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Breakfast with Bevo: Texas’ road trip has Longhorns loving Lubbock

Posted November 2nd, 2014

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Good morning. Breakfast is served.

It’s November 2nd — 306 down, 59 to go.

And 35 till bowl invitations are handed out.

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YESTERDAY: Texas got its fourth victory, 37-13 over Texas Tech. No. 3 Auburn survived No. 4 Ole Miss, a 35-31 drama that literally went down to the final play and yard. No. 5 Oregon blasted Stanford. No. 7 TCU had to come from behind at No. 20 West Virginia. Texas A&M’s Kyle Allen era began with the Aggies escaping (gulp) the Sun Belt’s Louisiana-Monroe. (Remember Kenny Hill? He was suspended for breaking team rules, one day after Allen was named the starter.) Other national results of note — Florida beat No. 11 Georgia, No. 22 UCLA beat No. 12 Arizona. It was qualifying day at Circuit of the Americas, in advance of today’s race. The Lakers stumbled to an 0-4 start to the season.

TODAY: The 6-2 Cowboys host the 6-1 Cardinals (noon, Fox) in a game rife with drama — Tony Romo has two small back fractures, an injury similar to the one Baylor’s Bryce Petty has dealt with this season, and won’t play. It’s Brandon Weeden‘s game. The Texans host the Eagles (noon). Other top matchups — 6-1 Broncos at 6-2 Patriots (3:25, CBS), 5-3 Ravens at 5-3 Steelers (7:30, NBC). The third Formula One U.S. Grand Prix is raced in Austin.

TOMORROW:
Monday Night Football is the Colts at Giants (7:30, ESPN).

Last night was Daylight Savings. Did you set your clocks, watches and cell phones back?

Nov. 2 has a sports history. On this date, 33-year-old Magic Johnson, five weeks after coming out of retirement despite his HIV-positive status, reversed his decision and called it quits for good (1992); Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Steve Carlton won his second Cy Young Award (1977); the Houston Summit opened its doors for the first time, a 104-89 Rockets win over the Bucks (1975); the Braves traded Hank Aaron to the Brewers, in return for outfielder Dave May (1974); Carlton won his first Cy Young (1972); and Roger Maris edged Yankees teammate Mickey Mantle in the MVP vote, 225-222 (1960).

Last year on Nov. 2, Texas beat Kansas, 35-13. Chris Whaley‘s 40-yard fumble return for a touchdown was the play of the day.

Today’s sports birthdays: Danny Amendola (29), Roddy White (33),    Sidney Ponson (38) and Orlando Cabrera (39). Other notables: Nelly (40), David Schwimmer (48).

TODAY’S TRIVIA: Name birthday boy David Schwimmer‘s character’s full name from “Friends.” (Answer’s at the end of today’s Breakfast.)

TODAY’S LEAD: TEXAS 34, TEXAS TECH 13. The Longhorns controlled the game offensively and defensively, made big plays running and passing against one of the country’s worst defenses, knocked the Red Raiders down to a third-string walk-on quarterback, and got a fourth victory on the road to finding six wins and its subsequent bowl invitation.

Ten thoughts, musings, observations and factoids from last night’s win:

No. 1: A win is a win, right? Getting Win No. 4 was big; the Longhorns need two wins in their final three games (vs. West Virginia, at Oklahoma State, vs. TCU) to get a bowl invite. Possible. But it’s hard to turn Saturday’s three-touchdown win into much of a lingering positive — keep in mind that the Longhorns’ offensive successes came against one literally one of the country’s worst defenses, and its defensive successes came against a third-string walk-on quarterback.

Still, the Longhorns wake up today with a 4-5 record and saw some key players look pretty good in Lubbock.

No. 2: This stat jumped out at me. Texas drives reached the red zone five times, and the Longhorns converted four of them into points. Texas Tech, however, came away with points only once in four chances.

No. 3. Where have you been, Malcolm Brown? Texas hadn’t produced a 100-yard rusher since last year’s Alamo Bowl. Brown, however, changed all that in Lubbock. Yes, it took nine games to do it, but Brown’s 22-carry, 116-yard, two-touchdown performance was a welcome sight. His longest run was 28 yards.

Brown now has 533 yards on the season. To reach that 1,000-yard goal, he’d need to average 156 yards a game in Texas’ final three.

No. 4: Where have you been, Marcus Johnson? One catch, 5 yards. For the season, Johnson has 25 catches for 267 yards and one touchdown. Actually, it was a quiet receiving night for any Texas pass-catcher not named John Harris, who had five catches for 165 yards. Jaxon Shipley? Three grabs, 23 yards, one touchdown, one fumble. M.J. McFarland, Loreno Joe and Johnson? One catch each.

No. 5: Where have you been, Daje Johnson?
Oh yeah, injured. And suspended. The junior receiver made his first appearance since the Baylor game, with a pair of jet sweep runs that went for 30 and 13 yards. He’s not all the way back yet, but it was good to see one of this team’s most dangerous talents back on the field, making plays.

No. 6: Redemption Saturday. As it turned out, Saturday’s game was an opportunity for atonement. Shipley had the rare fumble and an ill-advised fair catch inside the 10, but made up for it with his first touchdown catch of the season. Harris wasn’t able to come down with what would’ve been a long touchdown catch over his shoulder, but finished with a career-best game in terms of yardage. Duke Thomas was flagged for a late hit, but finished with a career-high four pass breakups, including one in the end zone. For as bad as Texas looked in Manhattan, it looked better in Lubbock. Mykkele Thompson, who missed a tackle that set up a Tech touchdown, got a pick at the end of the game. Brown, who was effectively benched for the second half against Kansas State — er, gave way to D’Onta Foreman in Tommie Robinson‘s “rotation” — produced a 100-yard night. And Texas, which was 0-3 all-time vs. Texas Tech in games played on Nov. 1, won in Lubbock for the second straight time.

No. 8: A mismatch. Finally. For the first time since, well, maybe the season opener, it looked like Texas’ offensive line was in control. Brown and Gray had holes and lanes, and Gray did a nice job of cutting back to squirt for another couple of yards. It wasn’t a dominant night, but Tech’s defensive front looked smaller and outplayed in the trenches. Things get a little tougher to close the season, though, with West Virginia and TCU still to go.

No. 8. Reality check.
Getting the win was critical for Texas’ bowl hopes, but let’s not get too excited about this one. Texas has won four games. Those four teams — North Texas, Kansas, Iowa State and Texas Tech — are a combined 9-24 and 1-19 in conference play. The lone win was Tech’s
win over the Jayhawks two weeks ago.

Texas’ final three opponents are 18-8, 11-7 in conference. And two of them are nationally ranked, including one in the Top 10 that’s clawing for a playoff spot.

No. 9: Milesones. Brown, who now has 2,503 career yards, passed former Longhorn Adrian Walker (2,473, from 1989-92) to move into 12th on UT’s all-time rushing list. … Diggs is one pass breakup away from cracking into the all-time top 10 list. … Harris’ 165 receiving yards were a career best. It was the 18th best single game in UT history, and the most yards since Mike Davis had 165 vs. Texas Tech in 2012. … Shipley is two catches away from moving into third place on UT’s career receptions list. He has 210.

No. 10: A shirt is a shirt, right?
Texas coach Charlie Strong wore his long-sleeved burnt-orange shirt, not his regular white one. The Longhorns are 2-0 when he wears that shirt (Iowa State), 2-5 when he doesn’t. I’m just sayin’.

How we covered the game: Kirk Bohls tried to put the victory in proper perspective ($), given the opponent. Brian Davis‘ game story examined how Diggs’ big hit that knocked out Mahomes changed, well, everything ($). Ryan Autullo wrote about Brown’s big 100-yard night ($). And we had a quarter-by-quarter recap of the game ($).

How others covered it: The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal made the case that given Tech’s quarterback situation, it’s time to lean on the running game, and also lamented the fact that Tech couldn’t capitalize on what’s become a down year for the Longhorns. The Dallas Morning News’ coverage centered around Texas’ updated bowl chances. The San Antonio Express-News labeled the 34-13 win “therapeutic’ for the Longhorns. And it probably was.

AROUND THE BIG 12: Nothing like a Homecoming blowout to have Waco smiling. Here’s the Baylor-Kansas gamer, from the Waco Tribune-Herald. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Gil LeBreton wrote about TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin‘s big day at West Virginia. Berry Tramel of the Daily Oklahoman colored Oklahoma’s easy win over Iowa State as one big sigh of relief after the Sooners’ tough October, while Jenni Carlson wrote about Oklahoma State’s loss to Kansas State.

OPPOSITION RESEARCH: West Virginia lost a close one at home to TCU, 31-30. The Charleston Gazette’s game story examined how the Mountaineers’ defense struggled, while columnist Mitch Vingle took WVU coach Dana Holgorsen to task for going conservative with the lead in the fourth quarter.

Big 12 standings

(1) Kansas State: 5-0, 7-1
(T-2) Baylor: 4-1, 7-1
(T-2) TCU: 4-1, 7-1
(4) West Virginia: 4-2, 6-3
(5) Oklahoma: 3-2, 6-2
(T-6) Oklahoma State: 3-3, 5-4
(T-6) Texas: 3-3, 4-5
(8) Texas Tech: 1-5, 3-6
(T-9) Iowa State: 0-5, 2-6
(T-9) Kansas: 0-5, 2-6

This week’s Big 12 schedule: Texas vs. No. 20 West Virginia (2:30, FS1); No. 13 Baylor at No. 18 Oklahoma (11 a.m., FS1); No. 9 Kansas State at No. 7 TCU (6:30, Fox); Iowa State at Kansas (2:30).

AROUND THE FORTY ACRES: A quick sweep of UT teams.

Football: One-time Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert was released from the St. Louis Rams’ practice squad on Friday. He was their sixth-round draft pick.

Volleyball: No. 5 Texas plays Iowa State today in Ames (2 p.m., ESPNU). The Longhorns have won 23 of their last 24 conference matches and have a 12-match conference road winning streak.

Men’s basketball: On the day of the NBA D-League Draft, former Longhorn Myck Kabongo was traded from the Austin Spurs to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. The Spurs got forward Jarell Eddie in return.

Cross country: The Texas men finished fourth and the Texas women were seventh at Saturday’s Big 12 championships in Lawrence, Kan. Texas All-American Craig Lutz was third individually. Next up is the NCAA Midwest Regional in two weeks, in Arkansas.

Men’s golf:
No. 4 Texas starts the three-day Gifford Invitational in San Jose, Calif. on Monday. Other top teams in the field are No. 9 UCLA, No. 20 SMU and No. 22 USC.

TRIVIA ANSWER: David Schwimmer‘s character on “Friends” was Ross Geller.

ON NOV. 2 …

1983: President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

1920: Ohio senator Warren G. Harding was elected the 34th U.S. President, defeating Ohio governor James M. Cox. Of note were the two tickets’ running mates — future U.S. Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

1889: North Dakota and South Dakota were admitted as the 39th and 40th U.S. states.

TODAY’S LITTLE NUMBER: 3. Remaining games for Texas. The Longhorns need to win at least two of them to make a bowl game.

TODAY’S BIGGER NUMBER: 8. The number of Longhorns who were on NBA opening-day rosters — Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, Detroit’s D.J. Augustin, Boston’s Avery Bradley, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, Utah’s Jordan Hamilton, San Antonio’s Cory Joseph, Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson and Phoenix’s P.J. Tucker.

TODAY’S BIG NUMBER: 172. Average rushing yards for Texas over its last five games.

OK, Breakfast is over. Thanks for stopping by.

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