Everybody who’s anybody remember Vince Young trotting into the corner of the endzone to defeat the USC Trojans for the national championship in 2006. It was the greatest football game ever played; won by the greatest college football team that ever played; and the trophy is displayed at the greatest university ever built. I’m referring to THE University of Texas in Austin. I remember this moment well. I actually had to work that day at UPS and somehow managed to block out any hearsay about the score or the game until I made it home to watch the recorded version.
Fast forward to 2010 when the Longhorns made their next trip to Pasadena, California to play the Alabama Crimson Tide. This was towards the beginning of Bama’s current dynasty. During the 1st quarter of the game, Colt McCoy was taken out of the game with a shoulder injury. While the Longhorns put up a good effort, this was the first game action that QB Garret Gilbert had seen in his college career. The game remained competitive, but Texas just didn’t have enough firepower with a freshman quarterback. This moment started what became a 6 year downward spiral in Longhorn football history.
These dark days included 3 losing seasons, a coaching change, multiple coordinator changes, and a loss of hope for the 3rd winningest program in college football history. Speaking of coaching changes… enter Charlie Strong. This moment marks a new chapter in Longhorns history. Having a good resume as the defensive coordinator at Florida and the head coach at the budding football program in Louisville; Charlie never has gotten the respect he deserves. His perspective on the game and the direction the program needed to be headed in was different and many fans didn’t like the results that came from the necessary changes.
I don’t want to get long winded in my first entry, but his 1st 2 seasons at the helm of the program had mixed results. We as fans saw awesome highs (beating of Oklahoma and Baylor) and painful lows (getting shut out by Iowa fricking State and being demolished by TCU) The past 2 years have tested my resolve and brought Texas football to the brink of irrelevance…. BUT 2 top 10 recruiting classes, some player dismissals, a Baylor scandal, and the passing of BEVO the 14th have brought us to this moment.
Notre Dame vs UT round 2. After broken promises of a new high tempo offense and spread football in 2015, I’ll admit I was nervous when we showed up to Austin around 3:00PM. I had read, and heard the same song and dance this year about the changes that were made and the marked improvements the Longhorns had been making over the summer. I watched all the hype videos, followed the football teams official Snapchat, read every article from every site that covered the Horns. I was worried that I was too invested. Could I really go through another opening week 30 pt beat down?!? (in person this time)
Notre Dame won the coin toss and elected to recieve. They marched right down the field and scored a touchdown. My stomach was in my throat and I was terrified that a record 102,000 fans were all going to experience the same heartache that I was about to endure. Then Shane Buechelle jogged out on the field dawning number 7. He lead the team down accompanied by a pair of bruising running back in Foreman and Warren III. He made quick decisions, could toss the crossing patterns, 10 yard outs, and the deep ball. Could it be? Before my very eyes I was witnessing the birth of UT’s next star quarterback. Am I jumping to conclusions? Maybe, but who cares. The two teams fought back and forth and exchanged leads until the fourth quarter ended all square. Finally, in double overtime QB Tyrone Swoopes extended the football into the endzone and the Longhorns had won the game.
This brings me to my last moment. (Finally, I know. Following articles will be shorter) I witnessed pure elation from the fans, players, and coaches. Swoopes was mobbed by his teammates and Charlie Strong was raised up and tossed around like he was crowd surfing at a massive concert. I didn’t want to leave. This is a moment I will never forget as it was not only a great game, but the turning of a program to former dominance and glory.
Disclaimer: I’m not saying we’ll win it all this year…. but I’m not saying we won’t! #hearditherefirst