In his political and pop-culture infused off-beat commentary known as “Conner’s Burnt Orange Glasses”, Jeff Conner searches for the right words to describe the Texas D’s performance against KU and looks ahead to Texas A&M.
Ferocious. Vicious. Fierce. Brutal. Physical. Aggressive. Mean. Nasty. Killer. Gangsta. Ill-tempered. Bone-jarring. Slobber-knocking. Fear-inducing. Filling-loosening.
Sorry. I could not do it. I tried to come up with an appropriate adjective for each separate hit my beloved, mighty, fighting Texas Longhorns put on a Kansas Jayhawk offensive player Saturday. Like Fox News anchors trying to call Barack Obama a terrorist in a fair and balanced manner, I ran out of freakin’ words. My ample vocabulary expired long before our defensive secondary grew tired of wailing on last year’s Orange Bowl champs in an unforgiving manner.
We either bruised or broke the ribs of tough Jayhawk running back Jake Sharp. We whipped highly-touted receiver Dezmond Briscoe into slowly, wearily crawling off the turf one moment and dropping passes while nervously looking over his shoulder the next. We hit quarterback Todd Reesing, as former Texas Tech Coach Spike Dykes used to say, “Like a tied-up goat.” Just before halftime, LB’s Roddrick Muckelroy and Jarod Norton sandwiched WR and backup QB Kerry Meier so hard he actually put his hand to his throat on the way off the field to make sure he still had a pulse. We smacked them so hard their receivers dropped balls and their running backs coughed up fumbles. We popped them more fiercely than Rosie O’Donnell and John Goodman hitting an all-you-can-eat buffet. We stopped Kansas on fourth down like a cork up the backside of a constipated fat man.
We actually did what we encourage our team to do each week. We beat the hell outta Kansas.
Yes, we gave up too many passing yards during trash time. I understand there is something disconcerting about being next-to-next-to-next-to-last in NCAA pass defense statistics, but, come on, people. We held Kansas oh-fer on fourth down conversions and limited them to 7 total points – in a Big 12 road game. Coach Mangino’s bunch was averaging 443 yards of total offense and 35 points per game. Their final tally Saturday was a little over 300 yards, including a paltry 47 yards rushing.
Heck, the only time Kansas scored was on a series containing both a questionable out-of-bounds personal foul penalty against Norton and an incredible, ESPN-highlight-reel, trapped-the-ball-against-the-back-of-his-helmet-like-that-catch-in-the-Super-Bowl snag by Briscoe of a 4th and 11 pass that bounced off not one but two Longhorn defenders’ hands.
Admit it, our defense played on a National Championship level Saturday. This was the group of focused, hard-hitting assassins we secretly longed for ever since we first You-Tubed Will Muschamp all those months ago. Bitching about the defensive stats against the Jayhawks is like whining about sex with Jennifer Aniston because when she talked dirty to you she used the word “effect” when “affect” was more correct. The offense, of course, is another matter. After sleepwalking through the first half like the audience in an Ashley Judd movie, dropping more passes than a size 14 Bill Clinton intern and playing sloppier than a fifth grade boy’s bedroom, we managed to scrape together a few points in the second half.
Our running game was terrible Saturday and Longhorn QB Colt McCoy bolted from the pocket far too often. Our ground game was bound to suffer a little with true-freshman, third-string center Dan Snow subbing for injured starter Chris Hall. Also absent was backup center and Fox News political commentator Buck Burnette, who missed the game because he was “on assignment.” The running game is what it is. We set up the run with our passing game and not vice versa, much like Ben Affleck leeching off Matt Damon to get a Best Screenplay Oscar.
There were some bright moments offensively, like Abe-Lincoln-and-Amish-style, chin-beard-with-no-moustache-facial-hair WR Jordan Shipley’s over-the-top dive on a third quarter fake field goal. Fozzy Whittaker continues to develop as a running back, especially his pass-catching ability. Underclassmen WRs Brandon Collins and James Kirkendoll both had terrific grabs. Our offense played well enough to win the game in a pleasant but inconsistent outing. But today we celebrate our aggravated assault defense and look forward to a week and one-half to rest and get healthy before our annual grudge match with the Aggies. I know a great deal will be written about the Gomers between now and then, but we have not played a full, complete game against the Farmers since before our Mythical National Championship season. The Ags, bless their heart, were blown out by lowly Baylor, needing two fourth quarter touchdowns during mop-up time to make things look respectable. Texags.com is in full meltdown more than the Springfield power plant where Homer Simpson works. Desperate people who worship dead collies and goose-stepping military bands with absolutely nothing to lose make dangerous opponents.
Like most of you, I have absolutely no idea how the Bowl Championship Series will shake out for the Horns. I realize we did not beat Kansas as thoroughly as Texas Tech did earlier in the year, but a four-touchdown road win certainly must be considered a gentlemanly, sporting way to take care of business. The season has reached a point where there is nothing else we can do but get ready for A&M. Like the old Timex wristwatch TV ads, we gave a lickin’ and must now keep on tickin’.
Jeff Conner’s political and pop culture-infused Longhorn commentary appears regularly in the Inside Texas magazine and at InsideTexas.com.
Aniston photo from who.binds.us. Amish photo from www.galenfrysinger.com. Lincoln photo is public domain.