Horns look to continue road success in front of loud Provo crowd

Peter Sblendorio

With a maximum capacity of nearly 101,000 people, Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium is the sixth-largest venue in college football.

This figures to give the Longhorns a considerable advantage every time they take the field in Austin, but over the past three years, Texas has fared far better in front of their opponent’s fans.

In the last three seasons, Texas compiled a 9-4 record in opposing stadiums while going a pedestrian 10-9 at home. The Longhorns face their first opportunity of 2013 to continue their road success this Saturday, when they travel to Provo, Utah to take on BYU.

Many of the players believe playing away from home goes a long way in unifying the team. This list includes junior quarterback David Ash, who led Texas to a 66-31 blowout of Ole Miss in Oxford and a come-from-behind 41-36 victory over Oklahoma State in Stillwater the following weekend.

“The road games are always cool because it’s you against the world,” junior quarterback David Ash said. “Just you and your teammates with a common goal.  You have to come together because there are a lot of things that are against you.  It will be cool to see how we come together.”

The Longhorns played particularly well on the road last season, when they won their first four games in opposing venues before dropping the regular season finale at Kansas State. Much of this success can be attributed to Texas’ roster being full of players that legitimately enjoy road affairs.

“I love going on the road,” junior defensive back Quandre Diggs said. “You get something different each and every weekend when you go on the road and go to another team’s stadium. It’s going to be a great atmosphere on Saturday, and I’ve been looking forward to it for a while.”

Another reason for the Longhorns’ confidence in road games is due to their experience. The Longhorns return 19 starters from the 2012 team, and head coach Mack Brown believes this experience makes the trip to Provo easier to prepare for.

“It’s so much better,” Brown said.  “I always enjoy the road.  The adversity is tougher.  The crowd is against you.  I just think it pulls your team together more when you’re traveling.  This team is experienced.  We’re going to be fine, just take care of the ball.  Last year, two years ago, it would have been very much different.”

While the Longhorns relish lining up in front of their home crowd, senior guard Trey Hopkins believes that the energy from the opposing crowds can be used as inspiration.

“It’s that underdog mentality,” Hopkins said. “It just kind of makes you a little bit more anxious to prove yourself when you’re on the road when everybody is going against you, especially going in to a great place like Provo.”

Beating BYU is no small feat, especially since the Cougars are 11-2 at home over the past two seasons. That said, it is hard to believe there is player in the Texas locker room not up for the challenge.