"The sound of gunfire, off in the distance; I'm getting used to it now..." - Talking Heads
Little can prepare a person for the heat, humidity, and general unease that greet you once you get off the plane in Houston, Texas. The air mugs you and strangles the life out of you even in air-conditioned autos. Hydration becomes a race against time, before all the sweat runs out of you like a sieve. Even if you are able to catch up with the replenishment of bodily fluids, as soon as you leave the airport, the white-knuckle driving on the 610 Loop will drain most of the water right back out of your armpits. Plus, if you're unfortunate enough to have reserved a hotel room on the wrong side of town, the scary-looking cholos with spray starched Dickie's and blue bandanas hanging in their back pockets will drain out the rest of your sweat and, if you are really unlucky, the blood from your neck too. For a great American city, Houston, Tejas is a harsh place. All the same, this city was where the Oklahoma State Cowboys winningly kicked off their 2013 season. And true to the nature of the city of Houston, for anyone attending, the OSU-Mississippi State game was draining on the body and the soul.
"Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair...".- Percy Bysshe Shelley
The gleaming newness of Reliant Stadium, the site of the "Advocare Texas Kickoff Classic", sits 100 yards away from the Houston Astrodome, that great Ozymandias of sports stadiums. The Astrodome is a total eyesore and could use, like, seven coats of paint. Actually, what it really could use is a wrecking ball to put it out of it's lonely, useless, misery. A vote in November will determine the Astrodome's future, either a $217 million dollar renovation, or said wrecking ball. Smart Houstonians have their money riding on the latter. Reliant, by contrast, is modern, comfortable, has a concession every four feet, and is immensely navigable.
"Guess what? I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell!" - Rock legend Bruce Dickinson
Once inside, it was clear that OSU fans outnumbered MSU fans two to one, but MSU's cowbell factor made up any deficit. Cowbells of every shape and size. Children with baby cowbells, old marooned ladies with bedazzled cowbells, mammoth Mississippians with bloated brass bass bells. And they knew how to use them. Every third down for the Cowboys was a symphony of clanging that refused to cease. Cowboy fans, in the nosebleeds at least, were less enthusiastic, and for the first half it looked like the difference in crowd intensity might be a contributing factor. Sure enough, MSU marched right down the field with the first possession with relative ease and scored a field goal without much vocal objection from the OSU fans. However, the OSU defense after that score was as SEC worthy as it has ever looked, and that first field goal would be the only points scored by MSU the entire game.
2 series lol @CoachGundy your (sic) a chickenshit -Twitter account of Colton Chelf, former Cowboy receiver and older brother of OSU QB Clint Chelf
The first half was a struggle. Although he had touches of brilliance last season, Clint Chelf did not look like the man for the job in his two series attempts in this game. At one point, Chelf threw an incomplete, wounded-duck dump off to Jeremy Smith that really wasn't even close. In an act that looked like he was frustrated that Smith hadn't caught his stink ball, the next play Chelf throws the same dump off pass to Charlie Moore, but this time puts as much mustard as his arm would allow. The pass was thrown so hard you could hear the reverberation off of Moore's hands. Although he caught it, Moore seemed so stunned by this laser of a pass that he was unable to get more than a yard after the catch. Chelf just looked panicked and hurried for the short time he was in the game. Much to the relief of most of the OSU fans around me, this would be the last completed pass Chelf would get a chance to throw in the game as J.W. Walsh was brought in and used his legs to gain 125 yards on the ground. After the game, I was alerted to the twitter account of Chelf's older brother, former OSU receiver Colton Chelf, and the above tweet that was subsequently deleted. Colton may have been sticking up for family, but there are classier ways to do it. Calling his former coach a chickenshit could not have been more petulant and immature. Also Colton, it's: "you're".
"There was a miscommunication with the replay booth. The previous play is reversed." - The stupidest bullshit I've ever heard from a referee crew that wasn't calling a football game between 4th graders at the YMCA
Then there was this madness. How hard is it to listen to, and then comprehend if the touchdown is either: A) a legitimate touchdown, or B) not a touchdown? Once a review is announced over the loudspeakers by a ref, right delivery or wrong, that play should stand. No backing out. On further inspection, the play was not a touchdown as the feet were never planted in-bounds, but as the play was called a TD twice to the crowd, even MSU fans were shocked at this gaffe. Then the Cowboys marched down the twenty yards and scored the TD anyway.
"We move through the stars in Astro cars" - Radiohead
All things considered, especially the bumpy performance from the offense the first half, OSU acquitted themselves well. The defense proved it could not only be SEC worthy, but SEC dominant as well. The offensive play calling was too conservative for the crowd, but hey, we won despite an absence of spectacular bombing throws. Playing a high quality opponent the first game of the year is a challenge that is not the same as suiting up for Savannah State. Our offense did not really look like a top fifteen team at any point, but our defense sure did. Moving through Houston on the city's cramped, hot, transit line with a mass of the sea of orange being dispersed throughout the metro area, I couldn't help but think that this harsh city had been the best place for such a frustrating, yet victorious, start to the season.