Friday, December 2, 2011

Can the Texas Longhorns beat the Baylor Fire Bolt?

I've been blogging the University of Texas football seasons for The Austin Chronicle for about four years now. This Saturday is the last game of this season. Here's my latest blog post (which doesn't mention unsubstantiated rumors that Mack Brown will retire as Texas coach after Saturday's game):

Texas fans nibbled on Thanksgiving turkey and expected the worst. The Aggies could taste this win. They wanted to end the rivalry with forever bragging rights as they shuffled off to the SEC and leave the Longhorns with the beer-soaked, early-morning regret that is the Big 12.

My die-hard UT fanatic brother-in-law feared a blowout. “It’ll be close,” I said. He shook his head with a grin that spoke of my naiveté. You know what happened next.

Aggies complained of a bad call, of the injury that kept Cyrus Gray out of the game. But the truth is the Texas defense finally rose to the level necessary to offset the befuddled Burnt Orange offense. Special teams did, too. We’re talking points off of turnovers. Quandre Diggs’ 81-yard punt return. A defense that battered the Aggies and their seasoned quarterback Ryan Tannehill, capped by a Kenny Vaccaro interception that led to a rare touchdown.

The rag doll named Case McCoy did the rest with a gutsy gallop into the Texas A&M defenders, who smacked him this way and that as he struggled for any yards they’d cede. Enough to get Texas in field-goal position. It worked. Justin Tucker made up for a night of horrendous punts by finessing the ball through the uprights from 40 yards out as time ran out.

In College Station you can find billboards still up in summer heralding the last win over the t-sips. In Austin, we marvel at the strange traditions: the overalled cheerleaders with their odd gang signs, the incessant “howdy,” the constant standing and swaying at Kyle Field. That cute little dog they worship. We’ll miss every bit of it.

Read the rest here.

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