2017 ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS TEXAS BOWL POSTGAME NOTES & QUOTES
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS vs. UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI
2017 ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS TEXAS BOWL
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS vs. UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI
POSTGAME NOTES & QUOTES
2017 ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS TEXAS BOWL NOTES
- Serving as game captains for Texas were WR P.J. Locke III, LB Naashon Hughes, TE Andrew Beck and DL Poona Ford. Serving as game captains for Missouri were QB Drew Lock, LB Eric Beisel, DL Jordan Harold and OL Paul Adams
- Missouri won the coin toss and elected to defer
- Texas P Michael Dickson was named the 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl MVP. He is the first non-offensive player to be named MVP in Texas Bowl history and is the second-ever punter to be named MVP of a bowl game (Florida State P Graham Gano was named MVP of the 2008 Champs Sports Bowl). Dickson downed 10-of-11 punts inside of the 20-yard line with three punts inside the 10-yard line while averaging 41.1 yards per punt with a long of 58 yards
- Texas recorded an Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl-record four takeaways en route to a 33-16 victory over Missouri. The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl victory is the fourth by a Big 12 school, twice as many victories as the next-most conference, the SEC
- Texas’ 14 first quarter points tie the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl record for the highest scoring first quarter and Texas matched Rutgers in 2006 as the only teams to throw for two touchdown passes in the opening quarter of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
- Texas recorded fumble recoveries on back-to-back possessions for the first time in Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl history. Western Michigan is the only other team in Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl history to record takeaways on consecutive possessions after recording interceptions on Rice in consecutive drives in the 2008 Texas Bowl
2017 ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS TEXAS BOWL PLAYER NOTES
- Texas RB Daniel Young (64 receiving, 48 rushing) and Missouri RB Larry Rountree III (74 rushing, 37 receiving) both topped 100 scrimmage yards on the day
- Missouri LB Cale Garrett had a game-high 13 tackles while Missouri DE Jordan Harold produced game-highs in sacks (2.0) and tackles for loss (3.5)
- Texas QBs Sam Ehlinger and Shane Buechele combined to go 17-for-29 passing with 167 yards and two touchdowns while Missouri QB Drew Lock was 18-for-34 with 269 yards, two touchdowns and one interception
- Missouri WR Johnathon Johnson notched a game-high 85 receiving yards on three receptions
- Texas CB Davante Davis snagged the game’s only interception, forced a fumble and produced six tackles, a game-high for a cornerback
2017 ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS TEXAS BOWL SCORING PLAYS
- 1st Quarter – Texas QB Shane Buechele capped a five-play, 75-yard opening drive with a 22-yard touchdown pass to RB Daniel Young to give Texas a 7-0 lead 1:32 into the game
- 1st Quarter – Texas QB Sam Ehlinger connected on Texas’ second touchdown pass of the first quarter with a seven-yard strike to WR John Burt to cap a four-play, 55-yard drive to give Texas a 14-0 lead with 3:58 remaining in the first quarter
- 2nd Quarter – Missouri RB Ish Witter capped a five-play, 50-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown rush to cut the Texas lead to 14-7 with 12:10 remaining in the second quarter
- 2nd Quarter – Texas LB Anthony Wheeler picked up a fumble by Missouri RB Ish Witter and returned it 38 yards to give Texas a 21-7 lead over Missouri with 7:47 remaining in the second quarter. Wheeler’s touchdown marks the first fumble returned for a touchdown in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl since Arkansas did so in 2014 and the longest fumble returned for a touchdown in Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl history
- 3rd Quarter – Missouri QB Drew Lock connected with WR Johnathon Johnson on a 79-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second half to cut the Texas lead to 21-13 with 14:42 to play in the third quarter. The 79-yard touchdown pass ties the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bowl record for longest completion and longest touchdown pass. The point-after attempt was no good
- 3rd Quarter – Missouri K Tucker McCann completed a game-long 16-play, 87-yard drive with a 28-yard field goal to cut the Texas lead to 21-16 with 2:44 remaining in the third quarter
- 3rd Quarter – Texas scored on the first-ever safety in Texas Bowl history after the ball was knocked through the back of the end-zone with 1:10 to play in the third quarter, pushing the Texas lead to 23-16 over Missouri
- 4th Quarter – Texas K Joshua Rowland’s 41-yard field goal capped an eight-play, 30-yard drive to extend the Texas lead to 26-16 with 12:15 to play
- 4th Quarter – Texas WR Armanti Foreman took an end-around 18 yards to give Texas the 33-16 lead over Missouri with 1:39 to play
POSTGAME QUOTES FROM MISSOURI:
HEAD COACH BARRY ODOM (Transcribed by Alison Chastain, Carrington Gilbert, Hannah Pietsch, Raj Sheth and Cole Thompson)
“Thanks for sticking around. I know it’s late. I’ve said a number of times to our local media, the guys that cover our team and our football program, I appreciate the coverage that you guys do for our student athletes and the game of college football. I know sometimes it’s not easy and I’m probably not the easiest guy to work with, and I understand that, but I appreciate everything that you do. You’re in the game of football, college football, for a number of reasons. And one of those and one of the main reasons I’m in it is to help young men and build a platform for them in every avenue and every situation in their life. To build a platform to make them successful and help them be successful for the next 40 to 50 years of their life. When you do it the right way, you build true and real and trusting relationships. And you’re able to put them out in the real world, which is a hard, mean place, and hopefully they’ve got an opportunity from being in my program, in our program, that they’ve developed real relationships that when they are sent in to a situation in their home, in their family, in their job place, and things aren’t perfect and it’s a struggle, that they’ll look back at this year on some of the things that they were able to overcome when they were faced early in the year with a lot of adversity and they continued to fight and hold together. I want those guys to know and understand that even though it hurts right now, they are going to be better men, better fathers, husbands, coworkers – all those things. You do it the right way, and wins are going to follow. I believe that with everything that I’ve got. It’s hard to say walking out of that locker room for the last time with those guys because of the things that they’ve poured in to it this year. You’ve got guys that have been there a year, and guys who have been there five. They’ve done a heck of a job. Those 18 seniors, I wanted more than anything to send them out with a win, and I couldn’t get it done. We’ll learn from the good, from the bad this year and get in to the offseason and go get it. And the 18 seniors that go on, I hope they get to play football for a long time. And when they tell them that that day’s over, they’ve been trained to go out in the real world. I challenge our team and our program to look at our locker room as what society should be. It doesn’t matter what you look like, what your last name is, where you’re from, how much money you do or don’t have, those guys would do anything for each other in that locker room. And we need that to go out in to the real world. If we do that, then I know that I’m doing my job. You can’t walk away from an evenly-matched game and be minus four in the turnover margin and want to have a chance to win a game. That’s not the only reason tonight. Texas is a good football team. They’re well coached. But, also, I think we’re a pretty good football team too. We had some opportunities, but we turned it over four times, gave up a couple explosive plays defensively, couldn’t get anything going in the run game. That kind of puts the game in, the result that we got, that’s the recipe for getting beat like we did. We’ve got a lot of guys back on both sides of the ball. And we use this as the learning tool and motivation, just like we will the other 12 games we’ve played this year and continue to build our program and build our team. A lot of exciting things happening.”
Even after the loss, are you able to take a step back and see how far the team has come this year?
“You always learn lessons from the good and from the bad. We will do that collectively as a staff. I know I like winning a lot more than losing. The end of the year was tough on everybody. We will use some of the things that we did down the last half of the stretch to get us started getting into the next year.”
Was Texas taking the deep ball away tonight or just missed opportunities?
“I think a combination of both of them. They were giving us a couple of things that we didn’t hold up extremely well with some pressure looks we were getting to get tight and to throw the ball down the field. They were also playing some two high lopes that deterred some of that. It was a combination of a lot of things. Routes ran out of bounds. One was another shot there that ended up being an almost 50/50 ball and no call on that one. Then connected the one to J.J. (Jonathon Johnson). A lot of different things went into it. I don’t know if we had the opportunity to take more if Drew (Lock) had moved around the pocket a little bit we would have had time to get vertical down the field and things too. A combination of a few things there.”
If you look at the numbers, your defense actually did pretty well from the second quarter on. That being said, how much does the first quarter haunt or hurt you?
“We gave up forty-five yards in penalties there pretty quick and they just drove down the field in one play. That and the tight end in the H position there, wing position, went uncovered and mental error on that. So, that was not obviously a great way to start it. They did I think at halftime, Texas was one-of-eight on third downs maybe. So, we were doing some good things. We gave up a safety and they scored when defense wasn’t on the field and take away nine points there. The takeaways, the turnovers, it’s going to be hard to win.”
How do you account for all the mistakes?
“Well, I don’t feel like we were tight. I thought we were anxious to go play. We had practice, we had fourteen practices, specifically when you get in a game, you feel really really good. We did a couple of uncharacteristic things, one on pass interference he didn’t turn and look for the ball. Acy (Demarkus Acy) held on the other one and then a blown coverage. Mistakes past that, we jumped off sides which is – that offensively those are drive killers. You already put yourself behind the sticks against a really good defense and it’s hard to overcome that. And then we didn’t run the ball nearly effective enough. So, a combination of a few things there. I don’t know if we were too uptight. I think that we were very anxious to go play and settle down a little bit.”
You were pushed back multiple times tonight especially in the second half, have you seen a punter like 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl MVP and Texas P Michael Dickson impact a game like that before?
“Nope. I guess maybe that’s why he won that award right? I mean he’s pretty good and they played well off of it. So a field position game anyway they can control it is pretty impressive.”
On that roughing the passer call on CB DeMarkus Acy, what could you ask a defender to do differently in his trying to come down after blocking a pass?
“Yeah, I didn’t know who the defender was. I don’t know if he left his feet before the ball was out of the quarterback’s hands so I’ll have to see it on video before I can have a coaching point on how to get that corrected.”
A lot of national pundits say that the Big 12 doesn’t really play all that much defense, that it’s an offensive conference. How does this Texas team stack up among the defenses in your conference?
“No offense, but I think the national pundits are wrong. You look at, and I don’t know and I haven’t walked in the Big 12 Conference and I haven’t walked in those shoes in a few years, but I know there some really good defensive coaches. The 12 games that I’ve watched on Texas getting into this game I saw some pretty good defenses played from start to finish so I have a great deal of respect for their league.”
It looked like RB Damarea Crockett went through warmups, but then obviously wasn’t dressed out. Was that just a decision made in the locker room?
“Yeah, we got to the point we thought he was going to have a chance. I didn’t feel real good about getting him into a game situation because of the lack of contact that he’s had, his protecting the football worried me a little bit. He didn’t feel 100 percent at that position, I think you’re probably never going to feel 100 percent, but carrying the ball with the shoulder and coming off of the injury with a surgery, it was a wise decision to say not to chance it.”
Same deal with WR Emanuel Hall, I know he dressed but –
“He played a little bit, then his hamstring tightened up a little bit more. So, that was an injury he’s had for a while in his career, and then he went out in the Arkansas game, which looked like a pretty severe strain. So, he did what he could, and he didn’t practice much leading up to today. So, we didn’t give it a chance and it wasn’t where it needed to be.”
I know Tight Ends Coach Joe Jon Finley got the play-calling duties tonight, what did you think of the job that he did in the preparation leading up to the game kind of as a standing Offensive Coordinator and the job he did today?
“Well, credit not only to Coach (Joe Jon) Finley, but the offensive staff who had some guys step in with the departures of Jon Cooper who did a great job stepping in over the course of preparing for a bowl game. On the offensive line, I know Matt O’Brien helped us out in the roles that you can. And, Brian Miller, those guys collectively along with Andy Hill and Cornell Ford they did a great job on getting us ready to play the game. Throughout the course of the three-and-a-half weeks we had or whatever it was on running the meetings and preparing the practice plans and the scripts, game-planning and all the things – I’m proud of the effort they put forth for our kids. They did situational football they did some things that tried to give us an advantage here and there and didn’t work in our favor a lot of times tonight. But, we did some things that we left some plays out there too that didn’t quite execute on. I think I’ve got, I’m really fortunate both sides of the ball. We’ve got a really good staff and they make me ride a lot and I’m very thankful for them.”
POSTGAME QUOTES FROM TEXAS:
HEAD COACH TOM HERMAN (Transcribed by Alison Chastain, Evan Dunbar, Carrington Gilbert, Tomorrow Huff, Christiana Johns, Raj Sheth and Stephanie Weaver)
“Great team win. I know that gets used a lot, but we played really well on both sides of the ball – all three sides of the ball. I thought there could have been a whole lot of ‘Here we go again,’ after the first play of the second half. And our offense, we shot ourselves in the foot on one drive there at the end of the first half, and for the first time in my career, we get another nine-yard run on first down and our running back gets a personal foul for getting up too hard off the ground – was what was explained to me – and so we got ourselves out of field goal range there, too. So, we squandered two opportunities there at the end of the first half, and then come out and give up the long bomb there to start the second half, and there could have been a lot of ‘Here we go again,’ on the sideline and there wasn’t. These guys were dialed in. They were focused. They knew that our best was good enough, that we didn’t need a Herculean effort; we didn’t need the other team to screw it up. That’s a really good football team, really good. They don’t get enough credit for how good they are on defense. But I think if you look at the numbers and that six-game winning streak they had, you know their defense played lights out. They finished the year 13th in tackles for loss, and I think 23rd or 24th in sacks. That’s a really good defense. And then obviously that offense is unbelievable, unbelievable. I thought for the most part we played well defensively – turned it over, scored on defense twice with an unbelievable run by Anthony Wheeler – had some great blocks and obviously the safety. I credit that safety to our fans. I want to thank them for showing up en masse and making this feel like a home game. Because when Missouri had the football, it was loud and it was very difficult for them. I think they had three false starts and then obviously the snap where the quarterback wasn’t ready that resulted in a safety. So, hats off to our fans; you scored points for us and that’s pretty cool. But I couldn’t be prouder of this senior class. They were the glue that held this up-and-down season together. I think they knew what was ahead for this program, and they wanted to make sure that they left their mark on this next chapter of Texas football and they did. They did. From the defensive lineman of the year in Poona Ford, to Antwuan Davis and the late-season run that he had, to Naashon Hughes being a captain and leading this team. And I know I’m forgetting a bunch, but this senior class deserves a lot of credit for this win and giving us the momentum that we very, very much need heading into 2018.”
Can you overstate the importance of getting the losing streak monkey off your back?
“No, you can’t overstate it. It’s really important for these guys to call themselves a winner. To walk around in their hometowns here for the next couple weeks on Christmas break knowing that they had a winning season and winning a Texas Bowl Championship. And again, it wasn’t going to be life or death, we would have been just fine next year, but this was a big step forward.”
How critical can this be towards getting to that next step with this team and with this program?
“I think it’s anytime you can get confidence, give confidence to a fragile group of guys, it’s big. It’s big to know that we came in here and we made a SEC team that had won six straight bowl games and held one of the best offenses in the country, the best offense in the country the second half of the season to 16 points or something like that and four turnovers, they should be proud. They should have confidence going in to this offseason with another year of development and a year continuity and a year of consistency. And then add in some of these newcomers that are extremely talented and extremely competitive. I think that it gives us a lot of hope, but the confidence part of it is the biggest thing.”
How critical can this be towards getting to that next step with this team and with this program?
“I think it’s anytime you can get confidence, give confidence to a fragile group of guys, it’s big. It’s big to know that we came in here and we made a SEC team that has won six straight bowl games and held one of the best offenses in the country, the best offense in the country the second half of the season to 16 points or something like that and four turnovers, they should be proud. They should have confidence going into this offseason with another year of development and a year continuity and a year of consistency. And then add in some of these newcomers that are extremely talented and extremely competitive. I think that it gives us a lot of hope, but the confidence part of it is the biggest thing.”
Last year you called RB Daniel Young a possible steal in that recruiting class here in Houston, now you’ve seen him for a year he led you guys in rushing yards. Is he still a steal in that recruiting class from last year?
“Well I don’t think he’s hidden from anybody. Danny’s got a lot of work to do, but he provided us with again a guy back there that could break downs. That’s what we needed with as depleted on the offensive line as we were we needed a guy that you know, if it was block for two he could get you four, and if it was block for zero he could get you two. He gave us that. He’s got a lot of work to do, but I’m excited that we’re going to have him around here for a long time.”
Where do you see the offense right now at the quarterback position going in next spring?
“Before you guys ask, Shane (Buechele) went out at halftime with a pretty good groin strain. We were going to play him in the second half. Went around and jogged around a little bit. Said he felt good, but Shane was playing ok as well. We didn’t want to put him back in there gimped up. He got a shot. I was proud of him for doing the things necessary to go back in. We felt like we were going to be ok without him. Where do I see the (offense)? I don’t know. Work in progress. Kendall Moore got hurt once and then got hurt in the fourth quarter with a second degree MCL sprain. If that game had gone into overtime, I don’t know what would have done running the football because we were down to one scholarship tight end. We were down to two scholarship tailbacks that had played in football games. I don’t know. We’re obviously going to judge and be very, very critical of ourselves on that side of the football moving forward in this offseason and figure out ways to get better. But it’s difficult to judge where would we have been with Andrew Beck and Elijah Rodriguez and Connor Williams all season. I don’t know. I don’t know. Do we need to do better as coaches, you know coaching up those true freshmen that are in there? Certainly we do. But there’s not very many teams out there that are lighting the world on fire offensively with true freshmen right tackles and true freshmen tight ends and true freshmen tailbacks and true freshmen quarterbacks. You don’t see that very often. We’re going to win around here with great defense. I’ve said it before, there’s been one national championship team since the BCS era that finished outside the top 25 in defense, and I think that was Auburn. They finished 31st and had a guy named Cameron Newton pulling the trigger for them too. And where do I see the quarterback position? I don’t know. They both played pretty well tonight. I was excited. That will be a good battle headed into the offseason. Neither of them has played so poorly that you can’t fathom them being the starter, but neither of them has played well enough to where you’re ready to anoint them. So they’re going to go compete. We’ll see who makes the most progress here in the next nine months.”
Have you ever had a punter affect the game the way P Michael Dickson did tonight?
“I’ve never seen one affect the game the way he did tonight, and I’m glad he’s on our team.”
Was there ever a point you thought about saying his name?
“When he gets his degree from the University of (Texas) man I don’t know. You guys are not going to bait me into that. We laugh and cut up, all those guys. When they get their degree, that’s the deal.”
You limited Missouri to be pretty vanilla with what you did on the field. Was that a key to the win tonight?
“Yeah, I think, you know obviously, we had to play well defensively. We’re not built to go beat a Missouri 45-42, and we’re just not on offense. You got to realize the quarterbacks we played this year, it is a who’s who at that position. I’m expecting Commissioner (Bob) Bowlsby to knock on the door and say, ‘Hey, you’ve got to go play Wyoming in an exhibition game here,’ or something like that. It is a who’s who at that position that we played, and we played pretty dang good against them. But, it was another, you know, much like Oklahoma State, where it was stop the pass and hope that you can defeat blocks in the run game, because we weren’t going to outnumber the run game, which is different than a lot of game plans. So felt like we did admirable job there. We needed to turn the ball over or we needed to get turnovers on defense, and we did that, and at a very opportune time, we scored on one of them.”
If you were told last month that you would be without a lot of players for a bowl game, what would you have said?
“I would have told you that we are going to do our best. And these guys are trained. One of the pillars of our program is called competitive focus. And at the end of the day, it’s basically when your number is called, do your teammates know that you’re ready? Because one of two things happens when a guy goes down — and even tonight at the end of the game, (LB) Edwin Freeman had to jog in when (LB Anthony) Wheeler got ejected from the game — and when that happens, when a coach calls on a backup, the entire team — coaches, teammates, everybody — there’s only one of two reactions: and it’s ’Hey, man, we’re good, and I’ve seen how this guy trains. I’ve seen how hard this guy works. I’ve seen how hard he studies. I’ve seen how he prepares like a pro. I’m excited to watch this guy play because I know he’s going to help us.’ Or it’s ‘Oh my God, don’t throw the ball to him. Don’t throw it in his direction. Don’t run it behind him. Because I’ve seen how he doesn’t prepare. I’ve seen how he doesn’t study film. I’ve seen how he doesn’t go hard.’ That’s it. There’s no in between. It’s either your teammates have the utmost confidence that you’re competitively focused or they don’t. And we train our guys on how to do that. And I think, it’s not us, it’s them and the buy-in level for them too. And it’s their ability to understand that and really take that kind of coaching and apply it. I would have said ‘Is that a choice? Do I have to play it with all those guys missing?’ But I would have been confident that what you saw tonight was going to happen.”
How do you characterize the end of WR Armanti Foreman’s senior year, and what was the thinking of giving him the ball on the last play?
“The thinking was we wanted to score another touchdown, and we wanted to call a reverse. We wanted to make sure if we were to call a reverse that it would have been him because he’s a senior and he has played well for us here down the stretch. He deserved it by how he’s prepared and how he’s practiced. My hats off to him. He’s had a really, really good last month of the year. We hope he has continued success. Hopefully playing this game for quite some time.”