While growing up in Michigan, I was destined to be a die-hard Wolverines fan. Vince Young had something to say about that. In 2004, when Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns defeated my beloved Michigan Wolverines (at the time) in the Rose Bowl, I was heartbroken.
But at the same time, that game was a blessing in disguise.
From that game on, I hopped on the Vince Young bandwagon and have been a die-hard fan ever since. From the slight remembrance I have of the 2005 National Championship against USC (I was 6), it was the single greatest performance I’ve seen to this day. I constantly find myself watching highlights of that game. That game solidified my Longhorn fandom and the rest is history.
Through all the ups and downs of being of Texas fan, I stuck with my team through the toughest of times. The last-second touchdown from Michael Crabtree in 2008 was probably the worst moment as a fan. The Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley days were the best. That Justin Tucker field goal to send the Aggies off to the SEC wasn’t too bad either. The Charlie Strong era showed flashes of excitement but was gut-wrenching for the most part.
I’ve watched so many games throughout the years and Texas football simply never fails to entertain — win or loss. Just waiting for that glorious day when we return to national prominence.
This past weekend my dad and I flew out to the great city of Austin. I finally got to experience everything about Austin and my first Texas football game in person.
Barbecue and Mexican food is no joke down in Texas. Unfortunately, I was unable to try Franklin’s BBQ due to the building still recovering from the fire. Instead, I was able to try La Barbecue, the next best barbecue place in Austin. The wait was over a hour and a half, but it was well worth the wait.
The brisket and beef rib were sensational to the taste buds. They took my taste buds to a whole new world. Instead of stopping at a Whataburger (Texas’ best fast food) before heading home, my dad decided upon getting La Barbecue one more time before leaving. It was that good.
Breakfast tacos down there are out of this world, too. I had an egg and cheese sirloin breakfast taco from Tacodeli. No breakfast tacos in Michigan can even compare with the one I had from there.
The Nissan Heisman House was in Austin on Saturday morning and the 1998 Heisman winner Ricky Williams was signing autographs. The whole experience at the Heisman House was pretty cool as I got to take a picture with the Heisman Trophy and met Williams.
The atmosphere around the stadium was a beautiful sight to see. Burnt orange and white everywhere you look, tailgates going on, Bevo and the band walking into the stadium. On our way to the stadium, I turned the corner onto some random sidewalk by a nearby dormitory and recognized a familiar face. It was D’Onta Foreman.
The former Longhorn star was kind enough to take a quick picture. I told him, “keep working in the NFL, your opportunity as a starting running back is near.”
The game itself exceeded all expectations, except for the fact that the ‘Horns couldn’t pull out a victory. It was another heartbreaking loss, but it was the best experience I’ve ever had at a professional/college sporting event.
Sitting fourth row on the 35-yard line behind the Texas bench was incredible.
The in-game experience was enhanced being so close to the field and the players. Seeing former Longhorns and current NFL players like Quandre Diggs, D’Onta Foreman and others connect with current Longhorn players was a very cool sight to see.
The defense looked five times faster in person. They were flying around and playing with tons of energy. Seeing the sideline right in front of me get hyped before kickoffs and third downs was awesome as well.
Players like Collin Johnson, Malik Jefferson and DeShon Elliott looked like pure athletes seeing them that close in person.
Even with lots of empty student section seats at the game, DKR was very loud. I loved the fact that most fans around me stood for a large portion of the game. I cannot seem to watch a Texas game without standing 95 percent of the game, so that worked out well.
It was a tough sight to see as Oklahoma State ran across the field and taunted the Longhorn sideline after the game-winning interception. The whole crowd stood there in shock as the 'Horns found a way to lose another close game.
If only Sam Ehlinger saw Devin Duvernay wide open for an 80+ yard touchdown. That would have been a season-changing play. It would have left me leaving Austin with a victory under my belt and the chance to see the bell tower lit up all burnt orange.
Coming into the weekend, there was a big souvenir I wanted to come home with — a Colt McCoy jersey. I’ve been searching for a Texas jersey of my favorite athlete ever for the longest time. With no online site having the official licensed jersey online, I was hoping I’d find it somewhere in Austin.
I tried my luck at the University shop and they did not have it, nor did the stadium shop (only had extra large). After the game, one of the smaller souvenir shops around the stadium had one lone medium-sized jersey left.
I can finally check that jersey off my list.
The whole city of Austin at night is top notch. 6th street is pretty wild with all the bars and stuff going on down there.
My dad and I were confused as to why so many people were standing on the side of the South Congress Avenue Bridge looking down at the water. It was like none of them ever saw water before. But, it turns out they were all looking at the thousands of bats that constantly take off from under the bridge. It was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen in my life and being from Michigan I never heard about it until I saw it with my own eyes.
We also made a stop at Austin Westlake High School, the home of Drew Brees and Sam Ehlinger. They have a beautiful school and football field.
Overall, the experience I had this past weekend was a 10-out-of-10 experience. Everything from the campus, the football game, the capitol bulding and the city were a dream to my eyes. I cannot wait to make my next trip down there.
Until next time, Austin.