Grading the Texas offense in the 51-41 loss to the Maryland Terrapins
The Terrapins beat the Longhorns 51-41 on Saturday at Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium to open the Tom Herman era on the 40 Acres. Let’s take a look at how the Texas offense graded in the loss to Maryland.
It was an up and down game for Shane Buechele. The sophomore got off to a rocky start in the first quarter by taking a sack inside Texas’ own 2 yard line on the first offensive play for the Longhorns, before throwing an interception on the same drive. Buechele recovered admirably, completing 34-52 passes for 352 yards and 2 touchdowns.
While the accuracy was there on the short and intermediate throws, there was a notable drop off when Texas tried to push the ball down the field. In the run game, the 2nd year starter looked comfortable on designed keepers, but still needs work on knowing when to give himself up and slide. Buechele also looked uncomfortable at times moving around in the pocket when he knew pressure could be coming, particularly during a key fourth down in the 4th quarter when he took a sack. It’s hard to blame the inconsistent offensive play all on Buechele, especially with penalties and offensive line play, but he must be better if Texas has any hopes of getting to the win expectations that many set prior to the season.
Coming into the game, I stated that my biggest question mark for Texas was at the running back position. Nothing I saw against Maryland would change that thought. Texas fell behind early and basically abandoned the running game. Kyle Porter carried the ball 8 times for 21 yards, while Chris Warren added on 6 carries for 31 yards. Each running back had their moments of limited success, but failed to get in a rhythm due to the commitment to the passing game. On the receiving end, Warren also added 2 catches for 19 yards. Warren was also targeted on a key 4th down pass near the goal line, but the Terrapins defended it well and it fell incomplete.
Both RB’s also struggled in pass protection. Kyle Porter was called for an obvious hold that neglected a big play, and there were several plays where the running backs failed to pick up a free rusher.
It was well known that it would be difficult to replace D’onta Foreman, but Texas has to get more production. Expect Daniel Young and Toneil Carter to get some looks in the backfield against San Jose State. Tom Herman stated throughout fall camp that Texas has to be physical and run the ball successfully, and Texas failed to show that the first game of the year.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
9 different receivers and tight ends caught a pass for Texas. Collin Johnson led the way with 7 catches for 125 yards and a touchdown. Maybe the most pleasant surprise of the entire game was the play of Reggie Hemphill-Mapps. The redshirt freshman proved to be a reliable target for Shane Buechele, catching 7 passes for 69 yards and also adding a punt return for a touchdown. Hemphill-Mapps was utilized well in the screen game and on 3rd down. Armanti Foreman, who was buried on the depth chart coming into the game, responded with 5 catches for 57 yards and touchdown. John Burt seemed to have a huge touchdown catch in the 3rd quarter, but it was negated by a penalty. Lil’ Jordan Humphrey was lined up all the over the field, even taking a few direct snaps at quarterback. The sophomore is a matchup problem that offensive coordinator Tim Beck will continue to try to get the ball to.
Garrett Gray was about the only capable body at the tight end. Gray made no positive contributions in the run game, noticeably getting beat on several plays. In the passing game, Gray hauled in 4 catches for 18 yards. It is obvious Texas painfully misses the presence of Andrew Beck, but Gray is about the only capable blocker at tight end the staff can put on the field until week 3, when Reese Leitao’s suspension is up.
It would be an understatement to say that the offensive line had a rough game. Maryland was able to get pressure on Shane Buechele with only rushing 3 or 4 guys. The run blocking struggled when Texas tried to run the ball. Right Tackle will continue to be a major issue. Tristan Nickelson struggled, committing a holding penalty that took points off the board. Shane Buechele got drilled on a free blitzer that ran right by Jake McMillon and the QB spent much the game trying to escape pressure. Even All-American Connor Williams got beat several times in the second half in key situations. It’s hard not to give an F to a unit that allowed 5 sacks and paved the way for a measly 98 yards rushing.
Top Plays: Texas vs. Baylor
The Texas Longhorns held on to beat the Baylor Bears 23-17 last Saturday in Austin to win their sixth straight game, improving to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in Big 12 play. Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger left the game with a shoulder injury on the opening drive and was replaced by junior Shane Buechele. Buechele, who saw his first action on the field since the Longhorns’ bowl game against Missouri last December, finished 20-34 with 184 yards and one touchdown. True freshman running back Keaontay Ingram surpassed the century mark on the ground, the first in his career, amassing 110 yards on 19 carries.
Texas scored all of its points in the first half and held a 23-10 lead over Baylor at the half. The Bears scored a touchdown in the third quarter to cut the lead to 23-17 and held possession of the ball on the final drive of the game. Todd Orlando’s defense held steady as Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer was pressured and threw a last-effort pass out of the Texas end zone as the game clock expired.
Place your vote for Texas’ top play in the win over Baylor.
Shane Buechele’s 44-yard TD pass to Collin Johnson (4:21 – 2nd quarter)
LJ Humphrey’s quarterback keeper for a TD (1:12 – 2nd quarter)
Caden Sterns intercepts Charlie Brewer (:44 – 2nd Quarter)
Texas defense pressures Brewer on final play of the game (:01 – 4th quarter)
Vote for your Top Play below.
Texas Football 2019 full schedule released
The Longhorns host LSU at Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday, September 7
The Big 12 Conference released the 2019 football schedules for all ten conference schools on Thursday. The Longhorns’ schedule includes three non-conference games, two of which are against teams from Louisiana. Notably, Texas will host the LSU Tigers on September 7th after a home season-opener against Louisiana Tech, and will complete non-conference play against former Southwest Conference opponent Rice at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Texas will host Texas Tech on Friday, November 29th, the day after Thanksgiving, to wrap up the season.
Full schedule can be found below.
2019 Texas Football Schedule
Aug. 31—Louisiana Tech
Sept. 14—at Rice (NRG Stadium)
Sept. 21—Oklahoma State
Oct. 5—at West Virginia
Oct. 12—vs Oklahoma (Cotton Bowl)
Oct. 26—at TCU
Nov. 9—Kansas State
Nov. 16—at Iowa State
Nov. 23—at Baylor
Nov. 29—Texas Tech
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Baylor
Texas narrowly escaped with a victory against Baylor on Saturday, and there are several areas that the Longhorns must clean up to stay atop the Big 12
Another week, another close ballgame that came down to the final drive for Texas. The Longhorns found themselves behind the eight ball when Sam Ehlinger exited the game with an injury in the 1st quarter, and Baylor ended up giving Texas all they could handle. Regardless, Texas is now 6-1 and sits alone atop of the Big 12 conference standings. The Longhorns will gladly welcome the bye week as they prepare for the final stretch of the season. Let’s take a look at the good and the bad from a 23-17 win over the Bears:
Texas finally has a 100-yard rusher
For the first time in the Tom Herman era, Texas had a 100-yard rusher. Freshman Keaontay Ingram finished the afternoon with 110 yards on 19 carries. It’s hard to believe it had been 20 games since the Longhorns had someone surpass the 100-yard rushing mark, but it is only appropriate Ingram was the one to break the streak. Ingram continues to see an uptick in touches and has proven to be the best running back on the roster.
Collin Johnson continues to dominate
Texas now has a good problem on their hands. Collin Johnson is playing himself into position to be a potential high NFL draft pick, and I don’t think you will find many people who are upset about it. Johnson has cemented himself as a number 1 receiver after turning in another great performance on Saturday, hauling in 11 receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown. The biggest improvement he has made from his first two seasons is his physicality. Johnson has proven to be reliable going over the middle of the field while also also improving his ability beat corners off the line of scrimmage.
It’s hard to find a lot of negative when you look at Ryan Bujcevski’s stat line: 47.8 yards per punt and 3 punts inside the 20. Unfortunately, the stats do not tell the full story. Texas continues to have major issues getting punts off in a timely manner, and I am beginning to think it is more on Bujcevski than the protection unit. The Aussie takes far too long to get the ball off his foot once he receives the snap. Baylor nearly had a block yesterday, and it is a minor miracle the Longhorns have not had a punt blocked this year.
Opening drive scores
The Texas defense has had a tough time stopping opponents on their opening drives this season. In the 7 opening drives opponents have had against the Longhorns this year, 5 have ended in either a touchdown or field goal. Todd Orlando has stressed the importance of starting fast on defense, but a trend has emerged.
Cameron Dicker comes back to earth
Cameron Dicker carried over his momentum from his game winner against Oklahoma, going 3 for 3 on field goals in the first half, including a 47-yarder to end the half. The second half was a different story. Dicker missed a 34-yard attempt late in the 4th quarter that would have given Texas a 9-point lead. He followed it up with a miss from 51 yards. It has been a roller coaster ride for Tom Herman as he tries to manage the punting and kicking unit, but it’s hard to expect anything less since he is having to trot out a true freshman punter and kicker.
Zero second half points
The Longhorns had 5 drives in the second half — 2 ending in punts, 2 in missed field goals and one with an interception. Similar to the Kansas State game, the Texas offense moved the ball at times in the second half but were hurt by the inability to finish drives. Tom Herman and the offensive staff have shown improvements in making halftime adjustments, but the staff failed to put Shane Buechele and the offense in a position to finish off drives against a Baylor defense that ranked at or near the bottom of the Big 12 in nearly every major statistical category.
Sam Ehlinger’s injury
Texas fans now have a greater appreciation for Sam Ehlinger after watching the offense try to operate for almost 4 full quarters without him. Shane Buechele is considered a quality passer, but he fails to bring the running dimension to the offense that Ehlinger brings. The Longhorn offense is built around Ehlinger, and if he were to miss any extended period of time, it would not be good. If he is healthy enough for Oklahoma State, he needs to play. The Texas offense is not good enough to plug in the backup and rest the starter, even against a team like Oklahoma State.
Ehlinger’s MRI results show shoulder sprain
Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger left the Baylor game in the opening series after suffering a shoulder injury. Ehlinger left for the locker room to be evaluated and was replaced by backup Shane Buechele. He returned to the field but remained on the sideline with a headset on for the duration of the game. The Longhorns, behind Buechele, held on to defeat the Bears 23-17 and improved to 6-1 overall on the season.
In his postgame media availability, head coach Tom Herman expressed uncertainty about the injury to his sophomore quarterback, who led the Longhorns to five straight wins before the injury.
“I think any time you hurt a throwing shoulder, my level of concern is greater than zero, but I don’t know enough. I’ve got to be educated more on it.”
Ehlinger’s MRI results revealed a first degree sprained shoulder, which is good news for the Longhorns, who travel to Stillwater in two weeks to face Oklahoma State.
— Aaron Carrara (@AC_HornSports) October 14, 2018
Ehlinger has thrown for 1,534 yards and 11 touchdowns this season with just two interceptions. He has also rushed for 230 yards and 6 touchdowns.
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