Conner's Burnt Orange Glasses: Oklahoma State

"What are you grinning about?" Who, me? Oh, it's nothing. Kind of silly, really. I was thinking about a football game.

"Really? I love football, but I don't have anything to smile about today."

I'm so sorry to hear that, because a good football game can really lift your spirits.

"Which football game did you see?"

The Texas Longhorns versus the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

"Get outta town! That's the game I'm so upset about. What are you, some big Okie State fan?"

No, no, no. I graduated from UT. I practically bleed burnt orange.

"Me, too! I love my beloved, mighty, fighting Texas Longhorns. So why are you smiling?"

I guess you didn't get to watch until the end of the game, but Texas actually won. That's why I liked the game.

"You enjoy seeing our team humiliated? You enjoy watching one of the worst defensive performances in Mack Brown's tenure? Oklahoma State ran over us, through, us, and between us. We gave up 430 passing yards! Do you think I'm some kind of masochist? No Longhorn fan could possibly smile after that disaster of a game!"

Well, I'm a Longhorn fan, and I found the game very … entertaining. We came back in the end and won on the last play of the game in one of the most hostile environments in the Big XII. When the game was over, I was happy and relieved and, to be honest, I felt a little vindicated. Yeah, I liked the game.

"You are nuts! Our defense was beyond terrible. Our linebackers were badly out of position all afternoon. We left receivers wide open in the secondary. We gave up real estate like the Russian Army falling to Napoleon, for crying out loud. We looked worse than the Kansas State game, if that's possible."

Russia is an interesting example. Did you know nobody has conquered Russia from the outside? The country is so large they can give up miles and miles of territory and still be in good shape.

"Spare me the history lesson! And wipe that stupid grin off your face!"

Sorry, I just can't. Especially after all the stuff that happened in the Cowboys' favor during the game.

"Like what?"

Like a stoked-up Stillwater crowd. Like an Oklahoma State team that hadn't lost at home all year. Like a Cowboy team that was tied for first place in the Big XII South. Like Colt overthrowing his first pass by eighteen inches, and OSU scoring off the resulting interception. Like the second interception that bounced right out of Nate Jones' hands. Like the third interception where Cowboy DB Jacob Lacey wrestled the ball from Jordan Shipley's hands. Like the Okie State fumble that was waived off because Dantrell Savage allegedly stepped out of bounds. Like the two seconds that magically appeared on the clock just before halftime. Like the three OSU punts that were downed inside the ten yard line, two of which were inside the five. Like Sergio Kindle's injury. Like Dallas Griffin's injury. Like all the quarterback – center exchanges UT botched after Griffin was injured. Like Robert Killibrew's injury. Like Drew Kelson's injury. Like Jared Norton's injury. Like Eddie Jones' injury. Like the terrible late hit personal foul call against Tony Hills while the pile of players was still moving. Like the questionable homer flags and OSU's favorable spots and …

"OK. OK. I get the idea. What's your point?"

Don't you see? This is not a bad win. This is the very best kind of win.

"You're a crazy man! We played lousy!"

But we won anyway. Don't you see what happened? Don't you understand how devastating this is for Oklahoma State? They had us right where they wanted us. They had the momentum. They had a three touchdown lead. Their offense flew through us like crap through a goose. They had the home crowd screaming like a nine year old at a Hanna Montana concert. Zac Robinson, their quarterback, was on fire. Heck, even their punter was having a career day. UT had injuries, setbacks, poor play, and every possible excuse to lose the game, and we still won.

"Yeah. So?"

In "The Art of War," Sun Tzu talks about robbing the fighting spirit of the enemy.

"Sonny who? Didn't he coach linebackers for Spike Dykes at Tech?"

Wrong guy. Listen, defeating our opponent is one thing, but to completely and totally demoralize them is much, much better. You whip a team by 40 points, and they figure they had a bad day. They'll come back and play you tough the next time.

"I'm not following you."

But if you barely beat them as time expires after they've had almost every break for the entire game, there's no remedy for that kind of loss. You can't coach around that kind of defeat. You can't put a salve or training room treatments on that type of psychic injury. It kills the other team's fighting spirit, and carries over to future contests. Next year in Austin, regardless of how well they play, OSU will believe, at least in part, that they are destined to lose. And teams that believe they are destined to lose almost always find a way to lose. I'm telling you, Saturday in Stillwater really was the best kind of win.

"Aw, you don't know anything about football. We should have pummeled these guys by three touchdowns, and we couldn't get the job done. Period. Oh, and one more thing …"

Sure. What is it?

"Will you wipe that goofy grin off your face?"

Hook ‘em.

Jeff Conner's political and pop culture-infused Longhorn commentary appears regularly in the Inside Texas magazine and at InsideTexas.com.


Horns Digest Top Stories