Despite the final result, the Texas offense left a lot to be desired on Saturday. Out of the 42 points scored, 7 were off a defensive touchdown and several more scores were set up by the defense giving the offense excellent field position. Let’s take a look at how the offense graded out:
Shane Buechele started his 3rd straight game and looked well on his way to a monster game after hitting Lorenzo Joe for a 49 yard touchdown on the first play of the game. But following the opening play touchdown, it was another rough game for the sophomore. Buechele finished the game 22 of 32 for 249 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. It was particularly concerning to see some questionable decision making by Buechele, especially in the second half. In addition to his lone interception, he almost gifted Kansas a pick 6 by throwing the ball directly to Dorance Armstrong, who somehow dropped it. I am not sure if it is poor play from the receivers unit or Buechele, but #7 is forced to take sacks far too often, even when the protection holds up for a few seconds.
Sam Ehlinger barely broke a sweat in his two plays in the first quarter, tossing a wide open touchdown pass to Cade Brewer. Ehlinger then sat on the bench until late in the 4th quarter when he got some snaps with the game outcome decided. The coaches seem to be taking things slowly with Ehlinger returning from a concussion, but the reigns may need to come off soon. If Ehlinger plays like he did when he was the starter, he seems to be the best option at the quarterback position to help Texas get their 6th win and a bowl berth.
The youth movement at the running back position continued with Daniel Young leading the unit in carries with 21 carries for 67 yards. I was impressed with the shiftiness and balance Young displayed. Despite limited help from the blocking in front of him, Young rarely goes down on first contact and looks to be the most polished back on the roster even as a freshman.
Toneil Carter took his first carry 23 yards for a touchdown, showing great burst and cutting ability in the open field. His fumble on a swing pass is something that simply can not happen. If he can take better care of the football and continue to show the elusiveness and speed he has been, his playing time will only increase.
One of the big stories coming out of the game was the transition of Chris Warren to H-Back. Warren had a mixed bag of results at his new position. His physicality as a blocker will be the key to success. He looked lost on a few plays and blocked air, but looked like a willing blocker other times. The transition will take time, and getting his feet wet against Kansas was a good idea by the coaches. Warren was able to also punch in a 1 yard rushing touchdown in the 4th quarter that essentially put the game out of reach.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Lorenzo Joe stepped in a big way on Saturday. The senior has had steady production for most of the season and stepped up multiple times against the Jayhawks when Texas needed a play. He also had several nice blocks and is a player you never have to worry about giving max effort. Collin Johnson had a productive day, collecting 63 yards on 6 receptions. The offense will need him to step up even more with the season ending injury Dorian Leonard suffered. Lil’ Jordan Humphrey had a good game, including another hurdle over a defender and a rushing touchdown. It was good to see Texas go back to the wildcat package that worked well against Maryland, with Humphrey taking direct snaps. John Burt continues to show improved hands and still possess great speed. The unit of a whole needs to improve on blocking screens. Many continue to struggle engaging a man and not letting him get around to the ball carrier.
Kendall Moore played more than he had in recent weeks. Texas opted to get the graduate transfer in to help protect Buechele and try to open up more holes in the running game. Cade Brewer continued to log a lot of snaps and caught his only pass for a 8 yard touchdown.
I stated in my preview and score prediction that I worried about the Texas offensive line blocking Dorance Armstrong and Daniel Wise. Well, the duo had their way with the Texas offensive line for most of the game. There are too many times when defensive players flash in front of an offensive lineman’s face and they are not even touched. The unit continues to get very limited push on the interior on run plays and most yards being gained are from the running back breaking tackles. One of the ways to help out a quarterback behind a struggling line is to move the pocket, but there are several lineman who do not have the ability to move laterally and block someone at the same time.
The return of Connor Williams should help the unit significantly, but the unit still had their struggles even with the All-American holding down the left tackle spot. With the way the unit is playing now, even slightly below average play the rest of the way would be improvement and likely mean improved offensive production.
Pass Block Grade: F
Run Block Grade: D+
Offensive Play Calling
The abandonment of Carter and Young after they torched Kansas on a drive that gave Texas a 21-7 was a head scratcher. The personnel changes in the Wildcat package looked much needed and they seem to slowly but surely be figuring out the limitations of their personnel. It is unrealistic to expect huge changes so far into the season, but the offensive coaches seem at least open to adjusting the offense to help out a struggling running game and offensive line. The QB sweep play with Buechele worked this week, but running that play with the current state of the offensive line is asking for trouble. The short passing game and screen game seemed to be used appropriately. It is slightly disappointing that Texas could not surpass the 400 yard mark against a defense of Kansas’ caliber. With the return of Connor Williams and potentially Sam Ehlinger, the West Virginia and Texas Tech games will serve as a good measuring stick to where Texas sits on offense heading into the off season.
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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