Midland, McConaughey, and Missed Opportunities: Gameday at Texas vs. LSU

Much will be made of Matthew McConaughey’s role in Saturday’s madness.

The Academy Award-winning actor entered College Gameday blasting Foghat from a vintage car with a longhorn steer horn affixed to the front. Professor McConaughey ripped the tiger head off Lee Corso and chucked it into the crowd. The Minister of Culture hooked the heck outta ’em from the sidelines, appearing on the video board as many times as some starters.

Fans camped out beginning at 10 p.m. Friday night. Kirk Herbstreit declared that Texas finally has a home field advantage, which you can argue about in the comments, if you so choose. Country superstars Midland ditched the Nudie Suits for tank tops. Even Bevo wanted to stick around, the big steer requiring some extra motivation from the Silver Spurs to move him to his eponymous boulevard for his second appearance of the (very long) day. “Bevo doesn’t wanna leave!” one Longhorn fan exclaimed, as his handlers put some oomph into it. It seems even the big beautiful boy was transfixed by the hullabaloo.

Inside the stadium, however, was the real spectacle. Moral victories are about as appealing as California brisket, but without declaring this so, well, you’ll see.

Texas hung strong with LSU early, holding the Tigers to a field goal after QB Joe Burrow found Terrace Marshall Jr. deep. Texas responded with a long drive of their own, but Texas RB Keaontay Ingram dropped a wide-open fourth and goal pass from Sam Ehlinger that rendered the 98,000-plus inside DKR last night completely silent.

Linebacker Joseph Ossai picked off a Burrow pass on the next drive, but again, the Longhorns turned the ball over on downs deep in Tigers territory. It appeared that this was going to be One of Those Games for Longhorns fans: an out-of-conference blowout marked by missed opportunities. The weird thing is, the score was only 3-0 at the time.

Brennan Eagles, the sophomore wide receiver, put the Longhorns on the board with a spectacular 55-yard catch and run in the second quarter. Tides turned. Texas could hang, it would seem. Then LSU responded with 17 straight points to close out the half. The Longhorns retreated to the locker room and Longhorns fans—at least on Twitter—showed dejection.

The shootout started in the second half. After forcing a three-and-out, Ehlinger and company engineered a 19-play touchdown drive, made that much longer by four—yes, four—injury timeouts courtesy of LSU, most due to cramping. Following the game, Longhorns coach Tom Herman was asked if the timeouts messed with his team’s flow. “Yes,” he said, his eyes doing much of the heavy lifting.

From there, it was a story of crawling back and then ultimately relenting to LSU’s passing attack, led by Burrow’s 471 yards and 4 TDs in the air. Even the “Don’t Stop Believin'” singalong—a new Texas tradition, illuminated by cell phone flashlights—wasn’t enough. Texas would pull within two points, and LSU would uncork another touchdown. It came down to an onside kick, and if you’re still reading by now, Texas recovered it, but out of bounds. It’s not quite a metaphor, but it’s close. It was there, within the Longhorns’ grasp the whole time, but a bad bounce, as they say, is part of the game.

Is it enough to have been in the game the whole time against a top-10 SEC team? No Longhorns fan woke up this morning feeling satisfied, and if they did, it’s because the hangover is a creeper and it hasn’t set in yet. Losing by a single score to LSU—especially now that they’ve found an offense—is nothing to sneeze at. That’s what you’ll tell yourself, anyway. McConaughey’s catchphrase would apply here, but Texas has much more to show this season.

Some stray notes:

Herman, in his postgame presser, stated that Ingram, despite that missed touchdown catch and a fumble, does not need to worry about his job as starting running back.”He’s our guy. He shouldn’t lose any confidence in th at.” Herman noted that Collin Johnson, a Texas captain, fumbled in the previous game. It happens to the best of us.

-Texas did not break last season’s attendance record of 103,507 for an obvious reason: the south end zone does not exist right now. Reported attendance against LSU was 98,763.

-Dicker the Kicker is the real deal. Herman lined him up for an almost-60-yard attempt at one point—LSU called timeout when the sophomore lined up at around midfield and the Horns opted to punt—but his lone try was good from 47 with the game on the line deep in the fourth quarter. He’s a real weapon.

-Wide receiver Devin Duvernay was the star of the show. He had 12 receptions for 154 yards and a pair of TDs. He trucked a few LSU DBs, to boot.

-Kudos to the Texas crowd, which Herman also praised, for being loud and staying in the game the whole time. DKR was explosive last night. “Thank you to our fans, our students, everybody that showed up and was loud,” he said. “It really made an impact in the game.”

Additional reporting and photographs by Sofia Sokolove


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