Good morning. Breakfast is served.
It’s August 31st — 243 down, 122 to go.
And 6 till the Texas-BYU rematch.
YESTERDAY: It was college football’s first Saturday. A good day for the Big 12, if you’re into moral victories, and a scary one for the SEC, if you’re into lackluster openings. Alabama survived West Virginia, Florida State survived Oklahoma State, UCLA survived Virginia and LSU survived Wisconsin. The Rams cut Michael Sam. Team USA clobbered Finland 114-55 in the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
TODAY: Baylor kicks off its season, debuts its shiny new stadium and unveils its Robert Griffin III statue all in one fell swoop (Baylor vs. SMU, 6:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1). The U.S. Open continues, highlighted by the Maria Sharapova–Caroline Wozniacki fourth-round match (noon, CBS).
TOMORROW: It’s Labor Day. Enjoy.
Aug. 31 has a sports history. On this date, the Yankees retired Don Mattingly’s No. 23 (1997); Texas beat Missouri, 40-10, in the Longhorns’ first-ever Big 12 game (1996); the Texas Rangers traded Ruben Sierra, Bobby Witt and Jeff Russell to the Oakland A’s in return for Jose Canseco (1992); Houston Cougars quarterback David Klingler set an NCAA record with six TD passes in a quarter, during a 73-3 win over Louisiana Tech (1991); Seattle’s Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr. became the first father/son duo to play on the same MLB team (1990); 16-year-old Tracy Austin beat 14-year-old Andrea Jaeger at the U.S. Open (1979); and former heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano died in a plane crash at the age of 45, one day before his birthday (1969).
Last year on Aug. 31, Texas beat New Mexico State 56-7 in its season opener — in what would become the first, last and only game of 2013 that David Ash finished. In the NFL, the Packers released Vince Young and the Patriots cut Tim Tebow.
Today’s sports birthdays: Larry Fitzgerald (31), Padraig Harrington (43), Hideo Nomo (46), Tom Candiotti (57), Edwin Moses (59), Tom Coughlin (68) and Frank Robinson (69). Other notables: Chris Tucker (43) and Richard Gere (65). Oh, and Debbie Gibson is 43.
TODAY’S TRIVIA: Who played for more MLB teams — Ken Griffey or Ken Griffey Jr.? (Answer’s at the end of Breakfast.)
TODAY’S LEAD: TEXAS FOOTBALL. The Longhorns opened the Charlie Strong era with a 38-7 win over North Texas. Here’s today’s Texas Top 10 thoughts, observations and tidbits out of the game:
(1) David Ash survived. Or did he? Texas’ quarterback, playing his first game since Sept. 21, 2013, was 19 of 34 for 190 yards. He threw for a TD and ran for a TD. He didn’t wow us. He didn’t play badly. But he overthrew a couple, underthrew a couple, and took five big hits. With his concussion history, that’s a concern. More concerning: He wasn’t made available to the media after the game.
(2) That’s Texas, not exas. What a night for the defense, which wasn’t a huge surprise. Charlie Strong is a defensive coach, and he built Louisville’s defense into one of the nation’s best in a couple of years. It’s not a stretch to think he can do the same thing here. The Horns allowed only 94 yards — the 12th-best performance in school history — and gave up only 15 passing yards, which ranks 8th all-time.
“We knew they were going to blitz us, but we didn’t know they were going to blitz us like they did,” UNT quarterback Josh Greer said. “I think in the first half, (the coaches) said they blitzed us like 26 of the 28 plays in the half.”
Said Texas cornerback Quandre Diggs: “That’s the way the guys before us used to do. They used to go out and dominate guys. That’s something we have to get back to and we have to get back to playing our game. We just have to stay focused.”
Said Strong: “Defensively, if you’re ever going to win a championship, you have to play great defense. And defense kind of sets the tone for the whole game.”
(3) The hits kept coming and coming. So let’s talk about Ash’s hits. He had five big ones — one in the first quarter, two in the second, one in the third and one in the fourth. The first came on a quarterback keeper heading toward the sideline. Big hit. The second came on a sack when UNT’s Jarrian Roberts — a 6-2, 240-pound non-scholarship defensive end — got past 6-3, 320-pound guard Sedrick Flowers. The third big hit also was a sack, as Taylor Doyle got beaten. The fourth hit came in the third quarter, on a blitz up the middle. Backup center Jake Raulerson was beaten. And the fifth came on the final play Ash was in for, a blitz from UNT linebacker Derrick Akunne.
“It’s all within the flow of the game,” Strong said. “I think the officials did a great job and the thing we have to do is just do a better job protecting. … You have to remember, you’re going to get hit in this game. So it’s all about just him getting the ball to protect himself, and even when he took off once a couple of times, he slid on one and just ran out of bounds.”
(4) A game of firsts. The first tackle was made by Steve Edmond. The first offensive play was a handoff to Malcolm Brown, a 6-yard run. Ash’s first pass was a completion to Jaxon Shipley, for a first down. The first big play was an interception from former walk-on safety Dylan Haines (Haines received a schlarship two weeks ago). The first Uh Oh moment was Ash’s first big hit on the sideline. The second Uh Oh moment was Nick Rose‘s missed 38-yard field goal, which went wide right. The first Texas score was Brown’s 1-yard run with 4:06 left in the first quarter. And it was the first Charlie Strong victory at UT. Only 166 wins away from catching Darrell Royal.
(5) Five phases of the game (and who won them): Offense (Texas, 353-94), Defense (Texas), Special Teams (Push), Turnovers (Texas, 4-2) and 3rd-Down Conversions (Push — Texas was 4 of 14, UNT was 3 of 15).
(6) Offensive game ball: WR John Harris. Where has this guy been all his career? Harris, who had only five catches in 2013, had 7 grabs for 110 yards and a TD. He was Ash’s preferred target all night.
(7) Defensive game ball: LB Jordan Hicks. The senior looked quick and explosive in his first game back since his 2013 season ended with an Achilles injury. He had 5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and one interception — his first career pick.
(8) Toeing the line: Texas, a 25-point favorite, covered with the 31-point victory.
(9) Sweet tweet: From Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News (@mikefinger) — “You might remember John Harris from such old-school hits as ‘Throwing a TD to Jaxon Shipley’ and ‘Catching a Hail Mary from Case McCoy.'”
(10) Milestones: RT Marcus Hutchins, Harris, DE Shiro Davis and S Adrian Colbert all started the first games of their career. … The 94 total yards allowed by Texas ranks No. 12 on the all-time list, and the 15 passing yards ranks No. 8. … Dylan Haines, Hicks, Colbert and Cobbs all had the first interceptions of their careers. … Malcolm Brown recorded his 20th career rushing TD and moved to No. 16 on UT’s career rushing list with 2,035 yards. He passed Marty Akins (2,020) Saturday night. … C Dominic Espinosa started his 40th career game. … Gray’s 42-yard run in the second quarter was the longest of his career. … DT Hassan Ridgeway had two sacks, the first of his career.
Up next for Texas: BYU, on Saturday, at DKR (6:30, Fox Sports 1).
Our coverage from Texas-North Texas: Kirk Bohls wrote on Ash ($), who didn’t provide a lot of wow moments, but at least made it through the game. Cedric Golden looked at what Saturday’s victory meant to the Texas program, which is, in many ways, starting over. And, of course, Texas’ defense was the storyline of the night ($). We also have an everything-you-need-to-know story in case you missed it ($), a story broken up by quarters. And we had a game notebook ($), analyzed the win ($) and answered Saturday’s five pre-game questions ($) facing the Longhorns.
How others covered the game: The Dallas Morning News opined on Strong’s effect at Texas — at least for one night — while its game story centered on the defense. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram also wrote about the defense, as well as Ash’s night. The San Antonio Express-News story explained how the Longhorns gave Strong just about everything he could’ve wanted in the opener.
And on the other side of the coverage fence, the Denton Record-Chronicle wrote about how UNT followed up one of its best offensive games ever — last season’s Heart of Dallas bowl victory — with one of its worst.
Oh, and while we’re talking Longhorns football, Aug. 31 was the birthday of Texas’ first-ever football coach, R.D. Wentworth, who was born in 1868. His salary for coaching the 1894 Longhorns — $325.
Texas went 6-1 that season, which marked the first-ever games with Texas A&M and Arkansas (both wins). Texas won those six games by a combined score of 191-0, then got shut out by Missouri in the season finale, 28-0. But he left after the season, and ended up returning to the East Coast and ended up in the marine insurance industry in New York City.
BIG 12 STANDINGS
Kansas State: 1-0 (Next: at 0-1 Iowa State, 11 a.m., Fox Sports 1)
TCU: 1-0 (Off next week)
Oklahoma: 1-0 (Next: at 1-0 Tulsa, 11 a.m., ABC)
Texas Tech: 1-0 (Next: at 1-0 UTEP, 10 a.m., Fox Sports 1)
Texas: 1-0 (Next: vs. 1-0 BYU, 6:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
West Virginia: 0-1 (Next: vs. 0-1 Towson, 6:30 p.m.)
Oklahoma State: 0-1 (Next: vs. Missouri State, 2:30 p.m.)
Iowa State: 0-1 (Next: vs. 20-Kansas State, 11 a.m., Fox Sports 1)
Baylor: 0-0 (Next: vs. 0-1 Northwestern State, 6:30 p.m.)
Kansas: 0-0 (Next: vs. 1-0 Southeast Missouri State, 6 p.m.)
Baylor plays its first game today. Kansas was off.
AROUND THE FORTY ACRES: A quick sweep of UT teams.
Volleyball: No. 2-ranked Texas (3-0) swept Seattle U in Albuquerque, led by sophomore Sara Hattis‘ career-high nine blocks. She’s a New Mexico native, too. Sophomore Pilar Victoria was named the Lobo Classic’s MVP. Victoria, Amy Neal and Nicole Dalton made the all-tourney team. Next up: a road match at No. 10 Florida next weekend.
ON AUG. 31 …
2006: “The Scream” — Edvard Munch’s famous Expressionist painting that had been stolen two years earlier, was recovered by Norwegian police.
1997: Princess Diana was killed in a Paris car crash.
1888: The Jack the Ripper serial killings began in London, with the murder of Mary Ann Nichols.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Ken Griffey Sr. played for more MLB teams than his son, Ken Griffey Jr., did. Dad was on four different teams (Reds twice, Yankees, Braves and Mariners). Junior was on three (Mariners twice, Reds and White Sox)
TODAY’S LITTLE NUMBER: 1-0. Texas’ record.
TODAY’S BIGGER NUMBER: +2. The Longhorns’ turnover differential this season.
TODAY’S BIG NUMBER: 3. Top 25 teams that lost their openers — all to other ranked teams. No. 9 South Carolina, (Texas A&M), No. 14 Wisconsin (LSU) and No. 16 Clemson (Georgia) all fell.
OK, Breakfast is over. Thanks for stopping by.
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