:

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And some shots from our visits to Fiesta Texas, the Riverwalk and Ripley’s Believe It or Not near Alamo Plaza:

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So there we go: Another season of spelling Texas is in the books, and the countdown for next year is already underway.

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Case Closed

7 Dec

TEXAS_baylor13Baylor 30, Texas 10

Dec. 7, 2013 • Waco

For 30 minutes, we hung with ’em. Tied 3-3 at the half, it looked like the impossible could come true. The hated land thieves had stolen the Cowboys’ conference title, and we were THIS CLOSE to nabbing it for ourselves. All we had to do was beat the Bears. We could almost taste the Tostitos…

Alas, we let that big ol’ bag of chips slip right through our frozen fingers, just like that Case McCoy pass did through Kendall Sanders’. Baylor’s offense came to life in the third quarter, scoring 17 unanswered points, and the writing started to appear on the frozen Brazos. Then came Jaxon Shipley’s electric 50-yard punt return, followed closely by Case McCoy’s Bridgewater-esque TD pass. The glimmer of hope was reignited, only to be snuffed out by subsequent defensive and offensive lapses. We really missed the spark Chris Whaley or Johnathan Gray could’ve provided, not to mention Joe Bergeron (who left the game with a bum ankle in the first half). Our guys kept fighting, but a late INT and Bear score signaled the end of our BCS dream and the culmination of Baylor’s. The Bears won the conference crown and earned a trip to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

Baylor won its first Big 12 title in its last game at Floyd Casey Stadium, a.k.a., “The Case.” All week BU fans had been sporting “Case Closed” T-shirts to mark the occasion. Of the 224 Longhorn games I’ve attended, most have been in DKR (duh). My next most-visited venue would be the Cotton Bowl (27 ou games plus a few bowl games, and even one Texas-SMU contest). I’m not sure exactly where Floyd Casey would fall on my all-time list, but it’s got to be up there in the 3 or 4 spot. Waco’s just an hour and a half from DFW, and we made the 90-minute drive from Austin a couple of times during our college days, too. Since it’s so close, it’s a pretty easy day trip to catch a game there. This year, we didn’t get tickets, and thanks to a massive ice storm that has enveloped the Metroplex, we would’ve had a doozy of a time getting out of here anyway. And watching all those fans huddled together in the 12-degree wind chill, I’ll admit that my living room, with the fireplace and comfy couch (with electric blanket!), was mighty cozy. Still, I always feel like I’m missing out when we don’t make the Baylor trip. I’ve really enjoyed our last few visits to Floyd Casey, and not just because we won. The parking is close and well-organized, and everyone, from the gate attendants to the concession stand workers, are super-friendly. And with 50,000 seats, there’s not a bad view in the house.

So this week, TEXAS is spelled with iPhone cases, a tribute to Floyd Casey Stadium’s 64 years of service to football fandom. I was hoping the cases would refer to heroics from a certain Mr. McCoy, but alas, he looked less like his brother and more like a backup QB in this outing. In the end, not only did this Baylor win close The Case, it most likely closed out Mack Brown’s career at Texas.

We have a few weeks off before our Horns head to either Phoenix (for the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl) or San Antonio (for the Alamo) or maybe a bowl even closer to home (please, Cotton, pretty please?). Until then, our plan is to stay warm, get some rest, and dream of all the titles that WON’T slip away once we have a new head coach.


Sweet dreams! And as always, HOOK ’EM, HORNS!

Trading Turkey for Tortillas

29 Nov


Texas 41, Texas Tech 16

November 28, 2013 • DKR

That fake punt. Sad that after a win, I’m still shaking my head over a fake punt that gave Tech their first touchdown. But my goodness, we were so busted on that play! I have to admit: Early on, I was afraid we were going to be the Raiders’ Thanksgiving dinner.

Thankfully, our guys found some offense (McCoy! Bergeron! Shipley!) and some punishing D (Jeffcoat! Jeffcoat! Jeffcoat!). Late in the game we even got to see a little Swoopes, and it was especially sweet to watch him score the first of what should be many, many Texas touchdowns. The result? A victory that was the sweetest pumpkin pie to follow that turkey of a loss to Oklahoma State.

So now the Horns can win a share of the Big 12 title by beating Baylor. Baylor, the team I just THOUGHT was a buzzsaw—that is, until I saw them undone by the Okie State Cowboys. Can we beat ’em? Who knows! But if we do, we can get a piece of the conference title, and that ain’t too shabby for this injury-riddled, mistake-prone, humiliated-by-lesser-teams team. (And if ou beats OSU, we can even win the title outright with a win over Baylor. A BCS bowl? THIS year? Now THAT would be crazy. Can you think of any other time when an unranked team has won its conference and played in a BCS bowl? Yeah, no.)


Every time I think about using something other than tortillas to represent Tech, I see or hear something that convinces me otherwise. Sure enough, at kickoff, tortillas flew from the north endzone stands onto the playing field. Yep, Techsters still love their tortillas! I like ’em, too. Gotta love any spelling medium that I can cut with scissors! Talk about flexible.

You know what I don’t love? Thanksgiving games. Oh, I didn’t mind the every-other-year schedule. That routine still gave me family time on those odd years. This annual schedule, though? For the birds (and I don’t mean turkeys). What I’d prefer? T+1 games. Give me those Friday games, and I would be there without complaint. Rumor has it that UT’s new athletic director may move the Thanksgiving game. Hey, I’d be satisfied if it just went back to every other year. But having a game EVERY Thanksgiving? No, thanks.

My best football buddies said just that this year. They both stayed home to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families. I did, too, but I ate and ran, leaving our lunch celebration after just 90 minutes to make the drive to Austin. I wasn’t thrilled to attend the game without my compadres, but I couldn’t stand the thought of missing this season’s last home game.

So imagine my joy when a friend offered me a seat with her, and not just any seat, but a place in a luxury suite. SWEET, indeed! Because of the holiday, she had extra tickets for her sister’s family suite, and she thought I’d enjoy sitting there for a change. The timing was perfect. And that’s how I was privileged to see my first game from a luxury suite.

And luxurious it was! Lots a great food and drink, an attendant/bartender, a private bathroom(!!!), comfy seats, two TVs, custom touches: It was all first-class. Compared to our usual seats, I had a great view of the field, too. It was a chilly evening, but being semi-indoors kept us from getting too cold. With the windows open, we could hear the crowd more than I thought we would. The only thing we couldn’t hear well was the PA announcer/Godzillatron. And I must say, I felt a tiny bit inhibited as the game progressed. I was far from silent, but there’s no doubt that this was the quietest I’ve ever been during a game.

I have watched 224 Longhorn football games in person, and this was by far the nicest environment I’ve ever experienced. But oh, how I wish my best buddies could’ve shared it with me! I missed the camaraderie, the griping, the cheering, the high-fiving. But since I knew they were with their families, I could just sit back and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime taste of the “suite life.”

Some suite and game pix:

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So that’s a wrap on the 2013 home season! It seems it was just a few days ago that our season tickets arrived in the mail, and now we’ve used the last one.

See ya next year, ol' pal!

See ya next year, ol’ pal!

But we’re not finished yet! Bring on Baylor and the bowl!

The Musical Fruit

17 Nov


Oklahoma State 38, Texas 13

Nov. 17, 2013 • DKR

As a kindergarten teacher, my mom organized all kinds of special events for her students. One particular occasion, as part of her Texas history unit, was her annual chuckwagon supper featuring “cowboy beans.” Now we all knew those beans came from Van Camp’s cans, but to her impressionable charges, they were straight from some cowboys’ “home on the range” campfire.

At our tailgate this week we enjoyed burgers, hot dogs, and yes, beans. With a ready supply of beans, I figured this Oklahoma State game would be a good time to pay tribute to my mom’s old classroom cowboy suppers. Nice homage, right? But the whole time we were spelling Texas, I was not thinking of my mother’s phenomenal teaching. All I could think of was the old rhyme: “Beans, beans, the musical fruit. The more you eat, the more you toot!” Isn’t that lovely? Classy, even?

As it turns out, the game was about as stinky as flatulence. Early on, it looked like we’d be able to keep it close. Then came the three interceptions and several gosh-awful special teams plays. (Fielding a punt deep in your own territory when there’s a stiff wind that’s certain to push that ball into the endzone? Not smart.) Add to that some dropped passes and missed tackles, and you get a toot-worthy outcome. The Cowboys turned out to be silent but deadly. Blech.

So much for our undefeated Big 12 record. We can still share the conference title, but we’ll need some help. (We’ll also need a whole lot of luck against the Baylor buzzsaw we’ll be facing that first Saturday in December.)

The game itself was a big disappointment, but the day was far from a loss. Brett attended his second ever tailgate (also his second in three weeks), and Ryan tagged along, too. Add one of my dearest college friends, and it was a special pregame gathering. Early in the game we got word that our friend’s daughter will be heading to the state volleyball tournament with her high school team. We also were privileged to salute our veterans, giving them a well-deserved ovation.

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You know, after our first two losses, we knew this wouldn’t be our year. The six-game conference win streak, especially that huge victory over ou, gave us hope that this season could be salvaged. Now, not so much. Our push to win the Big 12? Gone with the (broken) wind. Our hopes for a successful season? Farted away.


10 Nov

TEXAS_wvu13Texas 47, West Virginia 40

Nov. 9, 2013 • Morgantown, WV

In honor of the Mountaineers, this week we feature “mountain” candy: Andes mints and Toblerone chocolate. Of course, West Virginians only WISH their mountains were as majestic as the ones in South America and Switzerland. In fact, WVa’s highest point, at 4,861 feet, is more pipsqueak than peak compared to Texas’ highest, Guadalupe Peak, at 8,751.


Considering the small stature of West Virginia’s “mountains,” I probably should’ve used coconut Mounds instead. At least this candy gave me a chance to show off the bear hidden in the Toblerone mountain logo:


How is that relevant? Take a wild guess what the state animal of West Virginia is!

Enough of the candy talk. What about the game? Once again, the TEXAS spelling was much sweeter than the on-field action. I’d much rather talk about mountain heights or hidden logo images than discuss this game. (Seriously. Have you ever really looked at the logo for FedEx? Amazon? Cisco? So cool to see the hidden stuff. But I digress.)

The return of our porous defense, not to mention more questionable play-calling on offense, made me queasy. Then we took a couple of gut-punches when we lost two team leaders to injury—Chris Whaley and Johnathan Gray. (And how creepy was it to see JGray’s calf quiver right before he went down? What in the world WAS that? He took a step and we could clearly see what looked like the world’s largest twitch in his leg. Sheesh.) 

In the fourth quarter, when the teams kept trading leads, my stomach was giving me fits. Then, as the Horns tied it up to force overtime, I thought my heart would give out before game’s end.

But fate smiled on us in OT. As a wise man once said, “Nobody ever covers the TE on the goal line.” Fortunately for Alex De La Torre, that was true. He was wide open for the game-winner.

So here we are, 6-0 in the Big 12 and finally horning into the Top 25. But really, I have to think we’re more rank than ranked. This game showed us that we’re not that far removed from the BYU and Ole Miss losses. If JGray and Whaley are out, we’ll need to see some of that depth Mack assures us is there. And we have got to see the ou Case and not the Kansas and West Virginia versions.

Still, just as I said last week, we have the capability to beat any of our remaining opponents. (OK, maybe not Baylor. Good grief, that one may get ugly.) But can we? Can our fearless Horns run the table and capture that elusive fourth Big 12 title? Will we summit or plummet?

Tune in next week.

Seedy Start

7 Nov


Texas 35, Kansas 13

Nov. 2, 2013 • DKR

“Script Texas” remains one of my favorite Longhorn Band halftime shows, so it’s no wonder it shows up so often when it’s time to spell. Fortunately, sunflower seeds (representing Kansas, the Sunflower State) are pretty easy to “write” with. Unfortunately, our team’s slow start made us feel like we had a mouthful of those seeds: ready to SPIT.

It’s hard to know what’s going on with this team. We lost two non-conference games early, looking inept on both sides of the ball, but then we went on to win five straight, including a MASSIVE upset victory over the sooners, with a relentless running game and tough D. So what’s up with this struggle against Kansas, football’s 98-pound weakling? Really, until Chris Whaley rumbled into the endzone with another turnover-turned-touchdown, we weren’t feeling too comfortable.

But Whaley DID score that TD, and Malcolm Brown added four rushing scores, too. And just like that, our guys are 5-0 in Big 12 play! If I didn’t know better, I’d be tempted to think that maybe, just maybe, this could be the year we finally win another conference title. But then I look at our remaining sched: West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Tech, Baylor. Which team will show up for each of those contests, the BYU Horns or the ou Horns? Anything can happen, so of course, we’re holding out hope that the “anything” is WINNING.

This win was especially fun because my husband attended the game with me. The last time he saw the Horns play in DKR, we weren’t even married—and we’ve been married 19 years! It was extra special to share the whole tailgating, game and yes, spelling experience with my man.

Some highlights from the day:

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Never Doubt Pumpkin Power

15 Oct


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.



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”):



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


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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Cat Food

24 Sep


Texas 31, Kansas State 21

Sept. 21, 2013 • DKR

The last time we beat K State, we barely knew who this V. Young guy was, and Colt McCoy was still at Jim Ned High School. Even if our scouts had their eyes on Colt, we certainly weren’t watching YouTube videos of the young whippersnapper because YouTube didn’t even exist back then! Yes, our last victory over the Wildcats was waaaaaay back in 2003.

Fast forward to 2013, and we Longhorns already had two miserable losses in this young season and were out of the rankings. One coach was already fired, and another was on the chopping block. “Saban 2014” T-shirts were for sale around town.

It looked like we’d be ’Cat food, for sure.

For past games against the Wildcats, we’ve spelled Texas using Kit Kat bars. But you know, a five-game losing streak against these guys is a pretty good sign it’s time to try something different. That led to the cat food idea. I considered borrowing a handful of Friskies from home, but—EW!—that stuff smells SO bad! Instead, we used a different kind of cat food: FISH! Don’t all cats love fish?

Maybe, maybe not. But my kids love the sweet, gummy Swedish Fish candy, which means the prop could double as a tailgate treat. And surprise, surprise, the game turned out to be quite the treat, too.

Johnathan WithAnH Gray had a breakout game (141 yards, two TDs), David Ash had a GORGEOUS 63-yard touchdown pass to Kendall Sanders, and our defense looked like a real D. It. Was. Glorious. Colt’s younger brother, Case, came in for Ash in the second  half and didn’t miss a beat. Some really awful calls late in the game led to a fourth quarter Wildcat TD, pulling KSU to within 10, but two late fumble recoveries preserved the win (and saved us from our first 1-3 start since the 1950s).

This season may turn out to be as hard on us fans as gummy fish are on our teeth, but this win was good for the sole. We might have looked like we’d be cat food, but thank cod, the ’Cats are the ones who got schooled. For reel.

(I confess: I’m gillty of using fish puns—just for the halibut. Did you catch them all? Let minnow.)

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This Is the Place(mat)

8 Sep


Brigham Young 40, Texas 21

Sept. 7, 2013 • Provo, Utah

When our Horns played BYU in 2011, we used Honeycombs cereal in honor of the State of Deseret. This time around, our spelling is in tribute to Brigham Young’s famous “This is the place” line. (He most likely said, “This is the right place,” but “This is the place” is the name given to monuments and heritage parks, so who am I to bicker?)*

And you know, Brigham Young was right. Utah IS the place. It’s the place where our season went completely off the rails, just two weeks in. It’s the place where our defense gave up the most rushing yards EVER. It’s the place where any remaining faith I had in our defensive coordinator evaporated as quickly as that massive storm rolled across the Wasatch mountains pregame.


ChaCha agrees: This IS the place…for a nap.

I swear. This game was as lame as spelling with stupid placemats! From Daje’s injury to the awful penalties, this is one outing I’ll be happy to forget.

So on to Ole Miss! I’ll be there in DKR, screaming my head off. Regardless of our record or any game’s outcome, that stadium is MY place, and I’ll be there from “Eyes” to “Eyes” to cheer for my guys. Hook ’em.

*With the honeybee thing and the Brigham Young quote covered, I have now exhausted my Utah/LDS church history ken. You’re welcome.