5 things we’re loving about Longhorns Football right now

Sizzlin' Sam Ehlinger and the red-hot Horns enjoyed earning back the Golden Hat with the win over Oklahoma (Photo by Don Bender/Horns Illustrated).

With the win over Oklahoma, a five-game win streak, and the Longhorns returning to the Top 10 in the AP polls, there’s a lot to enjoy in Longhorn Nation as the Longhorns prepare to host Baylor this Saturday.

Here are five things we’re loving about the Horns right now (in no particular order):

1. Team captain Breckyn Hager making prophecies and backing them up.

From Texas Fight rally leading up to the Red River Showdown —

In the post game Hager had some sage wisdom.

And the “young prophet” has a message for the Baylor game too...

2. Belly Rubs

Senior defensive lineman Chris Nelson debuted his signature belly rub celebration after a sack against USC.

He broke it out again against TCU, but defensive coordinator Todd Orlando asked him to keep the celebration on the sidelines, out of respect for the game and to avoid a penalty.

Here's KVUE Austin's short piece on Nelson's belly rub.

But fortunately with the win over Oklahoma we all got to see the Golden Hat Belly Rub.

Here’s to seeing many more belly rubs in the not too distant future.

3. Dicker. The. Kicker! - #dickerthekicker -

If you just jumped on the Horns bandwagon you may not remember Texas’ recent history with great kickers and their ability to hit the game-winner at the most crucial moments.

Over the years many great Texas game-winning kicks have occurred. Mention the names Bailey, Mangum, Ward, Erxleben or Dawson and fond memories will likely drift between your ears. Personally, I have a solid memory of Khris Stockton kicking a game-winner against Oklahoma State in 1998. As a young impressionable middle schooler at one of my first games at DKR Memorial, the magnitude and drama of witnessing a game-winning field goal remains firmly etched in my mind.

A couple of other recent game winners stand out:

In 2009 Hunter Lawrence sealed the deal on the Big 12 championship and sent Texas to the National Championship game vs. Alabama in Pasadena.

No orangeblood can forget when another local Austin kid, Justin Tucker, finished off the Aggies for the last time at their home dungeon.

2023 Texas Longhorns Football Season Tickets

On Saturday, a local kid from Lake Travis named Cameron Dicker wrote his name into Longhorn lore with this 40 yard shot down the middle of the uprights to seal the 48-45 win over Oklahoma.

Gus Johnson on the call.

And from another angle, with Craig Way on the call...

When Dicker looked into the Fox camera, gave a grin and an eyebrow raise it reminded me of Squints in The Sandlot preparing to earn his kiss from Wendy Peffercorn the hard way.

Something Tells me Dicker had that planned for awhile. You’ve got to love the confidence, and I don’t think we have seen that kind of confidence from a kicker since the Tucker days, and from a freshman no less.

4. Ehlinger Power Run 

When it comes to getting to the end zone in short yardage situations the Longhorns have found a formula and it works. With the main option as give the ball to Sam Ehlinger and let him push it in.

5. Culture Plays 

Facing 3rd-and-21 at Oklahoma's 46-yard line early in the third quarter, the Longhorns threw a screen pass to Lil’Jordan Humphrey expecting to pick up five-to-seven yards to set up a field position punt. Instead, Humphrey caught the ball and with the help of a push from his teammates end up with 19-yard reception to force fourth-and-two which Texas converted. This led to Texas scoring on the drive and going up 31-17 on the Sooners. lil'jordan humphrey oklahoma screen

After the game, head coach Tom Herman said that the coaches immediately recognized the play as a “culture play” for the team and mentioned it to each other on the headsets.

"That to me was the play of the game," Texas coach Tom Herman said. "The play of the game."

Humphrey explained his mindset.

Lil'Jordan Humphrey ran around and away from Oklahoma defenders in Texas' win (Photo by Don Bender/Horns Illustrated).

"I take a lot of pride in (yards after catch)," Humphrey said. "I feel like it just shows you how tough you can be. I just got vertical and just dropped my pads and my teammates were helping me."

And Herman thanked him for a job well done.

"Thank you, LJ, for showing everybody what our culture is about," Herman said. "It was big."

Watching the Longhorns this year you can tell that whether it’s a run or a catch the players are trying to get as many yards after contact as possible. Wide receiver Colin Johnson summed up the team’s mentality.

“It’s a culture. That’s literally what we do,” Johnson said. “Smash-mouth football, that’s all we know. Just hitting and going out there and playing football the way it’s supposed to be played. That play was the epitome of that.”

James Schleicher

James Schleicher is the publisher of Horns Illustrated magazine. He's also a fifth generation Texan and lifelong Austinite. Follow @HornsIllus twitter to keep up with all things Horns Illustrated.

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