The outcome was: One of the biggest reasons we've been such neurotic fans this season is Texas' inability to play a complete game of football. Walk with me through the schedule here:
Arkansas State - solid first quarter, sloppiness thereafter
TCU - scary-bad first half, dominant second half
UCF - good enough first half, awful third quarter, sloppy fourth quarter
Rice - 41-7 halftime lead over outmatched opponent, cruise through second half
Kansas State - awful throughout
Oklahoma - not a badly played game, but nothing to feel very good about, either
Iowa State - a dominant victory from start to finish
Baylor - lackluster, error-filled win
Nebraska - horrific first three quarters followed by explosive fourth
Oklahoma State - much the same as Nebraska
And then, finally, this week - a start-to-finish whipping of a solid team. It's a little annoying that the 'Horns ceded 23 fourth quarter points, but there weren't any points during the second half when I believed the outcome in question. Texas controlled that game. For all four quarters. It wasn't an ass-kicking of Texas Tech, but it was a solid win against a dangerous team. I'm happy, period.
The Offensive MVP was: I found myself going through the box score as I thought about all the 'Horns who had good games. Colt played his best game of the season. Before getting hurt, Jamaal was picking up yards at will. Quan Cosby is one hell of a college football player. Jordan Shipley gives the vertical passing game hope. The line did their jobs well.
All told, it was a great, great afternoon for the Longhorns on offense, with eleven guys performing well together throughout. Texas accumulated 551 yards of total offense (283 rushing, 268 passing), 33 first downs, 6.0 yards per play, and - critically, I thought - controlled the football for over 40 minutes. Though time of possession generally is not a statistic which correlates strongly with winning, today it was just what the doctor ordered. Texas Tech not only has a strong offense - they have an offense that's geared to win shootouts. By the time the final cannon sounded, Texas had run 92 plays to Texas Tech's 55. That is not a typo.
It was a terrific team effort from the 'Horns on offense, but Colt McCoy and Greg Davis each deserve a separate tip of the cap this time around. Whereas Colt has labored throughout the '07, overcoming only so-so play with sheer guts, courage, and determination - today he was just the best player in the game. Whether he was scrambling to buy time to make a throw, executing the simple stuff, or giving Texas fans a highlight reel touchdown run featuring not one, but two spin moves, it was a great afternoon for a great Longhorn. It's been a tough year for McCoy, and while many of us were questioning his future as starter material, he kept plugging away, playing harder than ever. It's paid off, and he deserves a lot of credit for it. Lesser men would have crumbled already.
As for Greg Davis, let's face it: he had this offense primed for showtime on Saturday. The running game was terrific from the get-go, the play-action touchdown pass to Jordan Shipley shook me out of my boots, the team converted all four of its fourth down conversions, and Texas put up its highest scoring total ever against Texas Tech. Kudos to one and all.
The Defensive MVP was: The 'Horns didn't exactly have a stellar game on defense, as Texas Tech averaged almost 9 yards per play on Saturday. But they were good enough. The real MVP of the defense might have been the Texas offense, which was on the field for 24 of the 30 second half minutes. When you consider that Texas Tech had touchdown drives of 2, 5, and 1 play in the 4th quarter, it's probably good that things happened as they did.
Let's give MVP honors to Brian Orakpo, who had a very solid afternoon on the pass rush today, a key to slowing down Harrell. A tip of the hat to Rashaad Bobino as well, who made a terrific interception and played pretty good positional football.
The offensive Offensive Player Of The Week was: Seriously: everyone played well.
The offensive Defensive Player Of The Week was: Texas is on a roll, and I'm not gonna jinx it.
John Chiles Watch: Chiles has now seen the field for a total of one play in the past three games. Part of that has been a byproduct of Texas trailing late in games. Yesterday, Colt and the offense stayed out there to make sure Texas stayed comfortably ahead of the Red Raiders. The bigger problem, though, is that Chiles was used sparingly to start the season as well. In part because Texas has labored through most of its games, McCoy has received the vast majority of the snaps. Taking nothing away from McCoy and what he's done to fight through this season, I think this has been a mistake. Chiles' redshirt has been burned for a year in which he is not playing. Given his skill set, it's hard to imagine that this has been the proper amount of usage.
Vondrell McGee Watch: Jamaal racked up 165 yards before halftime in helping Texas build an early lead. McGee chipped in 17 yards on 6 carries, but couldn't come close to matching the unstoppable Charles. In the second half, with Charles sidelined with an ankle injury, Texas began grinding down the clock, keeping Tech's offense off the field with an unceasing barrage of short runs. McGee rushed 18 times for just 37 yards in the second half - unimpressive numbers, but ones that oddly helped Texas wear out the Raiders. With Charles not playing much of the second half, there were no big scoring runs and Texas ate up huge chunks of the clock, keeping Tech's offense on the sidelines.
Texas A&M Fear Factor: (5) is the baseline. (+1) for Michael Goodsen vs our linebackers scares me; (+1) for Jorvorskie Lane vs any object is a losing proposition; (-2) for Stephen McGee is a pitiful quarterback; (+1) for Texas hasn't played back-to-back good games all season; (+1) for Jamaal Charles' ankle; (+1) for Texas is 0-1 in revenge games this year.
Heading into next week I feel: There've been so many problems this year - resulting in narrow wins, disappointing losses, and inexplicable struggles - that it's been a real challenge to just be a shiny, happy Longhorn fan. My support for the team has never (nor ever will) waver, but it was impossible not to feel frustrated with the bulk of this season.
Despite all that, the team found ways to win games it could have lost and, this week, put together a performance that was easy to smile and enjoy. Tech kept the game reasonably close and had a mostly strong offensive day, but Texas scored and scored at will throughout. We asserted our supremacy from the get-go on Saturday - something we haven't seen all year from this team.
Today, I'm just proud. Congratulations to the team and staff, and especially to the seniors. You've made it easy to be a proud fan of Texas football over the last four and five years.