Folks, welcome to 2015 Texas Longhorns football:
Just after Texas took a 3-0 lead over the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Austin on Thanksgiving, this incredible, unbelievable play happened. That's wide receiver Devin Lauderdale lighting up freshman cornerback Holton Hill and star wide receiver Jakeem Grant finding himself in the right place at the right time on the dead run.
In year that has seen the Horns lose games on a missed extra point and fumbled punt snap, this was just another shocking play. Bad things happen to bad teams, but c'mon...
On the day of institutionalized gluttony, the football gods were gluttonous in defensing Texas pain in a first half that ended with a 17-10 Texas Tech lead.
After redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard left the game following a hard hit and headed to the locker room, junior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes had sophomore wide receiver Lorenzo Joe running free down the sideline for a potential 83-yard touchdown. He was wide open, but Swoopes put just a little too much on the ball and it went off the diving hands of Joe for an incompletion and fitting image of Swoopes' disappointing career in Austin.
The defense continued a streak of strong play on the next possession, but another Swoopes bomb, underthrown this time, went awry when tiny Nigel Bethel simply ripped the ball away from senior wide receiver Marcus Johnson.
At least it stopped there, as the wet conditions came into play again when Lauderdale wasn't able to haul in a long touchdown pass over his shoulder to limit the damage.
So there was that. At least.
This was the fourth-longest run in school history and surely one of the most unbelievable:
All of the broken tackles. All of them!
Of course, the pendulum had to swing back after that. And it did when junior tight end Caleb Bluiett fumbled a short catch that was initially ruled down by contact but eventually overturned. Texas Tech quickly converted on a drive capped by a short touchdown run from quarterback Pat Mahomes after scrambling for the drive's biggest play.
After an attrition-filled first half, the Horns will be without redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard for the rest of the game. Senior defensive tackle Desmond Jackson couldn't play due to a stomach issue and sophomore running back Kirk Johnson to an ankle injury. Senior linebacker Peter Jinkens and freshman linebacker Malik Jefferson also left the game in the first half.
And between 5:00 p.m. and kickoff, rain moved into the area and started downpouring much sooner and more heavily than expected. On one warm-up throw for Heard that FS1 caught on camera, the ball slipped out of his hand as he attempted to release it. More rain is heading towards DKR for the second half.
So the conditions have been difficult and with the passing game relatively difficult to execute, Texas turned to some trick plays early, running a wide receiver reverse to freshman John Burt that got stopped for a loss and several plays with both junior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes and Heard in the same backfield. Swoopes threw a pass to Heard, took a handoff from the starter, and faked a sweep to Heard, but lost yardage when he tried to bounce the ball outside.
A bend-but-don't-break mentality for the Longhorns defense paid off on the first drive when the Red Raiders moved the football in short bursts, but eventually threw an interception to junior safety Dylan Haines on fourth down. Haines now ranks second all-time in interception return yardage, an incredible accomplishment as a former walk on. Not only that, he's done it in less than two full seasons as a starter.
The two biggest plays for Texas in the first quarter came late, as freshman linebacker Malik Jefferson forced a fumble after Texas Tech wide receiver Devin Lauderdale broke several tackles and fellow freshman Holton Hill quickly pounced on the fumble to give the offense good field position.
Freshman running back Kirk Johnson quickly took advantage with a 32-yard run around the right edge to get into the red zone. However, two straight zone reads into the middle of the defense line didn't net any yardage and ultimately sent Johnson limping back to the sideline.
The Horns settled for a field goal from Nick Rose to start the second quarter.
Are you not entertained? Those who survived the first half without a heart attack have to be. What can possibly happen in the second second half as the follow up?