September 21, 2018
South on I-35! Here we go to Austin for a football weekend and a game at Memorial Stadium (that’s what it used to be known as before they added Darrell K. Royal to the name). I’m glad they did it while DKR was still around to see it.
I’ve made hundreds of trips down that highway on Fridays during football season, and I’m as excited as ever to make the trip. The Dentons used to go to Austin a lot when I was a kid. Friday, right after school, eating turkey sandwiches in the Buick on the way so we could get there before my grandparents went to bed. My mom grew up in Austin, right on the UT campus. Her dad, Jim Sansom, Sr., was a mason on the UT campus for 35 years, and the Sansom family lived right there on North 23rd Street, just across the street from the stadium. Mom and her brother, Jim Sansom, Jr., both went to UT: Elouise Sansom Denton, Class of ’48. She’ll be 92 in December. A true UT beauty. She still is.
Those were special weekends getting to go to “Nannie’s” house on Cherrywood Road and team up with my cousins for the best of weekends. Wake up Saturday, eat breakfast and go to the stadium. Normally, 2 o’clock kickoffs back then. Not as much TV at that time. We depended on the Enco SWC Football Network for coverage and score updates. Glenn Brown, Stan McKenzie and Connie Alexander kept you glued to the radio. I wanted to be them. Shoot, Darrell Royal was still coaching and Texas never lost. Or so it seemed.
Austin, though it’s changed a ton since the late 1960’s and ’70s, is still a special place and I still have family there. We’ll all get together for Mexican food tonight. Just like the old days. It’ll be great.
The city of Austin is not the only thing that has changed. The TCU-UT series has changed, too. One of the best parts of life in the Big 12 for TCU fans has been the recent change in fortune for the Frogs against THE state university of Texas.
The Frogs have won four in a row.
And it’s hasn’t been close.
In the four straight losses to TCU, Texas has scored an average of eight points per game.
Signed, Gary Patterson.
Gone are the days of Texas 81 TCU 16. Of 24 straight Texas wins. Of TCU +29 at Texas. It’s a new day and this series is cozier than ever as we approach the 89th meeting.
The UT Athletic Director used to be our AD. Chris Del Conte knows TCU well, and he’s learning his way around UT. His charge is to turn Texas into what he helped turn TCU into over his nine years in Fort Worth. Become what TCU is.
Stop and take that in for a minute.
The Frogs and Horns are coming off big game weekends. The Frogs had No. 4 Ohio State and Texas hosted USC. Both teams performed well and found some things out about themselves. The Frogs learned valuable lessons that will pay off throughout the remainder of the season: They’re as fast as any team in the country; the defense is really good; and quarterback Shawn Robinson ain’t afraid and doesn’t panic.
The Longhorns experienced an explosion of points and dominance over an opponent unlike any game to date in the Tom Herman era. Both games turned on a sequence of plays in about five minutes of game clock.
The answer to who wins in Austin tomorrow is found in who builds the most off of last week.
Texas has confidence on defense. Defensive coordinator Todd Orlando feels good about his group. His 3-4 scheme involves a lot of movement and depends on great play from the two linebackers and two safeties — they have to fly to the ball. It’s an interesting scheme that has the ability to stuff the run but has a tendency to give up big pass plays. There are no stars on this side of the ball, but they are playing better as a unit. Watch for the blitzes from linebackers and from the edge — that’s when the Frogs will have opportunities for big plays.
On offense, the Horns are betting on Sam Ehlinger. He’s a big QB, a 235-pound fullback running the offense. Tom Herman and offensive coordinator Tim Beck say this offense is different from last year, but the offensive line still has a lot to prove. Wide Receivers Lil’ Jordan Humphrey and Collin Johnson are big targets. Freshman running back Keaontay Ingram is the back of the future for Texas but is hobbled and may not be available.
The kicking game for Texas is a work in progress. Turpin could have a big day in the return game and the Frogs need him to get cranked up.
Rain is in the forecast, so the Frogs’ running game may be leaned on in this one. You’ll recall the last time in Austin, Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua got loose. Don’t be surprised if that happens again in front of 103,000 on the 40 Acres.
Safe travels to Austin and back. I’ll enjoy every mile. For me, it’s Back to the Future, except for our football program. Thankfully.
Kick ‘Em High!
Darius Anderson, shown in action during his monster game against Ohio State, ran for 99 yards when TCU beat Texas, 24-7, in Fort Worth on Nov. 4, 2017. Photo by Glen E. Ellman.
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John Denton has been the color analyst for the TCU Sports Network from IMG since 1988. A former standout for the Horned Frog football team, Denton went from walk-on to a four-year lettermen as a kicker and punter for the Purple and White from 1981-84 and completed his career at the 1984 Bluebonnet Bowl. Shown here with his former coach, the late Jim Wacker, Denton currently serves as the Director of Major Gifts for TCU Athletics.
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