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Page 126 text:
R OUGH START PREPARES HORNS Texas goes a dissappointing 1- 3 against non-conference opponents. Texas ' 1987 non-conference schedule includ- ed three nationally ranked teams with Auburn as the season opener and BYU as the home opener. The games were testing grounds for new head coach David McWilliams ' team. " To tell you the truth, I was worried going into the season, " sophomore offensive tackle Stan Thomas said. " We had a whole new system new coaches and new techniques. But I was glad we had those first two non-conference games to rebuild. " A highly-touted Auburn defensive front dominated the Horns ' offensive line in the sea- son opener, as senior quarterback Bret Stafford completed only 16 passes out of 34 attempts. Texas ' most explosive weapon, junior tailback Eric Metcalf, was confined to 79 rushing yards in the Horns ' 31-3 losing effort. " 1 believe that the Auburn game was the only one we should have lost, " Thomas said. " We were implementing a new system and they were a nationally ranked team. " The loss to Auburn did not dampen spirits as the Horns met BYU, Sept. 12. Leading 7-0 in the first half, Texas looked to be on its way to victory, but UT wasted opportunities for touch- downs during the second and third quarters. Sophomore kicker Wayne Clements was forced to kick a 46-yard field goal as the first half ran out. In addition, halfway through the third quarter Metcalf fumbled on BYU ' s 16, which led to a Cougar touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter Coach David McWilliams substituted junior quarter- back Shannon Kelley for an injured Stafford. With one minute to play, Kelley handed off to junior tailback Darron Morris for a touchdown, yet only in vain as BYU won, 22-17. Against Oregon State, Sept. 26, McWilliams steered the Longhorn offense away from its previous passing strategy and established the running game as Texas gained 334 on the ground. Metcalf scored on a 5 3 -yard run on the Longhorns ' third offensive play to make it 7-0 Texas. He finished with a career-best 145 yards on 20 carries. Texas went on to rout the Beavers, 61-16. With the Oregon State victory and a con- ference win over Rice under their belts, the Longhorns focused their attentions on the un- defeated Oklahoma Sooners, Oct. 10. Texas kept a 3-0 lead through the first quar- ter. Not even two OU touchdowns in the second quarter could calm the Longhorn spirit in the Cotton Bowl. UT was actually holding its own at the half, even though the Sooners led 13-6. After opening the third quarter with a 54- yard drive to OU ' s 14-yard line, the Longhorns had a chance to tie up the game. That chance was stifled when Sooner cornerback Ricky Dix- on intercepted Stafford ' s pass deep in Okla- homa territory. The game shifted after Dixon ' s interception. " We almost had them on that play, " Thom- as said. " They were about to fold and give up, but the turnovers killed us. " A staunch OU offensive effort eventually wore down the Texas defense. During the third quarter the sight of OU fullback Lydell Carr dragging UT senior cornerback Tony Griffin the final 15 yards of his 3 2 -yard touchdown run symbolized the end of a Texas upset bid. The Sooners finished 44-9 winners in a game that truly was much closer than the final numbers indicated. " After the loss to Auburn I did not think we could beat OU because I considered OU to be a better team than Auburn, " Thomas said. " But we played better than the score indicated. We were playing 100% better, except for the turn- overs. " The Longhorns finished 1987 non-conference play with a 1-3 record. by Beverly Mullins 122 Football
Page 125 text:
V Gridiron magic in Austin was back. When you ' re used to sitting on a plateau of excellence, why take a step down? OMING tli 9 Texas football returns to prominence . . . - T " he groundwork was laid for another disappointing football J season in 1987-88. The Longhorns were off to an ugly 0-2 start, struggling to adjust to a new coaching system. Ad- ditionally, like a dark cloud, the memory of recent un- satisfactory seasons lingered over Memorial Stadium. It would be premature to give up on any team after just two games, but still, this was the University of Texas, where gridiron losses ranked right below dentists ' drills. The Horns rebounded with two wins, over Oregon State and Rice, but these were to be expected. Ironically, the game that turned around the feelings of students, alumni, and even players, was a loss a loss to those annoying Sooners who enjoy rubbing salt in Longhorn wounds every chance they get. Yes, Texas left the Cotton Bowl a 44-9 loser on the Scoreboard, but that ' s where the losing stopped. The game was expected to be ugly Oklahoma rolled into the contest a 31 -point favorite. Longhorn students traveled to Dallas, but not with confident attitudes. Many donned shirts saying " I ' m just here for the party " hardly an expected attitude of Texas supporters. Admittedly, Oklahoma won, and won big. A 35-point victory margin was satisfactory enough for Boomer Sooners to dance in the streets of " Big D " Saturday night, but there were no " Burnt Orange Blues " in Dallas either. A strong first half against the nation ' s No. 1 team was just what Texas needed. The Horns actually led 3-0 after one quarter, and the halftime deficit was only seven points, 13-6. The game shifted in OU ' s favor after a Stafford interception on the second half s opening drive, but the Horns posted an effort strong enough to have fans saying, " If only we had ... " David McWilliams ' bunch never looked back. Texas won five of its final seven games, including an impressive Bluebonnet Bowl victory over Pittsburgh. Gridiron magic in Austin was back. Or had it ever left at all? When excellence is the standard, it ' s easy to fall below expectations. A few off years were not enough to quash decades of Longhorn pride. A unique winning aura existed around Texas athletics nowhere was that more apparent than on the football field, in front of 70,000 pairs of supportive eyes. Off season recruiting successes were found in 1988. Top-notch athletes again decided on Texas as their future home. The groundwork was laid for the upcoming season, but this time the foundation consisted of dominance and not disappointment. After all, when you ' re used to sitting on a plateau of excellence, why take a step down? by John Pilati ATHLETICS EDITED BY JOHN PILATI Athletics 121
Page 127 text:
ubum 3-31 Brighiim You ii 7 7-22 Oregon State 6 -J6 Rice gpi 4 _v, Oklahoma Wj f. V-4-i Arkansas 76-14 Texas Tech 47-27 Houston 40-60 Texas Christian . - . . 24-27 Baylor 34-76 Texas A M 20-13 Pittsburgh 32-27 Daniel Byrai PUSH AND SHOVE: Sophomore defensive lineman Rocky Allen battles with a Baylor offensive lineman during the Horns ' 34-16 win. THE EYE OF CONCENTRA- TION: Freshman wide receiver Kerry Cash hauls in a catch during the second half of the Texas-Arkansas contest. FOURTH AND LONG: Sophomore punter Bobby Lilljedahl prepares to kick away to Baylor during first half action. ONE STEP BEHIND: Junior running back Eric Metcalf eludes Tech defenders en route to a first down carry. Metcalf carried for 76 yards on the afternoon. Football 123
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