Ahead of the Christmas holiday, University of Texas sports programs got a mixed bag. The young Horns got a candy cane-sweet victory out at the Farm. However, the Lady Horns' wishes weren't granted, ending the season with a heart-wrenching loss. Also, who's coming to Austin in 2016?
Taking the Farm
The Longhorns traveled out to Stanford, and gutted out their second-biggest win of the season thus far, 75-73. A primed Isaiah Taylor – scoring 26 in front of family and friends, from his nearby hometown of Hayward, Calif. – Heimlich-maneuvered the choking Horns out of trouble, clinching with a game-winning floater. Smart implemented a little more of the Havoc principles, turning up the heat on the short-handed Cardinals. However, instead of closing out aggressively, they let up off the gas, allowing Stanford to roar back from a double-digit deficit. It was their sixth straight win, and first road win on American turf.
Nebraska Upsets Lady Horns
The Nebraska Cornhuskers (32-4) swept the Longhorns (30-3) in Omaha, to win their fourth national championship – their first since 2006. In control from the start, the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, dynamic freshman Mikaela Foecke, led the Huskers with 31 kills. It was a bitter end for Texas' senior class – including Kat Brooks, Molly McCage, and Amy Neal. Nonetheless, playing your way in four consecutive Final Fours – winning a title in 2012 – creates lasting memories.
New Blood for 2016
Aside from Charlie Strong's continual and not-so-subtle professional-grade emasculation by Texas higher-ups and boosters this offseason, the other ongoing story is the recruiting possibilities. Ultimately, eight wins – and nothing less – will keep Strong in a job. That said, he’s starting to run downhill with recruiting, which will be helped by the installation of new OC Sterlin Gilbert's offense.
Texas needs to continue beefing up in the trenches, and has some strong prospects they hope to capture in December. Word is Copperas Cove OT and current Baylor commit J.P. Urquidez is weighing his options. Texas and Texas A&M are in the lead for North Mesquite OT Jean Delance. Austin is also on the radar of dominating St. Augustine (New Orleans) DT D'Andre Christmas-Giles.