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Recap: Texas Handles Rice 42-28

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Photo: Brendan Maloney, USA Today Sports Images


by Aaron Carrara


In his first appearance as play-caller for the Texas offense, Jay Norvell shook up the norm, giving redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard the start at quarterback against the Rice Owls on Saturday.

After a lackluster performance in South Bend last week against the Irish, it was imperative that the Longhorns show better against a Rice team that hasn’t won in Austin since 1965.

By all accounts, they did.

The Texas offense struck first, marching downfield 80 yards on 9 plays to cap an opening drive in which Jerrod Heard found Armanti Foreman on a 32 yard touchdown pass. Texas took an early 7-0 lead over Rice and would add to the lead on the next possession. Daje Johnson fielded a James Farrimond punt at the Texas 15 yard line, and would elude several Rice defenders before breaking into the open field. Johnson would return the punt 85 yards into the Rice end zone, giving the Longhorns a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter.

The Texas special teams play wasn’t done yet.

Rice would punt on its next possession, this time to Duke Thomas. Thomas would get the better of Farrimond and the Owls, returning the punt 56 yards to the Rice six yard line. Senior running back Johnathan Gray would handle the rest, punching it in from a yard out giving Texas a 21-0 lead with only seconds left in the first quarter.

Rice running back Sam Stewart would add a pair of rushing touchdowns in the second quarter, pulling the Owls within a touchdown of Texas. The Longhorns would fail to put points up in the quarter and Texas would take a 21-14 lead into the locker room.

While the score was on the Longhorns’ side, the halftime statistics weren't. Rice nearly tripled the Texas time of possession and doubled the Longhorns’ number of first downs. Rice had 223 total yards compared to 157 for Texas.

Heard would open the third quarter with a 69 yard strike to true freshman John Burt, increasing the Texas lead to 28-14. The rest of the quarter would belong to Texas, who would put up two more touchdowns - one on a fumbled Driphus Jackson pitch that Malik Jefferson recovered and took into the end zone, and another on D’Onta Foreman’s 2-yard rush.

After three quarters it was Texas 42, Rice 14.

Much like the second quarter, the fourth would belong to the Rice Owls. Driphus Jackson would hit Temi Alaka for a four yard touchdown pass with 9:24 left in the quarter to cut the Texas lead to 42-21. Rice would pull Jackson and replace him with junior quarterback Tyler Stehling. Stehling would find Luke Turner and the end zone with 3:48 left in the game, cutting the Texas lead to 42-28, which is where it would stay.

The Longhorns won a must-win game in front of their home crowd fans tonight.

“We needed a victory, we needed to get our confidence going,” Strong said after the win.

Jerrod Heard finished with 120 yards passing and 96 yards rushing.

Tyrone Swoopes entered the game in relief of Heard with 6:33 left in the fourth quarter, and finished with sixteen total yards.

The Texas defense intercepted Driphus Jackson three times and recovered 2 fumbles from the Owls. Those are things Charlie Strong can point out as positives.

On the more concerning side is the overall play of the Texas defense, which gave up 462 yards of total offense to the Owls, a week after they gave up 527 to Notre Dame. It’s a unit that has to find a way to play better football.

“We still have a long ways to go. We’re not near where we should be.” "It’s all about effort, it’s all about passion.” said Strong.

Texas (1-1) welcomes the Cal Golden Bears (2-0) to Austin next weekend.
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Count me as not impressed by a win over Rice. I will wait to after Cal. or at least some one who might be good.


Im pretty sure we will get beaten up by Cal.  I would love to see us win but our defense both pass and rush are really bad right now.  All we can do at this point is play youngsters Hill, Boyd, MJ, Hager, Elliot (when hes healthy), Davis, Heard, Burt, Vahe, and Williams.  We need to recruit some 5 star DL and OL.  Thats our biggest weakness right now.  If we can get a few this team is going to be very GOOD in the next year or two.  This freshmen class will be playing on Sundays in a few years.  I am sure most of the recruits who visited yesterday had to be impressed with the energy the 2015 freshmen brought to the game.  


It was Rice after all but we still got manhandled on the LOS.  This will be a rough year.  We need to run the ball better, therefore I am for D. Foreman as RB over Gray.  He just runs more North and South and more aggressively.   Also why are we throwing 40 yarder shots downfield with 4 minutes left when we should have been eating up the clock and giving our OL some practice run blocking.  


Least I got to see the freshmen play and the future looks brighter to me just not this year.  Im pretty sure we would have lost to Rice had Swoopes been the starter and Watson was still calling the plays.  I still believe Heard made the biggest difference.  This team was feeding off his energy.  


Besides Daje the upperclassmen are pretty non existent.  This is a very young team talent wise.

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I think if the freshmen continue to improve we are probably 2-3 years away.  Just depends on how many impact Linemen we get in 2016.  Our defensive line was just as bad.  Rice still had 462 yards which is mind boggling.   Wasnt just rush defense our pass defense was bad.  We need more pressure and push from our DL.

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Did DMAC hear me talking at the game last night? A lot of what he posted I was saying last night.


Granted it was Rice but there were a lot of freshmen and true sophs on the field last night. While they weren't perfect, they played with a lot of tenacity. They should do nothing but improve. From what I've seen in the past, I'll take it. I too have a feeling this team will be pretty solid in 2 to 3 years.

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After 2 games, it is obvious Texas has to get better line play on both sides of the ball.  Maybe there are some diamonds in the rough out there. I thought by adding Wickline to the staff we would get the attention from the top guys.  For some reason, this has been a difficult area of recruiting to overcome.

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Progress. Amazing how many young guys are getting legit minutes. 


The refs should be ashamed. The Rice tackles literally held the entire game. 


I was moaning about this in the game thread.  #75 (RT) was holding practically the entire night.  One hold was directly responsible for a long 2nd down conversion.  Those refs were flat out blind or incompetent.  

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