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
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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!

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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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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.