On the bus ride back, Lambert head football coach Louis Daniel was basking in the good feeling of the Longhorns’ 16-15 win over Gainesville. He also wasn’t sugarcoating how his team looked at times.
“We did a lot of dumb things again tonight,” Daniel said.
They came in the first half, in particular. Gainesville got its first score off a pick-six, and when Lambert didn’t get lined up for the point after attempt, the Red Elephants pounced and converted for two points. The Longhorns’ offense, despite easily outgaining Gainesville, still showed latent sloppiness.
And Lambert was paying for it on the scoreboard at the end of the third quarter, trailing 15-3.
“There were times tonight when the game was over,” Daniel said. “We were left for dead.”
But then Peyton Rich found John Thompson for a 35-yard touchdown with 6:51 to play in the fourth quarter, and the Longhorns then came up with a stop. After another Rich-Thompson connection for a score, this one putting Lambert up for good, the Longhorns stopped Gainesville on fourth down to effectively ice the win.
It was the defense that largely carried Lambert, with Jake Rising, Chris Taylor and Nathan Smith providing solid senior production and Galil Guillaume being particularly destructive, racking what Daniel estimated to be five sacks.
“He wrecked them the entire night,” Daniels said of Guillaume.
The game felt like something of a relief for the Longhorns (2-1), like they escaped with something, given how long they trailed and how many mistakes they made. But Daniel could also look at his team’s overall dominance on the stat sheet and see that they deserve more credit than that.
“At the same time,” he said. “How do you steal one when you outgain the (other) team?”