I've been around BON since the beginning, through the various highs and lows, and Thursday's night game was one I'll always remember.
Thanks to a last-minute ticket I was able to get, I flew out to Los Angeles on Wednesday with a buddy of mine to attend the game. It will easily go down as the most unforgettable sports experience of my life.
The Rose Bowl lives up to all the hype. That is truly a unique gameday experience. Add in the implications of the game and the fact that Texas was there, and you can't help but get emotional when you sing The Eyes, or watch parachutists land on the field, or watch a flyover after the national anthem.
When Colt got hurt, it was very deflating. As high as I had gotten leading up to the game, the air was just sucked out of the entire Texas side. I and everyone else around me were scrambling to try to text people we knew back home watching the game for news on his status. My wife, my brother, my friend's dad...I felt like I was watching the phone more than the game.
At halftime, things couldn't have looked bleaker.
But the defense continued to play well, and the offense was showing signs of life. Garrett Gilbert displayed a great sense of pocket presence and was looking more and more poised and confident as the second half went along. Then he hits Shipley in the middle of the field for the first touchdown, and you feel it turning it into a game. The defense stops again and here we are in the fourth quarter moving the ball down the field...
...and then the reason I can't stand most Texas fans rears its ugly head. We run two running plays on first and second downs, and the crowd around me starts booing. Booing!?!?!?! We're in the National Championship Game with a true freshman quarterback, we're moving the ball, trying to bring the game within one score after things looked hopeless, and we're going to boo. I was livid. People bitching about Greg Davis, who had a great game plan going in, was forced to scrap it, and come up with something new for Gilbert, and did an amazing job. But we run two times in a row, and every clueless armchair offensive coordinator in the stands decides it's a good idea to boo our team in the fourth quarter as we are fighting our way back in a game we should have had no chance of winning.
The second touchdown to Shipley was an amazing experience. And I thought we were going to drive the ball 93 yards for a winning score. We had to.
Oh well, things didn't quite work out. But I can't remember ever coming away from any loss as content and satisfied and excited as I did that night. I've never been prouder of a Texas team and I've never been prouder to be a Texas fan. That team showed tremendous heart and left everything they had on the field. It was a performance that will stay with me as long as I live. I could barely get the words out to The Eyes of Texas after the game. I felt terrible for Colt, whose excellent career at Texas wasn't allowed a proper finish.
Mack Brown, Greg Davis, Will Muschamp, and the rest of the staff deserve nothing but praise for that game, and I hope that once the sting of the loss leaves this team and these players, that they are able to look back on that night and recognize the great performance they gave.
I love this team. Hook 'em Horns!