Two of the, if not THE two, most storied programmes in college football played each other on Saturday in Austin. I had the great fortune of being there with my son and I’m truly grateful he got to witness that game.
I first got to see Texas play the Irish in 1995 in South Bend, that was the Mackovic years and we lost big 55-27. The only good thing about that game was that half way into the game we realized we were sitting right in front of the great Donnie Little.
The next year was much better, had Lou Holtz and the gang on the ropes until the early in the 4th quarter when they tied it up. Went tied until a last-second field goal by the Irish and a heartbreak for the horns.
Work got in the way for the game up in South Bend last year and I’m glad it did for that ass kicking but boy did we make up for it on Saturday. The Horns were far for perfect, however. Buechele is legit! At least for now. Hard to believe that young man was competing against high school players last year. The line on both sides of the ball looked good and the secondary did OK against a very solid receiving corp and QB with the Irish. Only giving up the one big pass play is a HUGHE improvement over last year.
However, there was one key mistake, and it was made by the man himself, Charlie Strong. And it would seem that every talking head out there is letting him get away with it. Deep in the 4th after Foreman ran it in from 19 yards out to make it 37 35 with 3:29 to play there was a massive celebration on the field as one would expect when you take the lead against the Irish late in the game. When I watched the game again on TV later, they were busy showing crowd reaction. What you didn’t see was the confusion by the kicking team. They couldn’t get set. It’s as if they thought they were going to go for two or something or they didn’t have the right players in. Sideline celebrating continues, the play clock is ticking, Notre Dame is set, Texas has their thumb up their ass. Then it suddenly dawns on the kicker that he better do something and he lines up with 3 seconds left and hurries the kick, which you now know, gets blocked and ran back. The game tied. Where the hell was Strong? Why did he not use one of his two timeouts? I was livid in the stands. Thought they were going to throw me out of there for a second. All I could think of at that point was UCLA in 2014 and how all he had to do then was milk the clock and walk away with a win.
Coach Strong by every count is a great individual and appears to be an excellent recruiter. And so far he has been fantastic for the Texas program and our reputation if we can get some wins. But in order to do that, he is going to have to become a better game manager. It turned out OK this time, but only just. It could have just as easily been the other way around and Notre Dame could have gotten just enough of that Irish magic like they did last time they were in Austin and we would have a much different outlook going into week two.