Texas Dominates TCU ... Eventually

Rain delay leaves Frogs underwater as Horns take a victory lap

Rain delay leaves Frogs underwater as 'Horns take a victory lap

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale/ A tale of a crazy game

That started at just half past six/ and ended next a.m.
The mate was the bro of Colt McCoy/ the Skipper on his way
After BYU how would the team react/ to a three-hour delay/

 A three-hour delay

It was indeed a strange one in Fort Worth last night, the first time I’ve read the New Yorker cover-to-cover after a game started and didn’t miss a play. Texas was leading TCU 17-7 with about six minutes to go in the first half when the sky lit up with lightning that Fox Sports announcer Joey Harrington initially called a shooting star. Because of all those folks in the past who’ve been struck by lightning at college and pro football games when they kept playing, the game was put on hold.

So instead of watching our suddenly ferocious defense swarm the heavily tattooed TCU quarterback like Tons of Anarchy, we got to watch a documentary about how Mike Tyson used to be bad, but now he’s good. Just like the Longhorns defense, except that linebacker last year was cleared of rape charges.

On a weekend when their hometown became Vince Gilligan’s Island, the Longhorns were up in Cowtown breaking bad habits en route to a 30-7 domination of a Horned Frogs team that beat them in Austin last Thanksgiving. 

There’s only so long you can watch a man with a tattooed face talk, so I actually switched channels to watch my two least favorite baseball teams try to win some kind of title or championship. I couldn’t have dreamed a better ending than that one, where one team felt cheated and the other was deemed undeserving. Baseball, you blow.

Football is where it’s at, no matter what I read in that New Yorker article on concussions that was so long and detailed, I think I’m ready for my second year of medical school. You know you’re a true fan when your team has a 10-point lead against an opponent with no offense and you’re afraid to leave the couch for 10 minutes during a weather delay because you might miss a play — always a handoff to Johnathan Gray up the middle for a yard. The kids want a bedtime story, but the only thing you want to read is the scroll to find out which channel on your cable system the game will be moved to when it resumes.

I think we all pegged the Horns as the team that would come out mopey after an additional three hours away from Twitter, but they lost none of the fire they started the game with. Case McCoy has found a favorite third-down target in Marcus Johnson (as Harrington glumly crumples all his notes about Jaxon Shipley), who continued his OU streak with a 65-yard bomb on third and 10 for UT’s first touchdown and then caught a 43-yard pass on third and 9 after 3/8 time. (After the delay, halftime was only three minutes, not even enough time to take a Tom Delay.)

The schedule started pretty rough/The touted team was tossed

If not for the courage of the ’13 Horns/The season would be lost

The season would be lost

On a weekend when their hometown became Vince Gilligan’s Island, the Longhorns were up in Cowtown breaking bad habits en route to a 30-7 domination of a Horned Frogs team that beat them in Austin last Thanksgiving.

Show of hands, how many of you thought, after the third game, that Texas would now be 4-0 in the Big 12, tied for first place with RG3/Baylor University? Put ’em down, liars.

After being trounced by Mormons in the land of Jazz and then segregated from the win column by Ole Miss the next week, we were ready to throw Mack Brown under the Earl Campbell. Emergency leak-fixer Greg Robinson looks so much like coach Jim (“Playoffs!?”) Mora that you could hear him incredulously say “Bowl Game?!”

This was a team stranded on Joe Jamail’s yacht in the middle of a Mediocre Sea. And now they’re 5-2 overall and 4-0 in conference. In the last four games they’ve avenged three last-season defeats, beating Kansas State by 10, Oklahoma by 16 and TCU by 23.

The emergence of Case McCoy as leader of the streaking, rebounding Longhorns is the story of the year in the Burnt Orange grove. 

They did lose something kinda big in the TCU game: Tyrone Swoopes’ red shirt. This is the kid from the North Texas DQ town of Wainwright who’s been compared to Vince Young. But unlike our hero number 10, who was the No. 1 player in the country out of high school and had a year to mature without burning any eligibility, Swoopes will use one of his four years at UT as the guy on the bench everyone’s gonna yell for when Case McCoy forgets he’s not just throwing the ball in his backyard and serves up interceptions with a wine list.

McCoy’s majesty one moment and stumbling the next gives Longhorns games a reality-show feel. The second pick last night, an underthrow into double coverage, was one Honey of a Boo-Boo. In a town where “Duck Dynasty” is about a newspaper sportswriter’s tenure, McCoy is the quirky outdoorsman who charms us with his spunk, then makes us scratch our heads over some of his quirks. The emergence of Case McCoy as leader of the streaking, rebounding Longhorns is the story of the year in the Burnt Orange grove.

He was a castaway, ridiculed, doubted, given up on. Except by himself. They say he’s fearlessly positive, that there are no questions in his mind. He has the compassion of Ghandi, but also the arm strength. He’s not physically gifted, but he has the heart of a champion. We’ll take him.

Next week is Kansas at home. An easy win. Then West Virginia on the road. More revenge. The first real test of these rebound warriors is Oklahoma State on November 16, then Texas Tech on Thanksgiving, leading to the game of the year, December 7 against Baylor up in Waco.

I don’t know, I see a possible 10-2 season and a Big 12 championship. The defense, the Daje, the Gray Ghost and Malcolm up the middle. Jaxon, Magic Mike, Kendall, Marcus — some real weapons for Good Case to hit in stride. Don’t know how this season turned, but the biggest play of the year was the call on that Johnathan Gray fumble against Iowa State that wasn’t reversed.

That was the gift that made this season start to feel special. That was some Higher Power stuff that’s thrown out there to see how you handle it, and this year’s Longhorns have been playing with a renewed sense of purpose. They were supposed to be all over by now, but they’ve only just begun.

So join us here each week my friends

You’re sure to scream and yell

At 11 men on the field each play

And not one’s John Manziel

Case McCoy TCU game
Case McCoy's turnaround is the story of the season. Photo courtesy of UT Athletics
Malcolm Brown TCU game
Malcolm Brown. Photo courtesy of UT Athletics
UT defense TCU game
UT's suddenly ferocious defense. Photo courtesy of UT Athletics