In typical Texas fashion, the Longhorns were able to hold on in dramatic fashion and defeat Missouri 33-16 to claim the Texas Bowl trophy. With that being said, we still have some thoughts on the game and what 2018 holds.
1. Thank you, Dickson
Texas fans need to take in this moment, because it is the last time they will ever see one of the greatest punters in college football history wearing burnt orange. Dickson was easily the best part of the Texas offense in 2017, and is a large reason they were able to pull out the victory tonight. Dickson is going to be a fantastic player for a long time in the NFL. We can’t wait to see what team he goes to. Thanks for the memories, Michael. We will always cherish them. Please transfer some of your skills over to your cousin. We would deeply appreciate it.
2. The Texas defense will be fine
The Longhorns defense lacked Malik Jefferson, Holton Hill and DeShon Elliot, and still held the most explosive offense in the SEC to 16 points. Todd Orlando is a wizard that deserves a huge raise. With arguably the greatest DB haul in the history of any recruiting class coming in 2018 along with some other fantastic defensive weapons, Orlando has plenty to work with next year. The loss of Hill, Elliot, and potentially Jefferson can be mended – as we saw tonight. If Tom Herman can figure out a way to create an offensive identity, this team could be scary in a few years.
3. Herman has some decisions to make
Some of Tom Herman’s assistants did not have a great year. The most obvious choice here is offensive coordinator Tim Beck. The offense never developed a clear identity, and when it looked like they had, Beck seemed to always turn away from it immediately. Beck’s play-calling was simply mind boggling at times this season. Tom Herman has a tough choice to make here. If he fires Beck after one season, that won’t look good. He will be criticized for it. However, he must do what is best for his program, and keeping Beck could possibly hold this program back. Another coach under the microscope could be Derek Warehime. Warehime’s position group had an atrocious year. Although the offensive line was plagued by injuries, seasoned veterans up front seemed to regress as the year went on. On top of that, Warehime has had some key misses on the recruiting trail. Many have complained about his inability to develop relationships with recruits. Warehime seems to have fixed this as of late, but it is something to keep an eye on. Herman will likely stick with Warehime for another year, but the OL has to do better next year. Without a better OL, this Texas team will not move up much in the win column.
4. The absence of Josh Huepel was felt by Mizzou
The most explosive offense in the SEC seemed to be anything but until the 3rd quarter of tonight’s game. It didn’t seem to make much sense that Texas lacked two major players in its defensive secondary, yet the Tigers refused to test them vertically. Finally, something clicked and Missouri tested the Longhorns in the second half. On the first play of the 3rd quarter, Drew Lock connected on an 89-yard bomb that would end up being Missouri’s biggest play of the game. Unfortunately, it was too little too late for Missouri. You have to tip your hat to Todd Orlando for the way he planned this game. He gave Missour fits throughout the first half and much of the 4th quarter, but the Tigers handed the Longhorns some gifts. Simply put, the Missouri did not look ready to play, and it showed. It’s hard to come back from as horrible of a start as Missouri had. The Tigers learned that the hard way.
5. The outlook for 2018 is…
A positive one. Texas will bring in a top 5 recruiting class to build off what is a primarily young team. The defense will be solid once again under Todd Orlando’s control. The offense is a gigantic question mark. Tom Herman is considered to be one of the best offensive minds in the game. He is going to have to prove that this offseason by attempting to fix Texas’ offensive issues. If he can do so, the Longhorns can become a contender once again in the Big 12. No matter how you slice it, this was not a pretty season for Texas. However, it was progressive. Going from 5-7 to 7-6 is positive progress – no matter how you look at it. Herman has likely learned many things from his first season at Texas that he will take with him into the offseason. Most importantly, Texas earned its first winning season since 2013. The Longhorns are one step closer to returning to their rightful place among college football’s elite programs.
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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