Friday, November 23, 2007

Aggies Upset Horns, Again

Texas pushed its luck all season, mounting fourth quarter comebacks to take leads and recovering onsides kicks to preserve wins.

In the end, the Longhorns' failed to make a final harrowing escape, falling 38-30 to Texas A&M at Kyle Field.

"I thought that we tried hard," Texas head coach Mack Brown said. "We didn't play well."

The Aggies rolled up an impressive 533 yards against Texas and quarterback Stephen McGee threw for a career-high yards and three touchdowns.

The A&M offense took advantage of missed tackles and blown coverages all night, punting only three times and making 27 first downs.

Texas' offense meanwhile, struggled initially before hitting its stride in the final quarter - when the Longhorns were already down by 21 points. Quarterback Colt McCoy was responsible for two turnovers with one interception and a lost fumble.

"It's a tough pill to swallow," he said.

The loss prevents Texas from having any chance at sneaking into the Big 12 title game, and it ruins the Longhorns' chance at securing an at-large BCS bid that had recently become a very real possibility.

The game was A&M head coach Dennis Franchione's last. After coaching in College Station for five years, Franchione announced his resignation immediately after the game.

"I want to express my respect and gratitude to Coach Franchione for his courage in making this decision, and putting the interests of his players and this institution ahead of his own interests," A&M athletics director Bill Byrne said.


So in College Station they'll be celebrating a win and a loss tonight, the win of the game and the loss of their reviled head coach.
Texas fans on the other hand will probably spend a good portion of tonight wondering why they should set aside a holiday for Thanksgiving when UT can't even beat A&M.

With LSU's loss tonight, Texas could've been back to heights unimagined after losing two straight Big 12 games. Now the Longhorns are back out of the national picture, and the bowl scenarios will all have to be reworked — again.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

In College Station

Well I'm in College Station.
I got here tonight instead of tomorrow because my sister lives here and me and my other sister and her husband and one of my brothers surprised her at work. (The other brother was at our parents' house in Conroe after spending some of today in the ER after a bike wreck.)
My official prediction was published in The Battalion today, 35-24, along with a column on what Texas needs to do, and think, to win.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Texas vs Texas Tech Pregame

Players are trickling onto the field for warm-ups, and it looks like a pretty perfect day for football. I just threw out a prediction on the game, 41-35 - Texas. The Daily Toreador sports editor, Ben Maki, doesn't like Tech's chances either.
"They'll put up a fight," he said before picking Texas 35-31.
Texan beat writer Cody Hale is saying 35-24 Texas.

Elsewhere, Michigan is struggling which means Texas' chances of creeping back into BCS contention are growing legitimate.

Elsewhere, Conroe High School takes on Lufkin in 30 minutes for the 15-5A championship. The Tigers have seen quite a resurgence this year, and everyone in the world would like to see them win today.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Here come the Red Raiders

By Ryan Killian
Daily Texan Columnist

One if by land, two if by sea, Texas Tech if by air.
Defensive Coordinator Duane Akina better raise the alarm. The high-flying Red Raider offense is coming to town, and his secondary will be under pressure every time Graham Harrell calls for the snap.
Mike Leach is operating the best passing offense in the nation, and he’s parlayed that into the nation’s top overall offense. His counterpart at Texas, Mack Brown, has taken notice.
“Tech gets their yards against you if you play great,” he said. “And if you don’t play great, they’ll score a million.”
By that logic, the final score Saturday could be 1,000,026-35, unless Longhorn defenders show some improvement.
That’s not an official prediction though — even if Texas’ tackling doesn’t improve.
After last weekend’s unending blooper reel of missed tackles, it’s hard to imagine things not looking a little better. This team has two types of defenses. We saw the hungry, swarming, ball-chasing defense against Oklahoma and a few other opponents. The disinterested D has been on display more often.
With Brown’s sideline tirade still ringing in their ears, it’s hard to imagine that Texas’ safeties and corners won’t be out to prove something. Cornerback Ryan Palmer had a breakout game against the Red Raiders last season, basically winning the game with a pair of spectacular plays. Young Deon Beasley is already predicting that the explosive Michael Crabtree will have trouble making the plays that have turned him into one of the Big 12’s best receivers.
With Harrell completing almost 75 percent of his passes and Crabtree standing a few inches taller than most Texas defensive backs, it’s fairly unlikely that the pair won’t successfully make completions. The Longhorn defense — linebackers too — just need to make tackles on their first attempt.
Robert Killebrew, this means you. Everyone knows you can lay the wood after the whistle’s been blown. Now, you’ve got to do it when it counts. I’m still not sure how you missed Oklahoma State’s Keith Toston last week when he was too busy reeling in a one-handed catch to make a move and you still blew right by.
But it’s not just Killebrew. Last week no one was exempt. They made a traveshamockery out of tackling until the fourth quarter.
This week, like it or not, the secondary is in the spotlight. Even on Broadway the lights are hot and uncomfortable. This is college football in Texas. These lights can burn.
And that’s exactly what Crabtree and company have been doing to defensive backs all season.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

UT 38 - OSU 35

Somehow Texas won again.
I'm a bit baffled as to how I'm supposed to opine intelligently on something as illogical as the Longhorn's 21-point fourth-quarter comeback.
So I'll pretty much save that for Monday's column.
After losing a huge lead, OSU had a chance to take it right back with 1:13 on the clock, but Jason Ricks 32-yard field goal try twisted right and sailed outside the uprights to give the Longhorns one more chance.
With their full complement of timeouts, the Longhorns were able to survive a quarterback sack and drove to the 23-yard line in eight plays. Texas head coach Mack Brown called a timeout with two seconds on the clock, and kicker Ryan Bailey knocked a 40-yard field goal through the uprights to give the Longhorns their first lead of the game — with the clock reading 00:00.
Afterward, the Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy compared the loss to "getting to the World Series and getting swept in four games."
"It rips your heart out," he said. "But at least you got to the World Series."
Several Oklahoma State fans didn't take the loss especially well, and water bottles were raining down on Texas players as they sang "The Eyes of Texas." Several Longhorns had to be restrained — not as if they'd have done anything besides some yelling and goading — from retaliating by Associate Athletics Director for Football Operations Cleve Bryant. Even Brown gave cornerback Ryan Palmer a push away from the seats and told him to stay back.

The Longhorns were down by three touchdowns in the fourth quarter when Gundy attempted to convert a fourth-and-six at Texas' 35-yard line. Adarius Bowman was tackled six yards in the backfield and the momentum swung.
The offense quickly found its rhythm and drove down the field on an 8-play drive capped off with an 18-yard run from Jamaal Charles.
After the Cowboy's next drive was stopped, a perfect punt from Matt Fodge pinned UT back at their own one-yard line.
It took Texas three plays to work their way to 24-yards up the field. Then Charles took a handoff, got to the sideline and raced 75 yards down the field for a touchdown to bring his team back within a score of the Cowboys. After breaking through the secondary, Charles kept his eyes on the video monitor at Boone Pickens Stadium.
"Looking at the big screen, it looked like someone was going to catch me," he said.
They never gained ground on the track star though, and he finished the game with 180 rushing yards.
After throwing three interceptions to OSU defensive back Jacob Lacey, Texas quarterback Colt McCoy needed to make a big play down the stretch, and he did — hooking up with Jordan Shipley for a 60-yard reception that gave the Longhorns first down on the one-yard line.
After two uninspiring attempts, Vondrell McGee pounded the ball into the end zone, and Bailey knotted things up with the PAT.

UT vs OSU - halftime

It's been a wild one in Stillwater, and we're just half done.
After shaving a 21-0 deficit to a manageable 21-14, Texas couldn't help but allow one more touchdown before the half.
Whether or not the play ever should have been run is questionable.
Whether or not the Longhorn defense can tackle today is not.
They can't.
During the Cowboys' final two drives Texas forced Oklahoma State into a few third-down situations. Then, they missed a tackle or two, or three, and the Cowboys had another first down. Robert Killebrew highlighted the lowlights with an inexplicable miss on Keith Toston as the back hauled in a one-handed reception.
Despite the poor display, it appeared that Texas had stopped the Cowboys one yard short of the end zone when Ishie Oduegwu pulled down Brandon Pettigrew after a 13-yard gain and the clock drained away.
But officials put two seconds back on the board, Mike Gundy called his last timeout, and Oklahoma was given one more chance. Gundy chose to make a statement and go for the touchdown instead of taking the chip show field goal.
One Zac Robinson pass to Pettigrew later Oklahoma State had rebuilt a healthy 14-point margin.

Texas running back Jamaal Charles has only been given eight carries, but he's averaging 6.5 yards per attempt, and he scored on a 22-yard run that put Texas' first points on the board.

After the first quarter, seven of Texas quarterback Colt McCoy's 8 pass attempts had been caught. Unfortunately for the Longhorns two of them were grabbed by Oklahoma State defensive back Jacob Lacey. On Texas' first offensive play of the game, McCoy overthrew Nate Jones and Lacey picked it off and took it 39 yards to the end zone.

Eddie Jones is out of the game with a shoulder injury and Dallas Griffin is out with a knee injury, according to a Texas sports information director.

UT vs OSU - pregame

Well I'm sitting in the press box at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., and I've gotta say this place is pretty unique. Once it's done being renovated it's going to be really really loud. The sound has nowhere to go because it's hemmed in on three sides by seats and on one by the most massive fieldhouse. Plus the fans are just about on top of the field.
If I was going to gripe about this facility, my complaint would be the odd positioning of the press box — stuck over the end zone. But truth be told, the view is fine.

Those of us who have seen Texas play just about every week are pretty skeptical of the Longhorns' prospects today. One "expert" envisions fatal overuse of the zone read after last week's success with it.
I could see that, but Greg Davis — by his own admission — likes to throw the ball, and Oklahoma State's passing defense is one of the worst in the country. I don't think he'll overlook that.