When the Texas Longhorns took the field at Darrell K. Royal â€“ Texas Memorial Stadium this evening in front of 101,000 fans it wasnâ€™t about â€œifâ€ they have made progress but â€œhow muchâ€ progress the team made during the off-season.Â After a slow start on both sides of the ball, including yielding a field goal on Wyomingâ€™s opening drive and an 82 yard touchdown pass on the following drive by the Cowboys, Texas settled down and eventually assumed control of the mother-ship.Â Â The Longhorns didnâ€™t exactly win in style but they overcame early mistakes, made some adjustments and took care of business in the 37-17 win over Wyoming.
David Ash exceeded expectations, playing mistake-free football, in an effort that saw the sophomore complete 20 of 27 passes for 156 yards, 1 touchdown and no interceptions.Â Â The much-anticipated running game performed better than expected, with Malcom Brown and Joe Bergeron both surpassing the 100 yard mark.Â Brown finished with 105 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries while Joe Bergeron led the Texas rushing attack with 110 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.Â True freshman running back Johnathan Gray saw his first action as a Longhorn tonight carrying the pigskin 5 times for 9 yards.Â By all accounts the running game was spectacular, including DJ Monroeâ€™s touchdown on a called jet sweep by Harsin in which Monroe had to fight for after nearly being stopped at the 2 yard line.
The Texas defense showed it still has work to do, giving up 276 passing yards to Brett Smith and the Wyoming offense, including completions of 82 and 45 yards. Â Both Kenny Vaccaro and Carrington Byndom each had interceptions.Â The defensive line looked a bit rusty at times as well but held the Cowboys to just 69 yards of rushing.
The obvious area in need of improvement was with the kicking game.Â With Penn State transfer and 2011 Lou Groza finalist Anthony Fera still nursing a sore groin, true freshman Nick Jordan started at kicker for the Longhorns.Â Jordan made a 31 yard field goal with three seconds left in the second quarter, but missed field goals of 46 and 44 yards and had an extra point attempt blocked.Â Â Alex King handled the punting duties and performed well, while Nick Rose showed his strong leg as he handled kickoff duties.
Texas wins its 13th consecutive season opener while essentially shaking the cobwebs off the old burnt orange jerseys.Â This is still a relatively young football team and every position needs work.Â We know it, you know it and the coaching staff knows it.Â Thatâ€™s football though.Â It was a nice win for the team and it sure is good to have Longhorn football back, front and center.
The Longhorns face the New Mexico Lobos next Saturday in Austin.