Who would have thought that the Longhorns were capable of scoring 66 points in any game this season? The score could have been even higher but to show respect the classy Mack Brown decided to pump the breaks towards the end of the game so the score didnâ€™t break the 70-point mark. But regardless of the score there are a lot of positives and negatives that came from this game. The win was a big one but some of the stats skew the reality of how the game went and how certain players (Ash) played.
1. David Ash:
Iâ€™m sure we are all thinking the same thing on this one. Go ahead and give Ash credit (keep reading) because he has yet to throw an interception and still managed the game well, (stick with meâ€¦) as he was 19 of 23 for 326 yards and 4 touchdowns (almost there) but WOW a lot of his deep passes (this>>>) were waaayyyyy under thrown and he should have been picked off 2 or 3 times. He still has a ways to go. Luckily his receivers always adjusted to the ball and somehow the defensive backs always seemed to get lost right before the ball made it to them. But his stats skew his actual performance and he would have had a much worse night against a secondary who actually could track the ball and defend better. I like that he was slinging it deep and had the confidence to do so, but he has to be better about leading his receivers and his accuracy. I give him a B- on the nightâ€¦ that may be generous. *Give Harsin/Applewhite some credit as Ash currently has the fourth best passer rating in division 1-A college football. He may still need work on his accuracy but his coaches know exactly what they can get out of him at this point. And a random note, the Big 12 has 4 QBâ€™s in the top 5 and 6 in the top 10 in this category.*
NCAA Football Stats – Full College Football Team Leaders and Player Stats – FOX Sports on MSN
2. QB Debate: So there it is folks. The Bo Wallace David Ash debate played out right before your eyes. Are you happy the Longhorns stuck with Ash? Or do you still wonder what the offense would look like had Wallace taken over? Iâ€™m still rolling with Ash over Wallace. Are you?
3. Defense: The Longhorns defense once again had an up and down night. They were able to create turnovers and even take one to the house. The defensive line also impressed with pressure on Bo Wallace. But at the same time tackling was often poor across the board and the secondary seemed out of place on some passes as they also allowed another receiver to have a big night, as Donte Moncrief had 7 catches for 144 yards and 1 touchdown (almost 2 TDâ€™s before a video review reversed the call). But Quandre Diggs had two interceptions and Steve Edmondâ€™s interception-touchdown was huge as it set the tone for the night and gave Ash and the offense a small cushion to start the game. Also give credit to the two defensive ends. I called them out, specifically Okafor, before the game and stated he needed to step up his play. He did just that by recording two sacks and applying pretty good pressure throughout the game. But the bottom line is this defense still has room for improvement and isnâ€™t the defense we all think this unit is capable of beingâ€¦ As the Longhorns begin their Big 12 play after their bye week they will need to clean up their act if they want to help keep the Wâ€™s coming.
4. Ground Game: Malcolm Brown and the ground attack were strong all night. The Longhorns finished with 350 yards and 4 scores off of 54 attempts. Brown led all backs with 128 yards on 21 carries and scored twice. Bergeron added 48 yards on 11 carries but left with an injury (see point 10.) Once again the variety of the running styles the Horns have in their backfield showed why coach Brown wanted to shift his offense to lean more on the running game. I like it.
5. Home Runs: Marquis Goodwin, D.J. Monroe, and to some degree Jaxon Shipley and Daje Johnson are the home run threats for the Longhorns. Goodwin and Monroe both made the most of their carries/passes they got (Goodwin finished with a combined 182 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Monroe finished with 1 touchdown run.) on the night, but why on earth are they not touching the ball more? I feel like in the entirety of Mackâ€™s tenure there are players throughout the years that have never gotten as many touches and they should have. I donâ€™t understand it. Goodwin, Monroe and Shipley need the ball more. Daje too, but heâ€™s a freshman and still is adjusting to the level of play.
6. Offensive Line: The line actually played pretty well. This unit is a work in progress but unlike the rebelâ€™s offensive line they did a decent job of keeping Ash off the ground and provided him time to make his throws. Keep it up O-line.
7. Field Goals: The fact that Mack and his staff took a chance at recruiting Fera to UT and actually got him to come are incredible. Granted, we havenâ€™t seen him kick in a game yet. But anything is better than what Texas currently has for field goalsâ€¦
8. Blocked Punt: On the note of special teams, again the Longhorns were able get into the backfield and block a punt. Anytime your special teams unit plays this well & this consistently it often displays that your team has great talent and depth, and the Longhorns are finally at that point again where their depth is getting stronger and stronger with each recruiting class after a few down years.
9. 66 points? Huh?: Though it was definitely an up and down game, I was still blown away at how may points Texas was able to score. I honestly was very curious to see if this team could even break the 50-point mark this season. Though it was against a weak SEC opponent, it was still impressive and should give Longhorn fans everywhere some confidence.
10. Injuries: Jordan Hicks (Hip) and Joe Bergeron (Shoulder) left the game at different times and didnâ€™t return due to injuries. Hopefully the injuries arenâ€™t severe and they will be healthy after the bye week. No specific details of the injuries have been released yet.
This bye week comes at a great time for Texas. Theyâ€™re currently undefeated but still can improve everywhere across the board, and these two weeks should bode well for the team before they enter into conference play. There are 2 main points that keep coming back to me, though.
The first is the defense and their up and down play. Individually I like the players all over the depth chart on that side of the ball. But collectively they still are making too may simple mistakes, not tackling well enough, and are giving up to many big plays. They are capable of being a stronger unit but will need to play better once they start playing tougher offenses in BIG 12 play.
Second, I love how many different scoring threats the offense has. I harp on getting certain guys more touches, but I also realize that the Longhorns can spread the ball around and I love that Texas has the luxury of having about 8 players who have the potential to take it to the house anytime they touch the ball. Itâ€™s been years since any Longhorn team has had that.
This entire team has the potential to be a 10+ win team but the play needs to be crisper and more consistent all over the field if they want to get there. Currently Texas is in a good spot but there is a lot of football to be played.