"People ask about the rankings all of the time, but our concern right now is to have a great week of practice and go to Stillwater and try to win a tough Big 12 South road game," coach Mack Brown said Sunday. "The rankings are
of no concern at all because we do know unless we do our business, those numbers will not look good. We're not worried about everybody else, we're worried about us."
So that was what the offense was supposed to look like. The Horns have gotten their offensive act together.
Saturday proved to be a feel-good night for the Texas offense, which raised more questions than it answered during back-to-back victories over Colorado and Oklahoma. That changed against Missouri, and from the get-go.
For the first time this month, the Longhorns finished a game without offering any postgame medical updates or shrugged shoulders to explain an erratic passing performance or an inconsistent ground game. None were needed after the Longhorns reached the 400-yard plateau for the first time this season against a Big 12 opponent.
The Horns have been the masters of comebacks.
In the Longhorns’ last three trips to Stillwater, Texas has overcome large deficits with monumental comebacks. The Longhorns have been down by nine points (2003), 19 points (2005) and 21 points (2007), yet walked away victorious on every occasion by finishing with decisive closing stretches.
How decisive? Try a combined margin of 110-0 after the Cowboys scored their final point.
Mix in a 49-0 closing kick in 2004, when the Longhorns erased a 28-point deficit in Austin, and you’ve got a staggering 159-0 scoring spree in four recent comebacks once momentum swung in Texas’ direction during crunch time. The numbers read like a misprint, but they are accurate.
Texas needs to get off to a fast start. This week it would especially helpful.
"I think we found out a little bit about who we are," Texas center Chris Hall said. "We know that we can come out and move the ball and score points early in the game. And you know that's not a bad thing."
The Longhorns' quick start and strong finish Saturday helped them gain first-place votes in the polls. Though still in third place in all polls, the Longhorns had seven first-place votes in The Associated Press poll after not receiving any a week ago. They also had four first-place votes in the USA Today Coaches' Poll and four in the Harris Poll. Texas remained in great position in the Week 2 BCS standings, holding a solid grip on third place behind Florida and Alabama.
Good news. The Oddsmakers make Texas a 91/2 point favorite. The Horns are smarter than the Cowboys and they practice harder.
Apparently, Texas is smarter than Oklahoma State. Five Cowboys made the league's All-Academic first team in 2008. Seventeen Longhorns made the grade, and 10 of them still play.
Texas even practices harder. Not sure this is true, but Longhorn quarterback Colt McCoy said, "We win games based on what we do on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday." Lot of pressure on today's workout, coach Gundy.
No. We will not lose to the Aggies again.
Perhaps it's fitting that this coming Saturday is Halloween, because it could potentially have a frightening impact on this college football season -- depending on whom you root for, of course.
A quick look at Texas' schedule sure gives the impression that the upcoming game at Oklahoma State is the only realistic chance for the Longhorns to lose before bowl season. It might not qualify as one of the all-time shockers for Texas to lose at Texas A&M in November, but none of the teams behind the Horns in the BCS standings will be holding out much hope for that upset to take place.
It is always good to have special teams. Really special teams.
The Longhorns have scored six special teams touchdowns this season on blocked kicks, punt returns and kickoff returns. Everyone from freshmen (D.J. Monroe has returned two kickoffs for scores) to seniors (Jordan Shipley has two punt returns for TDs) gets in on the act.
"Everybody wants to be on those teams," Shipley said.
The Game With The Pokes
The Pokes are peaking.
With Bryant and Hunter out, the Cowboys had a choice: They could have sat around and worried about when their All-American duo would return, or they could move forward with the exact same expectations to play well and compete for a Big 12 South title while hoping to get those guys back on the field at some point.
Clearly, OSU has chosen the latter.
OSU has two running threats.
"With Beau and Keith, we feel like they’re interchangeable,” said co-offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer. "We talk about replacing guys with not one guy, but multiple guys.
"Beau, we know is capable. Keith has had the hot hand lately. We know we need to get both of them in there. I’m very pleased with the way Beau played.”
The coaches seem optimistic about Kendall Hunter's return.
Among coaches, there seems to be a sense of optimism they’ll have Hunter.
"We want to make sure he’s 100 percent,” said co-offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer, "because obviously we’re going to need him down this stretch run.
"And the stretch run starts this week.”
Zac Robinson isn't worried about the Horns' pass rush.
Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson knows that Texas has knocked opposing quarterbacks out of the game in their last three games.
Despite that streak, Robinson said he isn’t that concerned about the Longhorns and their vaunted pass rush.
“I know they aren’t intentionally knocking people out,” Robinson said. “And I know that Blaine Gabbert had been hurt with his ankle before that game. It was unfortunate.
“But it’s not something you can think or worry about. You just play. I know they’ll fly around and hit, but so does everybody else. We’re excited about playing against such a great defense.”
So how did the Aggies celebrate their win over Tech? They sawed varsity's horns off.
Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman, fresh from “sawing varsity's horns off” with his players in front of the Aggie Band at Jones AT&T Stadium late Saturday night, declined to define exactly how much the Aggies' 52-30 upset of Texas Tech meant to his maligned program.
“I'll let the former students, students and media worry about how big it is,” Sherman said. “It's a win for us on the road. I told our guys that we should always expect to win. We're Texas A&M, and we have high expectations.”
The verdict is in from at least the media end of things: It's big.
One victory and now the Aggies think they are on a roll.
My, what one victory can do.
Now the comparison is to the 1984 team that ended the season with wins against Texas Christian and Texas that jump-started three straight Southwest Conference championships.
Most championship teams do have a turning point or key game. If you could contact the fans who cheered A&M to the 1939 national championships, some probably would point to the 1938 team that set the foundation by ending the season with tough losses at Southern Methodist and Texas before beating Rice.
The Sooners won't miss Sam Bradford. Landry Jones is comparable to Bradford.
DeMarcus Granger is seeking a medical hardship.
Kansas State gets a real test this week. They play the Sooners.
The Cornhuskers are getting a no confidence vote.
NU has staggered into a crisis of confidence that reaches beyond those seats and into its palatial locker room.
Walk arm-in-arm out of that tunnel all you want, as the Huskers did Saturday. Build a fortress around your sideline and preach Us Against The World.
But unless somebody steps up, takes responsibility and starts to restore belief in this offense, Nebraska will invent new ways to crumble.
Right now, there's no one to trust in that huddle, no one to stop negative momentum, no one able to cross the goal line without fumbling.
The Colorado Buffs are on a mission to salvage their season.
This isn`t how they envisioned Missouri week inside the Colorado football program back in August when the unusual step was taken to make it a team goal to beat the Tigers.
Back then, the Buffs, emboldened by their coach`s goal of winning 10 games, viewed Missouri week as a possible meeting of teams vying for the lead in the Big 12 North Division. Now that Tiger week has arrived, it`s more about two teams in desperation mode, hoping for a win that might help salvage the season.
Mike Leach does it again.
Texas Tech coach Mike Leach remained unrepentant about a comment made after the Red Raiders’ 52-30 loss to Texas A&M where he said his team had listened to “their fat little girlfriends” rather than respecting the talent of the Aggies before the game.
“As coaches, we failed to make our coaching points more compelling than their fat little girlfriends,” Leach said Monday about his team. “For one thing, their fat little girlfriends are telling them what they want to hear, which is ‘how great you are’ and ‘how easy this is going to be.’"