Cotton Bowl observations

Longhorn Chris Simms lived down to his reputation and didn’t choke at a big game, closing out his collegiate career with a win. I can’t wait to see Simms and Major Applewhite in the NFL. UT had a solid game, but not what I would call a great or spectacular game. It seemed that to beat LSU, they had to resort to the big play time and time again to get the scores, while the Tigers put together drive after drive after drive. What can you say? The strategy worked for the Longhorns and failed for the Tigers.
To me, the Tigers gave the game to UT, which wasn’t really playing, especially in the first half, like they truly wanted the win. Turnovers and the secondary on both sides were the major factors in this game. UT’s only score of the first quarter was on a recovered fumble run back for a touchdown; their offense contributed nothing. That would change by halftime, when the Tigers were down 21-17, from which they’d never recover. The Texas secondary was fantastic in its coverage, able to fall back against the run very quickly when needed. LSU’s secondary pretty much sucked at covering Roy Williams, who scored one touchdown for the Longhorns. To be honest, with such a high-powered Texas offense, I’m amazed the final score wasn’t more along the lines of 42-20, 49-20, or 56-20.

Neither team really capitalized well on turnovers and penalties on the opposition. Speaking of penalties, what conference did these lame officials come from? We had a couple of pretty nice Texas fans sitting behind us, and we all agreed that there was some major holding and blocking from the back going on on both sides of the ball that wasn’t getting called. And can someone please explain to me why LSU’s Marcus Randall was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct while Texas escaped with no penalties on the play? The play in question was this: LSU hikes the ball, but the play is whistled dead for a false start. Yet the Longhorns continue the attack, Randall getting hit three separate times. Randall is just trying to back away, knowing the play is dead, but keeps getting hit. He throws down the ball in frustration, and takes the penalty. Why didn’t UT get hit with unsportsmanlike conduct or personal fouls? Randall obviously heard the whistle; why couldn’t they? LSU did answer with a 44-yard run by Domanick Davis for a first down. 🙂

All in all, the Tigers have no one but themselves to blame for the snapping of their five-game bowl-winning streak (an NCAA record, tied with Miami and North Carolina). Hopefully, coach Nick Saban will stick around to shape the Tigers up for another run at the SEC championship and a shot at a national title (rumors of NFL courtship abound). The weather was fantastic, and we had great seats on the LSU 40 (thanks Terry and Wells Fargo!). The Texas fans weren’t overly obnoxious, and the ones around us were pleasant to talk football with. The Tiger band kicked the Longhorn band’s collective butt both in the stands and on the field at halftime. It was the first time we had been to a college bowl of any kind, and it was made all the sweeter by watching our alma mater play, even if they did lose. Photos are forthcoming. We had a great time.