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Golden: The money games are here for Texas, and the Longhorns should know that

  • Horns haven't been in a close game all year
  • All three games have been decided by 19 points or more.
  • Texas hosts Texas Tech in Big 22 opener

There are certain responsibilities that come with a 58-0 win over a team you were supposed to work.

Here are a few:

• Read the room: It was Rice. Texas curb-stopped the Owls because it’s what happens in this rivalry. Everything went right Saturday night and rarely does that happen in back-to-back games. Saturday's opponent, Texas Tech, will provide much more resistance.

• Hit the reset button: The money games are here and the Red Raiders are not rice. The Horns earned the right to feel good about what happened Saturday — to a point —  but they will get zero bonus for what happened in Week 3. The same goes for the Red Raiders, who improved to 3-0 after blasting Florida International 54-21.

• Don’t forget last year: The Horns were down 15 with less than three minutes to play and were one bounce of an onside kickoff away from losing in Lubbock. They did make some terrific clutch plays down the stretch to leave on the right side of a 63-56 overtime ledger.    

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Texas coach Steve Sarkisian celebrates last Saturday's 58-0 win over Rice. The Longhorns are 2-1 heading into their Big 2 opener this week. Texas was a 26-point favorite against the Owls and it was their first shutout victory since 2017.

A lot has changed since then and on Monday Steve Sarkisian made sure to remind us that neither he nor most of his coaching staff were lounging in the 512 last November.

“I think both teams, us and Tech, are really two different teams from a year ago,” Sarkisian said. “I think they’re dramatically improved in their style of play and what they’re trying to do in all three phases. Clearly, schematically we’re very different with a new coaching staff. I don’t like predicting, but I’d be hard-pressed to think that that’s going to be the style of the game or the score of the game here Saturday.”

Translation: the Horns aren’t looking for any shootout, and who can blame after they showed all the ingredients necessary on Saturday to win a ball-control mudder, albeit against an overmatched opponent.

The biggest challenge is figuring out how to compartmentalize an easy day at the office by understanding that league games are going to be much tougher. The numbers say the Horns have yet to play a close game this season.

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The non-shootout theme was shared by offensive lineman Junior Angilau.

“I’d be surprised because I go up against our defense every day,” Angilau said. “Big ol’ Keondre (Coburn) in the middle. It’s pretty tough to score points on those guys. I think we will take care of our business on the offensive side of the ball.”

The Red Raiders seem to be better, but they’re coming to Austin and the frozen tortillas don’t retain their same rigidity on a six-hour drive from Lubbock. Any self-administered pressure aside, the Horns will walk onto the field knowing the oddsmakers have installed them as more than touchdown's favorite over a program they have beaten three straight years.

How they deal with a little bit of success will go a long way in showing us what to expect when they meet up with TCU and Oklahoma over these next two weeks. The Horns are 2-9 against those opponents dating back to 2016.

Daytime blues: Remember when the Longhorns spent most of the first half of the season playing night games?

Nah, me neither.

The Big 12 just announced that the Sept. 25 game against TCU will kick off at 11 a.m., which is the least sexy starting time for a conference game. Oklahoma has been an 11 a.m. game for the last few years, which would mean the Horns are getting a trifecta of early kicks to start the season.

Could it be sour grapes from the Big 12 since the Horns and Sooners are leaving for the SEC in the next year of two?

Or maybe the Horns just haven’t made enough noise yet. The Sooners kick off against West Virginia at 6:30 p.m., in case you’re wondering.

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters the clock went off on the scoreboard in the final 30 seconds in Sunday's road game win over the Los Angeles Chargers, which led to him not running another play. Kicker Greg Zuerlein kicked a 56-yarder to give Dallas a 20-17 win.

McCarthy uses a different clock: Really wondering how the clock in McCarthy's head works.

Dallas' 20-17 win over the Los Angeles Chargers was a great road triumph, but it came with some fallout.

I keep beating this dead mule, but McCarthy's time management issues are approaching laughable status. They showed up yet again, this time on the West Coast. Yes, the Cowboys won to improve to 1-1, but they won despite their head coach and not because of him.

In case you missed it, the Cowboys had the ball in a 17-17 game with 28 seconds remaining and a timeout in their pocket at Los Angeles' 39-yard line. Given kicker Greg Zuerlein’s problems in the opener — he missed three kicks — one would think McCarthy would have called another play on third-and-3 to get the team closer to a more manageable distance. But he let the clock tick down to four seconds before calling a timeout for what turned out to be a 56-yard game winner.

Then came this explanation when asked why he didn’t run another play.

"We were just going to run it down, but the clock I was watching came off the board,” McCarthy said after the game. Then, the clock (that offensive coordinator) Kellen (Moore) had with the camera —  the camera was great from up top, and obviously, you want to call that time off between three and four seconds.”

Huh? Disappearing clock aside, Dallas got a solid road win, but there is little to ofer confidence that McCarthy will be on point at money time.

The Cowboys are extremely fortunate to not be 0-2 today.