Fans of Dallas Cowboys, Texas Longhorns defenses shocked
Two of the Lone Star State’s most fabled football teams—the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Longhorns—shocked their faithful followers inversely in less than a 24-hour time span last weekend.
All week long the Texas Longhorn players and coaches bragged about how the team is real comfortable playing football games away from the 100,000-seated Royal-Memorial Stadium in Austin and how they really love road trips.
And the Dallas Cowboys, who had caused only 16 turnovers during the entire 2012 season, worked their tails off during training camp trying to improve that statistic this season.
Saturday’s schedule took the Longhorns some 1,200 miles from home to mountainous Provo, Utah to meet unranked Brigham Young University, which had scored only 16 points in a loss the week before to Virginia, a team they were favored to beat.
The Longhorns must have known it was going to be a very strange night and a road trip they might not enjoy as lightning and a heavy downpour delayed the kickoff of the game by 1 hour, 52 minutes—believed to be the longest delay in Texas Longhorn history.
When the game finally kicked off, it looked as if the Longhorns’ defense was still back in Austin as BYU continually ran the football at will against the confused players and frustrated coaching staff.
By halftime the No. 15th-ranked Longhorns were on the short end of a 27-14 score, but the loyal fans were confident defensive coordinator Manny Diaz would reach into his huge bag of tricks and come up with a competent solution.
However things went from bad to worse for the Longhorns’ defense. When the final gun mercifully sounded, the defense had surrendered an unbelievable 550 yards of rushing– breaking the previous record for a UT opponent set by Rice in 1997—and the ‘Horns lost 41-20 despite being favored to win by a touchdown.
Head Coach Mack Brown wouldn’t say much about the debacle until after he reviewed the game film on Sunday. But less than 24 hours after the game was played Brown relieved Diaz of his defensive coordinator’s duties and named his old friend Greg Robinson to assume that position with the Longhorns program.
“Our performance on defense Saturday night was unacceptable and we need to change that,” Brown told the San Antonio Express-News in a statement after replacing an assistant midseason for the first time at UT. “Robinson will be running our defense immediately.”
Robinson ran the Longhorns’ defense in 2004 before being named head coach at Syracuse. He had been working as a consultant for the ‘Horns since July reviewing films and scouting UT opponents from his home in California.
Robinson is a 36-year coaching veteran with NFL experience. His previous tenure with Texas ended with an 11-1 record and a Rose Bowl victory. He left immediately for Austin Sunday.
Up the road at Arlington the Dallas Cowboys opened their 2013 NFL season against perennial nemesis, the dreaded New York Giants, who have missed the playoffs since 2008 but have won the last four games at Dallas since the Cowboys left Texas Stadium for the recently renamed AT&T Stadium in 2009.
Cowboys’ fans weren’t sure how the new 4-3 defensive scheme instilled by 73-year old Monte Kiffin would work out. After all, the Pokes were behind in EVERY game last season because of Rob Ryan’s inept schemes that got him fired as defensive coordinator by owner Jerry Jones at the end of last season.
Kiffin has been a proponent of causing opponents’ turnovers and stressed that facet of the defense heavily during training camp and in preseason games.
Kiffin’s constant preaching must have hit home as the Cowboys forced a whopping six turnovers, two of which were returned for Cowboy touchdowns. And, the Dallas Cowboys NEVER trailed in Sunday night’s game which was viewed by a national television audience on NBC.
Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo was equally as brilliant as New York’s Eli Manning, who might have had better statistics than Romo, but came up short where it counts the most—on the scoreboard—as Dallas won their first contest over the Giants in AT&T Stadium in five tries.
Ironically, the victory wasn’t secured until the Cowboys caused their sixth and final turnover when defensive back Brandon Carr intercepted a deflected Manning pass and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown that gave the Pokes a 36-24 lead with 1:50 left. Manning completed his fourth touchdown pass with 11 seconds left bringing the final score to 36-31, as the Cowboys covered the 3½-point spread of the Las Vegas Boys.
And as last week’s edition of USA Today Sports Weekly so succinctly put it, “With Kansas City, St. Louis and San Diego coming up on the Cowboys’ schedule, a 4-0 start would surely help Head Coach Jason Garrett keep his job.”
This Korner believes that as long as Monte Kiffin’s defense continues to force turnovers that produce defensive touchdowns and Dallas Cowboy victories, Garrett’s job should be secure.
KWICKIES…Orange native Earl Thomas started the 2013 season for his Seattle Seahawks like he’s gunning for his third straight trip to the Pro Bowl as he led his team with 10 tackles (8 solos) in Sunday’s 12-7 victory over the Carolina Panthers. Earl also made the play of the game when he stripped the Panthers’ ball carrier and a teammate recovered the fumble at the five-yard line as Carolina was going for the go-ahead touchdown. We will have a chance to watch Earl in action this weekend when the 3-point-favored Seahawks host the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers in NBC’s Sunday Night Game of the Week which kicks off at 7:30 p.m.
I apologize for leaving you readers hanging last week when someone at the office whose scissors were sharper than his/her judgment cut my column short. We picked Green Bay to win the NFC North Division and Atlanta to win the NFC South. We also predicted that the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins should make the playoffs as the AFC wild cards and the San Francisco 49ers and the New Orleans Saints will be the NFC wild cards. We also hoped the AFC championship game will be between our Houston Texans and the Denver Broncos while the Seattle Seahawks and the Atlanta Falcons battle it out for the right to play in the Super Bowl from the NFC.
The Orangefield Bobcats are proving to be giant-killers after knocking off two straight opponents that were favored to beat them. The feisty ‘Cats rallied to beat a good East Chambers team at Zero Week and then fended off a Jasper team that many preseason prognosticators picked to win its district. Things don’t get any easier for the Bobcats this week when they must travel to take on the Newton Eagles, the state of Texas’ No. 1 team in Class 2A. Perhaps the game being played on Friday the 13th will have a bearing on the outcome.
Sunset Grove golfer Ernie Dyer enjoyed a very successful (and prosperous) venture in last weekend’s 54th annual Labor Day Golf Tournament sponsored by the Sunset Grove Men’s Golf Association. Ernie made a hole-in-one Sunday on the Par 3, 163-yard No. 14 hole using a five-iron, which helped him win his flight. He was presented a $200 check for getting an ace and being an MGA member, received another check for $202.50 for buying himself in the player’s pool plus he won a nifty gift certificate for winning his flight. But there is a downside to this story—if Ernie had made the hole-in-one 24 hours later Monday on No. 14, he would have driven home in a brand new pickup truck, which was offered on that hole ONLY during Monday’s final round.
Some results of high school football that may be of interest to Orange-area fans from last weekend include Navasota 24, Coldspring 0; Texas City 56, La Marque 35; Wimberley 26, Giddings 14; Atlanta 48, Daingerfield 35; Carthage 45, Lindale 17; Waco La Vega 29, Hutto 28; Corrigan-Camden 28, Diboll 14; Crockett 22, Rusk 14.
JUST BETWEEN US…More than 100 men and women golfers participated in the three-day 54th Annual Labor Day Golf Tournament sponsored by the Sunset Grove Men’s Golf Association that also was cut out of last week’s Korner. The results:
CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT-1. Richard Scully 2 Hunter Cooper 3. Patrick Prince.
FIRST FLIGHT—1. Richard Lormand 2. Clint Doyel 3. Michael Prince.
SECOND FLIGHT—1. Ernie Dyer 2. Randy Harrison 3. Johnny Hargroue.
THIRD FLIGHT—1. Dave Young 2. Kelly Cordova 3. Dale Peddy.
FOURTH FLIGHT—1. Ricky Radley 2. Clay Richards 3. Brad Gilmore.
FIFTH FLIGHT—1. Mike Hughes 2. Dave McClenon 3. Adam Caillavet.
LADIES’ FLIGHT—Gross 1. Brooke Brasseaux 2. Nancy Wood; Net 1. Allison Puente 2. Carla Grissom.
OPEN POINTS FLIGHT—1. Ken Ruane 2. David Bridges 3. Dewey Scott.
SENIOR’S FLIGHT—1. Ron Hoepner 2. Larry Prince 3. Bob Hoepner.