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It was a wild day at the Cotton Bowl. Let's jump right into some quick thoughts and takeaways: Texas was the better team for about 3 quarters, but the Longhorns faltered in the 4th quarter and that was the difference in the game. There is a lot of finger pointing that can go around, but the bottom line is Texas allowed 662 yards total yards, including 339 yards via the ground. You are not winning many football games giving up those numbers. The Longhorns defense collapsed in the second half and could not contain Kennedy Brooks, who ran for 217 yards. Pete Kwiatkowski and the Texas defensive coaching staff appeared to have a solid gameplan in place for Spencer Rattler and the Oklahoma offense, but once Lincoln Riley chose to make a quarterback switch it was all downhill for Texas. Caleb Williams brought a different dimension to the offense with his legs and the Longhorns were never able to adjust. All around, it was not a good performance for Texas defensively. The blame can go to the players or the play caller, but the bottom line is it was ugly. The number of missed tackles had to have been close to 20. The defensive line seem poised for a big day early, but after Williams entered the game they were a complete non-factor. Switching to offense, Texas did enough to win the game. Yes, the Longhorns went through a scoring drought in the second half, but if you would have told me before the game that Casey Thompson would throw for close to 400 yards and 5 touchdowns, I would have said Texas won the game by double digits. Steve Sarkisian had some excellent play calls early in the first half to get the Texas offense going, and credit to Casey Thompson for connecting on several deep shots. The Longhorns offensive line spent much of the second half on roller skates. Both tackles struggled mightily and the run game disappeared at a point in the game when Texas would have been happy to hand the ball to their Heisman caliber RB. Speaking of BIjan Robinson, he finished the game with 20 carries for 137 yards. The damage could have been far worse, but Alex Grinch decided in the second half that he was bringing extra men nearly every play. Robinson had what could have been a Heisman moment on a beautiful 50 yards run the second quarter that was nearly a touchdown, but is performance will be a side note considering how the rest of the game unfolded. Xaiver Worthy bounced back from a rough game in Fort Worth to haul in 9 receptions for 261 yards and 2 TD's. Worthy is a special WR and stepped up in a big way for Texas. Joshua Moore also a good game with 4 catches for 70 yards and a pair of TD's. Overall, it was a solid day from the Longhorns WR's. Texas had a huge special teams play early when they blocked an Oklahoma punt, but the lasting special teams play in people's minds will be Worthy running out a kickoff deep in the endzone which resulted in a fumble. Texas was not generating any momentum in the kickoff return game and Worthy has to know to take a knee in that situation if the kick is into the endzone. This is going to be a tough pill to swallow for Texas. The Longhorns could easily be 3-0 in conference play and be in the driver's seat in the Big 12. Instead, they now have to turn their attention to a huge game against Oklahoma State next Saturday. If Texas is able to pull out a win, they should feel fairly confident heading into a bye week. A loss would be a huge blow to their hopes of making the Big 12 championship game.
Fall camp has officially kicked off, and we continue our series previewing the 2021 Texas Longhorns by turning our attention to the running back position. Departures Keaontay Ingram (Portal)- 1,811 career rushing yards, 11 career rushing TD's After flashing big time potential his freshman season, Ingram was never able to put all the pieces together to become the dominant running back many expected him to be. Injuries plagued him throughout his career and his 2020 season ended following an ankle injury against Oklahoma State. Ingram's injury opened the door for Bijan Robinson to receive more touches and the true freshman took full advantage, cementing himself as the lead back heading into 2021. Ingram opted to press the reset button and head west to USC. Additions Jonathan Brooks- #359 overall player in the country, #24 ranked RB Keilan Robinson- Transfer from Alabama; sat out the 2020 season With Ingram's departure, Steve Sarkisian and Stan Drayton looked to the portal for someone who could provide an immediate impact at the RB position. Sarkisian found the perfect fit in Alabama transfer Keilan Robinson, who he was familiar with from his time has the offensive coordinator with the Crimson Tide. Robinson opted not to play in 2020 due to concerns about Covid-19, but appeared in 8 games as a true freshman in 2019 and scored a pair of touchdowns while rushing for 254 yards. It is doubtful he will carry a heavy load for the Longhorns this year, but he is likely in line for a handful of touches per game as Sarkisian looks to utilize his elite speed. Brooks joins the RB room after a decorated high school career at Hallettsville where he scored 70 total touchdowns as a senior. He is likely headed for a redshirt year but has the potential to make a big impact down the road. Returning Players Sophomore Bijan Robinson (2020 stats)- 86 carries, 703 yards and 4 rushing touchdowns Junior Roschon Johnson (2020 stats)- 80 carries, 418 yards and 6 rushing touchdowns Senior Daniel Young- Opted out of the 2020 season Bijan Robinson certainly lived up to the hype he had coming out of high school and enters 2021 as the clear number 1 back for Texas. Sarkisian has made it clear he is not afraid to give Robinson up to 30 touches in a game if the situation calls for it. The sophomore will also see an uptick in receptions as Sarkisian and offensive coordinator Kyle Flood have a history of getting running backs heavily involved in the passing game. Johnson enters his 3rd year at the running back position after originally arriving on the 40 acres as a quarterback. He has shown to be a physical runner his first two seasons and could carve out a role as a short yardage back this year. Daniel Young is back on the team after opting out of the 2020 season. He is the biggest unknown in the RB room. Young saw significant playing time in 2017 but saw his playing time decline in 2018 and was pretty much only played special teams in 2019. Similar to Johnson, he is known for his power and ability to get tough yards. Fumbling issues and staying healthy have been big question marks. How he performs in fall camp will likely determine if he is in line to receive any meaningful carries this season. Outlook Running back is easily one of the deepest positions on the Texas roster. Bijan Robinson receives the majority of the hype (deservedly so), but the type of players Texas has behind him is equally as impressive. If Keilan Robinson picks up where he left off in 2019, the Longhorns will have 3 running backs they can feel comfortable handing the ball to in any given week Steve Sarkisian will likely look to lean on the running back unit early in the season as he breaks in a new QB, but he has to feel good about what he has at his disposal to make life a little easier for Casey Thompson or Hudson Card.
Our writer-extraordinaire @Matt Cotcher with a new weekly feature on Horn Sports. Riding the fences - Week 1 - HornSports September 5, 2019 Each week HornSports will take a look back at the national scene in college football, so mount up and let’s ride out and check the perimeter. *** LSU scored on its first five possessions on the way to a 55-3 blowout win over Georgia Southern. Befitting a home opener versus a SunBelt team, there was no shortage of eye-popping superlatives for the Bayou Bengals on Saturday. A curious note from the game: LSU’s 55 points is their 2nd highest total in a home opener since 1933, but they did it on only 473 yards of total offense. Speaking of offense…two Big Ten teams, Penn State and Maryland, scored 79 points on Saturday. That’s a touchdown about every five minutes. That’s hard enough to do against air which is apparently a new standard for the Idaho and Howard defenses. As long as we’re talking offense…Iowa State and Northern Iowa played a 3OT game and neither team scored 30 points. Is that good defense or bad offense? While we’re talking Big 10, take note that Michigan State beat Tulsa, 28-7 and it was a very, very Spartan-esque win, which is to say MSU played smothering defense and the offense did enough to win. With an experienced quarterback and a stout defense, Head Coach Mark Dantonio will be a tough out in the Big Ten East. Florida vs Miami got Week 1 started on Thursday night, and it was not a pretty game. Whether UF’s d-line is really good or Miami’s offensive line is porous is TBD – love ya’, Week 1. This Texas A&M band formation probably looked different when they drew it up: 51 people are talking about this Florida State led Boise State 31-13 before losing. Boise State reeled off 23 unanswered points to win, 36-31. That is most definitely not the start that Willie Taggart needed. Speaking of losing spectacularly, take a bow Oregon. UCF blasted their way to a 62-0 win. No one cared. Clemson and Alabama furthered the thought that they are in a class of their own at the top of the sport. Clemson out-athleted Georgia Tech and the Crimson Tide started slow before reminding Duke that Daniel Jones is no longer on the roster. Keep your eye on two new head coaches in the ACC: Mack Brown is back on the sideline at North Carolina and reminded everyone of why he was so successful at Texas. Geoff Collins at Georgia Tech has a look reminiscent of Brown’s early years in Austin while he was “getting the BB’s back in the box.” Even though it’s happened several years in a row, FCS schools beating an FBS opponent is a thrilling part of nonconference play. Several FCS teams played very well, but Week 1 lacked the “shocking” upset. A handful of them will try to pull off the feat in Week 2 (while collecting a sizable payday). Utah handled BYU, winning 30-12 in Provo. Not only is that a significant win in a rivalry game, it also sent a message to the Pac 12. The recruiting coordinator for Clemson’s pom squad deserves a raise. If anyone doubted how Lincoln Riley and the Oklahoma offense would fare without Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts crushed those questions on Monday night. Hurts completed 20 of 23 throws for 332 yards and 3 touchdowns, adding 176 yards rushing and 3 more scores. Looking ahead to week 2, LSU at Texas looms as a Top 10 matchup. Here are a few noteworthy statistics that might provide insight… Texas is 6-1 in their last seven home games. The Longhorns are 7-3 in September and 9-3 at night under Tom Herman. Joe Burrow (LSU) has completed at least 20 passes in four straight games. Texas is 48-44-4 all-time at home against ranked opponents. Under Orgeron, LSU is 11-7 against Top 25 teams and has an impressive 5-2 against Top 10 foes. In his coaching career, Tom Herman is 5-4 against Top 10 teams. Keep an eye on turnovers: The Horns are 13-1 when they win the turnover battle since 2017. When turnover margin is tied or Texas loses, the Longhorns are 5-9. Texas is the only Big 12 team with a winning record against LSU.