Tag Archives: tailgating

Miner Problem

27 Jun

texas_utep16Texas 41, UTEP 7

Sept. 10, 2016 • DKR
 

In June 2016 I spent a week on the UT El Paso campus for a humanities institute. The school’s use of the Miner motif was everywhere, from the miner hat pendant lights in the food court to the giant pick at the campus entrance. When the Miners arrived on MY turf, their rallying cry, “pick ’em,” came to mind. That’s why this week we spelled Texas with toothpicks!

Coming off the Horns’ huge win over Notre Dame in our opener, we were on top of the world. Texas football was BACK, baby! Early in the first quarter of this one, though, which was supposed to be a gimme, we got that sinking feeling. Uh-oh.

Leading by “only” 20-7 at halftime, the Horns went on to outscore the Miners 21-0 in the second half. But even then, we knew: In spite of the previous week’s high, this season was on its way to some lows.

 DKR highlights:

  • Skydivers!
  • Tribute to the “Precursors,” the first group of African-American undergrads at UT 60 years ago
  • Young Texas Exes honorees, including NBA superstar Kevin Durant

Magically Delicious

30 Sep

Texas 50, Notre Dame 47 (2OT)

Sept. 4, 2016 • DKR
 

02_texasA year ago, the Lucky Charms we used to spell Texas were decidedly UNlucky. The Irish clobbered our Horns 48-3, and it was UGLY.

Welcome to 2016! It’s a brand new year with a new quarterback, new OC, new Bevo, new Bertha, and yes, a new attitude. This time around, WE’RE the “cereal killers” knocking off the 10th-ranked team.

The day started with a hot time at the ol’ tailgate—literally. The heat and humidity, capped by a sudden rainshower, made for a sweaty afternoon. But the ATX barbecue sampler feast more than made up for it. As I said on FB, when you don’t know whether to serve Franklin, Southside, Kreuz, or Black’s, you serve ’em all! Thanks to Dub, our thinks-of-everything food guy, we got to do just that. Unbelievably yummy.

Of course, Notre Dame fans travel well, so we were treated to a parade of ND fans all afternoon. Good thing the Horns showed up, too! The I-35 traffic, along with the hordes of people along the sidewalks, let us know this was a Big Game.

Inside the stadium, the game lived up to the hype. From the introduction of Bevo XV to the long bombs from our freshman QB, Shane Buechele, we could tell this was a brand new year. But then the Irish managed to erase a 17-point deficit, and we began to think maybe this season would not be that different after all. We thought we’d be up by 3 when D’Onta Foreman scored with 3 1/2 minutes left, but a returned blocked PAT tied the game at 37. On to OT.

It took two overtimes, but SWOOOOOPES, there it is! Tyrone’s goal-line plunge ushered in a new era in Texas football.

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Last Leg

30 Nov

TCU 48, Texas 10

Nov. 27, 2014 • DKR
 

One would think that THIS:

05aa_wholefrog

would be the grossest thing I’d see this week. While shopping for frog legs, I came across these poor popsicles (or would that be HOPsicles?) in our local Asian market. I’ve spelled Texas with lots of things, but I draw the line at frozen whole frog. Ew.

I did summon the courage to take home these babies, though.

05a_rawlegs

I even cooked these frog legs myself (as opposed to watching friends grill them or buying them pre-cooked). The slimy guys were pretty nasty (and vein-y), but nothing prepared me for the really icky things we were to see Thursday night in DKR.

What an awful game.

It was just one gut-punch after another: dropped passes, bad play-calling, wrong routes, turnovers (holy COW, the turnovers!), rotten officiating, even a few defensive miscues. Yes, our D was again stellar for most of the game, and Swoopes (bless his heart), when he held onto the ball, managed a few really good plays. But even our good plays were followed by momentum-busting officials’ reviews or injuries. Ugh. The lowest moment came with 10 minutes to go when we faced 4th down at midfield. Losing by 17, it seemed like a given we’d go for it. But no. We punted—punted away any chance for getting back in this thing. Certainly, it would’ve been a long shot, but it was better than—oh, I don’t know—quitting with so much time left on the clock! Our coaches gave up, but TCU didn’t. The Frogs went on to score THREE MORE TOUCHDOWNS. Whadyaknow, it IS possible to score three times in 10 minutes. Hmmm…

Last year, I referenced Coach Royal’s famous “cockroach” quote when I spelled Texas. After this year’s game, I posted this to Facebook:

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 9.01.15 PM

My friend and I also took a postgame selfie to show how we felt about the outcome:

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Full disclosure: We had way too much fun trying to look mad for this photo! We laughed until we cried and our sides hurt. Delirium had definitely set in.

What a lame way to end this crazy, mixed bag of a season. We started with high hopes, settled in for a rebuilding year, then found ourselves on a three-game winning streak and bowl eligible. We went from “We’re going to be bad so let’s just ride it out” to “These guys are really starting to get it together.” I knew TCU was good this year, but I let myself believe that our guys could pull the upset.

Sure enough, here we are. Upset.

I’d hate for this roller coaster of a season to end this way. Here’s hoping that we can send off these seniors with a bowl win and spend the long, hot off-season relishing a victory instead of trying to forget another bitter defeat.

Scenes from the big tailgate, pregame, game and halftime:

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Onward and Upward

10 Nov

Texas 33, West Virginia 16

Nov. 8, 2014 • DKR
 

Continuing last year’s mountain theme for the Mountaineers, this week we spelled Texas with Clif Bars. Thanks to my unfortunate lack of confidence, I thought the cliff-hanging climber on the package would be symbolic of this game: tough to watch and in danger of ending our season. But hey! We WON! And my tune changed from “We’re doomed” to “We never doubted!”

49_win

This game had it all: goal-line stands, a safety, long runs, nice passes. The first half was just flat-out FUN. But even with a 21-point lead, I still wondered we could really beat the 23rd-ranked Mountaineers.

Sure enough, the ’Neers nearly came back, cutting our lead to 10 with lots of time left. Our offense was stone cold, and it just felt like this one was slipping away. But thanks to some killer D (not to mention the well-timed, momentum-shifting safety), our guys held onto the lead and the Tower was orange once again.

They say it’s easier to address problems after a win than after a loss. I hope that’s true because we still have mucho problemos. The flat offense and lack of production in the second half is especially concerning. Too many dropped passes, seemingly wrong routes run, dumb penalties… We need one more win to be bowl eligible, and those kinds of mistakes ain’t gonna cut it.

In spite of those issues, though, I’ll take the W! “Ol’ ugly is better than ol’ nothin’,” and this “ol’ ugly” was a sight for sore eyes. I’m proud of the way this suspension-depleted and injury-decimated team held on to win, and I was so very happy for these kids (and coaches) who pulled off the upset. You have to smile when you see this:

 

Tailgate, pregame, game and halftime highlights:

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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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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!

10_trailer

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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The Musical Fruit

17 Nov

TEXAS_okiestate13

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.

Seedy Start

7 Nov

TEXAS_kansas13

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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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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Cat Food

24 Sep

TEXAS_kstate13

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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