Football

Texas-Oklahoma notebook: Brandon Jones celebrates his late father’s birthday with a big win

Posted October 6th, 2018

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DALLAS — Brandon Jones fulfilled a promise Saturday.

Earlier in the week, Texas’ junior safety tweeted a message to his father, Bert, who died after losing a battle with cancer while Brandon was in high school. On Wednesday, Jones wished his father a happy birthday and added that, “This weekend is for you.”

In the 48-45 win over Oklahoma, Jones had a team-high nine tackles. He tackled OU quarterback Kyler Murray on the first play of the game and had an interception of Murray later in the first quarter that led to a Longhorns field goal.

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In the moments after the game, Jones had another tweet for his father.

“Obviously, it’s OU. It’s Red River Rivalry. Obviously, it’s a big game in itself,” Jones said. “With my dad’s birthday being last Wednesday, I just really took a sense of pride in that and that really meant a lot to me. I really hope he’s up there smiling down on me. I really did all of it for him.”

Saturday was Jones’ 18th career start. He missed one game earlier this season but still leads the Longhorns with 44 tackles. His interception was his second of the season.

“He’s definitely an impact player on the team,” UT defensive back P.J. Locke III said. “Brandon is a guy, he’s a guy we always count on. Nobody sees what he does outside the game. He’s a guy that prepares his butt off.”

Texas Longhorns defensive lineman Breckyn Hager (60) celebrates as he recovers the fumble from Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on Oct. 6, 2018. [RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]
The return of No. 60: For the second time in its last seven games, Texas allowed senior Breckyn Hager to wear Tommy Nobis’ retired No. 60 jersey number.

Hager had previously honored Nobis in the 2017 Texas Bowl victory over Missouri; Nobis had passed away prior to that game. On Saturday, Hager compiled two stops. He also pounced on a key fumble by Murray that led to a Texas touchdown drive.

Similar one-game tributes involving Nobis’ number have previously been done at Texas by Derrick Johnson and Dusty Renfro. Britt Hager, Breckyn’s father, is among the Longhorns who have worn that honorary jersey for full seasons.

Nobis is regarded as the best linebacker in UT history. After winning the 1963 national championship and All-American accolades at Texas, he played professionally with the Atlanta Falcons. He passed away last year at the age of 74.

 

Lesson learned: Locke said the Longhorns will have to ignore chatter about their return to prominence. Easier said than done, right? Not really, Locke said: “Right now, it’s a blessing. Last time it was a lesson.”

Locke reminded reporters that Texas opened the 2016 season with a 50-47 upset of a Notre Dame team that was ranked 10th at the time. Texas climbed to the 11th spot in the next AP poll but was beaten by Cal two games later. The Longhorns slumped to a 5-7 finish and Charlie Strong lost his job.

Locke was a sophomore on that team.

“Now, it’s a lot of guys that have had that experience that are seniors now,” Locke said. “We spread that you can’t listen to outside noise. We’ve got to stay hungry.”

Texcetera: The 48 points scored Saturday were the most Texas has ever scored on Oklahoma. The 5-1 start is the best to open the season since 2009 (6-0) and the Longhorns are 3-0 in the Big 12 for the first time since 2013. … Sam Ehlinger threw for 314 yards, the fourth-most yards against OU in Longhorns history and he broke Major Applewhite’s 19-year-old school record for consecutive passes without an interception; Ehlinger now has thrown 163 straight passes without a pick. He also passed Bobby Layne and Garrett Gilbert on UT’s all-time passing list on Saturday; Ehlinger now ranks 12 in UT history with 3,414 career yards. … Lil’Jordan Humphrey is 19 receiving yards from 1,000 for his career; he had a career-high nine catches and also threw his first career touchdown pass.

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