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Texas Longhorns Football

Defense/Special Teams Grades: Oklahoma

Photo: Tim Heitman, USA TODAY Sports Images
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Following a 29-24 loss against Oklahoma, let’s take a look at how the Texas defense and special teams graded out:

Defensive Line

Following the first 3 offensive drives for Oklahoma, it looked like Texas could possibly be on its way to surrendering 600+ yards of total offense. The defensive line was getting whipped, giving Baker Mayfield lots of time to throw and creating huge holes in the run game. After being down by the score of 20-0, the defensive line responded in a huge way. Charles Omenihu did not have his best game in run support, but had a very good game rushing the passer. Chris Nelson and Poona Ford both had quiet games, but were key clogs on several run stuffs in the second half. Jamari Chisholm, Gerald Wilbon and TaQuon Graham all saw snaps in backup roles and I was pleasantly surprised with the physicality all 3 showed.

One of the biggest disappointments on the defensive side of the ball was the inability to keep Mayfield from getting outside the pocket and extending plays. The defensive line had a difficult time bringing Mayfield to the ground and found themselves over-pursuing far too often. Breckyn Hager also had a rough game, dropping an interception that hit him right in the chest and struggling to get around OU’s All-American left tackle Orlando Brown.

Overall, the defensive line improved as the game wore on and they kept Texas from being completely embarrassed on the defensive side of the ball. Clogging run gaps and containing mobile quarterbacks need to be improved upon.

Grade: B-

Linebackers

Aside from Malik Jefferson, the linebacker play was very underwhelming. Even Jefferson had his own struggles in defending the run, but still finished with a team high 11 tackles. I honestly don’t remember Anthony Wheeler standing out at all during the game, but while rewatching the game I saw far too many times where he was blocked out of a play or chose a wrong gap on a run. Naashon Hughes was asked to do a lot in the passing game and performed alright, but it is obvious that Texas lacks a premiere playmaker at the B-Backer position. I am still not entirely sure why Gary Johnson does not play more.

The linebackers’ main downfall was the inability to stop the run, primarily in the first half. There were just far too many times where Oklahoma running backs made it to the second level nearly untouched. If it wasn’t for Jefferson, the unit would have likely received a failing grade.

Grade: C

Secondary

This was by far the poorest performance the secondary has put together all year. Kris Boyd struggled all game long and it was obvious that Oklahoma came in with a plan to attack him. His eye discipline and situational awareness is something that is going to continue to be attacked by every team left on the schedule. PJ Locke had another subpar game in both run support and pass coverage. Deshon Elliott showed his usual physicality in the run game, but struggled in helping defend the pass. All the secondary struggles could have been swept under the rug had Texas gotten a defensive stop after taking a 24-23 lead in the 4th quarter, but instead Texas left Mark Andrews wide open for a 59 touchdown pass. Brandon Jones and Kris Boyd have both been blamed for the blown assignment, but the fact there are still issues with basic coverage at the halfway point of the season is cause for alarm.

On the positive side of things, John Bonney recorded the first interception of Baker Mayfield all season and played rather well. Holton Hill continues to look very good and I am beginning to wonder if the NFL could be calling his name at the end of the year. Texas has ton of talent in the secondary, but continues to be burned on simple miscommunication and coverage issues that should have been resolved weeks ago.

Grade: D

Special Teams

Texas put together an all around solid special teams performance on Saturday. Josh Rowland connected on his only field goal attempt, a 34 yarder, to help bring his season field goal percentage to 50%. He also did a good job of putting 3 of his 4 kickoffs in the back of the endzone for touchbacks. Michael Dickson was named the Ray Guy Punter of the week after averaging 55 yards per punt, including a booming 69 yarder.

Kyle Porter seems to have given Texas a spark at kick returns. Porter only had one return, but brought it out 41 yards. Reggie Hemphill Mapps had perhaps the only negative special teams play of the day, when he ran backwards after a fielding a punt and lost 10 yards.

Grade: B+

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Jameson McCausland is originally from Frisco, Texas, where he grew up a Longhorn fan. His two favorite sports are football and baseball, both of which he covers for HornSports. He enjoys spending time with family and friends in his spare time. Jameson is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

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Texas Longhorns Football

Top Plays: Texas vs. Baylor

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Photo: John Gutierrez-USA TODAY Sports

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.

What was Texas' Top Play in the win over Baylor?

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Big 12

Texas Football 2019 full schedule released

The Longhorns host LSU at Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday, September 7

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Photo: USA TODAY Sports

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. 7—LSU
Sept. 14—at Rice (NRG Stadium)
Sept. 21—Oklahoma State
Oct. 5—at West Virginia
Oct. 12—vs Oklahoma (Cotton Bowl)
Oct. 19—Kansas
Oct. 26—at TCU
Nov. 9—Kansas State
Nov. 16—at Iowa State
Nov. 23—at Baylor
Nov. 29—Texas Tech

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College Football

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

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John Gutierrez, USA TODAY Sports

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:

The Good

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.

The Bad

Punting

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.

The Ugly

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.

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Texas Longhorns Football

Ehlinger’s MRI results show shoulder sprain

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Photo: USA TODAY Sports Images

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.

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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