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  1. The Cyclones travel to Austin for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff on Saturday on LHN. Get your picks in!
  2. BY JAMESON MCCAUSLAND Iowa State possesses the best defense in the Big 12. The Cyclones have experience and talent at nearly every position, but most importantly they run a great scheme that allows them to slow down potent Big 12 offenses. Let’s take a look at what to expect from a stout Iowa State defense on Saturday night: Defensive Line The Iowa State defensive line is active and disruptive. DE Jaquan Bailey leads the team in sacks with 5.5 and is the best pass rusher. 295-pound Jamhl Johnson and 305-pound Ray Lima anchor the middle of the line and serve as solid run stuffers. The most impressive thing about the Cyclones defensive line is how well they play assignment football. It is obvious from watching their previous games that they are well-coached and rarely take themselves out of plays. Linebacker Marcel Spears Jr. is the main player to watch at the linebacker position. Spears is utilized all over the field, possessing the ability to blitz up the middle or off the edge but also possesses the ability to cover athletes in space. Freshman Mike Rose has stepped in at middle linebacker after QB-turned-LB Joel Lanning graduated a season ago. Rose has held his own this year, which is impressive considering playing linebacker as a freshman in the Big 12 is difficult. Secondary The Cyclones are very experienced at cornerback with seniors Brain Peavy and D’Andre Payne. If Texas is without Collin Johnson again, the Cyclones will surely not allow Lil’Jordan Humphrey to beat them as easily as Texas Tech did a week ago. At safety, Greg Ellsworth leads the team in tackles with 68 and is a major piece of the Iowa State 3-3-5 defense because of his ability to help shut down the running game. Walk-On Braxton Lewis also plays a key role in the defense, and ranks second on the team with 55 tackles. Lewis will used as a defensive back/linebacker hybrid. Overall, Iowa State is very good in the back end. The group only allowed 14 points to West Virginia earlier this season and held Will Grier to 100 yards passing. Texas will have to find a way to stretch the field vertically to try to open up some room in the middle of the field for Humphrey and other receivers to operate.
  3. Harrison Wier

    Five Thoughts: West Virginia

    Once again, Texas took a game down to the wire primarily because of poor defensive play. With :16 left in the game, Texas did the one thing that they knew could not happen; they let a West Virginia get to the second level and burn them deep. At this point last year, Texas fans were begging for a competent offense. This year, those same fans are now begging Todd Orlando to make any type of adjustment to make his defense look like less of an embarrassment. That has not happened yet. Unfortunately for Tom Herman, if his offense does not play perfect, it appears the Longhorns will be playing from behind because of the defense's lack of production. With that being said, here are some quick thoughts from the game: Ehlinger continues to shine One of the only bright spots from this game was Ehlinger's play. Ehlinger finished the game 25/36 passing for 354 yards and 4 total touchdowns. Some other bright spots that certainly helped the sophomore quarterback were Tre Watson and Lil'Jordan Humphrey. Humphrey specifically made 2 fantastic catches near the end zone on a 50/50 ball. Watson provided a solid running attack against the No. 2 rated defense in the Big 12. Ultimately, Ehlinger continues to show just how big of a jump he's made from his sophomore season. During the game today, Ehlinger set the Big 12 record for passes attempted without an interception. Ultimately, Ehlinger is only going to get better, and the Texas offense can't do much more than what they did today. Constantly having to pick up your defense is not a recipe for success. Lack of defensive adjustments Todd Orlando has primarily been given the benefit of the doubt this season, but it's time to make some criticisms about his personnel decisions. First and foremost, Orlando's decision to continually roll with a defensive front that generates hardly any pressure on the quarterback is highly questionable. On top of that, Orlando appears to have much more trust in his seniors than their play would indicate. Names are not going to be named, but there are several seniors in different position groups that have not improved since they've come to the 40 Acres. This has become blatantly obvious this season, yet Orlando continues to play these seniors that are clearly a weakness that is constantly attacked by opposing offenses. If the Texas defense is going to improve, some of these changes have to be made. Otherwise, opposing offenses like Texas Tech and Iowa State will continue exposing those weaknesses and putting pressure on the Texas offense. Pass rush and injuries If you are unable to generate a pass rush on Will Grier, good luck. Unfortunately for Texas, there was little to no pressure generated on Grier all afternoon. A large portion of the lack of pressure could be attributed to injuries on the Texas defensive line. Senior Breckyn Hager was ruled out for the game with a dislocated elbow, and second-string DE Marqez Bimage was ruled out with a dislocated shoulder. As a result, freshmen Keondre Coburn and Moro Ojomo were forced into action. Senior DE Charles Omenihu did not have a great night either, which led to plenty of time for Grier to pick apart the Texas secondary. Instead of trying to come up with different blitz schemes, Orlando appeared to stick with the rush of a three-man front, which was ineffective. BJ Foster, arguably the best blitzer on the Texas defense, was not seen much if at all today. These types of personnel decisions are hurting the Texas defense in a major way. Eventually, lack of execution has to come back to coaching. It's getting close to the time to look at the coaching on defense. Big 12 officials strike again I hate being the person to criticize officiating when there are so many other factors, but this had to be one of the poorest officiated games I've seen. To be fair, both teams received considerable breaks from the referees. For example Texas gained a huge advantage when Yodny Cajuste, starting LT for the Mountaineers, was disqualified for what the referees thought was a punch thrown. It ended up being a shove, and WVU was without its best offensive lineman for the rest of the game. On the contrary, West Virginia received some very favorable calls that ultimately ended up costing Texas. One of them came on a 4th and 1 attempt deep in West Virginia territory in which Sam Ehlinger appeared to convert on the keeper. After a review, the officials made a very questionable call that Ehlinger was short of the line to gain because his helmet came off, ruling the ball dead. The next questionable call came on another Ehlinger keeper in WVU territory. This time, Ehlinger appeared to have gotten the yardage for the first down by extending the ball past the line to gain when his knee was down. The play was not reviewed. As a result, Texas elected to kick the field goal and went up by 7 instead of potentially going up by 11. It may seem silly to say this, but the Big 12's refusal to address its officiating problem could be a large reason why Texas ultimately elects to leave the conference. This officiating problem gets worse by the week, and other Big 12 teams have been just as negatively impacted by it as Texas has. It's certainly something to keep an eye on as conference realignment inches closer. The chance to finish strong remains Texas has now lost consecutive games by three points or less. The Longhorns are certainly in a much better place than they were a season ago, and the credit for that must go to Tom Herman. However, the Longhorns are still showing the lack of ability to finish games. With that being said, Texas is in dangerous territory. The Longhorns finish the season with a game in Lubbock against Texas Tech, a home game against Iowa State, and an away game against Kansas. The next two games will ultimately determine if Texas can go 9-3 or 7-5. If Tom Herman's squad dwells on the past couple of losses, they could easily show up flat in Lubbock and pay the price. Iowa State has a ver solid team this year, and Texas is in no place to look past the Cyclones. A 9-3 season would still exceed expectations for a team that opened the season with a loss to Maryland. Now is the time for this program to show how much they've progressed mentally under Tom Herman. Nothing will exhibit that more than how Texas performs in the final games of the season.
  4. BY JAMESON MCCAUSLAND It was another wild game out in West Texas, with Texas pulling out a 41-34 win over Texas Tech. There was a lot to take away from Longhorns victory, and it's time to take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly: The Good Sam Ehlinger to Lil’Jordan Humphrey With Collin Johnson out with a knee injury, the Longhorns needed a huge game from Lil’Jordan Humphrey. The junior delivered his most memorable performance so far in a Texas uniform. Humphrey hauled in 8 passes for 159 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including the game-winning 29-yard touchdown with :21 left. What made his performance even more impressive was his ability to do damage both as an outside and slot receiver. Humphrey is now on track to have a 1,000 yard season, and is setting himself up to make a decision about whether to enter the NFL Draft after the season. Texas stays alive in the Big 12 championship race It was almost a perfect day for the Longhorns. Just prior to kickoff in Lubbock, Oklahoma State nearly pulled off a huge upset in Norman, which would have allowed Texas to control its own destiny to earn a berth in the Big 12 championship. Despite an Oklahoma win, the Longhorns are still very much alive as the conference schedule heads into the final two weeks. West Virginia faces a tough test in Stillwater this weekend and, of course, the Mountaineers and Sooners will meet in Morgantown the day after Thanksgiving. Of course, the Longhorns will have to take care of business themselves this weekend and in Lawrence, but the hopes of a trip to Dallas is still very much alive. The Bad Allowing another opening drive TD As has become a trend this season, the Longhorns allowed the Red Raiders to drive the ball right down the field following the opening kickoff. The 4 minute, 12 second drive took a little longer than most opening drive scores Texas has allowed, but in the end the result was the same. In 6 out of 8 games this season, Texas has allowed their opponent to score points on its opening possession. Pass Defense Texas Tech backup QB Jett Duffey entered Saturday’s matchup known for his ability as a runner and having some limitations in the passing game. By the end of the game, Duffey had racked up 454 passing yards and tossed 4 touchdowns. Kliff Kingsbury did a nice job of giving Duffey high percentage throws, but the Texas defense did themselves no favors. The Longhorns secondary was burned multiple times on deep balls, and the tackling was again subpar. No one is happier that Texas is done facing the air raid portion of the Big 12 schedule than Todd Orlando. Orlando will continue to try to piece everything together until the Longhorns get to December’s bowl practices, where they will surely spend a ton of time re-emphasizing the simple fundamentals that helped make Texas’ defense successful a season ago. The Ugly Injuries As is to be expected towards the end of a long season, the injury bug is beginning to bite Texas. In addition to Collin Johnson sitting out the contest, Brandon Jones missed his second consecutive game with an ankle injury. Josh Thompson, Caden Sterns, Keaontay Ingram and Davante Davis all suffered injuries during the contest. On Tech’s drive that tied the game, the Longhorns were playing Chris Brown and PJ Locke at the two safety spots, with Donovan Duvernay manning the nickel position in the first meaningful action he has seen as a Longhorn. Texas allows another furious comeback Tom Herman joked after the game that his team always knows how to make it interesting, and he is right. The Longhorns have proven they do not know how to put opponents away in the 4th quarter. Texas saw a 17-point lead quickly evaporate in the span of about 6 minutes. The Longhorns have a tough time slowing teams down once things start going downhill, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Luckily for Texas, the offense landed the final blow with 21 seconds to play, but it has to be concerning for Longhorn fans to see their team struggle to step on the throats of their opponent.
  5. The Longhorns (6-3) travel to Lubbock to face Texas Tech (5-4) in an always chaotic night game at Jones AT&T Stadium. Both Texas and Texas Tech are on a two-game losing streak. The Red Raiders are hoping to become bowl eligible with a win over the Longhorns, while Texas is hoping to remain in the race for a Big 12 title. Our staff weighs in on what to expect from a chilly night in Lubbock: Daniel Seahorn (3-6) I was calling another Texas loss in this one given the defensive struggles and it being a night game in Lubbock. Freshman quarterback Alan Bowman is out due him reinjuring his lung that kept him out previously and the Red Raiders might be without defensive leader Dakota Allen. Those are two noteworthy players on the injury report for Tech and could end up being a major factor on Saturday. While Duffey is certainly dangerous with his feet, he isn’t nearly as competent of a passer as Bowman has proven to be this year. Limit the coverage busts and take care of the football offensively and I think the Longhorns get back in the win column this weekend. Prediction: Texas 42, Texas Tech 31 Jameson McCausland (5-4) A Saturday night in Lubbock is certainly not the ideal fix for a Texas team who is trying to hold together a defense and stay afloat in the Big 12. The Longhorns have a lot to clean up after giving up 42 points to West Virginia a week ago. Texas will have several advantages in this game. Tech will be without starting QB Alan Bowman and there are doubts LB Dakota Allen will be ready to go after suffering an injury last week against Oklahoma. Backup QB Jett Duffey is a better runner than a thrower, but it should benefit Texas that they have a full week to prepare for the QB run game. Offensively, there is no reason Texas shouldn't be approaching or surpassing the 40 point mark in this game. Tech's defense is slightly improved, but they still give up huge chunk yardage in the run game. If Texas can get a couple stops a half of defense, Sam Ehlinger and the offense should be able to take care of the rest. Anything can happen in Lubbock, but I think Texas gets a much needed win. Prediction: Texas 42, Texas Tech 35 Aaron Carrara (7-2) Lubbock. Night Game. Tortillas..... It’s going to be a close game that sees the lead go back and forth until the 4th quarter. Tech will go with the mobile Jett Duffy at quarterback while Alan Bowman recovers from injury - and the Longhorns have had their share of troubles stopping the run. Sam Ehlinger’s shoulder is still a bit wobbly and the Longhorns are dealing with injuries, but the Texas offense should be able to put up points against Tech’s defense. The biggest question will be how the Texas defense responds to Kliff Kingsbury’s offensive plan. Texas was hammered by the Oklahoma State and West Virginia offenses, and they must find a way to stop big plays on the ground and in the air if they want win #7. In the end I think Herman and Orlando make the necessary adjustments and prepare a game plan that seals a win. Prediction: Texas 45, Texas Tech 41 Harrison Wier (4-5) Let me preface this by saying my prediction is due to the fact that Texas has only lost one game in which I've predicted against them. Maybe my lack of faith is just what this team needs to get over the hump! With that said, a night game in Lubbock is always going to be difficult. I believe this game is really going to show Texas fans how much of Tom Herman's culture is embedded in the football program. If the team comes out flat and without energy again, I think Herman still has some work to do with perfecting his culture installation. The team has clearly been affected by back-to-back close losses, but this game is now the most important of the year. Texas can still salvage their season with a win in Lubbock, and this is no secret to Herman and his team. The Horns can either hang their heads about not finishing in close games, or go out and play competitive football. The course they choose could say a lot about Herman's culture and how much it's shaped the program. Ultimately, I don't trust the Texas defense — even against backup quarterback Jett Duffey. Duffey has good athleticism and can run the ball well. Kliff Kingsbury knows this, and will certainly try to use it to his team's advantage. If Texas can contain Duffey and force him to throw the ball, he will make mistakes. If not, it's going to be a long day in the office for Todd Orlando. The Texas offense is certainly going to put up points on Tech's defense, but can the defense make the stops needed to give the Longhorns a comfortable lead? I don't think so, and that worries me. As Tom Herman says, "Winning is hard." But winning in Lubbock is even harder. I'm not sure this team is ready to do it yet. Prediction: Texas Tech 45, Texas 42
  6. Night game in Lubbock means chaos. Get your picks in! This game could determine the winner of the Coop gift card.
  7. BY JAMESON MCCAUSLAND There is a misconception floating around that Texas Tech has made huge strides on the defensive side of the ball. To put it nicely, the Red Raiders went from unbelievably bad to just bad. David Gibbs’ defense still gives up points in bunches and struggles to stop the run on a consistent basis. Most people remember the Red Raiders respectable defensive performance in Fort Worth about a month ago when they held TCU to 14 points. What has been lost in the shuffle is that Tech has still allowed more than 40 points FIVE different times this year, most recently 51 to Oklahoma a week ago. Anything can happen in Lubbock on a Saturday night, but there is one guarantee — the Longhorns will have plenty of opportunities to score. Let’s take a look at the Texas Tech defense: Defensive Line Texas Tech boasts a defensive line that is headlined by two transfers, defensive end Eli Howard (North Texas) and defensive tackle Preston Gordon (Rice). Howard leads the defensive line with 2.5 sacks. The Red Raiders are not a team that gets to the quarterback often, ranking in the middle of the country in terms of sacks, but they are quicker than in years past. Tech is only allowing 160 yards rushing per game this year, which is a far cry from how they looked last time the Longhorns visited Lubbock, when D’onta Foreman ran for 341 yards. However, Oklahoma’s Trey Sermon ran for over 200 yards a week ago. The Longhorns will and should be able to run on the Texas Tech defensive front. Linebackers Not only will the Red Raiders be without starting quarterback Alan Bowman, but there is also a real possibility they will be without starting LB Dakota Allen, who exited the Oklahoma game with a knee injury. Allen may be the best player on the entire Texas Tech roster, and is a guy who can defend in space while also serving as a run stopper. It’s hard to overstate who important he is to the Red Raiders' defense, and his absence would be bad news for a team who let Oklahoma score at will a week ago after he exited. Middle linebacker Jordyn Brooks ranks second on the team in tackles (behind Allen) with 46. Brooks is a multiyear starter who compliments Allen well and is a reliable tackler. Secondary DaMarcus Fields and Desmon Smith are experienced corners who will look to hold up against Collin Johnson. Smith stands at 6’2, and conventional wisdom says he matches up better with Johnson, but Fields may actually be the best corner on the roster. The Red Raiders have a pair of senior safeties in Jah’Shawn Johnson and Vaughnte Dorsey. Both players have years of starting experience and are familiar with David Gibbs defense. The Longhorns will also see John Bonney, who spent the first 4 years of his collegiate career in burnt orange. Bonney has 25 tackles on the season and has looked to carve out a niche in Lubbock as a backup safety.
  8. BY JAMESON MCCAUSLAND For a defense that is struggling, a Kliff Kingsbury offense is not what you want to see coming up on the schedule. Texas will have to try to go into Lubbock and slow down a Texas Tech offense that will be playing with a backup QB. Despite the key injury, the Red Raiders will still trot out big-time playmakers at almost every position. It will be another tough test for the Longhorns, as they look for a win to keep their hopes at going to the Big 12 championship alive. Let’s take a look at the Texas Tech offense: Quarterback The good news for Texas is the Red Raiders will be without QB Alan Bowman, who is dealing with a punctured lung (best wishes for a speedy recovery). The bad news is backup Jett Duffey brings a running dimension to the offense that the Longhorns will be forced to account for. Texas Tech will take a step back in the passing game under Duffey, but rest assured that Kliff Kingsbury is going to have a game plan in place to try to exploit what Texas has shown on film the past few weeks — that they struggle to stop the run. Duffey has thrown for 627 yards this season with 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. The key for the Longhorns this week will be forcing turnovers. The sophomore will throw the ball to the other team if you let him. Duffey is the second-leading rusher on the team with 297 yards. The Red Raiders aren’t likely to run the zone read directly at Texas like Oklahoma State did, but Duffey will be used as a runner and is elusive in space. Running Back Freshman Ta’Zhawn Henry is the leading rusher for the Red Raiders with 346 yards. Henry was at one point last year thought to be on Texas’ radar, but the 5’7 speedster ended up in Lubbock and has broken onto the scene in his first year. Henry is not your typical between the tackles runner, but Kliff Kingsbury is not your traditional play-caller. The Red Raiders will throw the ball to set up the run, and when they do run the ball, they will utilize Henry in space. When Texas Tech gets near the goal line or is in short yardage situations, Da’Leon Ward and DeMarcus Felton will be the go-to backs. The Red Raiders love to use the running back in the passing game, and Kingsbury has to be licking his chops thinking about Anthony Wheeler going against any of his running backs in the open field. The key for Texas will be recognizing Tech’s personnel and making sure they limit the busted assignments that have plagued them in recent weeks. Wide Receiver As usual, Tech has several receivers who can hurt defenses on the outside and in underneath coverage. Antoine Wesley and TJ Vasher are matchup nightmares at 6’5 and 6’6, respectively. Wesley leads the team with 1176 receiving yards and Vasher has added 470. Kris Boyd and Davante Davis will have to bring their best game to Lubbock, or it may be a long night for the Longhorn defense. Ja’Deion High operates primarily out of the slot and will look to cause problems for PJ Locke. High has 615 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns on the season. Texas has been prone to the deep ball in recent weeks, and while Duffey isn’t necessarily the QB to exploit that weakness, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wesley and Vasher get chances to go up and make plays. Offensive Line There is not much that stands out about the Red Raiders offensive line. They have the usual size that Air Raid offenses need and serve more as obstacles in the run game than movers. RG Jack Anderson was a member of the All-Big 12 Freshman Team a season ago and is one of the highest-ranked recruits to ever attend Tech. Kingsbury does a nice job of scheming around any offensive weaknesses he has. The ball is always coming out of the QB’s hands quickly, and if a team chooses to blitz the QB, he will have an option of getting the ball to a playmaker in space.
  9. Texas produced over 500 yards of offense on Saturday, did not turn the ball over, punted once the entire game and held West Virginia to only 4 possessions in the second half. The Longhorns somehow still came up short, falling to the Mountaineers, 42-41, in Austin. Todd Orlando and his defense now find themselves at point in the season where they will either figure out a way to piece things together down the stretch, or else Texas may limp to the finish line with a 7-5 record. After rewatching the game, I want to take a look at the three main factors that define every defense in the country — personnel, scheme and execution. This will help give some answers to a burning question: what the heck has happened to the Texas defense? Personnel There is no denying the fact that Texas sorely misses Poona Ford and Malik Jefferson. The two upperclassmen held the defense together for all of 2017. Ford gave the Longhorns max effort at the nose tackle position and lived in opponents' backfields. Jefferson’s ability to play sideline-to-sideline and serve as an effective blitzer made him the ideal Big 12 middle linebacker. Fast forward to 2018, and Texas is not lacking talent. Chris Nelson, who took over for Ford, is a good run stuffer who demands double teams. Anthony Wheeler took over Jefferson’s MAC position, but had seen a lot of playing time his first 3 years on campus. Wheeler was a highly decorated recruit out of Dallas Skyline whom Texas stole away from Oklahoma at the last minute. Outside of Ford and Jefferson, the only other starters the Longhorns had to replace were DeShon Elliott and Jason Hall (when Texas played Dime). It could be argued that their replacements, Caden Sterns and BJ Foster, are even more talented than their predecessors. What can be forgotten easily is life in the Big 12 is unforgiving for defensive players. Texas is counting on true freshmen at several key positions, but also have PJ Locke, who is probably best suited for safety, playing nickel. It was thought before the season that Locke would move to safety, but backup Josh Thompson was not ready to be thrown into the fire quite yet. Add up all those factors and throw in the fact that Texas is now in the ‘Air Raid offense’ portion of the schedule, and it is not surprising to see the defense having some issues. Scheme Let’s go back to Jefferson for a second. Prior to the Oklahoma State game a season ago, Todd Orlando cooked up the 3-2-6 dime defense, featuring Jefferson and Gary Johnson as his two linebackers. The ability and athleticism of those two players, combined with rock solid Poona Ford in the middle, gave Orlando the confidence Texas could stop the run with 5 and 6 man boxes. This also allowed for Texas to add an extra defensive back on the field to take away the ability for teams to stretch the Longhorns vertically. Texas has not had as much success with the dime defense this season, and the primary culprit is linebacker play. Right now, Texas is trying to utilize Anthony Wheeler like they utilized Jefferson, and it isn’t working. Wheeler is showing that he lacks instinct in the run game and can’t cover TE’s or RB’s in coverage. This has also made life for Gary Johnson more difficult. Johnson was able to play freely and fly all over the field in 2017, because he and Jefferson complimented each other well. I’m sure when the defensive coaches watch the film from yesterday’s game, they will see the tentativeness Johnson is playing with right now. The Longhorns have a scheme that is conducive to stopping Big 12 offenses, but it may take a few years to get the type of players at each position that Todd Orlando wants to have. In the meantime, Texas has to tweak the scheme to fit the current roster. Execution Todd Orlando, Jason Washington, Craig Naivar and Oscar Giles can do all the coaching and preparation they can, but at the end of the day, Texas has be able to execute. The two-point conversion from yesterday is a good example. West Virginia came out in a formation featuring 4 receivers on one side and David Sills V isolated on the opposite side. Tom Herman called timeout to talk about how to defend it. West Virginia adjusted by flipping the formation and isolated David Sills on freshman CB Anthony Cook. Herman and Orlando did not like that, and subsequently called another timeout just before Will Grier fired a slant to Sills. So at this point, Texas knew the formation and West Virginia had already shown them a play. Texas adjusted. They flipped Cook and Kris Boyd, and instructed LB Jeff McCulloch to take away the throwing window for the slant. I’ve watched the play dozens of times now, and the Longhorns actually had it defended pretty well. Graham and Omenihu stayed in their rush lanes, and McCulloch dropped back a couple steps to take away the slant. Once Grier pulled the ball down, it was 6 Longhorns vs 5 mountaineer blockers. Johnson, Wheeler and McCulloch were all in perfect position to fill their lanes and force Grier back inside where Chris Nelson and TaQuon Graham were waiting. Instead, McCulloch took way too many steps toward the middle of the field, and Grier pranced into the end zone untouched. Execution is a combination of both personnel and scheme. Sometimes you can have all the right players on the field and the perfect play call, and you still get beat. What’s next? The good news for Texas is that all 3 of these areas of fixable, but it is not something that can be fixed overnight. There is no free agent pool to choose from, and Todd Orlando can’t change his entire defense in a week. The Longhorns will see growth in all 3 areas as they continue to fill the roster with high quality recruits and are able to adapt their system to fit the team’s strengths. The number one thing that would benefit Texas at the moment is not overcorrecting and doing something drastic, but simplifying things and trying to put players in positions to succeed. If an offense out-executes you, tip your cap and move on. Todd Orlando didn’t just forget how to coach defense in a year, and the players certainly didn’t forget how to play it. It is a frustrating time for Texas fans, but there are much brighter days ahead for the Texas defense once the personnel, scheme and execution all come together.
  10. Kickoff has been set for Saturday’s matchup in Lubbock at 6:30 p.m. on FOX. We’ve got ourselves a night game in Lubbock. Gulp.
  11. Last year, Texas took advantage of a Will Grier injury to dominate on the defensive side of the ball while the Longhorn offense put together just enough to pull out a victory in Morgantown. Texas kept things simple for true freshman QB Sam Ehlinger for most of the game, especially after his 4th quarter pick six almost cost the Longhorns the game. The 2018 Texas offense has taken a huge step forward, and the Mountaineers defense has problems they can exploit. Let’s take a look at what to expect from the West Virginia defense: Defensive Line The 3-3-5 West Virginia defense features a defensive line that has struggled to generate consistent pressure in the backfield. The 3 starters have combined for just 3 sacks. Senior Kenny Bigelow Jr. anchors the middle of the line at nose tackle and is the biggest lineman at 307 pounds. DE Jabril Robinson is a graduate transfer from Clemson, where he served as a backup on one of the best defensive lines in the country. He has stepped into a much bigger role with the Mountaineers, but Texas has the talent at tackle to hold him in check. Linebackers David Long is the best player in the West Virginia linebacker corps and the stats back it up. Long has 13 tackles for loss, 3 sacks and leads the team in tackles with 65. He was named to every major award watch list prior to the season and has performed like an All-Big 12 player. Middle linebacker Dylan Tonkery is an outside linebacker who was forced to move to the middle last year because of need. If there was ever a game for the Longhorns to assert their dominance with the ground game, this is it. The front 7 for the Mountaineers allowed over 6 yards a carry to David Montgomery several weeks ago in Ames. Keaontay Ingram matches up very, very well against this group. Defensive Back A pair of junior college transfers hold down the two cornerback spots. Josh Norwood and Keith Washington aren’t too special, but they have likely seen what Oklahoma State did to disrupt Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey last week. Kenny Robinson is only a sophomore and is one of the most underrated safeties in the Big 12. His two interceptions are tied for the team lead and he also serves a physical presence in defending the run game. The West Virginia secondary can be beaten for the big play, but if the Texas offensive coaching staff is smart, they will set up big plays down the field by pounding Ingram and Watson between the tackles.
  12. During the week leading up to Texas' matchup against the Mountaineers, Tom Herman mentioned that in addition to keeping West Virginia's offense off the field, the Longhorns would need to score points. "I don't think anyone is kidding themselves thinking this is going to be, you know, a 10-3 ballgame." Herman was right. West Virginia put up 348 yards of total offense in the first half, but it was a two-point conversion with :16 left in the game that sealed a 42-41 victory for the Mountaineers. With the loss, the Longhorns fell out of first place in the Big 12 standings and no longer control their own destiny in the conference race leading up to the Big 12 Championship Game on December 1st. Despite the loss, Tom Herman knows there is still a lot of football to be played and anything can happen, especially in the Big 12. "The silver lining is that we play in the Big 12, and everybody plays everybody. We're not out of any race at this point. We certainly don't control our own destiny. We need a couple things to happen." The Longhorns were without starting safety Brandon Jones, who injured his ankle in what Tom Herman called a "freak deal" at the team hotel this morning. West Virginia kicker Evan Staley hit from 45 yards out on the game's opening drive to give the Mountaineers a quick 3-0 lead over the Longhorns. Texas cornerback Davante Davis suffered a shoulder injury on the drive and wouldn't return. The Longhorns scored their first points on their second offensive possession, with quarterback Sam Ehlinger taking the snap and punching it in from a yard out. The score was setup by a 23-yard pass from Ehlinger to Humphrey, in which Ehlinger threw off his back foot while being pressured by the Mountaineer defensive front. On West Virginia's ensuing drive, Will Grier would loft a 60-yard pass to David Sills V to give the Mountaineers a 10-7 lead. Sills was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for making the "Horns Down" sign after the touchdown. West Virginia left tackle Yodny Cajuste was subsequently ejected on the extra point attempt after pushing a Texas player. With 1:50 left in the first quarter Ehlinger found Humphrey again, this time for a 21 yards and a touchdown, giving the Longhorns a 14-10 lead over the Mountaineers. Grier and Sills connected again for the first points of the quarter, with Sills catching an over-the-shoulder pass as he shook off Texas cornerback Josh Thompson. West Virginia led Texas 17-14 at the 14:49 mark. Texas and West Virginia then traded rushing scores, with Tre Watson rumbling in from 5 yards out and Martell Pettaway busting open a 55-yard carry into the Texas end zone. Watson followed up his touchdown on the ground with one in the air, catching a 32-yard pass from Ehlinger and bouncing off defenders into the left corner of the West Virginia end zone. Evan Staley cut the Texas lead to 28-27 with a 44-yard field goal with :09 left in the half. The lone scoring drive in the third quarter belonged to Texas at the 2:55 mark. Cameron Dicker kicked his first field goal of the afternoon, from 22 yards out, to extend the Texas lead to 31-27. Dicker connected again in the fourth quarter from 38 yards, giving the Longhorns a 34-27 advantage with 9:38 remaining. West Virginia running back Martell Pettaway's 13-yard touchdown run would notch the score at 34-34 at the 5:40 mark in the 4th quarter. With 2:34 left Sam Ehlinger found Devin Duvernay for a 48-yard touchdown and what appeared to be the game-winning score. West Virginia reacted quickly, with Will Grier hitting Gary Jennings in the Texas end zone to bring the Mountaineers within one point of Texas. Instead of kicking the extra point to tie, Dana Holgorsen went for two. After three consecutive timeouts, Grier took the snap and found the end zone with :16 left. Time would run out as Texas' attempt at a comeback fell short. Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw for 354 yards and three touchdowns in the loss and rushed for another. Lil'Jordan Humphrey and Devin Duvernay each surpassed the 100-yard mark in receiving and caught touchdown passes, with Humphrey's 143 yards being a best among all receivers on both teams. Duvernay caught six passes for 100 yards. Will Grier continued his Heisman campaign, passing for 3 touchdowns and 346 yards with no interceptions. West Virginia running back Marcell Pettaway had a big game on the ground, rushing for 121 yards on 9 carries. The Mountaineers rushing attack gouged the Longhorns for a total of 232 yards with a 7 yards per carry average. The Longhorns fall to 6-3 overall and 4-2 in Big 12 play. Texas heads to Lubbock next week to take on Texas Tech. Game Notes Longhorns are now 3-5 all-time against West Virginia Davante Davis suffered a shoulder and neck sprain, Breckyn Hager dislocated his elbow and Marqez Bimage dislocated his shoulder in the loss Ehlinger's three passing touchdowns against West Virginia are a career high Lil'Jordan Humphrey's 143 receiving yards are a career high Today’s attendance of 100,703 marked the second sellout of the season Moro Ojomo and Keondre Coburn made their season debuts and became the 22nd and 23rd Longhorns to debut this season Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Devin Duvernay became the first pair of receivers to have 100 receiving yards since Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley did it in 2013 against BYU
  13. Sorry for the lateness again, y’all. Get your picks in!
  14. Daniel Seahorn (3-5) I’m going to keep this one relatively short, because I felt like this game was one that would trip this team up as they try to make a run at the Big 12 title. The Mountaineers possess an offense that can score points in bunches and after the Longhorn defense struggled last week in Stillwater, WVU QB Will Grier has to be licking his chops. If the Longhorns come out and play like they did at the start of the OSU game then it could be a really long day at DKR. I think both teams will get their fair share of points on Saturday, but I don’t think the Longhorn defense will get enough stops and I’m not confident enough to pick them after last week. Prediction: West Virginia 38, Texas 31 Jameson McCausland (5-3) There are now enough data points in the season to conclude that Texas is a team that plays to the level of their competition. This means the Longhorns should come out with a focus and energy that was absent in Stillwater last weekend. West Virginia is a very beatable team. Iowa State proved that Will Grier can be shut down, and the Mountaineers defense isn't anything special. The key for Texas will be shoring up any defensive issues and allowing the Texas offense to find their groove and put points on the board, because they will. I expect an improved performance from the Texas defense and I believe Sam Ehlinger will deliver another solid performance to help keep Texas atop of the Big 12 standings. Prediction: Texas 31, West Virginia 24 Aaron Carrara (6-2) Texas lost a close one to Oklahoma State on the road last week, but they are back home this weekend to face West Virginia. The Longhorns are 4-0 at home this season but the Mountaineers are 3-1 all-time at DKR. Oklahoma State’s offense torched UT’s defense, and unfortunately for Texas, West Virginia’s offensive attack is much better. I’m not certain Texas’ defense can contain Will Grier and the rushing attack of WVU; they had their share of troubles against Taylor Cornelius and the Pokes last week. Texas has a definite home-field advantage, but with Ehlinger still nursing a banged-up shoulder I don’t expect the Longhorns to be able to match the Mountaineers in scoring. Prediction: West Virginia 41, Texas 38 Harrison Wier (3-5) Texas is a team that plays to its competition. That was displayed for all to see first hand last weekend, as the Longhorns came out completely flat against Oklahoma State and had to play catch up the entire second half. This cannot happen against West Virginia. If Texas wants to win this game, they have to be ready to compete from the time the first whistle blows. Unfortunately, I do not believe the Texas defense will be up to the task of stopping Will Grier and the West Virginia offense. There are too many weapons at Grier's disposal, and the Texas secondary has shown a consistent ability to blow assignments. I believe the Texas offense will keep the Longhorns in the game, but the defense will fail to hold one too many times. Prediction: West Virginia 38, Texas 34 Nick Harris (0-1) What is most important for the Longhorns this week is that their defense rebounds from the tough showing that they had in Stillwater a week ago. If the defense stays consistent to that poor effort, Will Grier and the Mountaineer offense will have their way all afternoon and at that point, no offense in the country would be able to keep up with them. However, I do expect the Longhorn defense to have a better performance while the Longhorn offense continues to stay up to their high standard that they have set throughout the season. I’m still expecting a shootout, but I expect it to be one that the Longhorns can compete in. Prediction: Texas 45, West Virginia 41
  15. This was a tough one to watch unfold because it was one that Texas could have won, even though they played one of their worst games of the season. Just like with Maryland earlier this year, the Longhorns spotted the Cowboys a lead and tried to erase it late, but came up just short. This is the second year in a row that the Longhorns came up just short of knocking off the Cowboys, but this time around the Longhorns were ranked and they were playing a long way from the friendly confines of DKR. While tonight’s game was certainly a frustrating one, I’m going to try to mix some good with the bad and the ugly in my thoughts from this evening’s loss in Stillwater. Slow, Sluggish Start Doomed Texas Tonight Say what you want about suspensions and Ehlinger coming off of an injury, but this team once again came out of the game sluggish and looking shell shocked. It has become somewhat of a tradition for the Texas defense to concede yardage and points on the opening drive before rallying and getting their feet under them, but that never happened tonight. The Cowboy offense put up over 250 yards of offense in the first quarter alone and the carnage didn’t stop there, as they were able to clear 500 yards of offense on the night. Taylor Cornelius led an Oklahoma State offense that moved the ball by air and ground, finding leading wide receiver Tylan Wallace early and often, as Texas never really found a way to slow him down. This performance is particularly alarming when you take into account that Texas had two weeks to prep for the matchup, and were able to get healthy before making the trip north. Things weren’t clicking at all either offensively and defensively in the first half, and it was teetering on being a blowout. Not sure what transpired over the last week or so, but it’s really hard to win ball games when you come out as flat as Texas did tonight. Speaking of Wallace, though… Tylan Wallace Goes Scorched Earth on the Texas Secondary Texas knew coming into the matchup that Wallace was Oklahoma State’s go-to playmaker. To say that they weren’t successful in stopping him would drastically understate the results from this evening. Wallace torched the Texas defense to the tune of 222 yards on 10 catches and ended the night with two touchdowns. One of those touchdowns came on a fourth and one under-thrown ball from Cornelius that was misplayed by Kris Boyd. That should have been an interception and instead it was a touchdown for Oklahoma State. Wallace got going from the very first series against the freshmen reserves that filled in during the suspensions of Boyd and Davante Davis, but majority of the damage was done with the seniors in coverage. Don’t get me wrong — Wallace is a baller, who was one of the state’s top prospects a couple of years ago. But tonight the Texas secondary made him look like he was Antonio Brown. He was able to do whatever he wanted for most of the night, and while his production slowed down in the second half, the damage was already done. The Little Things, Mental Errors, and Bad Breaks Texas had a mixture of all of the above tonight in Stillwater, and when you are playing in a tough road environment you can’t give the other team extra opportunities to beat you. Procedure penalties, missed tackles, bad angles, and concentration drops by wide receivers are all little things and mental errors that gave Oklahoma State extra opportunities or extra yardage tonight that extended drives, resulted in points, or derailed Texas offensive drives. Another mental error that was a back breaker was when Brandon Jones fielded a punt running towards his own end zone and pinned the offense inside the 5. Texas went three-and-out after a hold negated a first down to Lil’Jordan Humphrey, and the Cowboys turned the short field into a touchdown. Then there is the offsides call on Texas on the punt where the Oklahoma State punt team simulated a snap count and wasn’t flagged for it. That was a bad break that was a result of poor officiating, in my opinion. That one play didn’t cost Texas the game, but it kept the drive going and turned into points for the Cowboys. When you dig the kind of hole that Texas did to itself tonight, you almost have to play flawlessly to get yourself out of it as the game progresses. This team found out that they are not good enough to spot a team 31 points in a half and still win the game. They almost pulled it off with a furious comeback effort, but almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. I Hate Moral Victories, but... A loss is a loss and they hurt the same no matter how you slice them, but if you are looking for a silver lining I have a couple. You just read about a lot of bad things that transpired tonight in Stillwater, but here is something I admired about this team despite the loss: Texas allowed 31 points in one half and was on the brink of getting run out of the stadium, but instead of laying down and allowing that to happen, they got off the deck and started punching back. Ehlinger and the offense finally started rolling in the second half and the Texas defense was pitching a shutout in the second half right up until Cornelius made a play with his feet in the red zone to put the Cowboys back up by 10 in the final minutes. This team almost completely erased a 17-point deficit and pulled their hind parts out of the fire, but in the end the Cowboys made one more play that prevented the Longhorns from getting a chance to tie or win the game. Speaking of Ehlinger, while tonight wasn’t his most efficient performance as a passer, he tallied four total touchdowns and he once again played a turnover-free game. On top of that, Ehlinger looked plenty healthy after the shoulder scare that occurred against Baylor. As long as Ehlinger continues to stay healthy, the Texas offense continues show it can put up some crooked numbers and continues to show drastic improvement from last year. One thing you can say about Ehlinger is that he never seems to shy away from the moment, and keeps on coming no matter what the scoreboard reads. He dropped some absolute dimes tonight (the touchdown pass to Ingram might be his best toss as a Longhorn) and if he got one more bite at the apple tonight, Texas probably wins the game. Can Texas Conquer Adversity and Win the Big 12? If I’m being completely transparent, I wasn’t buying the playoff talk for this team and felt their ranking was a tad bit inflated, which is something they can’t exactly control. I couldn’t shake the feeling that a clunker of a game was on the horizon, but I honestly thought it would come a little further down the line. In my prediction, I thought that with Ehlinger in the saddle they would be able to get by Oklahoma State and setup a big showdown with the Mountaineers in Austin next week, but the Cowboys clearly had other plans for me and my predictions. I used my last bullet point talking about silver linings, but I will end this write up with one more. Even though Texas lost a tough one in Stillwater tonight, this team is still in a position to compete for the Big 12 title — now they just have less wiggle room than they had before tonight. This latest bit of adversity could be good for this team in the long run if they are able to grow and learn from what transpired. Do they get back to Austin, watch the tape, and get their minds right for West Virginia, or do they start to spiral and let this loss turn into two or three? We will find out the answer that question a week from today.
  16. It was a weird night in Stillwater. Texas let its guard down, and an Oklahoma State team who was hungry and ready to prove themselves on a national stage took advantage. There are many takeaways from this game, but the main one is all playoff talk can now be put to bed. Let's take a look at some of the good and bad from an eventful game: The Good Sam Ehlinger shows no ill-effects from shoulder injury Entering the week, there was no guarantee that Sam Ehlinger would be healthy enough to play on Saturday night. Ehlinger ended up participating fully in practice all week and turned in another solid performance on Saturday night. After a slow start, #11 stepped up and finished the game 22 for 42 for 282 yards and a pair of touchdowns while adding 47 yards and two more touchdowns on the ground. It’s easy to see the progress Ehlinger has made from 2017 to 2018, and another turnover-free game proves the sophomore is making smart decisions in the passing game. Out of all the problems Texas has at the moment, Ehlinger is not one. Coming back from a 24-7 deficit Similar to Week 1 against Maryland, the Longhorns quickly fell behind 24-7 and looked like they may get run out of Boone Pickens Stadium. The Longhorns responded though, trimming the deficit to 31-28 at one point. Tom Herman pointed out after the game that in past years, the Longhorns may have mailed it in. Moral victories are not what Texas needs nor what is expected, but I’m sure many were surprised when Texas possessed the ball at one point in the 4th quarter with an opportunity to drive down the field and take the lead. The Bad The trend of playing to the level of competition continues Texas is not good enough to play their C+ game and dominate opponents, and even Tom Herman has admitted it. The Longhorns have developed a trend of playing to the level of their competition. Make no mistake about it, Oklahoma State is not better than Texas, but neither was Maryland. Against Tulsa, Kansas State and Baylor, Texas played less than their best and barely got away with it. One of Tom Herman’s next goals should be developing his team to the point where it doesn’t take a big name opponent to have his players locked in from the opening whistle. Officiating Both Texas and Oklahoma State fans have reasons to be livid at what has become a weekly occurrence of shaky Big 12 officiating. I have always had the belief that bad calls even themselves out over time, but there were calls last night that had Mike Gundy and Tom Herman fuming. The offsides call on the punt was about as bad as I expected it to get, but then Texas was called for a phantom holding penalty where all 5 lineman were blocking in the end zone, and somehow the foul was enforced at the 2-yard line. Then it was discovered today that the Cowboys 2nd touchdown of the night came on a play where the tight end who caught the ball was an ineligible receiver. It was an all around terrible night for the officials, and both schools will surely be sending in some plays for the conference to review on Monday. The Ugly Pass defense The Texas defense turned in one of the least memorable performances of the Tom Herman era, and a lot of the struggles centered around the Longhorns making Taylor Cornelius — who most Cowboys fans wanted benched prior to Saturday — look like an all-conference QB. A lot has been said about Kris Boyd and Davante Davis missing the first quarter due to suspension, but the struggles were widespread throughout the secondary as a whole. Special teams mistakes In a game where the Longhorns played from behind the entire night, special team miscues were magnified. Following a muffed punt by D’Shawn Jamison that Texas luckily recovered, the coaching staff opted to put in the more experienced returner, Brandon Jones. Jones ultimately ended up committing the cardinal sin of a punt returner, backpedaling to receive a punt inside his own 10. The decision resulted in Texas having to start a time at their own 2, a drive which ended in a punt and gave the Cowboys excellent field position. Later in the 4th after cutting the lead to 38-35, Tom Herman opted to try an onside kick. Both Josh Rowland and Cameron Dicker were on the field, and Rowland’s kick ended up being an easy recovery for the Cowboys. Regardless of the decision, the Texas defense could not force the three-and-out it needed to extend the game, but special teams continue to be an adventure in 2018.
  17. The streak is over. Oklahoma State defeated #6 Texas 38-35 in Stillwater on Saturday night in front of an energetic homecoming crowd to end the Longhorns' six-game winning streak. From the opening kick, Oklahoma State gained massive control over the Longhorns, most notably on the defensive side as the Cowboys put up 260 total yards in the first quarter, the second most a Texas defense has allowed in a quarter in 15 years. Oklahoma State's fifth-year senior starting QB Taylor Cornelius had his way with the Texas secondary in the first half, as key Texas cornerbacks Kris Boyd and DaVante Davis sat out the first quarter for violating team rules. "The kicking game was an issue early, but we were especially bad in the first half on the defensive end," Texas head coach Tom Herman said postgame. Cornelius' favorite target on the night proved to be Tylan Wallace; the sophomore pulled down 10 receptions for a whopping 222 yards, 167 of which came in the first half, along with 2 touchdowns. After the best offensive performance in a half by Oklahoma State all season, the Cowboys were limited to just seven points in the second half, but it proved to be enough to hold on to a slim three-point win. In the second half, Texas' offensive production found a spark as Sam Ehlinger went 17 for 27 and threw for 174 yards. The offense scored on three of its four final drives drives, cutting the Cowboys' lead to 38-35, but the Longhorns would not get a chance to take the lead as Oklahoma State ran out the clock to preserve the upset. "They had a great game plan, we did not," Herman said. "As coaches we have to figure out why that happened and make sure it doesn't happen again." The loss seemingly takes Texas out of contention for the College Football Playoffs, but does not paralyze their chances at a shot at the Big 12 Championship. The Longhorns move into a three-way tie for first place in the conference with Oklahoma and West Virginia. The Longhorns will get a chance to right the ship next Saturday night at home as they take on the Mountaineers with a chance to move into sole possession of first place in the Big 12.
  18. Sorry for the lateness, y'all. Get your predictions in!
  19. The bad news for Texas fans is that Oklahoma State leads the country in sacks with 30. The good news is that this statistic has not stopped opposing teams from putting up points and yards on a unit that has seen its fair share of struggles. The Cowboys were whipped by Kansas State two weeks ago, and had a poor defensive showing against 3rd string Iowa State QB Brock Purdy in the preceding week. Texas should have plenty of opportunities to pick up chunk yardage, especially if Keaontay Ingram touches the ball 25 times. Let’s take a look at what to expect from the Oklahoma State defense: Defensive Line The Cowboys will deploy 4 defensive linemen the majority of the game, with the line being anchored by defensive tackles Trey Carter and Enoch Smith Jr. Smith is in his first year as a full-time starter, while Carter saw significant playing time a season ago and had a solid showing against the Longhorns in Austin. The star of the defensive line is Big 12 sack leader Jordan Brailford, who will give Calvin Anderson all he can handle on the left side. All 4 starters are seniors, but the experience has not necessarily translated into the type of production that Mike Gundy and new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles hoped for. Outside of Brailford, the Cowboys defensive line has been highly suspect, especially in the run game. Linebackers Calvin Bundage and Justin Phillips are the top two tacklers on the Oklahoma State defense, and they do a great job of playing aggressive, which has both benefited and burned them this season. Phillips is considered the leader of the defense and his play backs it up. Both Bundage and Phillips are utilized as blitzers and have the athleticism to cover in space. Defensive Back The base defense for the Cowboys will feature 5 defensive backs. AJ Green and Rodarius Williams are the two starting corners, and are often put into tough positions. Remember in previous seasons when Collin Johnson would seemingly disappear against teams who instructed DB’s to get in his face and test his physicality? Johnson has risen to the challenge this season, and will have to do it again on Saturday night. Two of the three starters at safety are freshmen, and I’m sure the Texas offensive staff is well aware. Kenneth Edison-McGruder is the other starter, and the senior is used aggressively in the run game. Knowles loves to bring pressure and leave the back end of his defense in one-on-one situations. Sam Ehlinger will need to recognize pressure beforehand, which means Collin Johnson or Lil’ Jordan Humphrey will likely be matched up in single coverage.
  20. Get your predictions in for the Baylor game. I am currently tallying up the points through the Oklahoma game and should have them for y'all soon. Thank you for your participation!
  21. Harrison Wier

    Staff Predictions: Baylor

    The Baylor Bears travel to Austin to try and end the Longhorns' current streak of success. Since Art Briles left, the Baylor program has not been the same — but Matt Rhule appears to have the Bears heading in the right direction. The Baylor offense will give the Texas defense some problems, but having a full crowd at DKR after a big rivalry win will make it very difficult for the Bears to pull off the upset. Daniel Seahorn (2-4) Can this Texas team put a big Oklahoma win behind them and avoid a hangover against the Bears from Waco? I for one am anxious to see how this team handles success as the season wears on, particularly after a win over a conference rival that was exhausting physically and emotionally. The Longhorns are the better team on paper and should be on Saturday. The Bears aren’t going to roll over, though. They have an offense that is able to give a defense some problems. The Longhorns control their destiny after the win over the Sooners, and now more than ever need to be following their mantra of going 1-0 each week. Focus on the task at hand with the Bears, and everything else will take care of itself. I like the the Longhorns to be victorious this week, but I expect the Bears to be more competitive than they were last year in Waco. Prediction: Texas 45, Baylor 27 Jameson McCausland (4-2) The trend with Texas this season is playing up and down to their competition. If that continues on Saturday, Texas will find itself in a close ballgame late in the 4th quarter. The 2018 Baylor Bears are not as bad as some think. They are extremely thin at certain positions, but Matt Rhule has brought in some nice pieces to build around, namely QB Charlie Brewer. The Baylor defense is terrible, and that is putting it nicely. This is a unit that is worse than the Oklahoma unit Texas put up 48 points on a week ago. I expect big games from Tre Watson and Keaontay Ingram, and I will predict a long touchdown for Devin Duvernay. Baylor will hang around for most of the game, but I expect the Texas offense to simply be too much. Prediction: Texas 38, Baylor 21 Aaron Carrara (5-1) Post-Oklahoma, Tom Herman mentioned how nice it was for his offense to carry the team instead of having to rely on the defense to get the job done. The Longhorns will need Sam Ehlinger and the offense to put up points and carry the team against a Baylor offense that is equally as capable as the Sooners. Texas has the edge in defense, which is why I think they get the job done on Saturday. I expect Texas to have success in the air against the Bears, but I would be surprised if they aren't run-heavy against a defense that allows almost 200 rushing yards per game. Keaontay Ingram was 14 yards shy of the century mark against the Sooners, but he could be in for a big day on Saturday. Todd Orlando's defense needs to play better than they did in the 4th quarter against Oklahoma, or it could be an interesting game. Baylor is no slouch and Texas knows it, but Tom Herman has done a fantastic job of preaching and ingraining the 1-0 mentality week after week with his players. Prediction: Texas 38, Baylor 31 Harrison Wier (2-4) Baylor is no slouch. Texas fans may not know it, but Texas certainly does. If the Longhorns allow the Bears to stay in the game, things could get interesting late. I ultimately believe Texas will come away victorious due to lack of productivity from the Bears defense this season. Todd Orlando has a great opportunity to use this game as a confidence-builder for his unit. The Baylor offense is extremely capable of putting up points on anyone, and if Texas holds, it could do wonders for the unit's confidence after giving up 21 unanswered points to Oklahoma last week. The Texas offense has been consistent and dominant lately, and that should not change on Saturday. I expect big games from Sam Ehlinger and the Texas running back corps. Ultimately, Texas should be too much for Baylor. Matt Rhule has the Bears heading in the right direction, but the program is just not quite there in terms of competing with the rest of the conference. Texas will impose its will at times and hopefully not take its foot off the gas. Prediction: Texas 42, Baylor 31
  22. Here is the top 5 at the halfway mark through the season. For those of you not included, keep it up! It's very close and make sure you participate each week 1. @Coot 2. @Texas2725 T3. @HORNfromETX & @longhorn_mig T5. @Sirhornsalot & @drgilbert
  23. Get your predictions in for OU. After this week, we’ll tally up points and post the top 5 members. The total points from this game will be used in the event of a tiebreaker, so keep total points in mind when making your predictions.
  24. Harrison Wier

    Staff Predictions: Oklahoma

    The Longhorns are entering this year's Red River Showdown looking to earn their first victory over the Sooners since 2015. Our staff analyzes if Texas can come away with the victory in Dallas this weekend. Daniel Seahorn (2-3) This is one of my favorite rivalries because records don’t matter, and anything can happen once the ball is teed up in the Cotton Bowl. 50/50 split right down the middle. Burnt orange and white on one side with crimson and cream on the other. Last year the Longhorns almost pulled off the upset despite having a freshman signal-caller facing off with the eventual Heisman Trophy winner, but almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. This isn’t the NFL, where for some reason they still allow teams to tie. There has to be a winner and there has to be loser. The Sooners hold the edge offensively with Kyler Murray leading a very explosive offense that will provide Todd Orlando’s defense with their stiffest test to date. On the flip side, Texas has one of the best defenses in the Big 12 and will definitely provide a solid test for Murray and the Sooner offense on Saturday. I predict this game will be close when the clock strikes triple zeroes on Saturday. I’m also expecting both teams to hang some crooked numbers. The Longhorns have proved me wrong on multiple occasions this year. And they will have to do so again this weekend. I’m picking the Sooners in a tight one in Dallas. Prediction: Oklahoma 34, Texas 27 Jameson McCausland (4-1) It's been a long time since a Texas-OU has meant so much. The Longhorns have an opportunity to knock off a team with playoff aspirations while continuing to pursue their goal of winning a Big 12 championship. Not many experts are giving Texas a chance, and it's understandable. Kyler Murray is a legitimate Heisman contender and he has dangerous weapons all around him. If there is one factor working heavily in Texas' favor, it is the fact that Mike Stoops fields a defense that has a ton of question marks. The Longhorns have a huge size advantage outside at WR and Keaontay Ingram should be close to 100%. Texas is going to have to sustain drives and use the clock, but they need to also understand that playing conservative is a good way to get embarrassed and have the game be over by halftime. I think this is a very close game, but it's hard to go against Oklahoma and what they can do on offense. I think Texas is able to get enough stops to make it a game, but it's hard to contain Kyler Murray and Lincoln Riley's offense for 60 minutes. Prediction: Oklahoma 35, Texas 31 Aaron Carrara (4-1) Oklahoma owns a two-game win streak over the Longhorns, but those two games have been decided by just 10 points. Both teams are ranked in the Top 25, and the winner will be in the driver’s seat for the Big 12 crown. This is a high stakes game and I think the Longhorns are up for the challenge. Texas is finally healthy again and Sam Ehlinger’s development from game-to-game is apparent. Expect Keaontay Ingram to carry the load on the ground, and expect the Texas secondary to be challenged often. All-in-all, Tom Herman has to like where his team is heading into the big game on Saturday. With that being said, Oklahoma is an offensive machine. Kyler Murray is playing at an extremely high-level, and he has an array of weapons at his disposal. Conversely, Texas has to see potential for success against Lincoln Riley’s defense, which ranks 90th amongst FBS teams. This is a rivalry game where records are thrown out and hunger matters. Tom Herman said last week that winning is “intoxicating.” I think Texas wants to eat on Saturday, and will carry the “buzz” into Baylor next Saturday. Prediction: Texas 34, Oklahoma 31 Harrison Wier (2-3) It's been a couple of years since Texas defeated Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl, but this year is as good as any for the Longhorns to shift the momentum in their favor. In rivalry games, anything can happen — and nobody knows this better than Texas. The main advantage Texas has over the Sooners heading into this year's matchup is defense. The Oklahoma defense has struggled against the likes of Army and Baylor, whereas the Texas defense is one of the best in the Big 12. Add this to the fact that Oklahoma has faced opponents whose combined record falls below .500 and Texas has quite the recipe for success. The problem with this recipe is that the Texas offense has been inconsistent this season and the Texas defense will have to face its toughest challenge yet — containing Kyler Murray. Although Murray hasn't been challenged much this season, expect Todd Orlando to give him everything he can handle, including having LB Gary Johnson serve as a quarterback spy all day long. Although Texas has a great opportunity to pull away with a victory, I believe they'll come up just short. Oklahoma is going to put up points, and the Texas offense has stalled just enough this season to give me doubts about their ability to keep up with a high-powered offense like Oklahoma. Prediction: Oklahoma 27, Texas 24
  25. Texas announced that Texas offensive coordinator Tim Beck is currently hospitalized and battling an infection, causing him to miss Saturday's game. "It's unfortunate that Tim will not be able to be at the game with us. Our offensive staff will call plays collaboratively," Texas coach Tom Herman said. Beck is expected to return to the team on Sunday. We wish Tim a speedy and healthy recovery.