A beleaguered Bellmont employee would finally earn his paycheck. A nation's strategic moxie reserves would be stretched to their limit. TEH GERG and his silver-haired sorcery would awaken a gameplan from seasons past. Ancient aliens would intervene. And the Longhorns, against all reasonable expectation, would reverse the curse and curb-stomp Bob Stoops, 36-20. (When you have no chin, a curb-stomping just makes your head slide along the top part of the curb, so it's really not that bad).
As the Mack Brown regime was collapsing like a flan in a cupboard, the long knives came out across Longhorn Nation - and many thrusts were aimed at long-time Bellmont apperatchik Nick Voinis. His gameday Godzillatron presentation makes Uwe Boll look like Alfonso Cuaron, and his petty tyranny against any and all media members attempting to do their job and cover the Longhorns would do any tinhorn dicator proud. But his boss Deloss didn't last 30 years as Texas' AD without an appreciation for the long game, and his man Nick executed it to perfection.
A past master at printing out every last harsh word on the Longhorn interwebs for Mack's persual, Voinis keyed a Longhorn victory by serving up the winning gameplan on a silver platter - he printed out Nickel Rover's offensive and defensive gameplans for the offensive staff on Friday. Everything from a single high safety look with Diggs doing the heavy lifting on defense to a power run and boundary-flood approach on offense was on display, and the overall Longhorn approach evinced a competence not seen in a long, long while.
But that was only part of Voinis' masterstroke.
Late Friday, Voinis 'leaked' the fact that Texas would be eschewing Mack's typical retardation for the simple, well-reasoned approach of an Internet blogger. Long-accustomed to maskirovkas from Bellmont and Brown's hatred off all things Interwebby, the Sooners didn't buy into the idea that Texas would run such a straightforward and logical gameplan. This suspicion prompted a late-in-the-game adjustment from the Stoops brothers, where the logical approach of a Bell-heavy read option assault was thrown out in favor of an ass-tastic pass attack that would have embarrassed both George McLellan in its strategic development and Tim Tebow in its execution.
Finally, Voinis' black ops crew turned in their best performance of the season. After only delaying the arrival of the opposing game plan for a half against Ole Miss, Voinis' commando squad ensured that the guy with a sane OU gameplan would remain trapped on the Texas Star until it was too late.
Case McCoy predicted a 'legacy game' against the Sooners, and just about every Longhorn fan nodded in agreement. Little did we know that he was talking about the GOOD kind of legacy.
McCoy put the Mox in Moxie, in ways not seen since Jonathan Moxon took the field for West Canaan. The mox was doled out in small increments early, as Case hit a few of his wheelhouse over-the-middle throws early. He upped the mox dosage on Texas' second drive, enduring a WWE-style takedown to generate a roughing the passer penalty that would come to naught after TAILBACK 4 LIFE Joe Bergeron put the pig on the carpet. It seemed that the ol' McCoy Moxie had rubbed off on Mack, as the Longhorns eschewed an easy field goal for a fourth-down playfake that had Alex de la Torre open for a potential TD. Unfortunately, there's only so much mox to go around, and Mack held on to the mox too long as Case completely gaffed the pass and turned the ball back to the Sooners.
After that, though, Case was done with lowercase. It was all-caps MOXIE from there on out, punctuated by a perfect sideline throw to Marcus Johnson on an out-and-up for a 57-yard TD. The concept was one that the Saints have been ripping NFL defenses with all season, and the design and call were tremendous from Applewhite.
While the game as a whole put a drain on the nation's strategic MOXIE reserves, they were by no means sucked dry. Plenty remained for Case to put a ball on the front pylon, right into Mike Davis' hands for a key third-quarter score that helped pull the run game off the menu for OU. A slight degree of OVER-MOXIE yielded a Matt Schaub to a Sooner DT to raise the collective Longhorn blood pressure, but as the D held firm it became clear that on this day, MOXIE would not be denied.
Greg Robinson came off his couch and into Austin with the tallest of tasks ahead of him. A defense low on confidence, lower on fundamentals, wracked with position-coach infighting and lack-ass tackling was never going to offer a quick-flip return to excellence. TEH GERG started slow, implementing a high-school stay-in-your-lanes approach against Ole Miss that stopped the Yakety Saks refrains but was easy meat for Hugh Freeze's Playstation attack. The assignment football demanded by a Read Option-sound defense was light years ahead of this crew's grasp, and the overall picture was grim.
But Gerg - with a handy assist from Nickel Rover - brought the goods to keep the Sooners on the back foot all game long. Interior run lanes were shut down, timely blitzes flummoxed OU's lummox under center, and the front seven finally achieved mind-meld with the man-cover mandates of Duane Akina's DBU fiefdom. We may never know what would have happened had the Sooners run more actual Read Option - or had Blake Bell been remotely capable of working through reads and hitting open receivers downfield - but Robinson had the boys geared up and ready to go and playing a largely gaffe-free game despite a heavily-featured Steve Edmond.
Of course, the works of mere mortals would have been insufficient to overcome Mack's gravitational pull on any given Saturday. It took the work of ancient alien forces to bring about the series of improbable events that led to a Longhorn victory. To wit:
- Johnathan Gray broke - wait for it - an ACTUAL ANKLE TACKLE on a 50+ yard jaunt in the second quarter
- After 2+ seasons of getting roasted by their own Fire Zones, Texas fought fire with fire and scored a defensive TD when an Adrian Phillips corner blitz forced a throw into the waiting arms of a dropping Chris Whaley
- In a series where the execution has been as one-sided as the gameplanning, OU runners dropped passes on the same day that Mack Brown's balls finally dropped. Coincidence, or SOMETHING MORE?
THE BOTTOM LINE
It was an unexpected win. In some ways, a shocking win - despite how close the game seemed on paper. And it was a laudable win - the kind that offered a sweet and tantalizing glimpse of the potential this group of athletes has when they play as a team.
Between the surprise element and the...other factors currently surrounding the Texas program, it's a game that creates some mixed and muddled emotions. But for now, raise a glass, toast the Horns and have a damn good time.
Because Texas won. And because OU sucks.