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Texas' 'Goon Squad' strikes again

10/25/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- The trail of opposing quarterbacks left in the wake of “The Goon Squad” increased by another one Saturday night.

Blaine Gabbert felt the brunt of the Texas defense when he was knocked out midway through the third quarter for the rest of the game with an ankle injury. The Missouri quarterback became the third rival quarterback knocked out of action in as many weeks against the Longhorns.

Just another day at the office for Texas defensive tackle Lamarr Houston and his defensive mates, who set the tone in a convincing 41-7 victory over the Tigers.

“We hit hard and we hit fast,” said Houston, who coined the descriptive nickname for his defense. “We’re just grimy, blue-collar guys who don’t care about nothing but playing physical football.”

The Longhorns limited Missouri to a season-low 173 yards. And taking away their 81-yard scoring drive late in the first half, the Tigers were limited to 2.2 yards per snap during the rest of the game.

Despite the defense’s stellar performance last week against Oklahoma, Texas defensive coaches were intent to having the team match that effort against the Tigers.

“After a win like that, you sometimes expect a team will be a little worn out or flat,” Texas defensive end Sergio Kindle said. “The coaches stressed bouncing back. We had to get that out of our mind and realize that this is a new week. We had to put it all out there on the field and that’s what we did.”

Unfortunately for Gabbert, the sophomore quarterback paid the brunt of the cost of pain against the Texas defense. He joins Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford and Colorado’s Cody Hawkins to have been knocked out of the game after playing the Longhorns in the three-game span.

“We have a strong defensive line and they create havoc for a lot of quarterbacks,” Texas safety Earl Thomas said. “It’s showing throughout our games, week after week. It’s a credit to them for the hard work.”

The message to Big 12 quarterbacks should be clear after another one bit the dust on Saturday.

“We’re coming,” Texas linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy said. “We try to come out with non-stop relentless defense. That’s what we’ve been showing and what we’ll continue to do.”