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Team Alert

JOHN HARRIS' THOUGHTS ON THE CHASE FOR THE REMATCH IN THE BIG 12

Heading into the first Saturday in November, the Chase for The Rematch in the Big 12 is still hot and heavy. Chase for The Rematch? Well, of course. The Big 12 plays nine conference games, a true round robin, so no matter which two teams tangle in Arlington for the Big 12 Championship game, it’s going to be a rematch.

 But, I digress.

 The Big 12 squads have seemingly separated themselves amongst the ten team group. There’s Tier one - the top three teams, consisting of West Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas. There’s tier two - the bowl eligibles with a few upsets to their name - Iowa State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Baylor. Finally, there’s tier three - there’s still a chance for a bowl - TCU, Kansas and Kansas State, all 3-5 on the season.

 The top three team round robin continues with a matchup between West Virginia and Texas in Austin on Saturday. Round one of the round robin took place in Dallas earlier in October as the Texas Longhorns held on for a classic win over the Oklahoma Sooners. A West Virginia win over Texas could set up a weird situation for the Big 12. If the Sooners and Mountaineers win out heading into their Thanksgiving Friday November 23rd meeting, there’s a chance they could meet in back-to-back weeks - once in Oklahoma and the following week in the Big 12 Championship game in Arlington.

 Now, West Virginia visits Texas this Saturday, then faces TCU (home) and Oklahoma State (away) before Oklahoma comes calling. The Sooners face Texas Tech (away), Oklahoma State (home) and Kansas (home) before heading to Morgantown. Two teams stand in the way of a rematch at the end of the Big 12 campaign IF West Virginia wins this weekend - Iowa State and Texas. If West Virginia wins out, loses to Oklahoma in the regular season finale, Iowa State will rematch with Oklahoma if ISU wins out (which would include a win over Texas in Austin). If Oklahoma wins out, loses to a 7-1 West Virginia squad, the Texas Longhorns will rematch with West Virginia if the Longhorns win out.

 Now, Texas Tech plays both Oklahoma and Texas in back-to-back weeks IN LUBBOCK, so the Red Raiders can throw a serious monkey wrench into The Rematch. Tech lost to Iowa State and West Virginia already, but wins over Texas and Oklahoma could start us down a path of tiebreakers that I don’t even want to consider at this point.

 At least we have the month of November to figure it all out.

Team Alert

JOHN HARRIS ASKS WHICH TEAM WILL FINISH THIRD IN THE SEC

Who’s number three?

 It’s not an often asked question, but it’s evident that Alabama and Georgia, last year’s College Football National Championship combatants, are the two best teams in the SEC.

 By a LONG shot.

 So, which team is third? Why does that matter, really?

 Well, New Year’s Day Six bowl games seem to love SEC teams.

 In 2014, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Alabama earned invitations to the NYD Six games. In 2017, three teams also were invited - Alabama, Georgia and Auburn. So, the third place team in the conference will earn consideration for a New Year’s Day Six invitation.

 And, that team would be?

 Well, there are three teams at 5-1 right now. Kentucky lost last week at Texas A&M after an undefeated 5-0 start. Running back Benny Snell was bottled up and the weaknesses on offense were exposed by a stout A&M defense. Kentucky also must tangle with Georgia in a few weeks, but that game is in Lexington and the remainder of the schedule is more than manageable in the SEC East. So, the Cats will be in the mix.

 Florida is also 5-1 and trounced LSU in Gainesville. The defense is fantastically lights out, but offensively there are still some serious rough spots. The only real challenge on Florida’s schedule the rest of the way is a visit to Jacksonville on October 27th for the World’s Largest Cocktail Party, the annual get together with the University of Georgia. Similarly to Kentucky, the Gators don’t have a ranked team on the schedule not named Georgia the rest of the season. So, Florida should stay in the mix, regardless of its loss to Kentucky earlier this season.

 LSU is 5-1, but the schedule is a wee bit more difficult and by saying a wee bit, I really mean A LOT in the SEC West. The Tigers struggled on offense in Gainesville last week and lost to the Gators...and now face #2 Georgia this weekend. Then, they face #24 Mississippi State next week and #1 Alabama three weeks from Saturday. They’ll close the season at College Station where the Aggies have played well this season.

 Speaking of the Aggies, could it be Texas A&M? The 4-2 Aggies still have road trips to Mississippi State and Auburn, but the way its defense is playing right now, it’s going to be a tough squad to beat anywhere. It may come down to a visit from LSU in the finale for that overall third spot in the conference. The Aggies have faltered in the second halves of seasons for the past five years so not many will take them seriously until Jimbo Fisher’s team proves them wrong.

 Mississippi State and Auburn are 4-2, but they both have Alabama remaining on the schedule, plus Mississippi State has LSU and Auburn has Georgia as well.

 Nothing is clear cut in the SEC. Except at the top. Alabama and Georgia rule the roost while 12 other teams fight for the next rung down, one that might be ultra-important come bowl season.

Team Alert

RED RIVER SHOWDOWN: JOHN HARRIS' KEYS TO THE GAME

It doesn’t matter which one comes first for most people. However, if you bleed crimson and cream, you’ll think OU v. Texas takes place in Dallas this weekend, but if you’re burnt orange all the way, it’s Texas v. OU in the Cotton Bowl. Regardless of your allegiance, this Red River Rivalry is back. As such, the world seems to be back on its axis as these days as the two Big 12 powers will meet on Saturday, both undefeated in Big 12 play.

 

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, although he sat out the first series of the Baylor game last weekend, turned in a magnificent performance against the Bears. He accounted for seven touchdowns, throwing six, and totaling 494 yards of total offense. He’s stepped into the void left by 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield and kept the Oklahoma offensive engine running at an insanely high level.

 

The story for the Longhorns has been a feisty defense that has given up less than 17 points per game in its four wins. Safety Caden Sterns is a true freshman play maker who will be a key for the Longhorns defense against the powerful Oklahoma offense. Last week, it was talented defensive end Charles Omenihu who starred, posting two sacks and three tackles for a loss in a win over the Kansas State Wildcats.

 

So, what are my Keys to the Game?

 

For Oklahoma…

 

  1. Find different ways to get the ball to Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown - that’s probably the one guy that Texas doesn’t match up with really well. Cornerback Kris Boyd is a better matchup on Sooners receiver Cee Dee Lamb, so Brown is a bit of a wild card. Sterns may see Brown a few times, but the more unique ways that Brown can get the rock, the better for OU.

 

  1. Never quit on Ehlinger - Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger isn’t the best thrower, nor is he wildly accurate or productive through the air, but he will make a play and is tougher than a $2 steak. He will hold the ball longer than he should but that also makes him ultra-dangerous when he extends plays. The Sooners defense can’t get lazy once plays are extended thinking Ehlinger is tackled or bottled up.

 

For Texas…

  1. Surprise everyone with a downfield passing attack - Look, the Longhorns have one of the most talented pair of receivers in the Big 12 in Lil’ Jordan Humphrey and Collin Johnson, but they need more down the field targets. Last week, Ehlinger threw 36 times (completing 29) for only 207 yards. The two stars combined for nine catches but for only 91 yards. The Sooners secondary isn’t blessed with superstars so Ehlinger must push the ball downfield to his two NFL-bound stars.

 

  1. Pocket Murray better than Mobile Murray - Murray is far from the biggest player on the field but he’s magical with the way he can get out of the pocket and create. If Texas plans on taking home a W to Austin, it MUST force Murray to stay in the confines of the pocket. Spy on him. Rush only three. Play basketball on him, mirroring him, instead of truly rushing the pocket. Whatever the Longhorns must do to keep Murray from taking one step out of the pocket, they must execute every single pass play. Then, when he eventually leaves the pocket, make him pay. Be the most physical unit at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday.
Press Release

TICKETS FOR THE 2018 ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS TEXAS BOWL GO ON SALE THURSDAY, AUG. 23

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, August 23, 2018

HOUSTON – Tickets for the 2018 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl will go on sale to the general public today, Thursday, Aug. 23 at 10 a.m. CT.

This year’s game, showcasing teams from the Big 12 and SEC, will be played on Thursday, Dec. 27, at 8 p.m. CT at NRG Stadium in Houston and will be televised nationally on ESPN. The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl is one of 14 bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.

Ticket prices range from $37-150 and may be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com, on the phone at 832-667-2390 or in person at the NRG Stadium box office inside Bud Light Plaza. Special group packages are available by calling 832-667-2390. Fans can also call 832-667-2160 for more information on suites and premium hospitality.  To date, over 40,000 seats have already been sold for the 2018 game.

Last year’s Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl saw the Texas Longhorns defeat the Missouri Tigers 33-16. The 2017 game was among the top-five most-attended bowls in the country for the fourth consecutive year. The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl has ranked fourth in attendance since 2014, trailing only the Rose, Cotton and Peach Bowls in that time.

For more information, visit www.AcademyTexasBowl.com or follow on Twitter and Facebook.

ESPN Events
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 32 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; FCS opening-weekend game; 14 college bowl games, 12 college basketball events, a college softball event and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 300-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.

Collegiate Football
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (Houston); AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (Tampa, Fla.); Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Frisco Bowl (Texas); Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff (Montgomery, Ala.); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Atlanta); New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); The Home Depot College Football Awards (Atlanta)

Collegiate Basketball
AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Armed Forces Classic (Fort Bliss, Texas); Charleston Classic (South Carolina); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic Presented by Corona (South Bend, Ind.); Myrtle Beach Invitational (Conway, S.C.); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off; State Farm Champions Classic (Indianapolis) and Wooden Legacy (Fullerton, Calif.)

Collegiate Softball
Elite Softball Invitational (Clearwater, Fla.)

For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages.

Lone Star Sports & Entertainment
Lone Star Sports & Entertainment is an event management company founded in 2003 that is closely affiliated with the NFL’s Houston Texans. Since its founding, LSSE has established itself as the leading sports event promoter in Houston. In addition to the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl and the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff, LSSE has emerged as a premier promoter for international soccer matches, including the 2017 Manchester Derby, Copa America Centenario, the 2010 MLS All-Star Game featuring Manchester United, the 2006 FC Barcelona U.S. tour, 2003 and 2008 matches between the United States and Mexico, and the 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cups. LSSE has also reinvigorated the Battle of the Piney Woods presented by H-E-B rivalry between Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State and has promoted major concerts featuring country superstars including George Strait and Kenny Chesney.

CONTACT:
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl Contact: Allie LeClair, (832) 667-2050 or allie.leclair@houstontexans.com  

###

Press Release

ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS TEXAS BOWL GRIDIRON LEGENDS CLASS OF 2018 ANNOUNCED

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, August 6, 2018                                                                                 

HOUSTON – The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl Committee has selected the 2018 Class of Gridiron Legends, the committee announced today. The honorees will be introduced at the 2018 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff game on Sept. 1 and will be inducted into the Gridiron Legends at a special pregame ceremony during the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl game at NRG Stadium on Dec. 27.

The class of 2018 features University of Houston All-American Alois Blackwell, Super Bowl V champion and TCU legend Norm Bulaich, New England Patriots Hall of Fame member and three-time NFL All-Pro selection Raymond Clayborn, four-time Super Bowl Champion Gary Kubiak, Texas high school coaching legend Barton Massey and five-time NFL Pro Bowl and four-time NFL All-Pro honoree, Texas Tech alum Wes Welker.

The Gridiron Legends have each made a noteworthy contribution to the game of football in the state of Texas at the high school, collegiate or professional level. The 2018 class joins 71 other Gridiron Legends who have been inducted since the Bowl’s inception in 2006, including Texas greats Earl Campbell, Joe Greene, Andre Ware, Bum Phillips, Jim Nantz, John David Crow and Dave Campbell.

University of Houston All-American and Hall of Honor running back Alois Blackwell started his football career at Cuero High School in Cuero, Texas.  With a record setting career at Houston, he ranks ninth in career rushing yards with 2,467 and 10th for a single season with 1,169 yards. Blackwell earned the starting running back position his redshirt sophomore year when he registered 934 rushing yards, eight touchdowns and three consecutive 100-yard rushing games. Blackwell contributed to the team’s achievement of a Southwest Conference co-championship as well as a national ranking of fourth, the highest in school history. In the 1977 Cotton Bowl, he rushed for 149 yards and scored two touchdowns for the Cougars. Blackwell was named the 1977 Cotton Bowl’s Most Valuable Player after his performance in the 30-21 victory over the Maryland Terrapins. That year he was also honored with the Houston Sportswriter’s Player of the Year. In 1978, the All-American was drafted in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys where he played two seasons. He then returned to his alma mater and served as an academic counselor for the football team for six years as well as an assistant athletic director of marketing and promotions for one year. Blackwell continued his career as an athletic director for Texas Southern University from 2001 to 2008. During Blackwell’s time with the Tigers, the program won seven Southwestern Athletic Conference championships, including a men’s basketball title in 2003. He also contributed to the opening of the Academic Enhancement Center for Student-Athletes in 2005. Blackwell now serves as the Principal and Senior Consultant at Athletic Shift Consultings for the past ten years.

Former first round NFL draft pick and running back Norman “Norm” Bulaich is a Galveston native and attended La Marque High School in La Marque, Texas. His professional career spanned 10 years after an exceptionally successful career at Texas Christian University. The fullback played in 30 games during his time at TCU and ran for 1,045 total rushing yards on 214 attempts. During the 1968 season, Bulaich attained the 10th most rushing yards in the Southwest Conference history after a season total of 503 yards. His success at TCU led him to be drafted early in the 1970 NFL Draft. He was picked in the first round and 18th overall by the Baltimore Colts. In his first season in the NFL, Bulaich started all 12 games with the Colts and had 139 rushing attempts for 426 yards. To finish off the season for the rookie, the Colts defeated the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V. Bulaich was the second leading rusher in the game for the Colts with 28 yards on 18 carries. He was selected in 1971 Pro Bowl after a remarkable 152 rushing attempts for 741 yards, 25 receptions for 229 yards and 10 touchdowns during his second season. After his time with the Colts, Bulaich spent two seasons with the Eagles and then five seasons with the Dolphins. During his entire NFL career, Bulaich acquired 3,362 yards on 814 carries for 30 touchdowns. The recognition for his success continued in 2012 when Bulaich was ranked 100th in the Miami Dolphins All-Time Top 100 Players. He now lives in Hurst, Texas with his wife and family.

Three-time NFL All-Pro selection and New England Patriots Hall of Fame member, Raymond Clayborn, spent 15 seasons in the NFL. The Fort Worth Trimble Tech High School native featured as a running back and defensive back for the Bulldogs growing up. He then continued his football career at the University of Texas, where his success earned him an All-American cornerback selection. Clayborn came in as a wide receiver but was used as a running back for the Longhorns his first two seasons where he ran for 529 yards on 83 attempts. In 1976, he mainly played as a defensive back and had 35 punt returns for 335 yards and one touchdown, averaging 9.6 yards per return. Clayborn also had 10 kick returns for 156 yards, averaging 15.6 yards. These grand numbers are what earned the Longhorn the All-American accolade his senior season. In 1977, the Fort Worth native was drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft, 16th overall by New England. During his time with the Patriots, Clayborn played in all 16 games in nine of his 13 seasons and played in 14 in two other seasons. In his first three seasons, Clayborn returned 57 kicks for 1,538 yards, averaging 27.0 yards per run and returned three for touchdowns. The cornerback acquired 36 interceptions during his 13 seasons with the Patriots, which was the franchise record for many years until it was tied in 2004. From the 36 interceptions, the cornerback attained 555 yards, 85 yards being his longest run and scored one touchdown. During Clayborn’s 1983 season, he acquired more than 63 tackles, 10 assists and 25 pass deflections earning him his first Pro-Bowl selection. One of his most memorable games was the 1985 AFC Championship against Miami when he led the defense in shutting down the impressive Miami offense and snapped the Patriots 18-game losing streak down in Miami. This key win sent New England to the Super Bowl two weeks later, and this earned Clayborn his second Pro Bowl honor. His third Pro Bowl season in 1986 was due to his 41 tackles, seven assists, eight pass deflections and three interceptions. Last year, Clayborn was inducted into the New England Patriots Hall of Fame receiving 40 percent of the votes, the top vote-getter. He resides in Katy, Texas.

At St. Pius X High School in Houston, Texas, Gary Kubiak held the then state-record in passing yards with 6,190. Nicknamed “Koob”, the quarterback led the team to three consecutive state championships. His accomplishments, not only as a quarterback but as an athlete, named him to the all-state football, basketball, baseball and track teams twice. The 1978 St. Pius X High School graduate’s success continued to be recognized over 20 years later when he was inducted into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame in 1999. The Houston native did not travel far as he attended Texas A&M to continue his academics and football career. During his time as an Aggie, Kubiak completed 314 passes on 595 attempts for 4,078 yards and 31 touchdowns. In 1982, the quarterback was named first-team all-conference and led the Southwest Conference in passing yards (1,948) and touchdown passes (19). Kubiak was also given the Aggie Heart Award, which is based not only on production but the courage and determination the athlete possesses. After his impressive career as an Aggie, the quarterback was drafted in the eighth round of the 1983 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. Kubiak played for the Broncos for nine seasons where he completed 173 passes on 298 attempts for 1,920 yards. The quarterback threw 14 touchdowns and rushed for two himself. As Kubiak’s family continued to grow, the NFL quarterback retired and began coaching. His coaching career started at his alma mater where he served as A&M’s running backs coach during the 1992 and ’93 seasons. He then continued to the San Francisco 49ers as a quarterbacks coach where he connected with Steve Young and helped coach him to an MVP season. The 49ers continued to the Super Bowl and beat the San Diego Chargers, 49-26. After his successful season with the 49ers, the Broncos hired Kubiak as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, where he would be working with former teammate, John Elway. The reunion between the once back-up quarterback and current quarterback became quite the duo, and the Broncos went on to win a pair of Super Bowl titles in 1997 and ’98. Kubiak spent 11 seasons with the Broncos before becoming the head coach of the Texans after the 2005 season. He led the newly founded team to back-to-back AFC South titles in 2011 and ’12. Kubiak spent time with the Baltimore Ravens as an offensive coordinator in 2014, then returned to the Broncos where he contributed to a 12-4 season, AFC West title and his fourth Super Bowl victory. In 2017, Kubiak stepped away from coaching and currently serves as a senior personnel adviser for the Broncos.

Greater Houston High School Coaches Association honoree Barton Massey had a successful career in multiple sports as a player as well as a coach.  Massey received All-District, All-Regional, All-State and Parade All-American accolades during his football career at Austin Bowie High School, where he played in two bowl games, the Greenbelt Bowl and the Oil Bowl. The star football player was also an All-District and First-Team All-State basketball player all while participating in baseball and track. Massey continued his football career at Texas Tech and was a four-year starter for the Red Raiders. During his collegiate career, the All-American Center played in the 1952 Sun Bowl, where he contributed to the team’s victory against College of Pacific. Then in 1954, Massey helped lead the team to success in the Gator Bowl against Auburn University. During the seasons the Red Raiders did not qualify for a bowl game, Massey played on the basketball team. He even played in the 1956 NCAA basketball tournament in Kansas City. In 1956, Massey’s senior year, the center was named to the Honorable Mention All-American list and was later drafted by the Green Bay Packers. After his athletic career ended, Massey remained involved within the sports world. The Texas Tech alumni helped coach the Red Raider’s football team for one year, then returned home and was the assistant football and basketball coach as well as the head baseball coach at Bowie High School from 1958 to 1959. Massey was promoted to head football coach from 1960-1964. Continuing his coaching career, he spent time at Bryan High School as a football and baseball coach, as well as Aldine High School where he coached football. After many years of coaching, Massey became the Director of the Texas High School Coaches Association from 1973 to 1975. The former Red Raider was named a Texas Tech 50-Yard Line Hall of Honor member and was elected to the Greater Houston Football Coaches Association Ronnie Bell Hall of Honor in 2008. Massey spent time as the Executive Principal at Conroe High School and retired in 1996. He later retired as a Consultant to Conroe Independent School District in 2002. Massey currently resides in Panorama Village, Texas.

Texas Tech Alum Wes Welker may not have started in Texas, but he has returned as the Houston Texans current Offensive Assistant Coach. The Oklahoma City native had an impressive career as a quintuple threat at Heritage Hall high school. As a rusher, receiver, kick returner and kicker, the athlete had notable numbers in every category. He accumulated 3,235 rushing yards for 53 touchdowns, 174 receptions for 2,551 yards and 27 touchdowns, returned seven kicks for touchdowns, made 35 field goals, including a 57-yarder, and 165 extra points; totaling 818 points in four years. On defense, Welker totaled 581 tackles, 22 interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns. Welker’s success continued during his time at Texas Tech. The wide receiver totaled 259 receptions for 3,069 yards and 21 touchdowns. Welker also ran the ball 79 carries for 559 yards and two touchdowns. He started nearly every game as a Red Raider, left as a leading receiver in school history, was named first-team All-Big 12 in 2002 and ‘03 and was one of the top punt returners in NCAA history. In 2003, he was recognized for his talent and was honored with the Mosi Tatupu Award as the College Football Special Teams Player of the Year. Welker was signed by the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2004. In Welker’s debut as a Charger, he had four kick returns for 102 yards, all more than 20 yards. Between kick and punt returns, Welker had a combined 447 returns for 6,722 yards and one touchdown. His stats were incredible on special teams, and he also broke records as a receiver. In 2007, Welker’s first season with the Patriots, the receiver caught 112 receptions for 1,175 yards and eight touchdowns. After six seasons in New England, Welker holds the second all-time receiving record for the Patriots, having been targeted 926 times with 672 receptions. He totaled 7,459 yards and 37 touchdowns and holds the fourth highest single-season reception totals in Patriots’ history. His NFL career continued when he signed with the Broncos in 2013. During his debut, Welker posted nine receptions for 67 yards and two touchdowns. In 2013, Welker caught a touchdown pass in eight of the first 10 games of the season. In week 7 in 2014 with the Broncos, Welker passed Rod Smith for the most receptions by an undrafted player in NFL history. He also caught Peyton Manning’s 508th career touchdown pass, which tied Brett Farve for the most all-time. During his 12 seasons in the NFL, Welker had three Super Bowl appearances, five consecutive NFL Pro Bowl honors and four NFL All-Pro honors. He finished with 903 receptions for 9,924 yards and 50 touchdowns.

The 2018 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl will feature teams from the Big 12 and SEC and will kick off at 8 p.m. CT on Thursday, Dec. 27. The game, which has ranked fourth in bowl game attendance in the country behind only the Rose, Cotton and Peach Bowls since 2014, will air nationally on ESPN and ESPN Radio with a local radio broadcast on SportsRadio 610 (KILT-AM).

Tickets remain for the 2018 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff game featuring the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Ole Miss Rebels and can be purchased through the website at http://www.advocaretexaskickoff.com/tickets/.

CONTACTS:
Allie LeClair
(832) 667-2050
allie.leclair@houstontexans.com  

Stephanie Ramsey 

(832) 667-2035

stephanie.ramsey@houstontexans.com 

Press Release

13TH ANNUAL ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS TEXAS BOWL SET FOR PRIME TIME ON DECEMBER 27

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 2, 2018

HOUSTON – The 2018 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl will be played on Thursday, Dec. 27, at 8 p.m. CT from NRG Stadium in Houston. The game will air on ESPN and ESPN Radio, with a local radio broadcast on SportsRadio 610 (KILT-AM).  The 13th edition of the event will once again feature a matchup of Big 12 and SEC schools as it has since 2014.

The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl is the fourth most attended Bowl game in the country and most attended non-New Year’s Six game since 2014, trailing only the Rose, Cotton and Peach Bowls.  The Texas Bowl and its sister event, the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff, have grown to become two of the most popular annual college football games in the country, combining to create an economic impact of close to $100 million annually for the city of Houston while raising nearly $1.4 million in financial support and millions more in promotional support to DePelchin Children’s Center, Houston’s oldest children’s charity and the bowl’s official charitable beneficiary.

In the first year with new title sponsor Academy Spots + Outdoors in 2017, the Texas Bowl featured the Texas Longhorns and the Missouri Tigers, the fourth year of the bowl’s affiliation with the Big 12 and the SEC. En route to beating the Tigers 33-16, the Longhorns tied an Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl record by scoring 14 points in the first quarter of the matchup.

The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl is one of 14 bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, and managed locally by Lone Star Sports & Entertainment.  For more on the event including ticket information, visit http://www.academytexasbowl.com/.

About the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events, a subsidiary of ESPN, and managed locally by Lone Star Sports & Entertainment. The Texas Bowl showcases teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, two of the country’s premier conferences. The Texas Bowl has been a tremendous success both on and off the field over its first 12 years as it is the fourth most-attended bowl in the country since 2014. The bowl generates nearly $50 million annually for the Houston economy and has donated nearly $1.4 million in financial support and millions more in promotional support to DePelchin Children’s Center, the bowl’s official charitable beneficiary.

ESPN Events
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 31 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; FCS opening-weekend game; 14 college bowl games, 12 college basketball events and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 300-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.

Collegiate Football
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (Houston); AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (St. Petersburg, Fla.); Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Frisco Bowl (Texas); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff (Montgomery, Ala.); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Atlanta); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); The Home Depot College Football Awards Presented by Gildan (Atlanta) and Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth)

Collegiate Basketball

AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Armed Forces Classic (Fort Bliss, Texas); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s  Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic presented by Corona (TBD); Myrtle Beach Invitational (Conway, S.C.); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off; State Farm Champions Classic (Indianapolis) and Wooden Legacy (Fullerton, Calif.)

For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages.

-LONE STAR SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT-

Press Release

LOCAL FOOTBALL COMMUNITY TAKES A STAND WITH DEPELCHIN AGAINST CHILD ABUSE IN HARRIS COUNTY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

What:
Coach Major Applewhite with University of Houston football team players and Coach Mike Bloomgren with Rice University football team players, along with the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl Board of Directors, will join DePelchin Children’s Center Monday morning to tie blue ribbons for the 6,551 victims of child abuse in Harris County in 2017.

According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, there were 6,551 confirmed victims of child abuse or neglect in Harris County last year. DePelchin has set a goal of tying 6,551 blue ribbons to its fence line, with help from the community, throughout the month of April. This event will mark the final blue ribbons being tied to reach the goal.

When:
Monday, April 30, 2018
10am

Where:
DePelchin Children’s Center
100 Sandman, Houston TX 77007

Visual:

  • Coach Major Applewhite with University of Houston football team players; Coach Mike Bloomgren with Rice University football team players along with the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl Board of Directors tying blue ribbons to give a voice to children of Harris County impacted by child abuse and raise awareness to this issue
  • Check presentation to DePelchin as the charitable beneficiary of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl for the 2017 donation
  • Remarks by DePelchin President and CEO, Jenifer Jarriel
  • Remarks by Texas Bowl Executive Director, David Fletcher
  • Experts available to speak on the topic of child abuse

Contact: Analisa Warren cell: 713-306-5651; awarren@depelchin.org 

About DePelchin Children’s Center:
DePelchin Children’s Center believes that every child deserves to be safe and healthy. An accredited foster care and adoption agency, DePelchin serves the most vulnerable children and families in Texas and works to break the cycles of abuse and neglect. Our approach to caring for children integrates prevention, foster care, adoption and post-adoption programs to improve the mental health and physical well-being of children who are at risk of entering or are in the State’s child welfare system. Founded in 1892, DePelchin is a nonprofit organization with locations throughout Houston and across Texas and gratefully receives support from individuals, foundations, corporations, government grants and the United Way.

About the Texas Bowl:
The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events and managed locally by Lone Star Sports & Entertainment. The Bowl will showcase teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, two of the country’s premier conferences, for the next two years. The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl has been a tremendous success both on and off the field over the years. The game has ranked fourth in attendance since 2014 behind only the Rose, Cotton and Peach Bowls in that time. In terms of its community impact, the bowl has generated an average of $50 million annually for the Houston economy and through its relationship with DePelchin Children’s Center, its official charitable beneficiary, nearly $1.4 million in financial support has been donated to the city’s oldest children’s charity.

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Press Release

ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS TEXAS BOWL SETS NEW SINGLE-YEAR DONATION RECORD TO DEPELCHIN CHILDRENS CENTER

ELECTS JUNE DEADRICK CHAIR OF ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS TEXAS BOWL BOARD

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018

HOUSTON – The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl presented a check for $185,000 to DePelchin Children’s Center today, breaking last year’s single-year donation record and pushing the overall financial contribution to nearly $1.4 million since the game’s inception. The donation came from the proceeds of the 2017 edition of the game.

The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl presented the record donation to Jenifer Jarriel, the President and CEO of the DePelchin Children’s Center. The gift was the largest in Bowl history and marked the seventh time that the Bowl contributed $100,000 or more to DePelchin. Donations have previously exceeded $100,000 in 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

“On behalf of DePelchin, we are extremely appreciative for all that the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl has been able to give to our organization, including this incredible record-breaking $185,000 donation,” DePelchin President and CEO Jenifer Jarriel said. “Our relationship with the Bowl not only provides financial support that is important for sustaining our services, but also memorable experiences for our children and families.”

Helping to continue to foster this relationship with DePelchin will be June Deadrick, the new chair of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl Board. Deadrick currently serves as the Director of State & Federal Relations (Government Affairs) for CenterPoint Energy.

“I am extremely grateful of this honor to serve as the chair of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl Board. Previously having served as a member of the board, through this new position, I am honored to continue the great work we have done in the community, specifically with our partner, DePelchin Children’s Center,” Deadrick said. “As someone who has long had roots in Houston, I look forward to promoting this game in order to present the city as the exciting college football destination it is while also giving back to the great City of Houston.”

Before assuming her current post, she served as Senior Specialist with Reliant Energy’s Government Affairs Division and Manager of Government Affairs for CenterPoint Energy. Prior to her tenure with Reliant Energy, Deadrick was involved in local and state government as the constituent services director for Houston City Councilmen Chris Bell and Judson Robinson, III and as the Chief of Staff for Texas State Representative Fred M. Bosse.

“June has an incredible amount of experience in several professional areas as well as a great deal of involvement in the community, and this combination along with her passion for college football makes her an excellent choice for the board chair as we continue to grow this game’s positive impact on Houston,” said David Fletcher, Executive Director of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl. “We are grateful to exiting chair Don Faust, Jr. for his service and contributions to the Bowl and its partners, and we look forward to further developing our ties to the Houston community.”

Deadrick serves as a volunteer and board member for several nonprofit organizations, including Miller Outdoor Theatre Advisory Board, Theater Under the Stars (TUTS), Houston Grand Opera, Texas Exes Public Affairs Committee, Stadium Park TIRZ, The Bryan Museum, Houston Harris County Sports Authority Foundation, Herman Park Conservancy, UT Health Development Committee, Longhorn Foundation, Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Engagement and the Texas Exes Black Alumni Steering Committee. A sustaining member of the Junior League of Houston, she is a member of the Texas Spring Cypress Chapter of Links, Inc., a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and a Life Member of the Texas Exes Association. In 2017, Deadrick was chosen from a pool of nationwide applicants to participate as a member of the Leadership America Class of 2018, the premier Leadership Development organization for corporate women throughout the United States.

“We are delighted to present DePelchin Children’s Center with another record-setting, largest single-year donation since the Bowl’s alignment with this incredible charity in 2006,” newly elected Chair of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl June Deadrick said. “On behalf of our volunteers, staff and board members, we are honored to have the ability to consistently provide a significant financial contribution to this organization every year through the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl as the relationship between the Bowl and DePelchin is one we value immensely.”

DePelchin Children’s Center was named as the Bowl’s official charitable beneficiary in 2006. Founded in 1892 by Kezia Payne DePelchin, DePelchin Children’s Center is an accredited foster care and adoption agency serving the most vulnerable children and families in Texas and working to break the cycles of abuse and neglect. DePelchin’s approach to caring for kids integrates at-risk prevention, foster care, adoption and post-adoption programs to improve the mental health and physical well-being of children who are at risk of entering or are in the State’s child welfare system.

The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl and the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff have grown to become two of the most popular annual college football games in the country and have combined to create an economic impact of close to $100 million annually for the City of Houston. The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl is the fourth most attended Bowl game in the country since 2014, trailing only the Rose, Cotton and Peach Bowls.

The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events a subsidiary of ESPN, and managed locally by Lone Star Sports & Entertainment.

CONTACT:
Allie LeClair, (832) 667-2050

About the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl

The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events and managed locally by Lone Star Sports & Entertainment. The Bowl will showcase teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, two of the country’s premier conferences, for the next two years. The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl has been a tremendous success both on and off the field over the years. The game has ranked fourth in attendance since 2014 behind only the Rose, Cotton and Peach Bowls in that time. In terms of its community impact, the bowl has generated an average of $50 million annually for the Houston economy and through its relationship with DePelchin Children’s Center, its official charitable beneficiary, nearly $1.4 million in financial support has been donated to the city’s oldest children’s charity.

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Press Release

2018 SUPER BOWL VOLUNTEER EVENT WITH REBUILDING TOGETHER HOUSTON

Rebuilding Harvey Damaged Homes

On Friday, more than 150 volunteers, community members, and former NFL football players will show-up in work boots ready to rebuild Harvey damaged homes in the historic Independence Heights neighborhood as part of the NFL Sanctioned Super Bowl Event called Kickoff to Rebuild 2018. This is the twenty-third year of partnership between the NFL and Rebuilding Together and the first time a Rebuilding Together affiliate has hosted a Super Bowl Legacy Event. The 2017 Kickoff To Rebuild event in Houston repaired 17 homes in the Independence Heights neighborhood. As of January 1, 2018, Rebuilding Together Houston has been working in 27 homes impacted by Hurricane Harvey throughout the Independence Heights community. Construction projects include siding replacement and repair, scarping and painting, and critical repairs to the interior of the homes. As well, Rebuilding Together Houston and Baker Ripley staff will be onsite to help other Independence Heights homeowners apply for services.  Established in 1905, Independence Heights was the first African American municipality in Texas.

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl Gridiron Legends scheduled to participate: Dan Pastorini, Don Trull, Dave Elmendorf, Alois Blackwell, Johnny Roland, Shea Walker and Gerald McNeil

Lunchtime Tailgate Row restaurants scheduled to participate: Bernie’s Burger Bus, Harold’s Restaurant and Tap Room, Antone’s Po’boys, Hartz Krispy Chicken, Dish Society, BB’s Café, We Olive, Rita’s Italian Ice and Frozen Custard and Alice Blues.

WHEN: Friday, February 2, 2018

8:30 a.m. – Volunteer check-in and project rally
12:30 p.m. – Tailgate Row volunteer and resident lunch
1:15 pm – Kickoff to Rebuild recognition ceremony
3:00 p.m. – End of day

WHERE:
Meeting Location:
7402 N Main Street, Houston, TX 77022
*Parking available at numerous surrounding parking lots and the surrounding streets

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Rebuilding Together Houston
Julie Mintzer / jmintzer@rebuildinghouston.org / cell: (314) 368-7977

Strike Marketing
Joe Pogge / joe@strikemg.com / cell: (281) 384-6465

Press Release

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

TEXAS LONGHORNS 33
MISSOURI TIGERS 16
Paid Attendance: 67,820

 

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)

Opening Statement

“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)

Opening Statement

“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.”

END