It was a defensive showdown at DKR on Saturday afternoon as Texas defeated West Virginia, 17-13, to win their 3rd straight game and improve their record to 4-2 in Big 12 play. Here are some thoughts and takeaways from a Texas victory:
The Texas defense was the difference in the game. Chris Ash has his unit playing at a high level right now, especially in the red zone. The Longhorns defense came up with two huge 4th down stops in the red zone and shut down Leddie Brown, who is one of the best running backs in the Big 12. The Mountaineers finished the game with 43 yards rushing.
Keondre Coburn exited the game early with an ankle injury, creating the opportunity for Moro Ojomo to make his presence felt. Ojomo had a sack and lived in the West Virginia backfield all afternoon. T'Vondre Sweat also contributed some quality snaps and it was obvious from the first snap the West Virginia offensive staff was worried about the impact the Texas defensive line would have on this game.
DeMarvion Overshown continues to flash at linebacker, and it's hard to believe at time he's only playing his 7th game at the position. Overshown came up with a huge 3rd down sack to force a Mountaineers field goal. He is still learning on the fly and makes mistakes at times, but Coleman Hutzler is doing a nice job with the junior and his development.
On the backend of the defense, the Texas corners and safeties did a nice job keeping the everything in front of them and benefited from some drops from the West Virginia wide receivers. BJ Foster had a big pass breakup in the endzone on 4th down and Chris Brown followed it up the next possession with very tight coverage on a 4th down pass. Josh Thompson and D'Shawn Jamison allowed completions but limited big plays.
Offensively, it was not pretty for Texas at times. We can start at QB, where it is obvious Sam Ehlinger is not anywhere close to 100%. He missed on several throws in the first half and didn't have the typical zip on his balls. In the second half, he made enough plays when it counted.
Ehlinger was not getting much help in the second half from his receivers. Tarik Black and Brenden Schooler both dropped passes that would have been huge gains. Kai Money also dropped a pass that was initially ruled a backwards pass and was almost a disaster. The Longhorns have to get consistent play from their receivers outside of Jake Smith.
Speaking of Smith, the sophomore had another good game with 59 yards on 3 catches and a TD. Texas has to find more ways to get him the ball out of the slot.
It was a huge day for Bijan Robinson, who rushed for over 100 yards as the lead running back. Robinson took the first carry of the game and ripped off a 54-yard run to set up the first TD of the day. The next possession, Robinson had perhaps an even more impressive run when he broke two tackles and tight roped the sideline while getting his face mask held. It is becoming clear Robinson is the best back on the Texas roster, and the coaching staff will likely need to be getting him 15-20 touches a game moving forward.
The Longhorns will get a bye week before traveling to Lawrence to play Kansas. There are only 3 games left in the season, and the Longhorns control their own destiny to make an appearance in the Big 12 title game. The bye week will come at a good time with several guys, most important Ehlinger, banged up and needing some rest. If Texas is able to figure things out offensively and continue to play solid defense, they will certainly have a chance to make some noise down the stretch.
The Texas Longhorns (4-2, 3-2) will meet the West Virginia Mountaineers (4-3, 3-2) in Austin, Texas on Saturday. Both teams are coming off their best wins of the season, with Texas defeating sixth ranked Oklahoma State 41-34 in Stillwater, and West Virginia handily beating #16 Kansas State in Morgantown.
The Mountaineers have fared well in Austin, notching a 4-1 record all-time at DKR, but haven't won a road game this season.
Texas is a Top-10 team nationally in scoring offense, averaging 44.3 points per game. West Virginia's defense is is ranked fourth in the country in total defense. While the Longhorns' running game has struggled as a whole this season with the exception of Sam Ehlinger, Texas did have some success last week against the Cowboys. The tandem of Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson gained 108 yards on 22 carries in the win. West Virginia's impressive defensive line will look to limit the ground game and put pressure on Ehlinger.
Junior Mountaineer QB Jarret Doege has thrown for over 300 yards in each of his last three games, including a 301 yard, 2 TD performance in the upset win over Kansas State on Halloween. West Virginia averages 33 points per game, and they will need Doege to have an efficient, mistake-free game against a rising Texas defense to pull off consecutive wins over ranked opponents.
What: #22 Texas Longhorns (4-2, 3-2) vs. West Virginia (4-2, 3-2)
When: Saturday, November 7, 2020
Time: 11:00 AM CST
Venue: Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium
Location: Austin, Texas
The Line: Texas -6.5
Last Meeting Between the Two Teams: Texas defeated West Virginia 42-31 (October 5, 2019, Morgantown, WV)
All-Time Series Record: West Virginia leads Texas 5-4-0
West Virginia Mountaineers
Head Coach: Neal Brown
Head Coaching Experience: 1st year as a head coach
Years as Head Coach at West Virginia: 2
Career Record: 44-25
Career Record at West Virginia: 9-9
Head Coach: Tom Herman
Head Coaching Experience: 6th year as a head coach
Years as Head Coach at Texas: 4
Career Record: 51-21
Career Record at Texas: 29-17
Relevant Articles & Information
Depth Chart – Texas vs. West Virginia
Five Questions About Texas vs. West Virginia with Blue Gold Sports
Staff Predictions – Texas vs. West Virginia
Scouting Report: West Virginia
Win a HornSports Lid by guessing the final score of Texas-West Virginia
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The #22 Texas Longhorns (4-2, 3-2) will face the West Virginia Mountaineers (4-2, 3-2) on Saturday at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium. Both teams are coming off of wins over ranked opponents, and both teams need a win to remain in contention for a slot in the Big 12 Championship game. Can Texas win their third straight and second consecutive game over West Virginia? Or will the Mountaineers win their third straight in Austin and extend their all-time lead in the head-to-head series?
The HornSports Staff weighs in with their thoughts and predictions on Saturday's game.
Texas's win against Oklahoma State served as a nice reprieve for the program. However, this week, the Longhorns will have to beat a pesky West Virginia team in order to prove that they are heading in the right direction.
The key to this game will be Texas's offensive line. Other than Samuel Cosmi, the performance of the offensive line has been less than inspiring. In addition, the Longhorns will face a talented West Virginia defense that is led by the Stills brothers on the defensive line. If Texas's offensive line, (particularly the right side) can keep a clean pocket for Sam Ehlinger, the Longhorns will be in great shape to win at home.
Score Prediction: Texas 30, West Virginia 20
It is not often you see a defensive battle in Big 12 play, but this game has all the makings of a low scoring affair. Nothing the Texas offensive line has shown this year should give fans confidence they can slow down the Stills brothers. On the other hand, the Texas defense has shown significant improvement week to week and West Virginia does not have a potent passing game. The Mountaineers have found success running the ball but the Texas run defense will be the best they have faced so far this season. I will take Texas in a low scoring defensive battle with Sam Ehlinger making just enough plays for the Longhorns to come out on top.
Score Prediction: Texas 24, West Virginia 14
Both teams are 4-2 on the season and both teams need a win on Saturday. With Texas you have to worry about how they will perform after a big road win over a ranked Oklahoma State team. West Virginia hasn't won a road game this season. Something has to give on Saturday and I think Texas will have the advantage as long as they don't shoot themselves in the foot with costly penalties and turnovers. The West Virginia defense is ranked 4th in the country in total defense, giving up an average of just 255 yards per game. Sam Ehlinger and company are going to have to find ways to run the ball and move the chains against a stout defensive line, but I like the odds of the Texas wideouts against a young WVU secondary. Much like every game so far this season. I expect the final score to be tight but Texas has too much to lose by not winning.
Score Prediction: Texas 31, West Virginia 24
This is setting up to be a bit of letdown game after such a huge win in Stillwater. 11 AM starts statistically aren’t kind to Texas under Herman, and West Virginia will be another big challenge after they absolutely spanked a solid Kansas State squad last weekend. Predicting the Longhorns’ chances in these matchups has become like a riddle of plugging multiple holes in leaking boat; they simply can’t get all three phases playing soundly. If we assume the defense continues to progress and do well stopping the run, the offense must produce consistently and avoid their cold spurts. It’s highly unlikely they will receive four or five extra chances to score as they did against Oklahoma State, and the Mountaineers’ defense will make them earn everything. As much as I have an unsettling feeling about this one and don’t expect Texas to cover, I’ll give them the home bump since West Virginia hasn’t had much luck on the road.
Score Prediction: Texas 34, West Virginia 31
Texas earned a huge victory on Saturday by dethroning the undefeated Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Longhorns now finds themselves back in the top-25, and awaiting a 4-2 West Virginia squad who’s also coming off of a big victory over ranked Kansas State. Expect this to be another high scoring affair as the over has hit in five of six Longhorns games this season. Texas is 10th in points per game led by Sam Ehlinger while West Virginia is 4-0 at home yet 0-2 on the road in 2020. Texas is also coming off of an amazing defensive display as they forced four turnovers against the Cowboys. After a huge victory for Texas last week, this is another must-win to continue to build momentum for the rest of this season. The Big-12 is a mess and at this rate anyone has a chance to make it to the championship game. Texas isn’t out of it yet and they’ll show people that this Saturday. Texas wins and covers the 6.5 point spread in doing so.
The West Virginia Mountaineers have given the Texas Longhorns fits since joining the Big 12 eight years ago and have won the last two in Austin. The Mountaineers are coming off a 37-10 win over #16 Kansas State at home, but have yet to win a road game this season. HornSports caught up with Ashley O'Brien from Blue Gold Sports and asked her five questions about the upcoming matchup at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
HornSports: On the surface, it appears West Virginia has had an up and down start to the season. The win against Kansas State was certainly impressive, but they also struggled against a bad Baylor team, lost soundly to Oklahoma State and fell to Texas Tech. What has been the biggest difference in year 2 under Neal Brown and where is the program at as a whole?
Blue Gold Sports: Hands-down, the run game and the defense. The run game was nothing short of a joke last season, so to see the improvement Coach Brown has put together in year two has been a site for sore eyes. Leddie Brown had made quite the name for himself this season. The defense was hit with a coaching shake up this summer, which left people wondering what this defense would be like. Looking at the defense in game time and on paper, it’s one of the top defenses in the country. Despite the coaching changes, this defense is a single, solitary unit that shows up & will find holes in most of the offensive lines they face.
HornSports: When looking at the Mountaineers defense, the first thing you have to mention is the Stills brothers. Texas struggled to contain them in Morgantown last year and both are off to strong starts this year. Is there a way to slow these two down and how do you see the matchup playing out between a strong WVU defensive line and a Texas offensive line that has not been good?
Blue Gold Sports: Saturday’s game will come down to how many points the Longhorns offense can score against Darius, Dante and the rest of the defense. If the Stills brothers and crew show up like they did against Kansas State, Sam Ehlinger and the Texas offense are going to have to get creative in the ways they reach the end zone.
HornSports: Sticking on the topic of defense, a lot of Texas fans are familiar with LB Tony Fields, who chose West Virginia over Texas as a grad transfer. How has Fields looked this season and what type of impact can Texas fans expect him to make?
Blue Gold Sports: So far, Tony Fields has lived up to every expectation that fans had of him coming from Arizona. Fields is dynamic, energized and is constantly looking to make plays. Expect an explosive, fast player with his eyes set on the ball.
HornSports: Texas did not see Jarret Doege last year as they faced the Mountaineers early in the year before the Austin Kendall experiment ended. Doege is off to a good start this year and threw for over 300 yards against the Wildcats. How has he progressed as a passer and what challenges does he present?
Blue Gold Sports: Doege’s year one to year two growth has been great. He used his time during the spring at home to continue to work on his skill sets and accuracy as a passing; sharing to his social media numerous times videos of himself and his mom running routes and working on his improvement. Despite a few shaky moments (Texas Tech game) Doege’s accuracy and stats have been near the top of the conference. If he performs like he did against Kansas State, the offense will not have an issue scoring points.
HornSports: The Mountaineers have won four of five in Austin and hold the series edge over Texas 5-4. What's your prediction for Saturday?
Blue Gold Sports: The West Virginia-Texas games have been known to be eventful, from offensive showdowns to Grier’s finger injury to the 2018 game in Austin; this matchup is one that’s circled on plenty of calendars in the fall. Both teams are coming off big wins last week, and West Virginia will be coming to Texas to show that they can in fact play well on the road in the Big 12. It seems at times that Texas will play down to their opponents following big wins, and I can see that happening Saturday. While Sam Ehlinger is an excellent quarterback, I think West Virginia’s defense continues to trend upward and be the determining factor this weekend. Both teams score some points, but I think West Virginia shows up with a major desire to prove themselves. West Virginia 35, Texas 31.
Following a big upset win over Oklahoma State, the Longhorns find themselves back in the thick of the Big 12 race as they prepare to host West Virginia in Austin. The Mountaineers are coming off a big win at home against Kansas State and boast a defense playing at an extremely high level. Here’s what to expect from the Mountaineers on Saturday afternoon:
In Morgantown last year, Texas faced a West Virginia offense that was not very good. Austin Kendall was at the helm and tossed 4 interceptions. A few games later, Neal Brown made a quarterback switch to Jarret Doege, who has started every game since. Doege has done a good job of taking care of the football and spreading it around to their talented wide receivers. He will not be used as a runner, but the Longhorns defense should not expect any of the gifts they received from Spencer Sanders last week.
Leddie Brown is averaging 5.5 yards per carry as the leading back for the Mountaineers. West Virginia is very committed to running the football and Brown will get the bulk of the carries. Alec Sinkfield will also see touches and is a home-run threat with great speed.
Texas fans are familiar with TJ Simmons and Sam James, who combined for 13 catches and a pair of TD’s in the matchup last season in Morgantown. The duo has been joined this season by Winston Wright and Bryce Ford-Wheaton to form a solid group of receivers. Ford-Wheaton had over 100 yards last week against Kansas State and Wright leads the team with 32 receptions.
The West Virginia offensive line was not very good this year but has taken a step forward in 2020. Both starting tackles are in their first year as full time starters and have held their own, but Joseph Ossai will be their biggest test to date. The Mountaineers are likely to build a gameplan around the short passing game to protect Doege and get the ball out quickly, similar to what Texas Tech attacked Texas with earlier this season.
West Virginia is widely considered the second best defense in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma State, who Texas struggled to move the ball against a week ago. For the Mountaineers, it all starts up front with Darius and Dante Stills, who hold down the defensive tackle spots. The brothers had their way with the Texas offensive line in 2019 and have been nearly unstoppable at times this year. The interior of the Texas offensive line has looked lost at times this year on stunts and twists, which West Virginia will surely run a lot of on Saturday afternoon.
At linebacker, Arizona transfer Tony Fields leads the team in tackles with 53. Fields was pursued by Texas before choosing West Virginia and has fit in very nicely at the middle linebacker spot. It is tough to get a real read on the backend of the West Virginia defense considering the quality of quarterbacks they have faced. They have faced backup quarterbacks from Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Kansas while also getting the luxury of facing Charlie Brewer and Jalon Daniels. CB Dreshun Miller has been impressive the last few games and will provide another test for the outside receivers of Texas
This game has the makings of a defensive struggle. The Longhorns were fortunate to be gifted with several short fields and a special teams TD against Oklahoma State, which masked the problems the offense had moving the ball. On the other hand, the Texas defense continues to improve weekly under Chris Ash and should be able to hold the West Virginia offense in check. If Texas is able to sustain a handful of drives and limit turnovers for the second consecutive week, they will put themselves in great position to secure a win.
Last week, when I heard the news that Kennedale was traveling to Wimberley, I was ecstatic. I was eager to watch 2021 Longhorns commit, JD Coffey, play for the Wildcats in a big 4A classification matchup.
What I learned from covering Wimberley earlier in the season is that they like to throw the deep ball. Against Lampasas, Wimberley tried their best to beat a dominant Badgers squad, but came up short. Despite this, I thought that the Texans would provide a decent test against Coffey and the Wildcats. In short, I was not disappointed.
JD Coffey's anticipation was noticeable right away as he was able to sniff out plays before they even happened. In fact, there was multiple occasions in which he would fly to the line of scrimmage once the ball was snapped, and meet the running back in the hole. However, it was a defensive battle for both teams. Similar to the Wildcats, Wimberley's defense was also walloping tailbacks in the backfield. Consequently, Kennedale had to send out junior, Aidan Birr, to punt the ball away on many drives. However, Birr also impressed with his leg as he had some booming punts with excellent hang time.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats were able to score on a safety and win 17-14, after the Texans missed a game-tying field goal attempt.
What really stood out to me about Coffey is his fearlessness to attack the ball on defense. He never hesitated in his pursuit of the football and led the Wildcats to a nice victory. In addition, this win will bode well for Coffey and the Wildcats as they enter the playoffs with some big game experience. In fact, Kennedale has already clinched their playoff spot and will face Brownwood in the bi-district round. Lastly, the Wildcats (elite named) defensive trio of RJ Pepper, Braden Waters and JD Coffey, will all continue to make a name for themselves in the coming weeks.
75 (round trip).
Longhorns Recruiting News:
After Saturday's game, the Longhorns extended an offer to 2022 four-star quarterback, Cade Klubnik. Last year, I was fortunate enough to
with the Westlake Chaparrals, in Austin, TX.
On Sunday, 2022 three-star linebacker, Trevell Johnson, received an offer from Texas. In addition, Johnson's teammate at Arlington Martin, Morice Blackwell, is a current Longhorns commit.
On Monday, the Longhorns offered 2023 four-star cornerback, Malik Muhammad. Currently, the cornerback from South Oak Cliff has three other Big 12 offers from Kansas, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.
Last night, 2022 four-star safety, Jacoby Mathews, listed the Longhorns as one of his finalists.
Lastly, we look at the bad news that has plagued the Longhorns over the past week. Firstly, the highest rated quarterback in the 2022 class, Quinn Ewers, de-committed from the Longhorns. Afterwards, 2022 four-star wide receiver Phaizon Wilson followed suit and de-committed as well. To top it off, 2021 four-star athlete Billy Bowman Jr. announced his commitment to Oklahoma on Sunday. Last year, I was able to cover
, and I was able to watch Phaizon and Billy just two weeks ago. The loss of these three players was huge, but now Tom Herman and the Longhorns must move on and look at their options.
Tom Herman said earlier this week that his team hasn’t played an “A” game since the Alamo Bowl win over Utah hours before the ball dropped on New Year’s 2020. I don’t think Texas fans will be clamoring to get in line to disagree with him (though there might be that ONE fan who absolutely hates UTEP with the fire of one thousand Sun Bowls, and had the game of their life to start the season).
Since that bowl victory, the Longhorns have a 4-2 record and – again, subtracting the outclassed Miners – a combined point differential of +14 (6, -2, -8, 11, 7). They have basically played to the level of their conference opponents and you could just as easily “Butterfly Effect” your way in either direction to 3 or 4 plays being the difference between 6-0 and 2-4. On the other hand, an “A-game” is a game you feel in your chest at the end of four quarters that you have just whipped a worthy opponent in all phases of the game.
That last piece is important: all phases.
Against Texas Tech, the offense was probably an A-grade, but the defense played their worst game of the season and the special teams were atrocious. I don't know if Texas has had a unit play an unquestionably "A game" since then (a few B or B+ from the defense). Texas special teams might be the unit that has evoked the most consistent ire. Against OU, they graded out terribly and though Baylor was a reset for all 3 units, it seemed that only perfection across all phases of the game would see Texas upset the undefeated, #6-ranked Cowboys on their own field in the
Texas certainly did not do that, but I would argue this is as close as they’ve come, with an “A” defense, “A” special teams and an offense that…didn’t turn the ball over. Let’s start with the positives:
Texas Special Teams: A
This was the most consistently excellent unit on the field. The obvious starting place is D’Shawn Jamison getting his 3rd career return touchdown. His kick return TD proved utterly crucial, and I tweeted at the time that it evoked Jordan Shipley against OU vibes.
The 100-yard TD is the 5th triple digit return in Texas’ history (oddly 3 of the 5 have come against OSU), and moved Jamison behind Shipley’s 4 career returns in a tie for second all-time with Aaron Ross, DJ Monroe, Selvin Young, Raymond Claiborn, and Jim Moore.
The kicking units followed closely behind with Dicker netting a touchback on every kickoff and converting on 2/2 field goals (though he did go 2/3 on extra points after Jamison was awarded one of the most bizarre 15-yard penalties for shushing a crowd, an act that happens a dozen times a week around the country). The much-maligned punt unit was a huge plus this week with 9 punts for an average of 47 yards per punt and 46 yards net. These often flipped the entire field for a Texas offense that struggled and a defense that just needed more chances to take the ball away.
The sneaky Bujcevski Play of the Game: handling a wild snap and getting it in place for Dicker to get Texas a field goal before halftime.
Texas Defense: A
For all of you folks who are a bit more old-school and liked winning your games 15-12 with 9 attempted passes between both teams: I would suggest watching ESPN Classic and keeping your “fire Chris Ash” takes of these here internets. Texas’ defense has been very good in more weeks than they haven’t this year. I know what you’re thinking “they gave up 530 yards, the fault lies with the defense” – so allow me to spend the next few paragraphs explaining why that is just simply an antiquated way to view the game and why Chris Ash actually executed a tactical masterclass.
Let’s start with the fact that this Oklahoma State offense is truly the most elite “three-headed monster” we have seen in years, and the main reason they were a trendy pick to upset the Big 12 status quo. The Texas Pregamer described this offense as having “more talent at the skill positions than the author of the Kama Sutra.” Tylan Wallace is a 1st-round graded wide receiver and Chuba Hubbard is the consensus #1 or #2 RB on NFL draft boards. They jointly decided to return to college this year after receiving strong draft grades for the 2020 draft for the explicit chance of playing on a playoff-caliber unit. The third threat is the running ability of Spencer Sanders, who in my opinion is the most dangerous mobile QB in the country this year.
Texas made the decision to allow the Wallace-Sanders pass combo to be the path of least resistance for the OSU offense, and it clearly showed.
Chuba Hubbard was swarmed in the running game, posting career low rushing numbers (72 yards, 2.9 yards per carry). You could see the defense visibly relax when anyone else was at running back, to the tune of averaging a full 1.8 yards more per carry on 9 carries between LD Brown and Braydon Johnson. Chuba had more success in the passing game, where he still only had a long of 12 yards on 4 catches. Texas was able to improve upon last year’s impressive showing, in which they shut the Heisman-contender down more than any defense to the tune of 37 carries for 3.3 per.
Sanders had 11 actual rushes for 48 yards, but because he took 5 sacks for -37, his final tally on the day was 16 for 11. If you break it down further and exclude the one 35-yard run to set up the second TD of the day (and I’m sure poor Juwan Mitchell would be happy to do so), Sanders was otherwise entirely contained on the ground with 10 rushing attempts for 13 yards! That’s incredible given his shiftiness and electric acceleration.
“Let Sanders beat you with his arm” was the poison Chris Ash ultimately picked, and the OSU QB took full advantage by throwing for 400 yards and 4 TDs, 187 yards and 2 of those TDs to Wallace. But it is the most volatile of paths from an Oklahoma State perspective – the Longhorn Republic podcast described it as “paying the Spencer Sanders tax.” You can think of it as 'Sanders giveth and Sanders taketh away'. Keeping the ball in his hands as a passer directly led to 3 fumbles and an INT, returned for 82 Texas yards and giving incredible field position to the offense (drives starting on OSU's 15, 8, 20 and UT's 41 yard lines). There was also an additional dropped INT by Overshown (who probably also denied Jamison an INT on the play) and two downfield throws where Jamison and Chris Brown both covered perfectly in deep 1-on-1 coverage and got their hands on the ball. Ash's strategy simply worked.
That’s macro-defense. On the micro level, Joseph Ossai put in one of the most incredible individual performances I’ve seen in decades; A++ level game: 12 tackles, 6 TFL, 3 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 KO on Spencer Sanders (the play before the walk-off sack). This is a National PoTW level performance, an All-American, and totally unsurprising to anyone who’s been paying attention. He has played incredibly all season but been just a half-step from getting the sacks and TFLs he deserved.
Honestly the entire DL should grade out at A-level (especially: 3.5 TFLs and a fumble rumble for TQ, Sack and fumble recovery for Jacoby Jones). This was also the best game for a Texas linebacking unit in possibly a few years. DeMarvion Overshown is really growing in the position and he and Mitchell seemed to have finally gelled in the area that most agreed was the season’s most “success-dependent.” The DBs were at times less than perfect, but against the talent they faced and the scheme drawn to specifically put them on islands and entice Sanders to take shots deep, they get a passing grade. Jamison’s Hocus-Pocus takeaway and return was a definite highlight.
The entire defense played well on money downs, holding the OSU offense to only 3-of-12 on 3rd downs (though they allowed at least 3 conversions from heave-a-prayer pass interferences that could’ve gone either way).
So why isn’t this an elusive A-game for the entire team? For the third-consecutive week:
Texas Offense was…way less than an A.
There are so many specific ways to break down this section. It has become imminently clear that Texas doesn’t have an offensive identity. How much you attribute that to the offense failing to execute the plays called and how much you put squarely on the shoulders of the offensive staff, might have to do with if you’re rooting for a coaching change in Austin or not. Put simply, the gameplan is hindered in what it can do, and hasn’t consistently been able to maximize its assets. I’ve always argued that Gregg Popovich is a far superior coach to Phil Jackson because he re-engineered and tailored his entire scheme to the strengths he had on his team each season – Phil had (Tex Winter’s) Triangle offense, and you either fit the system or get out. I’m beginning to wonder where Herman and Yurcich fall on that continuum and where they honestly see their own strengths.
Starting from Baylor, there were about 6 quarters coming out of a bye-week (after a game where they abandoned the run entirely against OU) where it seemed they were trying to establish a power-zone run identity at all costs (my own curiosity if this has to do with Sam not being 100% and unable to pass 50 times in a game). But after Bijan Robinson got off to an electric start with 40 yards in the first quarter on 5 carries, the brain trust seemed laser-focused on turning that into play-action passing bombs. After a very balanced 7 play, 75 yard TD drive that ended with a beautifully schemed Eagles 41-yard go route TD, Texas had some struggles...to put it mildly.
Their next 18 plays netted 15 total yards. Then Jamison returned the kickoff for a touchdown; I cannot stress how timely that was for the Longhorn offense.
They punted twice more waiting for Texas’ most dangerous offensive weapon: the 4th quarter. They scored their first offensive touchdown since that Eagles bomb at the start of the 2nd quarter, but only on a gutsy, do-or-die drive that saw three 4th down conversions (counting the roughing the punter penalty). I think it’s important to note that they had more 4th down conversions on that drive alone than they had on 3rd down the entire game (2-of-15).
With Keontay Ingram hurt early in the first quarter, Bijan and Roschon Johnson handled the run game duties admirably going for over 100 yards combined on the game. However, in the critical 4th quarter, the RBs ran 8 times for 5 yards! How do you explain this? When the (quite talented) opposing defense knows Texas is trying to run, the Texas offensive line isn’t good enough to create a push. There may not be a bigger storyline for the success of the next 4 games/the season at large than if the offensive line that has featured mostly the same five for the entire season can take any steps forward. They allowed constant pressure on Sam Ehlinger and running backs were almost successful “in-spite of” rather than “because of” the OL.
To tie this thread completely: why was Texas so bad on 3rd downs? Because the line was horrendous on 1st downs: Texas was 4-of-8 passing on 1st down, averaging 3.5 per completion, and allowing 3 sacks. That’s 14 yards forward and 15 yards backward on 11 first down passing attempts!
If there was an A for the offense, it was probably the ever-reliable “Winning Time Sam.” The senior was 7-9 passing (almost 40% of his completions for the game) with 2 TDs in 4th quarter and OT. Sam now leads the country with eight 4th quarter and OT TDs. Say what you will about Sam’s accuracy and the WRs inability to get separation against man coverage, but when the game is on the line, there is another level that Ehlinger reaches that few in the country can emulate.
So no, this was not a team-wide A-game. But it was a win against a Top-10 team on the road and an example of a team gritting and rising to the occasion. Imperfect as they may’ve been, the offense capitalized on the defense allowing them to be in a position to win.
A few final miscellaneous notes that all blew my mind:
Both coaches struggled against the mask this week, but there is no greater offender in the nation than Mike Gundy. There were zero camera shots of Gundy in which his nose was covered and almost none of even his mouth covered. In one hilarious moment in the 4th quarter, Gundy was seen on camera actually pulling his mask DOWN when it encroached on covering his mouth
Not so spooky: Texas improved to 16-2-1 all time on the Hallowed Ween. Way more Treat than Trick, historically speaking
Texas ended regulation with 17 completions for 154 passing yards and 13 penalties for 142 yards! 92% as many penalty as passing yards! They were one more personal foul away from ignominy. For comparison, to the weak pass game numbers:
Defense accounted for 82 yards on turnover returns (53% as many yards)
Special teams accounted for 166 return yards (108%)
Gundy punted on 4th and inches and punted on 4th and short with 3:44 seconds left, down three points…if the OAN shirt didn’t do it, this game certified his credentials as incredibly conservative
The Longhorns shock the Cowboys with a 41-34 overtime victory in Stillwater. Furthermore, Texas linebacker, Joesph Ossai, showed up on the biggest stage and proved why he has first round NFL Draft potential. After the game, I shared some of my thoughts.
The Texas Longhorns (4-2, 3-2) were successful in their last Halloween trip to Stillwater, routing the Oklahoma State Cowboys (4-1, 3-1) 41-14 in 2009. Texas didn't dominate Mike Gundy's sixth-ranked Pokes on Saturday, but they forced four turnovers and managed just enough, en route to a 41-34 overtime upset over undefeated Oklahoma State.
The win was Tom Herman's biggest while at Texas and couldn't have come at a better time for a program that has been in search for an identity on both sides of the ball all season. While all the questions about this program weren't answered today, the Longhorns find themselves controlling their own destiny in a Big 12 title race that seemed unattainable four games into the season.
The Longhorns scored 13 points off of Oklahoma State's four turnovers, which kept them in this game. Texas managed just 287 yards of offense compared to Oklahoma State's 530. Texas linebacker Joseph Ossai had 12 tackles, 6 of them for a loss, including the game-winning sack on Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders in overtime.
Sam Ehlinger threw for 169 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Longhorns tallied 118 rushing yards on the day, with true freshman Bijan Robinson leading the way for the Longhorns with 59 yards on 13 carries. Jake Smith led the way in receiving with seven catches for 70 yards and one touchdown.
Spencer Sanders had a terrific day for the Cowboys, throwing for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns with one interception. Texas held Chuba Hubbard to 72 yards on 25 carries. Tylan Wallace had a big day, grabbing 11 catches for 187 yards and two scores.
Texas will host the West Virginia Mountaineers next Saturday at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium.
Oklahoma State won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. The Longhorns started on offense and picked up one first down on the drive, courtesy of a 24-yard run from Bijan Robinson, before punting it away.
The Cowboys took advantage of their first possession, and a roughing the passer call on Jacoby Jones, marching 86 yards on seven plays to take a 7-0 lead. The scoring drive was capped with OSU quarterback Spencer Sanders finding Tylan Wallace in the end zone for the score.
Spencer Sanders fumbled on the Cowboys' ensuing possession and Jacoby Jones recovered it at the OSU 15-yard line. Three plays later Keaontay Ingram punched it in for Texas, his first rushing TD of the season, evening the score at 7-7 with 8:31 remaining the quarter. Ingram injured his ankle on the second play of the drive and would not return to the field.
The Pokes would answer, with Spencer Sanders throwing his second touchdown of the game, this one to Brandon Wolf for five yards. Oklahoma State held a 14-7 lead with 1:46 left in the first quarter.
Sam Ehlinger threw his first touchdown pass in the game to Brennan Eagles, for 41 yards, at the 13:20 mark of the second quarter to even the score at 14-14.
OSU' turnover woes would continue, with Jalen Green intercepting Spencer Sanders with 12:08 left in the first half. This set Texas up with first and goal at the OSU eight yard line. The Longhorns couldn't find the end zone in three plays. Instead they settled for Cameron Dicker's 20-yard field goal, giving them a 17-14 lead, their first of the game.
Oklahoma State regained the lead on its next possession.
Spencer Sanders ran for 35 yards to the Texas 5-yard line on second and three, setting up a five-yard touchdown reception by Chuba Hubbard (Sanders' third passing TD of the game).
Cowboy kicker Alex Hale kicked a 31-yard field goal to extend the Oklahoma State lead to 24-17 with 1:49 left in the first half.
Oklahoma State looked poised to put more points on the board before the half, but Joseph Ossai's hit on Spencer Sanders caused a fumble. TaQuon Graham recovered and returned it to the OSU 20-yard line. With the game clock at :07 and no timeouts, Texas opted for a Cameron Dicker field goal from 40 yards to cut the OSU lead to 24-20.
The Cowboys scored the first points of the second half on Tylan Wallace's second touchdown reception (9 yards) of the game.
D'Shawn Jamison answered by taking the OSU kickoff 100 yards for a Texas touchdown. Jamison was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and Cameron Dicker missed the extra point. The Cowboys led 31-26 at that point.
Texas forced the fourth OSU turnover of the day at the 12:15 mark in the 4th quarter. DeMarvion Overshown's hit on LD Brown forced a fumble which was recovered by Joseph Ossai. The Longhorns had their drive extended by a roughing the kicker call and converted two 4th downs, the last of which was a touchdown pass from Sam Ehlinger to Jake Smith. Texas went for two and converted, giving the Longhorns a 34-31 lead with 4:27 left on the clock.
Oklahoma State rallied, with Alex Hale making good on his second field goal of the night from 34-yards out with five seconds left on the game clock.
Headed to overtime, Texas and Oklahoma State were tied 34-34.
The Cowboys won the toss and deferred, setting the Longhorns up on offense first in OT. On 3rd down at the OSU 23-yard line, Thomas Harper was flagged for pass interference on Joshua Moore. This gave Texas a fresh set of downs at the Cowboy 8-yard line. Two plays later Joshua Moore grabbed his first reception of the night, a 15 yard touchdown pass from Sam Ehlinger to give Texas a 41-34 lead.
Oklahoma State moved the ball to the Texas 12-yard line on their possession but was ultimately forced with a 4th & 8. Joseph Ossai chased down Spencer Sanders from behind for a sack on the next play, ending the game and giving Texas the win.
The Texas Longhorns (3-2, 2-2) will meet the undefeated sixth-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys (4-0, 3-0) in Stillwater, Oklahoma on Saturday. The Cowboys have had the Longhorns' number as of late, winning seven of the last ten, including the last two in Stillwater. These two programs met once before on Halloween, with the Longhorns leaving Boone Pickens Stadium with a 41-14 victory in 2009.
The Cowboys are clicking on all cylinders, hoping to continue their winning ways en route to a berth in the Big 12 Championship game and possibly more. The Longhorns had high expectations to start the season but are left struggling to find their identity five games through a shortened ten-game season.
The stakes are high for both programs, but Tom Herman needs a win over a ranked Oklahoma State team in order to keep the season alive and possibly his job.
What: Texas Longhorns (3-2, 2-2) vs. #6 Oklahoma State (4-0, 3-0)
When: Saturday, October 31, 2020
Time: 3:00 PM CST
Venue: Boone Pickens Stadium
Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma
The Line: Oklahoma State -3.5
Last Meeting Between the Two Teams: Texas defeated Oklahoma State 36-30 (September 21, 2019, Austin, TX)
All-Time Series Record: Texas leads Oklahoma State 25-9-0
Head Coach: Mike Gundy
Head Coaching Experience: 1st year as a head coach
Years as Head Coach at Oklahoma State: 16
Career Record: 133-64
Career Record at Baylor: 133-64
Head Coach: Tom Herman
Head Coaching Experience: 6th year as a head coach
Years as Head Coach at Texas: 4
Career Record: 50-21
Career Record at Texas: 28-17
Relevant Articles & Information
Depth Chart – Texas vs. Oklahoma State
Eight Questions With Pistols Firing Blog About Texas vs. Oklahoma State
Staff Predictions – Texas vs. Oklahoma State
Scouting Report: Oklahoma State
Win a HornSports Lid by guessing the final score of Texas - Ok. State
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The Texas Longhorns (3-2, 2-2) travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma this week to face the #6 Oklahoma State Cowboys (4-0, 3-0). The HornSports staff gives their predictions on the outcome of Saturday's game, which has developed into a must-win for Tom Herman, his players and his staff.
Entering the game, there will be dozens of storylines whirling around. But, the Longhorns will have to tone out the noise and focus on the task at hand.
The three-headed monster of Spencer Sanders, Chubba Hubbard, and Tylan Wallace will look to thrash the Longhorns in a revenge game. Unfortunately for Texas, Joseph Ossai was injured in the game against Baylor and may be on a limited snap count. In addition, Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger also looked banged up against the Bears. If Texas gets blown out by the Cowboys, things could get ugly.
Score Prediction: Oklahoma State 31, Texas 27
I have a hard time seeing Texas winning this game. The Longhorns have been too slow out of the gate offensively in recent weeks, and Oklahoma State can put up points in a hurry. Texas was in 12 personnel almost the entire game against Baylor and if they come out with the similar strategy against the Cowboys, they will get blown out. The only path to victory for Texas would be spreading Oklahoma State out and leaning heavily on the passing game, but Tom Herman does not seem to want to do that until his team is down in the 4th quarter and desperate. The better team and coach will win on Saturday.
Score Prediction: Oklahoma State 34, Texas 21
I’m sure I’m like many of my co-workers at HS struggling to write a prediction for this game. It’s all you can do to not take your eyes of the slow-motion train wreck that is Texas football and recruiting. There’s so much to process and absolutely none of it bodes well for a team going against an undefeated Oklahoma State. It’s difficult to find anything to hang your hat on other than Herman’s squads playing well in the underdog role, but that’s not nearly enough to make one think the Longhorns have a shot to get out of Stillwater with the W. The glaring disadvantages in this match-up, other than all of the off-the-field drama, is this team being woefully unprepared and uninspired on the road for years and a regressing offense that will be battling it out with the best defense they’ve seen this season. Oklahoma State may not beat Texas soundly, but I expect them to be in control for the majority of the game. Could this be the end of the Herman era?
Score Prediction: OK State 38, Texas 24
Texas is 3-2 on the season. They’re 0-2 when the defense allows over 200 rushing yards, and 3-0 when it they don’t allow more than 200 rushing yards. Oklahoma State is leading the Big-12 in rushing per game as they average more than 200 yards per game on the ground. Texas vs Oklahoma state is the battle of Texas High School quarterbacks as Sam Ehlinger from Westlake takes on Spencer Sanders of Denton Ryan. Yet on Saturday, it may become the Chuba Hubbard show. Last season, Hubbard finished eighth in the Heisman voting but had one of his worse days against the Texas defense. Despite scoring two touchdowns and having over 120 yards he did it all on a meager 3.3 yards per carry. If Texas has another performance like that that’s the key for an upset win. Unfortunately for Texas, Oklahoma State currently has four players , including Sanders, who average more than four yards per carry. Expect Oklahoma State to control the clock with long, momentum swinging drives that tire out the Texas defense. Even though the Longhorns have a fairly solid run defense group and can force untimely fumbles, if ran repeatedly they might eventually break.
Score Prediction: Oklahoma State 31, Texas 27
The Longhorns have lost four of the last five against Mike Gundy and their last two in Stillwater. Throw in the fact that Texas will be facing an Oklahoma State team that has a good defense and things get more challenging for Tom Herman and company. Texas has the talent to win in Stillwater, but they don't have the coaching, discipline or will as a team to do so - or at least we haven't witnessed it halfway through this season. Texas QB Sam Ehlinger has essentially put the team on his back every game. If the Longhorns are going to pull of a road upset over a ranked OSU team, he will have to do more of that on Saturday. This was a game that I looked at on the preseason schedule and said that Texas wouldn't win. Tom Herman is 8-9 against Top-25 teams during his tenure at Texas. While I think they play the Pokes close, they don't have what it takes to beat a really good football team right now.
A day after Texas suffered arguably its biggest decommitment in school history in Southlake Carroll quarterback Quinn Ewers, the Longhorns were hit with more bad news on Thursday evening. Four-star Lancaster (TX) wide receiver Phaizon Wilson announced his decision to reopen his recruitment and enjoy the recruiting process.
Wilson, who committed to the Longhorns in late July, is the 25th best wide receiver nationally via the 247 sports composite. While there is no speculation on who currently leads for Wilson's services, he holds offers from Alabama, Auburn, Colorado, Florida, Texas A&M and Ole Miss among others.
The remaining Texas commit in the 2022 class is four-star Port Arthur Memorial cornerback Jaylon Gilbeau.
The Longhorns head north for a Halloween matchup against 6th ranked Oklahoma State on Saturday in Stillwater. Texas, in desperate need of a win to remain in contention for a spot in the Big 12 title game, will face their toughest challenge of the season in Mike Gundy's Cowboys. With a solid defense and a potent offense that has weapons to hit you from a variety of angles, Oklahoma State may have their best on-field product in a number of years.
HornSports sat down with Kyle Cox of Pistols Firing Blog, our favorite Oklahoma State site, and asked him 8 questions about the Oklahoma State program, Texas and how he sees this game playing out.
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[su_dropcap style=flat" size="3]1.[/su_dropcap] HornSports: The offensive line for Oklahoma State got off to a rough start to open the season against Tulsa but appears to have made a lot of improvements over the last several games with the emergence of walk-on LT Jake Springfield. What has changed for the unit and how do they match up against a veteran Texas defensive line?
Pistols Firing Blog: OSU lost two starters up front in Week 1 which turned what looked like an exciting group coming in into "a game of musical chairs" as Mike Gundy put it. In the weeks since, OSU's staff has narrowed the playbook a bit and the less-experienced linemen have made strides. Springfield, who was put on scholarship this offseason, is probably chief among them. OSU also boasts one of the premiere tackles returning in the Big 12 in Teven Jenkins and a former All-Big 12 honoree in West Virginia grad transfer Josh Sills. Long story short, over the last month OSU's O-line has looked much more like the one we expected we might see coming into 2020, but it's still early. As far as the matchup this weekend, Texas always has athletes up front so that will present probably the biggest challenge this line has faced so far, in that regard. Spencer Sanders' return makes things easier on them with his running ability.
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[su_dropcap style=flat" size="3]2.[/su_dropcap]HornSports: Mike Yurcich spent five years as the offensive coordinator in Stillwater and Mike Gundy knows him well. Texas is tied for 6th nationally in scoring offense with 45 points per game and average 482 yards of offense per game. The Texas offense vs. a Top-20 ranked Cowboy defense will be fun to watch. What impresses you most about 3rd year DC Jim Knowles' unit?
Pistols Firing Blog: First, I'll go off on my Mikey Y. tangent.
Mike Yurcich (like every DI offensive coordinator in history) was a polarizing character for OSU fans. Gundy plucked him from a DII school that we all had to Google, but once he got his legs under him he engineered some pretty impressive offenses. It's unclear exactly how much autonomy Gundy's OCs are given, especially early on, so I don't even know how much people really had to gripe about Yurcich at first anyway. So I'm not surprised at all that he's had success.
On to Knowles. The most impressive thing for me about him is his ability to adjust to a completely different style in the Big 12 while still sticking to his core philosophies. He likes to blitz, show multiple fronts and rely on his playmakers to make plays -- even if that means leaving his cover men on an island. There were some growing pains but, to this point in Year 3, things seem to be coming together. His system is predicated on having versatile DE/LBs who can move around and keep offenses guessing. He's been fortunate to have a couple in Jordan Brailford and now Trace Ford, and he's got some dynamic playmakers in the secondary.
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[su_dropcap style=flat" size="3]3.[/su_dropcap]HornSports: Mike Gundy lost offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson in the offseason to Rutgers and decided to fill the void internally by promoting WR coach Kasey Dunn. Has Dunn made any noticeable tweaks to the offense and how much free reign is Gundy giving him?
Pistols Firing Blog: Dunn was Gundy's longest-tenured assistant and one of his best recruiters before reports surfaced that he would take an OC job elsewhere during the offseason. Then Gleeson was off to Rutgers and OSU offered Dunn the role in Stillwater. One could connect whatever dots they choose. Dunn's definitely added some of his own wrinkles to the offense so far and has the tenure and earned the trust that few first-year coordinators can boast from Gundy.
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[su_dropcap style=flat" size="3]4.[/su_dropcap]HornSports: Spencer Sanders suffered an ankle injury in the season opener against Tulsa and made his return against the Cyclones last week. He's a guy that can throw but can also beat you with his legs. Is the ankle 100% and can we expect to see Sanders on the move on Saturday?
Pistols Firing Blog: He appears to be 100% at this point, he certainly looked it during his return against Iowa State last week. There was talk that Sanders could have returned a month ago before the Cowboys' COVID-extended bye but with how well true frosh Shane Illingworth was playing (and the fact that it was Kansas) there was no reason to rush him back.
Yes, you can expect to see Sanders on the run.
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[su_dropcap style=flat" size="3]5.[/su_dropcap]HornSports: Is Chuba Hubbard the component this OSU offense is built around this season?
Pistols Firing Blog: Chuba is as dynamic as they come and he's a big part of what makes OSU tick on offense. He's had a little more help so far this year with Sanders' presented run threat now returning and backup tailback LD Brown coming on, but make no mistake, Chuba is the engine that makes this thing run.
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[su_dropcap style=flat" size="3]6.[/su_dropcap]HornSports: The Big 12 Conference is playing its 25th season this year. Oklahoma State has one just one Big 12 Championship in that time but appears to be in the driver's-seat this year. What are your thoughts on the Cowboy's chances to earn Big 12 title number two based on the strengths and challenges of this year's team?
Pistols Firing Blog: It's a bit too early for me to start predicting a title run for OSU, but the Cowboys seem to at least have what they need for a big year. The offense should continue to improve as the year goes on, if it can stay healthy. Much of the O-line and, to that point, Sanders are both still gaining experience. OSU has the offensive skill talent to compete with anyone, but the defense is the key for me. If that unit continues on its current trajectory, OSU should have every opportunity for a run to Arlington for the Big 12 title game.
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[su_dropcap style=flat" size="3]7.[/su_dropcap]HornSports: The Longhorns have struggled this season, having to come from behind to win in Lubbock in OT and losing to TCU at home and losing in 4OT to rival Oklahoma. How formidable of an opponent is Texas going to be in Stillwater on Saturday and how big is this game for Oklahoma State?
Pistols Firing Blog: It's a huge game and Texas will present a big challenge for OSU. Throw out the records. These games are always tough. The Cowboys have won four the last five in the series but the average margin of victory either way has been less than a touchdown. This game is huge because it's Texas and OSU also carries a heavy number of Texas players on its roster, so it seems to be one the players circle on the calendar. This game is also huge for OSU just because of the added pressure to remain undefeated and in that driver's seat.
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[su_dropcap style=flat" size="3]8.[/su_dropcap]HornSports: What's your prediction for the outcome of Saturday's game?
Pistols Firing Blog: I'm predicting another slugfest, something like 35-31. I'll take the Cowboys. I think OSU's offense is just getting its legs under it with Sanders back out there and the defense makes the stops needed to pull out a tight one.
Less than a month the Texas Longhorns lost the commitment of near five-star athlete, Billy Bowman Jr. Before October can even come to a close, the Longhorns lost another commitment. This time, it’s Quinn Ewers.
Ewers, who is the top quarterback prospect not only in the 2022 class but also one of the highest-ranked recruits ever to play the game, announced his commitment to Texas on August, 14. The five-star quarterback prospect is a 6’3 200-pound pro-style passer with the ability to get it done on the ground if needed. His commitment marked one of the biggest victories in Texas recruiting history and served as a potential turning point in the history of Texas football.
He announced via his Twitter that he “didn’t explore his options as thoroughly as he would’ve liked,” and thus will be re-opening his recruitment.
The 2022 class, for now, shrinks to just two commits. Four-star defensive back Jaylon Guilbeau and four-star wide receiver Phaizon Wilson.
Ewers has been the prize possession of the 2022 recruiting cycle for a while now as he received his first scholarship offer from North Texas back in 2016. He started his first full season at the varsity level last year for Southlake Carroll. Along with leading them to the quarterfinals of the 6A D1 playoffs, he also threw for 3,998 yards and 45 touchdowns whilst completing 72% of his passes. He added 583 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground as well.
Through three games of the 2020 season, Ewers and Carroll have started out with a 2-1 record whilst putting up 57 points per game in the process. Ewers has 937 yards and 11 touchdowns on a 70% completion percentage while running for 78 yards and two more scores.
The loss of Ewers is devastating to Texas football. The bonafide best quarterback in the nation will now be seeking out a new home, somewhere other than Austin, Texas.
Ohio State is currently the favorite to land Ewers’ services.
Texas got back in the win column this past Saturday with a victory over Baylor, 27-16, to improve their record to 2-2 in Big 12 play. Now, the Longhorns will travel to Stillwater for their toughest road contest of the year when they face off against Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are 3-0 in Big 12 play and 4-0 overall on the season. Mike Gundy’s team presents some major challenges offensively and defensively, and Tom Herman did not shy away from saying the Longhorns will have to play their ‘A’ game to beat the Cowboys. Let’s take a look at what to expect from Oklahoma State.
The Oklahoma State offense got off to a rocky start to begin the season when starting QB Spencer Sanders went down with an injury in the season opener against Tulsa, which caused him to also miss the Cowboys wins over West Virginia and Kansas. The redshirt sophomore returned this past weekend against Iowa State and looked to be 100% healthy. With Sanders back at the helm, the Cowboys offense is one of the best in the Big 12. The Texas native who played his high school football at Denton Ryan is a true dual threat and has excellent touch on his deep passes. If there is one thing holding Sanders back, it is the fact he can and will turn the ball over. He threw 11 interceptions in 2019 and added two more this past weekend against the Cyclones. If the Texas defensive line is able to generate pressure, there could be several opportunities for the secondary to take advantage.
Everyone in the country is aware of RB Chuba Hubbard, who busted onto the national scene in 2019 while rushing for over 2,000 yards. Hubbard is off to another strong start this season, rushing for 478 yards and 5 TD’s. His backup LD Brown is averaging over 6 yards a carry and has looked just as strong, if not better than Hubbard, at certain points this season.
Tylan Wallace absolutely torched Texas in the matchup in Stillwater in 2018 (10 catches, 222 and 2 touchdowns) and one of the best wide receivers in the Big 12. Wallace suffered a torn ACL in the middle of the 2019 season but looks like his normal self through the first 4 games of the season. Senior Dillon Stoner operates out of the slot and has had big games against Texas in the past. The other two main pass catchers are Braydon Johnson and TE Jelani Woods, who had a touchdown in the 2018 meeting and is a huge target at 6’7.
After the opener against Tulsa, it appeared the offensive line for Oklahoma State was going to be the weakest position group on the team. Mike Gundy and offensive line coach Charlie Dickey had their work cut out for them, but they have found a way to piece the unit together and they have played well the last several weeks. Walk on redshirt freshman Jake Springfield has taken over at left tackle and has helped steady a shaky line.
The Cowboys have the best defense in the Big 12. The unit is filled with veteran players who have experience in defensive coordinator Jim Knowles system. 9 of 11 starters are upperclassmen and the secondary in particular is very strong. CB Rodarius Williams is a 4-year starter who is one of the best corners in the conference. There is no doubt he knows how much Texas receivers struggle against press coverage. At safety, Kolby Harvey-Peel and Tre Sterling are very smart players. Texas should not expect to see the coverage bust they took advantage of versus Baylor.
The linebacker duo of Malcolm Rodriguez and Amen Ogbongbemiga will be the best the Longhorns have faced thus far this season. Both are very dangerous coming on blitzes and the Texas offensive line has to know where they are at all times, especially on passing downs. Herb Hand must have his unit ready to play or it could be a long day.
The argument could be made that this might be the most talented Oklahoma State team Mike Gundy has had since he’s been the head coach in Stillwater. If Texas is going to hang around in this game, they must find a way to move the ball consistently offensively. The Longhorns have struggled all year to run the ball and if they are going to pull off the upset, Sam Ehlinger will have to carry them there with the passing game.
This past weekend, I visited Cedar Park to watch the fifth ranked Timberwolves. This season, Cedar Park is aiming to be the last team standing in Texas's 5A Division I classification, and hopes to win their first state title since 2015.
The Timberwolves faced off against the Trojans, who have recently dropped down from the 6A classification due to the UIL's 2020 realignment. I was excited to see how Anderson would fare without star quarterback, Carsten Groos, who has graduated and become a walk-on for the Oklahoma Sooners. However, Cedar Park had other plans and quickly dismantled the Trojans.
Timberwolves quarterback, Ryder Hernandez, led his team to a 30-0 first quarter lead and did not look back. In fact, the Timberwolves broke a school record with 82 points in the contest. So far this season, Ryder has shattered four of Cedar Park's records including career: passing yards, passing touchdowns, completions, and total yards. Last Friday, Hernandez continued to put on a show and star wide receiver, Josh Cameron, broke the team's career receiving touchdowns record.
After their game against Anderson, the Timberwolves became the state's fourth ranked team in 5AD1. Cedar Park has been out for revenge this season, already paying back Vandegrift for a 2019 loss. In addition, the Timberwolves are scheduled to end the regular season against Manor, who bounced them from the playoffs last year. Ryder Hernandez has a great chance to take the Timberwolves deep into the playoffs, and is one of the state's more exciting players to watch. Last season, I watched him battle the flu and
38 (round trip)
Longhorns Recruiting Notes:
Last Thursday, the Longhorns offered 2023 wide receiver Johntay Cook. Cook is a key player on for the DeSoto Eagles, one of Texas's best high school football teams.
On Monday, Texas was the first school to offer 2023 defensive end, Dylan Spencer. The 6'5" defensive end attends Taylor High School in Katy, TX.
Lastly, the Longhorns also offered 2021 wide receiver, Jack Bech, who is currently committed to Vanderbilt. However, recently there has been multiple 247Sports crystal ball predictions in favor of Bech flipping his commitment to LSU.
Today, the Longhorns took a step in the right direction with their 27-16 win over the Baylor Bears. Texas looked improved in several areas, however they still have a lot of work to do as a whole. After the game, I shared some of my thoughts about the game.
Texas got back in the win column against Baylor Saturday afternoon, defeating Baylor 27-16 in Austin. The win evens up Texas' Big 12 record at 2-2 and stops a two-game losing skid. Here are some quick thoughts and takeaways from a game Texas controlled throughout.
The Texas defense easily had their best game of the year. It certainly didn’t help the Bears that they were missing two of their starting offensive lineman, but the Texas defensive line was extremely active the entire afternoon. Baylor finished with 64 yards rushing on 21 carries (3.0 YPC) and was forced to run to the passing game to move the ball. Despite the fact Texas only recorded 1 sack, the Longhorns pass rush did a solid job of pushing the pocket and causing disruption.
The Longhorns secondary came into the game knowing Baylor QB Charlie Brewer wasn’t going to beat them over the top. The safeties and cornerbacks did a good job of keeping everything in front of them and jumping plenty of underneath routes. Brewer finished with 256 yards and 2 touchdowns, but averaged under 6 yards an attempt. The senior was unable to navigate the Baylor offense to sustain long drives.
Offensively, Texas started off sluggish, punting on their first few drives. It was head scratching to see Texas rely heavily on 12 personnel for much of the game after the success they found in spreading teams out in the first 4 games. Tom Herman was open in his desire to run the ball effectively and the Longhorns showed some improvement improvement, running 47 times for 159 yards. Bijan Robinson saw his snaps increase and turned in a solid performance (12 carries for 55 yards). The Longhorns will have to run the ball effectively in Stillwater if they hope to pull an upset.
Sam Ehlinger looked to be banged up for much of the game, but turned in another good performance with 270 yards passing while adding 51 yards on the ground and 3 total TD’s. Ehlinger did throw an interception in the 4th quarter where he tried to force the ball to Jared Wiley down the middle of the field, but otherwise turned in a fairly clean performance.
Speaking of Jared Wiley, the sophomore has continued to see his playing time increase. It doesn’t appear he is going to overtake Cade Brewer as starting tight end, but #18 certainly looks like he has a bright future and is a weapon in the passing game.
Jake Smith and Caden Sterns both returned from injuries that kept them out against OU. Smith only reeled in 1 catch for 14 yards but was targeted several other times by Ehlinger. Sterns played nearly the entire game and didn't appear to be bothered by his toe injury. The Longhorns are fairly healthy at the halfway mark on the season.
The noise might die down a little this week, but all eyes will be on Tom Herman as he takes his team to Stillwater next week. A win against a top 10 team on the road has the possibility to put the season back on track, while a loss would basically eliminate Texas from Big 12 title contention and the questions will continue to be asked about Tom Herman’s job security.
The Texas Longhorns (3-2, 2-2) overcame a sluggish start to break a two game losing streak, evening their record in Big 12 play with a 27-16 win over the Baylor Bears (1-2, 1-2).
Despite the lack of film to watch on the Bears this season, Tom Herman and company crafted a game plan that, for all practical purposes, was run-heavy on offensive and fairly mistake free. Sam Ehlinger threw for 270 yards and a touchdown and rushed for two more. Ehlinger also threw one interception. Junior running back Keaontay Ingram led the Longhorns in rushing with 57 yards on 16 carries. Tarik Black's one reception for 72 yards was good enough to be a team high, while tight end Jared Wiley grabbed two passes for 70 yards.
The Texas defense held their own, limiting Baylor to 64 rushing yards and 316 total yards. Charlie Brewer threw for 256 yards and two touchdowns, while Gavin Holmes and and John Lovett each had receiving touchdowns for the Bears. Junior wideout RJ. Sneed led Baylor in receiving with 62 yards on four catches.
It was a game Tom Herman and Texas had to win, and they did so by dominating Baylor for most of the game.
Herman was pleased with the performance of his team.
"With a few exceptions, I thought we played much cleaner. Five penalties, very few missed assignments from what I could see. I thought the points of emphasis over the last two weeks - our punt protection was very solid, we ran the ball effectively, which opened up some downfield throws, and we stopped the run."
Afterwards, the team stayed on the field for "The Eyes of Texas."
The Longhorns head to Stillwater next weekend to face the undefeated Oklahoma State Cowboys.
It took almost a full quarter for the first points of the game to be scored, but Baylor capitalized on a 12 play, 67 yard drive that ended with a John Mayers 21 yard field goal to give Baylor a 3-0 lead.
Texas evened things up on their next possession, courtesy of Cameron Dicker's 42 yard field goal at the 12:10 mark in the second quarter.
After taking a sack on first down, Sam Ehlinger found a wide open Tarik Black on the Longhorns next possession, with Black taking the pass 72 yards to the Baylor 21 yard line. Texas reached the Baylor 4 yard line, but couldn't punch it in. Instead Cameron Dicker kicked his second field goal of the game, this time from 22 yards out to give the Longhorns a 6-3 lead with 6:15 left in the half.
The Longhorns weren't done scoring in the half. Joshua Moore made a spectacular catch, reeling in Sam Ehlinger's pass for 42 yards on the Longhorns' next possession, setting the offense up inside the Baylor 10 yard line. Ehlinger rushed for four yards on the next play and found Moore in the left corner of the end zone on second down.
Texas took a 13-3 lead over Baylor into the locker room at the half.
True freshman tailback Bijan Robinson rushed for two first downs to open the second half and Sam Ehlinger scattered passes to Brennan Eagles and Jake Smith for double-digit gains, setting up the Longhorns in scoring position. After feeding the ball to Keaontay Ingram on consecutive carries, Ehlinger's third down rush from a yard out found the Baylor end zone.
Texas extended their lead to 20-13 over the Bears with 10:25 left in the third quarter.
Baylor's drive that began at the 7:12 mark looked promising, with Brewer and company moving the chains all the way to the Texas 18 yard line. John Mayers attempted his second field goal of the game from 43 yards away, but the kick sailed left of the goal posts.
After taking over at their own 25 yard line, the Longhorns' offense went work again. Sam Ehlinger's 42 yard strike to tight end Jared Wiley set Texas up once again in the red zone. Three plays later Ehlinger found the end zone on a quarterback keeper, his second rushing touchdown, extending the Texas lead to 27-3.
The Bears scored their first points since late in the first quarter on the ensuing possession. Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer hit four different receivers for 10+ yard gains before finding a wide open John Lovett from three yards out for a touchdown. The Bears went for two but failed to convert.
Sam Ehlinger was picked off by J.T. Woods on the Longhorns' next drive.
With field position at the Texas 25 yard line, the Bears went to work quickly. Charlie Brewer's touchdown pass to Gavin Holmes capped a five play drive that took just 2:14 off the game clock and cut the Texas lead to 27-16 with 7:37 remaining.
Baylor was forced to go for it on fourth down at the Texas 25 on its final possession, but Brewer's pass to R.J. Sneed was incomplete. Texas took possession and was able to run out the clock by taking a knee.