Tag Archives: bowl game

Drop Your Buffs

18 Feb


Texas 55, Colorado 23

December 29, 2020 • Valero Alamo Bowl, San Antonio

As a fan of the TV show Survivor, I have a couple of Buffs, the bandana-like head coverings contestants wear. Since our Horns were playing the Buffaloes, a.k.a. the “Buffs,” I couldn’t resist the chance to merge my two fandoms.

It was great to be back in San Antonio for yet another Alamo Bowl, but this one was unlike any other. The typically packed stairs and corridors were empty. In the seating bowl, every other row was roped off, and large numbers of seats were zip-tied closed. All spread out, we ended up kinda lonely in the upper deck, but hey, we were there! 

And even though we couldn’t go inside, we still made our required family stop by the Alamo.


The other tradition we made sure to follow: Winning our bowl game! This one was never in doubt, and it was fun to kiss this strange season goodbye with a victory. And even though he only played in the first half before Casey Thompson took over, it was nice to see Sam Ehlinger end his Longhorn career with a W.

The next day we celebrated with lunch at Mi Tierra’s, the renowned San Antonio institution that we had never managed to visit previously. We also went to the botanical garden so Katie could see the cool terraces that were used in the 1980s movie Cloak and Dagger.

Whew! It was a wild, weird season, but as always, I never took attending these games for granted. Especially in stadiums that were only a quarter full, it was a privilege to be there to cheer for my team in person!

Texas Sports recap

Texas Sports box score


Letting the Chips Fall

18 Feb


Texas 38, Utah 10

December 31, 2019 • Alamodome, San Antonio

No secret that I love bowl games! I love the travel, I love the hoopla, I love the let’s-get-one-more-chance-to-see-our-team-play of it all. And when we win? It’s the best!

Ryan, Katie, and I headed to the Alamo City the day before the game, just in time to visit Fiesta Texas. The next morning, we were up early to tour Mission San Jose, taking lots of photos for Ryan, our Texas history teacher. Then we made it to the Riverwalk where we feasted on the traditional pregame meal at Casa Rio and did the river taxi tour.

And then gametime! We had great seats in the lower bowl, so we got some great views of Sam’s touchdowns. Our defense really put this one away, though, holding the favored Utes, ranked #11 at the time, to just 10 points.

And that’s a wrap on the 2019 season! As we looked forward to seeing our Horns back in DKR the next fall, we had no idea how different games would be in a pandemic. But we knew no matter what, we’d be there!

The day before the game, stopped at Buc-ee’s on our way, naturally. At Fiesta Texas we took in the Holiday in the Park decorations, and we got to ride the new Wonder Woman coaster. With its single-rail construction, it makes you feel like you’re really flying!

The morning of the game, we headed out to the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park. This time we visited Mission San Jose. Out of all the times we had been to San Antonio, this was our first trip to one of the famous missions (besides Mission San Antonio de Valero, a.k.a. the Alamo). 

From there we went downtown to park for the Riverwalk, Alamo, Tower of the Americas, and the game, of course. For lunch we ate at Casa Rio, and when I recognized the brick wall next to our table, I got Ryan and Katie to recreate their pose from 2006.


Thanks to an Alamo Bowl hashtag, we also got this pic on the big screen at the game!


We also did the river cruise, visited the Alamo (it’s a law), and went up to the Tower of the Americas observation deck. Did I mention how much I enjoy being a tourist on these bowl trips? After all that exploring, we were ready to settle in for the game.

Texas Sports recap

Texas Sports box score

Sweet Victory

13 Aug

Texas 28, Georgia 21

Jan. 1, 2019 • All-State Sugar Bowl • Superdome, New Orleans

How sweet it is! I’ve always heard that you can’t spell “SUGAR” without UGA, but our Horns showed that they belong among the nation’s elite.

From ESPN: “Sam Ehlinger ran for three touchdowns, the Texas defense largely held Georgia’s offense in check, and the Longhorns earned their first 10-win season since 2009 by beating the Bulldogs 28-21 in the Sugar Bowl.”

The win put a gorgeous burnt-orange bow on what was already a fantastic mother-daughter road trip. And then the post-game festivities on Bourbon Street made this gameday one of the best ever.

Texas Sports recap

Texas Sports box score

Sweet Road Trip

6 Mar

December 31, 2018

In spite of the disappointing Big 12 championship game, we still enjoyed a sweet reward for the season: the Sugar Bowl! My friends weren’t going and I thought I’d be fine watching from home, but as Jan. 1 approached, I knew I’d need to be in the Superdome. With Katie home from Lubbock for Christmas break, I had my travel buddy in place—a companion who just happens to LOVE all things NOLA.

Heading east, we found a cool convenience store, complete with longhorns, the Louisiana visitor center, the OG Southern Maid Donuts in Shreveport, and a yummy lunch on the road.

Because hotel rooms in New Orleans are crazy expensive on New Year’s Eve, we spent the night in Baton Rouge. We checked with my cousin who’s married to an LSU grad for restaurant recommendations, and she said we’d love George’s. Alas, George’s took the night off for the holiday, so we settle for her other suggestion: Acme Oyster House. So good!

For the big countdown to midnight, we went downtown for the “Red Stick Revelry.” To pass the time we walked down to a casino boat and enjoyed the super cool laser light show. Then we joined the masses to watch the big red stick drop. It was a fun way to welcome 2019!

Some might’ve called it New Year’s Day, but for us, it was GAME DAY. Before leaving Baton Rouge, we had to visit Bevo’s pal Mike the Tiger. LSU has a gorgeous habitat for Mike just outside their stadium.

Once we arrived in New Orleans, we toured the famous Saint Louis Cemetery Number One, the final resting place of Homer Plessy (as in Plessy v. Ferguson), voodoo queen Marie Laveau, and someday, Nicolas Cage.

After the cemetery, we walked around Congo Square and then made our way to the Voodoo Shop to catch our haunted city tour. We enjoyed getting to see some spooky sights around the French Quarter, but by the time we checked into our hotel, we were pooped! It was good to take a break before the big game that night.

Texas Bowl, Our Texas Bowl

30 Mar


Texas 33, Missouri 16 

Dec. 27, 2017 • Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl, NRG Stadium, Houston

It’s not every game that the MVP award goes to the punter, but man, did Michael Dickson deserve it! Ten of his 11 punts pinned Mizzou inside their own 15, and the Horns made the most of that. Our D score 9 points and forced four turnovers in this big win, which we hoped would send us into 2018 with big MO on our side.

It was great to get back to our bowl game ways, and beating Mizzou? That was SWEET.

Even sweeter? Getting to spend time with our Houston family while we were there.


On the road for Houston


Playing dominoes with Aunt Berniece and cousin Susan


So good to finally meet sweet Baby Benjamin!


Not bad seats


Always good to have a view of this guy (the four-legged one)



Horns score!


Selfie snap with my girl




Raise that trophy!


He IS the GOAT! Dickson was a most-deserving MVP.


Another selfie snap


My babies at bowl games: Alamo Bowl 2006 and Texas Bowl 2017


Hey! We’re famous!

Hook ’em!

Texas Sports recap

Pig Phooey

24 Feb

Arkansas 31, Texas 7

Dec. 29, 2014 • Texas Bowl • NRG Stadium, Houston

We could’ve been makin’ bacon out of those Hogs, but instead of taming the “Woo, Pig Sooie,” our team looked like chop suey. If I had to pick one photo to represent this outing, it’d be this:


What an exercise in futility! You know it’s not your day when your QB goes 13 of 25 for 57 yards and your leading rusher racks up a measly 25. Our one moment of glory came late in the first half, when down 17-nothin’, Swoopes scrambled for a touchdown right in front of us.

24_td1 25_td2 26_td3Oh, it was glorious!

Katie and I were even on TV during the big celebration. See us?



How about now?

To be down by 10 at the half seemed not-so-insurmountable. But of course, we couldn’t even hang on until the intermission before Arky scored again.

That’s pretty much how the game went: a few precious good plays completely undone by major lapses on offense or defense. Blech. Even when we lose, though, if my Horns are on the field, there’s no place I’d rather be. From Eyes to Eyes.

Hook ’em, Horns!

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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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Why My Mind Wandered During the Sermon

21 Jan

Seven years and 17 days ago, the Texas Longhorns dethroned the mighty USC Trojans to win college football’s national championship. Amid all the hoopla that followed, one interesting photo surfaced:


It was the picture of an SC Song Girl cheering at a most inopportune time, right after Texas had gone up by 3 with 19 seconds to play. (This was actually after the 2-point conversion that followed VY’s incredible 4th-and-5 run for the lead and into Longhorn history.)

Our associate preacher mentioned this famous “reaction shot” in his sermon yesterday, and it took me back to that unforgettable night in Pasadena. I could see the pandemonium inside the Rose Bowl. I could feel my heart pound as I watched Vince tuck the ball and run to his right. I could hear the confetti cannons pop-pop-popping as time expired, the delirious “I don’t know you but I love you” confessions from fans-turned-brothers in the seats near ours. Any mention of that game brings back a flood of emotions, and I’m never reluctant to relive those glorious hours.

But by mentioning that Song Girl, our preacher also reminded me of the Hornfans message board thread that appeared in the days soon after the game: “USC Cheerleader Travels.”

In those heady days of January 2006, that Song Girl was photoshopped into all kinds of tragic events. Tacky? Absolutely! Funny? You be the judge:








OK, so maybe those are more tasteless than funny. What IS funny is that the preacher’s comment about an inappropriate reaction (in an excellent sermon available here) led to my inappropriate reminiscing!

Yep, I think it’s safe to say that with this post, Spell Texas has officially jumped the shark.


Leave It to Beaver (Nuggets)

2 Jan

TEXAS_oregonstate12Texas 31, Oregon State 27

Dec. 29, 2012 • Alamo Bowl, San Antonio


You know you have a problem when, upon learning your team’s next opponent, your first thought is not how well your guys will fare against them. Instead of thinking of matchups, my first reaction was elation over knowing how I’d spell Texas! As soon as I heard we’d be playing the Oregon State Beavers, I knew I’d use Beaver Nuggets, and since the game was in San Antonio, that meant an excuse to stop at Buc-ee’s in New Braunfels along the way.


For the uninitiated, Buc-ee’s is a roadside stop much-loved by Texans who crave the store’s overabundance of sweets, beef jerky, snacks and beaver-bedecked apparel. The New Braunfels Buc-ee’s is billed as the world’s largest convenience store. Buc-ee’s Beaver Nuggets are akin to Kellogg’s Corn Pops on steroids: crunchy and extra sweet.


Of course, we took it for granted that Buc-ee, in spite of being a beaver, would be rooting for the Horns!

It was around the time of our Buc-ee’s stop that I learned the bad news: Early that Friday morning, two Longhorn players had been accused of sexual assault. While the San Antonio police were sorting out of the facts of those allegations, one fact was undeniable: These two players broke their 11 p.m. curfew, and for that, they were suspended from the team and sent home.

When Coach Brown announced the suspensions, he didn’t name names. Brett said, “Well, you know it wasn’t McCoy!” I agreed, saying our two CoC boys, Case McCoy and Jaxon Shipley, would never put themselves in that situation.

Imagine my shock when I learned that Case was indeed one of the two suspended. The other was Jordan Hicks, which was nearly as shocking. What in the world? Granted, I don’t KNOW either of these players, but their reputations had been spotless. Case, especially. The brother of Colt and son of Brad, Case comes from a great, Christ-led family. On Twitter, Case has been known to post scriptures and encouraging messages. Upon hearing Case’s name, I posted my shock and disbelief on Facebook. It was hard enough to think he broke curfew; it was beyond belief that he would sexually assault anyone.

So far no one has been arrested, and no charges have been filed against either player. I pray for everyone’s sake that no sexual assault occurred. But good grief, is it frustrating and flat-out sad that this happened at all! Less than 48 hours until kickoff, and these two were out on the town? What would possess these “team leaders” to do that? Huge, ridiculous, dumb mistake. Football-wise, it didn’t seem to be as bad as it could’ve been (Hicks has missed most of the season with an injury, and Ash had already been named starter at QB). But for the accuser and accused?  Devastating.

Enough of that. On with the recap:

After the requisite San Antonio tourist stops, we were ready for the game. Brett headed back to the hotel, and the kids and I met the team buses for the pregame “stadium stampede.”




New play-caller, Major


DC Manny Diaz follows some of his guys


Disney Spirit Award winner Nate Boyer and more of the team


Defensive stud Alex Okafor greets a friend or family member




This guy really drew the paparazzi


Benny the Beaver: I’m thinking our mascot could take him.

After greeting the team, we wandered to the north side of the stadium for the fan fest. There Ryan and Katie found some old pals.






Inside the Alamodome, we discovered our seats provided us with a familiar view. (In DKR, our seats are in the corner of the endzone overlooking the band and Bevo.)



Oregon State’s twirling drum major: The dude could twirl and hurl that baton!


OSU band


LHB pregame




National anthem


LHN Texas Gameday crew (including Ricky Williams, second from left)


Here come the Horns!


So how was the game? Let’s just say our first half stunk. Our offensive play-calling was way too reminiscent of our Greg Davis days, which was frightening. We threw sideline passes. On third and 9, we threw for 5. Our O-line was not helping our RBs find daylight. It was an abysmal first half, yielding few (if any?) first downs. I couldn’t help but wonder if this would be our future with Major Applewhite calling the plays.

Fortunately, the second half told a different tale. Ash threw more, ran more, took a few more chances, and it made a huge difference. So what happened at halftime? One friend speculated that since we had no real backup QB, Major was conservative early, playing it safe. Thank goodness he took some risks in the second half.

Our defense also came to life in this game. Alex Okafor was on fire, registering 4.5 of Texas’ 10 sacks. After coming back from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to take the 31-27 lead, our guys needed that D to hold on for the win.

Images from the game:





Kates with the Alamodome’s oft-advertised hand-dipped ice cream bar


Press box


LHB halftime


Halftime extravaganza celebrating the Alamo Bowl’s 20th anniversary


Offensive MVP Marquise Goodwin


Players greet fans postgame


The Eyes


Trophy presentation


Oak! Defensive MVP


Kenny Vaccaro and Mack Brown attempt to lift the heavy trophy


Fireworks and the s-l-o-w balloon drop


Hook ’em!

It was the most unlikeliest of wins, but we’ll take it! So will our strong quarter and a half give us the momentum we need to succeed in 2013? We can only hope. Too bad we have to wait until August to find out.

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By the way, while in San Antonio our family visited Fiesta Texas, the Riverwalk and the Alamo. We also hit a couple of used bookstores in SA and in ATX and ate lunch at our beloved Kerbey Lane Cafe in Austin. Here’s a look at the rest of our weekend:

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We thoroughly enjoyed our weekend. We love San Antone, and the city did not disappoint. I told the mayor that, and he agreed, retweeting me!

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How’s that for a nice howdy-do!

Until next season, HOOK ’EM.

Gold-Bears for the Golden Bears

28 Dec

Texas 21, Cal 10

Dec. 28, 2011 • Holiday Bowl

When Texas faced Cal in its 2011 bowl game, it was tempting to go back to our tried-and-true Teddy Grahams or even honey in honor of the Golden Bears. But the “golden” part of the mascot’s name provided the inspiration, and Haribo Gold-Bears were called into action.

I didn’t make the trip to San Diego for this bowl game, so our TEXAS was spelled at the foot of—appropriately enough—our UT Christmas tree.

These two guys were kind enough to watch the game with me. (The pizza might’ve been the real draw.)

Even our “little” ChaCha stuck around to cheer on the Horns.

It might not have been the typical tailgating scene, but any game-watching that ends with a Longhorn win works for me!