Let’s get one thing straight, Lubbock is no joke. I was fortunate enough to be able to drive myself up to last week’s game, and I have to say Jones AT&T Stadium was one of the loudest stadiums I’ve been in. For a few minutes, at least.
There was a solid “Raider! Power!” exchange for about five uncomfortable minutes in the game’s opening minutes and no shortage of scowls from blacked-out fans as I struggled to find my seat. But for the majority of the game I found myself holding back a smile, pleasantly surprised at how well the Longhorns were playing and careful not to show emotion while surrounded by Tech fans. The only time I was concerned about the game’s outcome was during halftime when the Texas baton twirler went down with an apparent lower leg injury. I was certain it was due to some sort of booby trap placed by an unsettled Tech groundskeeper. In any case, it was better her than say, Johnathan Gray.
In all seriousness, Tech fans aren’t that bad after all. Not when their team gets beaten as thoroughly as it was.
Texas was up against a very good Tech team that does have a distinct home field advantage and it was able to snag a crucial road win. With favorable matchups in their next two games the Longhorns have a chance at possibly cracking the Top 10 in the BCS before facing Kansas State in what should be a chilling, or chilly, night in Manhattan, Kan.,
on Dec 1.
But, in order to get there they have got to play as well as they did against the Red Raiders. The only reason last week’s game ended the way it did was because no one gave Texas a chance. I’ll admit I didn’t. Something happened last week where the Longhorns forgot about all the hype and just played sound football. It may not have been clinical, but Texas made enough big plays that it was obvious this team can accomplish some great things. The Longhorns also didn’t give away the ball, which always helps.
Iowa State comes in to this week’s game at about the opposite of mid-season form. The Cyclones are a team that have lost three of their last four games, lost their leading tackler and team leader to injury and have a quarterback who loves turning the ball over. Junior running backs James White and Shontrelle Johnson, the Cyclones’ leading rushers, haven’t had much success against Texas in the previous two meetings, and things aren’t looking too peachy this time around either.
The Longhorns were able to hold the Red Raiders to just over 100 yards on the ground last week and that has to be credited to great play from their linebackers. Demarco Cobbs and Dalton Santos were absent from the game, but Steve Edmond and Kendall Thompson stepped up their game and turned in great performances. Unfortunately, Thompson got reamed on a block during a Tech punt return in the third quarter and had to leave the stadium via ambulance, but before then he had done well to stop the Red Raiders from running away with the game. The entire defense played like everyone had expected them to from day one, and it was the difference in Lubbock.
Texas has a chance to make things interesting in the Big 12 as the season’s end draws near, but it can’t let any opportunity slip away.
Printed on Friday, November 9, 2012 as: Outlook brightens after thorough win