As I am taking it easy long before heading to Lawrence. I see a tweet from “David AZ” on the @rockchalktalk account that he is at the airport on his way to today’s game. I hope he has the clothes to keep warm. From our exchange on Twitter, I am unsure he does. The word “Arctic” is brought up by him. As for tailgating this week, it is not happening as I expected. Not even a discussion. Two weeks ago the weather was perfect. This week not so much. It is sunny but very cold and a bit windy. Instead, I go to Lawrence Beer Company (LBC) with two of my kids and plan to get to the stadium in time to cheer on the seniors at their Senior Day ceremony.
It is as busy at LBC as I have seen it, we sit in the bar area instead of waiting for an open table in the dining section. Many of the people here are preparing to go to the game, as we eat a large number of people filter out, and it seems like a new set of people are replacing them to watch the game here. As we eat we watch the TCU v Baylor game. The Bears are looking good and the crowd at LBC is definitely cheering for them. As 1:40 approaches we make preparations to leave so we can be in our seats by the 2:10 scheduled start time for the ceremony.
The only thing of note on the drive over to the stadium is the police officer, not sure if he is KU or Lawrence PD, at the corner of 11th and Mississippi. He is really struggling to control traffic flow both vehicle and pedestrian by himself. The pedestrians pay no attention to his directions which messes up the vehicle traffic he keeps directing into the pedestrians in the street. Really need two officers at maybe the busiest corner near the stadium to control the traffic. We eventually get through the intersection and up to our parking lot. There are a good number of cars in the lot, and a few a trying to tailgate. At one tailgate the wind is blowing strong enough that there are people standing at each corner of their canopy having to hold it down. Without some kind of heating element, the tailgate would have been miserable. The wind is the difference maker. Without it the party could have been fun, despite the cold there is plenty of sunshine. I text my wife telling her it is good she did not come, she would never have gotten out of the car. Too cold for her.
We make it to our seats with a few minutes to spare before the ceremony. We are in the sunshine now, but I have little hope we will be when the game starts. As we wait for the ceremony to start the KU offensive starters are being announced. Jason Bean is announced as the starter. He must be healthy and it is senior day, so I guess that makes sense. My first thought is how quickly will Jalon come in to replace him. I am a little disappointed, as I usually am, in the turnout for the Senior Day ceremony. I always hope more people will come and show the players the appreciation they deserve for the hours they put in to entertain us each fall. As the ceremony ends I wonder if David AZ made it to the game. I know he tweeted he was having Southwest Airlines problems.
I note for the first time the large contingent of Jalon Daniels’ family and friends are back. They were not here for Oklahoma State. I take this as a good sign for Jalon playing. They would not be here in this cold all the way from southern California if there was no chance of him playing.
Texas fans, where are you? As we close in on kickoff, besides the Texas band there really are not that many Longhorn fans in the visitor section of the stadium. I am surprised by this. When the coin flip is held, Texas wins it and takes the ball, I am fine with that. In one last attempt at using the internet on my phone before kickoff, I get a Twitter update showing David AZ made it to the game and is sitting close to me, one section over and a few rows down.
It is cold enough that I am not sure how many notes I will be taking during the game this week. I am not sure how long my fingers will hold out in the cold. The shadow has overtaken my seats and the temperature drop is dropping.
- Let’s go defense, let’s start the game right.
- The guys behind me are more aggressive. They yell “Kill him!” in hopes that Ewers does not survive the game.
- Big start. Malcolm Lee knocked the pass down on third down.
- Texas punter shanks the kick, ball at 39. Good start.
- Crowd with a loud roar as Jalon takes the field!
- Oh! Just misses Skinner deep on third down.
- KSU v West Virginia 41-25 at the half. Not much defense there.
- Yikes. Bijan almost broke it.
- Not a good second drive for the defense.
- Bijan Robinson touchdown, 7-0.
- I see Nebraska snatched defeat from the jaws of victory again this week.
- Grimm not looking when the third down pass is delivered.
- Yikes. The punt is not great and the return makes it worse.
- 2 plays later touchdown, Bijan Robinson. 14-0.
- People to my right and back a row are moving to the sunny side of the stadium. As I said, it is cold.
- Jalon needs to keep the ball occasionally.
- His passes are off-target. He is showing some rust.
- 1st down Skinner.
- Followed up by a 15 yard gain by Devin.
- Going on 4 after a bad 3rd and 1 play. I like that.
- Don’t like the play call. Threw to the wrong shoulder so the receiver was moving away from the first down marker instead of toward it.
- Junior Reporter is back. When Rich Miller is asked for his favorite joke. He makes the girl laugh with “Guess what?” “What?” “Chicken butt”.
- The offensive and defensive coordinators sitting in the row behind me are grumbling a lot.
- Nice catch by Maalik Murphy I think. He is listed as a quarterback. Whatever #6 for Texas makes a nice catch on 3rd down.
- Not a good quarter.
- 4th down false start. Ughh.
- Holding prevents Bijan’s touchdown.
- All season if a player was healthy he dressed out for the game. Not today, there are a lot of guys who are not going to play and are not dressed out. Why? Because they can stay warmer dressed this way instead of in their uniforms?
- Stopped for a field goal attempt. 17-0.
- Well, it was not a touchdown, that is the good news.
- The military honor today triggers a long discussion between the offensive and defensive coordinators behind me. They say they have told their daughters if they are going to marry someone in the military, it should be someone in the Air Force. “Better life”. The implication seems to be they are not away from home as much. I don’t know, I never served and have never discussed it with those I know who did.
- Need a score to retain some hope.
- Question: How far offside do you need to be on a kickoff to throw a flag? The Texas kid about 2 in from my side of the field is at least a full step over the line when the ball is kicked and no flag is thrown. Not sure what the official was looking at.
- Another off-target throw by Jalon.
- Lance is pissed!!!! I do not think you will ever see him more irate. He is way out on the field yelling at officials and Texas players. Just crazy mad.
- I will admit I am by default very lenient about targeting calls, there are too many variables in most cases to toss a player for what is most times bad luck. This is not one of those times. The Texas player should be ejected and if there is a rule that could be invoked he should be out next week too. That is as bad as it gets. It is not only targeting, but it is headhunting.
- Lance gets a penalty?!?! Come on, bring some reason to your officiating. A targeting penalty is assessed but no penalty yardage is assessed as a result, just dumb by the officials.
- Skinner first down.
- For the game plan to work Jalon needs to run some. It seems like the coaches have told him not to run.
- Fairchild!!!! Big gain. 1st down, 31 yards.
- Bean is in as a wide receiver. He puts on a big act like he is the main target, but he is just a decoy.
- 4 & 1 at the 12. Timeout Texas.
- Volleyball wins. The defensive coordinator behind me notes it is in a fifth-game overtime. That is not how I have heard it referred to before.
- Casey TOUCHDOWN!!
- NO! Penalty flag. No one saw the flag but the officials call an illegal man downfield penalty.
- How can we even try a field goal?!?!? Missed again.
- Could have been down 10 or 14, still down 17 and Texas has the ball.
- If I were not a Kansas fan I would probably think it was defensive pass interference.
- But no matter who you cheer for that was offensive pass interference. The replay clearly shows the offensive player realizing he has no chance to catch the ball and pushes the defender so he cannot catch it either. Terrible.
- Texas does not want to lose today, 24-0.
- Gilbert Brown is today’s KU Football Alum honoree. I learn something new during the video package being played about him. He has played in the 2nd most playoff games in Green Bay Packer history with 15. I would never have guessed it.
- Morrison has a nice kickoff return but looks like he just trip over his own feet. Kind of a metaphor for the game. Things looked good to start, but they have fallen on their faces.
- First down Devin. Looks kind of hurt
- Skinner for the first down.
- No idea what is going on with the official timeout. It looks like they are pointing at a team manager or some other support person. No explanation. (Later the rumor runs back to me that the officials were telling the coaching staff Devin Neal could not come back in the game after the hit on his last first down run.)
- The ball came out of Jalon’s hand poorly on the intercepted pass.
- Tanaka Scott is very wooziness as he is helped off the field after the interception.
- Are you kidding me? I say that for two reasons. One, I cannot believe we have given up another big run. Two, that is not a touchdown. He did not cross the goal line. Review agrees
- But there is the touchdown. 31-0.
My Son wants to leave. It is freakin’ cold and we are getting killed. I do not blame him. My daughter suggests we wait until 5 minutes left in the third quarter, and beat what is left of the crowd then. I like that plan. I think we will leave no later than the end of the third quarter.
As the game goes on I have tried to figure out which person in the section over from me is David AZ. If my guess is right he leaves at halftime with almost everyone else. I do not blame him. I am too much of an introvert to actually go up to the person I think is him to ask as he leaves for the night.
- A lot of people do not return for the third quarter
- Down 31-0, why not go for the first down on fourth?
- Oh, that’s why? We can execute a poor punt instead. I get it.
- Texas at the 39.
- What in the world? He ran a question mark pattern. Are you sick of hearing this yet? Touch Texas. Bijan Robinson scores. 38-0.
- Kenny with a nice return.
- 4th down again. No chance. Maybe that is why we did not go for it earlier. Our attempts today on fourth down have not been good.
- If Texas scores here I am leaving.
- Interesting, sportsmanship you do not see much these days, #0 for Texas, Ja’Tavion Sanders, makes the extra effort to help #4 for KU, Marvin Grant, up. Good for him, even if he is a Longhorn.
- The field goal is attempt is good. 41-0
- Time to go. Just over 5 minutes left in the 3rd.
- I did not know how cold my feet are until I start to walk the steps, man they are really, really cold.
- We get to the top of the Hill as what’s left of the fans erupts, KU touchdown. At least it is not a shutout. 41-7.
- Listening to the radio broadcast now.
- How cold is it? I need to stop at Quicktrip to fill my tires. The cold has caused the tire pressure to drop and the warning sensors to light up.
- Touchdown Texas, but not Bijan, he seems to have taken the rest of the night off. 48-7.
- Will Vasko get some time now?
- No, Jalon is still in.
- Grimm TD after Skinner’s catch. Not out of Lawrence yet. 48-14.
- One more for the Longhorns. 55-14.
- So I never paid much attention to Brain Hanni and the quality of his play-by-play call until I saw you guys calling him out. Even now I do not go looking for fault, but tonight on one of the last plays his call leaves me perplexed and unable to envision what the play looked like, not good for a play-by-play guy. Jason Bean is in the game and attempts a pass. This pass as called by Hanni is both “short and high” of the target. I do not know how that is possible, but that was his call.
As we listen to the beginning of the post-game show, David Lawrence shows more displeasure for an officiating call than I ever remember him expressing. He concedes the outcome of the game would not change, but the illegal man downfield call on the Casey touchdown was a terrible call based on his review of the play. The rule says a lineman cannot go more than 3 yards downfield. David says the replay shows Puni was clearly only 2 yards downfield. What he implies is the Texas sideline had undue influence over the official that made the call. By that I mean they called for the penalty and got it.
This leads me to what I would do if I were the commissioner of college sports. If I ran college athletics the new rule would be, the moment an official believes someone has called for a penalty on the other team, it immediately negates the penalty. No questions asked. Shut up and play. Trash talk the other team if you want, but do not beg for fouls. I know this introduces all kinds of problems, but if I ran things this would be the run. If you are not a paid official for the game, you have no right to make or ask for a call, so do not do it!
We make it back home. It was a cold and disappointing football game. My wife has made not one but two different soups to warm the three of us up. I can’t wait to get in and have some and watch the USC/UCLA game from under a blanket with one of my dogs laying on my lap to warm me up.
P.S. Sorry for all the clips from the Texas Football Twitter account, but when they are the only ones scoring, that is where the clips come from. It also seems like KU Football social media called it a night before I did. They did post halftime and final scores but did not bother with any clips of the touchdowns the Jayhawks did score.