For the first time in more than 56 years, the University of Texas took the field without Darrell K Royal to watch.
This week has been a very emotional one for Longhorn fans after the legendary coach died early Wednesday morning.
Royal led the program to three national titles and still holds the school record with 167 wins.
Royal gave the Longhorns the iconic logo, changed the color from orange back to burnt orange and made the wishbone a part of Texas' lore. |
The Iowa State Cyclones rolled into Austin on Saturday, but make no mistake, the game was about Royal and the celebration of his life in the stadium that bears his name.
UT imbedded the initials DKR into both the logos on its helmets as well as the one painted at the 50-yard line.
But, it was their coolest tribute that stood out and set the tone for the 33-7 win at Royal-Memorial Stadium.
HONORING COACH WITH A PASS?
Earlier this week, UT coach Mack Brown said that the offense would pay tribute to Royal by lining up in the wishbone to begin the game.
After a punt pinned UT to its own six, it may have been wise to line up in the formation for the tribute and call a timeout.
But, Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin added his own Boise-style twist to the formation for the game's first big play.
Texas executed a pitch back reverse pass perfectly with David Ash at quarterback, Joe Bergeron at left half back, Jordan Shipley at right half back and Ryan Roberson at fullback.
Ash took the snap and pitched it back to Shipley. Shipley threw behind the line of scrimmage to Ash, who found his footing and hit Greg Daniels for a 47-yard completion that got the Longhorns into Cyclone territory.
“So we decided that the only way I could justify the double-pass was that Coach [Royal] said, ‘When you throw a pass, three things can happen, and two of them are bad,.’ So I thought if you throw it twice, that means two good things can happen,” said UT coach Mack Brown.
Although coach Royal may not have drawn a play up that way, it didn’t take away from the moment.
“I'm honored they called my number,” Daniels said. “It was great to catch a pass, and I feel thankful the coaches called on me to do that.”
The only down side of the day was that the crown wasn’t what it should have been to honor the coach that built the program. The announced attendance of 100,018 was the second smallest of the season and there were noticeable clusters of empty seats in the east side upper deck, northeast lower deck and left side of the south end zone.
BIG HALF FOR ASH Two weeks after getting benched against Kansas, Ash helped put the Longhorns up thanks to a big first half.
UT took a 20-7 lead and was incomplete control thanks to 15-of-16 passing from Ash for 245 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“David is getting more comfortable with everybody,” Brown said. “He is leading better. He was more focused during the week, the last two weeks since Kansas.”
The sophomore completed 25-of-31 passes for 364 yards.
PAIR OF 100s
A week after Mike Davis had a career day in Lubbock, Shipley made his older brother proud with a big day and both receivers were too much for the Iowa State secondary to handle.
Shipley led the team with eight catches for 137 yards, while Davis had seven catches for 113 yards and a touchdown.
“I am very fortunate that I got some good opportunities today, and I feel like everybody had a really good game,” Shipley said.
Added Davis: “Ash has been throwing great balls up there, and I've been beating my man.”
Shipley has been having a bit of an up and down season this year as teams have been treating him like the No. 1 receiver this season.
MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE
Sophomore running back Malcolm Brown was back in the lineup for the first time in five weeks.
Malcolm returned from an ankle injury and had a solid day. He had 32 yards on 10 rushes, and was one of six Longhorn rushers on Saturday.
Joe Bergeron led the way with 12 carries for 86 yards and Johnathan Gray had a pair of touchdown carries.
GETTING A BREAK
The Longhorns have won four games in a row, their defense is playing better fundamentally and they got one of their best rushers back from injury.
Although things look to be falling in line for UT, now is a great time for a bye week.
The death of Royal made for an emotional week around the 40 Acres. The team paid homage to the coach and will likely attend Tuesday’s memorial service at the Erwin Center.
If there was a game on Saturday, the team would be ripe for an emotional letdown.
Having 12 days to get away from things and prepare for a Thanksgiving game at home against TCU is a great way to finish the season at home.
“In honor of DKR, coach wanted us to play hard for him and the game was in his honor,” Gray said. “Just play hard for ourselves and go out with a win.