Texas Longhorns fans are notoriously complacent.
Most Saturdays, there is the occasional exchange of “Texas, Fight” between the student section which tends to be the most vocal, on the East Side of Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, and the season(ed) ticket holders on the West Side of the stadium who not-so-affectionately referred to as the hand-sitters or blue-hairs and little more than some applause when it’s called for. Ho-hum.
Every now and then, however, the DKR crowd can rise to the occasion and present one of the loudest environments in college football (see the 2008 Missouri Tigers game)– in fact, they can be so loud, it can be an x-factor which can turn the tide of the more closely-fought contests.
For the Texas Longhorns to prevail this coming Saturday evening, the 100,000 plus Burnt Orange faithful– which promise to be well-lubricated by the time of a 6 pm kickoff– must bring their A-game for a full 60 minutes and do their best to become a distraction for early Heisman Trophy front-runner Geno Smith and the electrifying West Virginia Mountaineers defense.
The Longhorns will be looking to do two things in the early going in Saturday night’s tilt to try and grasp, and maintain, momentum: run the ball with efficiency and keep the crowd in the game.
One is controllable while the other is a little more dicey.
Coming out with intensity and controlled passion will help Texas take hold of the pace of the game in the early going and prevent the West Virginia offense from catching fire, and in turn, quieting a Forty Acres crowd that will want nothing more than to intimidate a Mountaineers team that hasn’t made a trip to Austin since a 7-6 victory on October 6, 1956.
If the Mountaineers’ offense can score early and take the Texas crowd out of the game, the tables quickly turn.
X-factors aren’t always in the field– sometimes they’re in the stands, be they a student on his 7th beer or a hand-sitter in the luxury box.
Regardless, they’re all equally important to the Longhorns on Saturday night.
Kris Hughes is the College Football Network Manager for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.
Kris is also the host of the Rant Sports College Football Hour on the TSC Radio Network on Sunday evenings at 8 Central Time and Rant Sports Radio on the Blog Talk Radio Network Wednesday evenings at 8 Central Time.