Game Observations

Strange calls, shifting momentum, injury updates, movie references and more. Inside Texas' Ross Lucksinger gives his obvservations from the Longhorns' loss to Kansas State...and one observation he got standing too close for comfort.

-Texas started the game with a five wide set and then threw a wide receiver screen for a nine-yard gain. Standard Greg Davis fare, but this is actually a game where I agreed with gratuitous use of short routes and off-tackle read runs. When I stood down on the field at the end of the game, I was surprised at how much smaller (excepting QB Josh Freeman) the Wildcats were. This isn't surprising, given that eight of the starters were current or former walk-ons. When you've got an opponent outmatched physically, it's effective to use safe routes like screens to create mismatches in space and use read blocking schemes to take advantage of size differences and let the holes open. They were also good calls due to the relative inexperience of the Longhorns' QB. The play-calling was effective, but the K-State players played the game of their lives.

-The wind was absolutely taken out of the sail of the Longhorns when Colt McCoy came out of the game. Jevan Snead performed admirably, but looked, well, like a freshman. He did his best to rally Texas when they were down, but there just wasn't enough time for the heroics of yet another freshman QB.

-Prince made a very confusing call with the game tied in the second quarter. The Wildcats had the ball in their own territory, it was 4th and long, Texas was reeling after losing its starting quarterback and Kansas State faked the punt. The result was Michael Griffin planting punter Tim Reyer and Texas taking over inside the K-State 5. With the momentum shift, I thought Prince had just given the game away, but that's how he coaches. Kansas State will probably lose a few games they shouldn't because of calls like these, but they're also why they'll win games like the one they won on Saturday.

-Huge congratulations goes out the K-State front seven, especially the defensive line. Texas has one of the best, if not the best, offensive lines in the country and the Wildcat defense caused havoc in the Texas backfield, creating more pressure than even the No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes did against the Longhorns.

-Did anyone else catch that illegal shift used by Kansas State in the final drive? If that was done on purpose, it was brilliant. After the on-side kick, the Wildcats needed to take as much time off the clock as possible. The Longhorns took a timeout with 1:04 remaining. It was second down and the Horns only had one timeout left. If they stopped Kansas State twice, taking a timeout after the first play, the Wildcats would punt the ball with roughly 22 seconds to go in the game.

I'm coming to that estimate because we're going to take off six seconds for the first play, then timeout, six seconds for the second play, then Kansas State would allow another 30 seconds run off the clock before snapping it since, although the play-clock is 25 seconds, the game clock runs while the ball is reset. Add in six seconds of snap, hang-time and fair catch on the punt and Texas would rush the offense out with 16 seconds to go. That would allow enough time for a long throw to receiver who could take the ball out of bounds and set up a field goal with minimal time remaining. But if you were to take another five seconds off the clock, the Horns only have 11 seconds to get down the field. Enough time for a catch, run and dive out of bounds? Probably not.

Kansas State got those five seconds with an illegal shift. On second down, the Wildcats sent an ineligible player in motion and then ran the play. 1:04 went down to 59.1 on the clock and KSU was sent back five yards, but the time remained off the clock. There go your five seconds. Kansas State didn't need ‘em, but that was an impressive job of knowing the rules on the part of the Wildcat coaching staff.

-Safety Michael Griffin took the lead over defensive end Brian Robison in career blocks at Texas. Griffin has eight career punt blocks and Robison has seven career field goal blocks. It's impressive when you can have both the career leaders at your school in blocked field goals and blocked punts on your roster at the same time.

-Towards the end of the game DE Lamarr Houston and OL Justin Blalock were walking around under their own power without any noticeable bandages or braces. With the Longhorns' off-week, it seems likely that each should be ready to go for Texas A&M. The status of Colt McCoy is significantly less clear. McCoy suffered a neck stinger and will be out for an indeterminate amount of time as more analysis is done on the extent of his injury. McCoy is currently able to stand and throw a football and his physical ability to play is not an issue. It's the pain. In addition, even if McCoy wanted to play through the pain, there's still the concern for his safety. More details will be given on the progression of his recovery as we get them.

-Michael Griffin was the first player to arrive at the news tent outside the stadium and he began with an apology to Kansas State.

"First and foremost, I want to apologize to the Kansas State team because I didn't shake nobody's hand after the game. I was tending to my brother (Marcus) because he was kind of down."

This is why Michael always volunteers to speak to the media, is always the first to show up and the last to leave. He's become the team's spokesman, of sorts, and has a good head on his shoulders.

-In my game story I considered using a couple of obscure movie references, but removed them both because of, well, obscurity. Think of this as a ‘deleted scenes' section.

The first had to do with Snead's touchdown pass to Limas Sweed. It was a perfectly thrown ball and starkly different from his previous attempts at the deep ball, which had all flown way too far. In reference to the film currently in theaters, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, I had written. "As Borat would say: That pass was too far…

NOT!"

The second was a description of what part of McCoy's body had been injured. This was inspired by a debate going on between several of my colleagues in the press box as to whether he hurt his neck or shoulder. I was going to write, "the injury wasn't quite the neck, it was lower, where the shoulder meets the neck. ‘Like this!?'"

…you know, like in Spaceballs, when Lonestar tried to use the Vulcan neck grip and he…you know what? Never mind.

-I mentioned earlier that I was down on the field for the conclusion of the game. Unfortunately, I picked a very, very poor spot to stand when the final seconds rolled off the clock.

Right in front of the Kansas State student section.

I turned to see a wall of humanity descending upon me as there was no security to stop the fans from rushing the field. When the first wave hit I was nearly taken off my feet and I realized if I tried to fight the flow I was going to be trampled. I was taken with the crowd and, being on the front of the group, ended up at the dead center of the field and next to K-State kicker Jeff Snodgrass. In fact, an AP photographer (Charlie Riedel) caught a picture of me being dragged along.

That's actually me in the middle of the maw. A foot stomping, a finger jamming and my head getting knocked around later, I managed to make it to the far side and the Texas locker room.


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