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Sure enough, before we blinked the first home game tailgate started and ended. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the work-up to the Kansas State game at the ‘Dome. Without a doubt I have to say that the Kool-Aid was being downed this past week as fast as the pudding shots at @TailgateSA on Saturday. After the great showing at Arizona: defensive stops; O-line controlling Arizona’s rush and giving @BlakeBogie plenty of time to work his magic; @DMORG_82 just running over Arizona’s secondary. It it weren’t for a couple of turnovers and penalties, we could have walked out of there with a marque win.
Watch out Kansas State! UTSA is here and ready to take you down. This is our time. This is our field. This is our town. This is…… well.. OK, I too drank the Kool-Aid. A bit spiked no less. But leave it to say that from a fan perspective, we were all optimistic. Maybe cautiously optimistic but we felt like we had a legitimate chance to win this one.
As the week progressed, the planning was in full force. This game was an early game for TV. 11AM. Since we are using a city/county run stadium, we are not allowed to do any overnight tailgating around the facility. (As Jackie Gleason made famous on The Honeymooners, “One of these days, Alice!”) So the gates to the lots would open at 7AM. The day before, Linda and I were getting our stuff together and packing the car. This would be a “light” tailgate since it would be so short. So only a couple of tents, table, chairs, the boys and breakfast food.
We arrived at the lot around 7:15 and started setting up. By 8:00 we were done and relaxing. This year we have moved into the RV lot with a reserved space. This is great in that we no longer have to fight with the opening gate rush and not know what spot we will have until we get there. We didn’t use our space very wisely from a setup/layout standpoint. But that wasn’t our plan. Being such a short tailgate we decided to keep it simple and then come up with a layout for the Colorado State game (can you say 9-hour tailgate).
Even though it was short, we had a good time with our UTSA friends. John, Pete, Cal & Connor were there when we got there with the spaces next to us. They were starting to light up their grills and cooking breakfast. Just next to us we had a couple of the fraternities. This made for a pretty large crowd as we approached game time with all of the students milling about. I did take a few minutes and made the trek over to @TailgateSA to check out their setup and say my welcomes. While there I managed to get in on the UT…SA chant that made the Fox Sports 1 intro to the game.
But just two hours after we were set-up, we started to tear it all down and go into the game. Two hours is just too short to do much in the way of entertaining or socializing with people you have not seen in nine months. But I managed to have a few mimosas, breakfast tacos and casserole before it was done. So on to the game.
One thing that my life has taught me is that nothing is a sure thing. And when it comes to sports, this is especially true. So on this Saturday morning, we were all pumped up and ready to see an impressive scoring contest. Expecting UTSA to come on top. But that was not to be. Coach Snyder is too good of a coach to just let us walk in and run over them. After an initial bloody nose (and a few implosions with penalties), Snyder made the adjustments and we were not able to counter. For 30 minutes we battled well. But the game is not over at the half. And the second half was all Kansas State.
Blame the hype. Blame Arizona not playing their best defensive game. Blame Kansas State for not taking us for granted. Blame our OC. Blame the fans for being too noisy at the wrong time. Whatever. Bottom line is that at the end of the day we were not victorious.
This could be a good thing. Sometimes I think that the worse thing we can do is lose a close one to a P5 team and then be proud of the lose since we ‘almost’ won. Maybe we need to be knocked back into reality that until we win we don’t win. As Coach Coker says “there are no moral victories.” And yet I found myself leaving the stadium trying to find one somewhere. David Morgan (@DMORG_82) was definitely one. His first-down catch has to be seen to be believed as he carried a defender over 5 yards on his back. We also avoided turnovers. But we may have gotten too conservative in an effort to avoid the turnovers.
So the day ended. There were a lot of people back in the lots tailgating, drinking and just enjoying the weather. But we would not join them today. As I drove home I continued to look for that gem in the rough. And now, a few days later, I think that gem may be a dose of reality. We need to get kicked down sometimes so we can improve. We were not supposed to win this game and we didn’t. That is not all bad. We got out without major injuries. We played against a very good defense and hopefully our young team has gained some good experience and will take that with them into conference play.
Now on to Oklahoma St. Linda and I will not be making the trip to Stillwater this year but we will be with one of the watch groups at a local bar or pub watching, cheering and enjoying the company of other UTSA fans. Meanwhile, we are planning for our big tailgate reveal at the Colorado State game. More to come on this as we get closer.
So we start 0-2. Not all that unexpected. We are starting the year playing three P5 teams, with two of them in the top-25 (22 Arizona and 25 OkSt). In retrospect, I should not have drunk all of the Kool-Aid. But as a fan, that is what we do sometimes. We support the team. We support the school. And we support each other as we go through another roller-coaster ride through the non-conference schedule and head into conference play.