The Monday morning blues arrived courtesy of Bevo XV’s official Twitter account.
“Due to the Kansas Jayhawks no live mascot policy, BEVO will not make the trip to the game on Friday,” Bevo, or one of his handlers with opposable thumbs, tweeted.
The Silver Spurs wouldn’t normally take Bevo to Kansas anyway, but with this being Thanksgiving week, Bevo sought leniency. Apparently a school that averages only 20,265 fans per home game in a stadium that holds 50,071 doesn’t have any tolerance or room.
“It will be only the 2nd time in 73 years for BEVO to miss the Thanksgiving week game #hookem,” read the tweet.
Monday afternoon didn’t get any better. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced that defensive end Breckyn Hager would be reprimanded for his derogatory comments about Oklahoma.
“And what time is it? It’s 11:12 … and OU still sucks,” Hager said after the Iowa State game. Hager issued an apology and explained his thought process “would put a fun and light-hearted charge into the greatest rivalry in college football.”
At least quarterback Sam Ehlinger emerged alive and well and will make this week’s trip to Lawrence with the rest of the 15th-ranked Longhorns, who are looking to clinch a spot in the Big 12 championship game. Coach Tom Herman said an MRI of Ehlinger’s injured throwing throwing shoulder showed no serious issues.
“No broken bones. No separation. No ridiculous amount of damage,” Herman said on the Big 12 conference call. “But it’s angry. It’s upset.”
Ehlinger merely aggravated the injury he first sustained on the opening drive against Baylor on Oct. 13. An Iowa State defender lowered his shoulder and hit the bull’s-eye when he slammed into Ehlinger, who was brought down at the 5-yard line just before halftime.
Ehlinger left the game and did not return. He came back later, warmed up during the third quarter and tried to talk his way back into the game. But Herman had already turned things over to backup quarterback Shane Buechele, who finished off the 24-10 win.
Herman said Ehlinger’s recovery this week will mirror what happened in mid-October. After taking a week off because of Texas’ open date, the quarterback did light throwing that Tuesday and then slightly bumped up the workload as the week progressed. He came out firing against Oklahoma State and made two of the best passes of his career.
“He’s not throwing today. He wouldn’t play today,” Herman said during Monday’s press conference. “It’s not as severe as last time. He will tell you — again, I said after the game that he even said it feels different.
“He wanted to go back in the game, where against Baylor he couldn’t even lift his arm up,” the coach added. “So I think you will see a steady progression but he’s pretty sore today.”
The stakes couldn’t be higher for Friday’s 11 a.m. kickoff. If Texas (8-3, 6-2 Big 12) can defeat Kansas (3-8, 1-7), the Horns will automatically clinch a spot in the Big 12 title game in Arlington on Dec. 1.
If the Longhorns lose, they would need Oklahoma to beat West Virginia on Friday. According to the Big 12 tiebreaker scenarios, if Texas, West Virginia and Iowa State all finish with 6-3 league records, Texas would advance. UT would be the only team to have beaten the Big 12’s No. 1 seed — Oklahoma.
“If they told us the kickoff was at 7 a.m., I think our guys would be pretty excited knowing the ramifications of what going 1-0 this week would mean,” Herman said. “Kickoff time, venue, opponent, it’s unfathomable for me to — and I hope (the players) are listening right now — that anybody could not be excited to play in that football game.”
The Longhorns have plenty to focus on during this short week. Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr. ran for a career-high 252 yards and scored twice in the Jayhawks’ 55-40 loss to the Sooners last Saturday. And this Friday’s game will be the final one for Kansas coach David Beaty, who was fired earlier this month. Beaty is 6-41 in four seasons. On Sunday, the school announced that former LSU coach Les Miles would take over.
“I would say they’ve made a ton of progress since coach Beatty took over, and you can certainly see that on the field,” Herman said. The Texas coach called Williams one of the best players in the Big 12, and noted that the Jayhawks’ defense switched to a three-man front “and pose a lot of issues from a schematic standpoint on that side of the ball.”
“You asked about them scoring 40 points in Norman,” Herman said. “To me that tells me they love their head coach, and they love being a part of that program.”
The Longhorns will stick to their normal routine on Monday and Tuesday and then practice Wednesday morning since school is not in session for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Players who live within the Central Texas area will be allowed to go home on Wednesday and be back for a light practice Thursday morning, Herman said. Those who live further away will attend Thanksgiving dinners at their assistant coach’s house. The team will spend Thursday night in Kansas.
“We might have turkey for dinner or something,” Herman said, “but it’s a normal, what would be a Friday for us.”
Plenty of turkey this week as the Longhorns hope to stuff the Jayhawks. Just no Bevo in Lawrence.
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.