Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
beat the Tigers at Fau-rot,
if Roy's doubled, that's o-kay
throw it to Bo, Brock or B-J....
"Mack Brown told Simms
to give the ball to Benson
and not to fumble it.
Game time conditions were nearly perfect when the Longhorns kicked off to the Tigers at Missouri's Faurot Field last Saturday. The temperature was around 60 degrees, there was a slight breeze and the sun shown brightly on a scoreboard that kept reporting loss after loss to highly ranked teams. First Virginia Tech fell, then Oklahoma and finally UCLA. And despite their preoccupation with the ticker, the Longhorns focused their attention on the game in front of them just long enough to cage the Tigers with a convincing 35-16 win. Last week, the Missouri coaches kept saying how good the Texas receiving corps was and the key to this game would be stopping the Longhorn's passing attack. Well, they were half right. The Texas wideouts had one of their least productive games and for the first time all season, one of the big three failed to catch a pass. But while the Tiger DB's were busy with Roy, BJ and Sloan, Bo Scaife and Brock Edwards were left to wonder the secondary uncovered all day. It's all about options buddy and Texas definitely has plenty of them. Added to the mix was Cedric Benson who followed up last week's 100 yard game with another one, 157 this time. Benson was especially instrumental in the fourth quarter picking up a number of first downs and keeping the clock running. In fact, Texas' average time of possession is six minutes higher than last year. Credit the offensive line for that little tidbit and much of Benson's success this year. And let us not forget Greg Davis's favorite new toy, the shovel pass. Texas ran that play three times during the game. The first two times it was sniffed out and stopped for no gain. But on the third attempt, Simms tossed the ball to Brett Robin who went 39 yards for the final score on a 3rd and 20 play. Can't argue with that.
On the other side of the ball, Quentin Jammer basically took Missouri's biggest offensive threat away from them all day. Justin Gage, who coincidentally is number 12, had a lot of trouble beating Jammer's physical bump and run style and finished the day with just two catches for 14 yards. After he jumped off sides, I yelled "looks like the 12-gage misfired (rock me)." Unfortunately, the majority of the crowd around me had heard that one before and I was mercilessly booed. To add to the misery, Tiger QB Kirk Farmer was even less effective going 8 for 20 with one interception. But even with Mizzou's passing game shut down, tailback Zach Abron still managed to avoid several would-be Texas tacklers and rush for 106 yards. He did most of his damage up the middle on delayed draw plays. That tells me Texas' front four are over committing and not staying at home long enough. In other words, they're trying to sack the quarterback for the glory and disregarding their assignments. I also saw several defenders, including super frosh Derek Johnson, trying to tackle the opponent by knocking them down rather than wrapping up. This is another reason why Abron was able to bounce off tacklers and gain so many yards after the initial hit. Undoubtedly many of the player's heads were elsewhere by the time the 4th quarter rolled around. Hopefully this style of play doesn't become a trend.
MIZZOU and the "TIGER"
Just off I-70, right smack dab in between Kansas City and St. Louis, sits the college town of Columbia, home of Missouri University. If you've never been there, well then, you've never been there. Put it on your "Places I will visit before I die" list anyway, somewhere after Hoover Dam and just before the World's Biggest Peanut. In all sincerity, Columbia's a great college town with a lot of nice people and two in particular, "Tiger" John Cleek and his wife Anne. They were kind enough to host us at their palatial house in the country, complete with horses and a lake full of Bass. Tiger likes to fish and hunt, so instead of doing what any normal person would do and go find a lake, he just had one made in his back yard. Convenient I guess, unless your a duck or a goose in season. A great setup for sure, but you don't have to stay at his house to know Tiger, you just have to walk down the streets in town or pick up the local paper. Chances are you'll see his face smiling back at you with a deal on a washer/dryer combo from one of his stores and a prediction for Mizzou's next football game. He, like his dad before him, has been picking games publicly for years. At the tailgate before the game I told him I did a little prognosticating of my own and inquired as to how many times he'd guessed correctly. He smiled and said "Counting today, just once." Better luck next time Tiger. As for the tailgate, I'd rate it up there as one of the best ever. Tiger parked his RV about 50 yards from the stadium and we set up shop. No sooner had I cracked the first beer than Nad, Jim, Josh and Sean showed up (of OSU tailgating fame). I was glad to see some friendly faces in the middle of Missouri and Tiger did say any friend of mine was a friend of his and they would be welcome at the tailgate. No sooner had such kind words been spoken, than a strange thing started to happen. And no, it wasn't me getting drunk and going to the restroom every five minutes. Every time I'd go back inside the motor home to check the Nebraska/OU score, I'd come back out to find 5 more people wearing burnt orange. It was like that movie Gremlins, except with beer instead of water. "Nadmo" was multiplying. All I can say is thank goodness the tailgate didn't stretch on after midnight. So picture this: you're in the middle of a parking lot reserved only for Mizzou's biggest boosters and you're surrounded by 20 or 30 diehard Longhorn fans you've never met before. Oh and by the way, you told your host to expect 4 or 5 people who just might happen to stop by for a few minutes. Oh no you say, oh yeah, the whole herd of Longhorn fans drank and ate courtesy of Mr. Cleek all afternoon. It was a powder keg party just waiting to happen. But if you're thinking the host was pissed off or even the slightest bit miffed, then you don't know Tiger. Even after his beloved team lost, he was still welcoming hoards of Texas fans over. That to me says a whole lot about the man and I hope we show him the same generosity and respect the next time Missouri plays in Austin. I'll see what I can do about the weather!
Forget all the "what if" scenarios and spare yourselves the delusions of grandeur. True, Texas is still in the hunt for the national championship, but they are not in control. For Longhorn fans, the BCS poll is meaningless until the last game has been played and that won't happen until Dec. 8th. Even if Texas wins out, they are not assured of anything. The best thing for Texas right now is to keep winning convincingly and continue climbing up the AP and Coaches Polls. And they can't do that if they overlook the....
Little bit of Trivia for ya: Did you know Texas has won only four of the last 13 meetings in Waco? Well hell, even Koresh and his merry band of zealots had a better record against the FBI down the road at the "compound". It's hard to believe there was a time when Baylor was more than a footnote on the schedule. No doubt poor recruiting classes and an unrelenting schedule have taken a toll on the Bears. They've yet to win a conference game in the last two years. In fact, when the Big XII was formed, Baylor was initially not invited to join. But some Baylor alum's, who just happened to be politicians in the Texas Legislature, said they wouldn't allow the other Texas State schools to join the Big 8 unless they promised to take their little Bear brother with them. A mistake for which Baylor will undoubtedly suffer the consequences for years to come and this weekend won't be an exception. On to the....
The only thing unpredictable about this week is the number of points it's going to take before the cheerleaders pass out from doing back flips after Longhorn scores. Texas 56 Baylor 6
This week, it's off to Waco (no hitting below the Bible belt) for an early game at Floyd Casey (barber from Mayberry?) Stadium. Gametime is set for 11:30am (sunrise service) and even though the game is inexplicably going to be televised (miracle on the Brazos), there really isn't any good excuse (dog ate me tickets) for not making the short drive (CUL8TR) from Dallas (too chi-chi), Houston (too stinky) or Austin (just right) to see the game. According to Baylor's web site (www.no-dancing.com), there are plenty of tickets still available (first pew is reserved) and I bet (oooh, that's a sin) you can get good seats for less than face value (Religious Institution, tax deduction). Most likely, we will arrive ("I'm coming out...") about two hours (give or take a pee break) before the game and we'll either be in the parking lot next to the stadium (throwing beer cans at the Young Lifers) or over at George's Party Zone (Afghanistan?) on Dutton Street for the Texas Exes party ("Matriculaters, mount up").