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Texas Longhorns Football

Defensive/Special Teams Grades: Missouri

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Photo: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Despite missing numerous starters and playing against the SEC’s top offense, Texas allowed only 16 points and forced 3 turnovers. It also didn’t hurt that Texas Bowl MVP Michael Dickson ended his Longhorn career with one of the best performances ever from a college punter. Let’s take a look at how the defense and special teams graded out:

Defensive Line

It was a fitting way for the defensive line to finish the season. Poona Ford concluded his Longhorn career by making life miserable for the Missouri offensive line. He’ll be playing on Sundays next year. Breckyn Hager played with usual all-out effort and was rewarded with a fumble recovery. His improvements in defending the run can’t be stated enough. He also needs to work on his dance moves. Malcolm Roach had a quiet night on the stat sheet, but played a very solid game. Along with being the victim on a pretty obvious holding call that was not called on Missouri’s long touchdown to open the second half, Charles Omenihu played excellent and capped off his night with a strip sack fumble on Missouri’s final drive.

Gerald Wilbon, Jamari Chisholm and TaQuon Graham all saw snaps in a reserve role. I noticed Chisholm and Graham get into the backfield several times and force Lock to leave the pocket.

Grade: A-

Linebacker

Gary Johnson was asked to play a much bigger role with Malik Jefferson sitting out due to injury, and #33 responded. Johnson finished with a team high 10 tackles and was all over the field. His ability to cover sideline to sideline is perfect in the Big 12, and if Jefferson were to leave for the NFL, there’s no reason not to believe Johnson will he just as productive as #46 was this year.

Anthony Wheeler had maybe the highlight of the game with his 38 yard fumble recovery for a TD, but otherwise played an okay game. He lacks the recognition and anticipation in the run game that you would want from a MLB (Ex: Missouri’s first TD). Todd Orlando will surely spend a lot of time with Wheeler and Jeff McCulloch this offseason trying to get them to the level the defense needs them to be, because Texas will need both to be big contributors next year. In a game full of a positives, it was frustrating to see Wheeler get ejected for targeting when the game outcome was already decided. He’ll miss the first half of the Maryland game.

Grade: B

Defensive Back

Considering the circumstances, it was about as good of a game as anyone could have expected from the secondary. Kris Boyd finished the year with another strong game and looks to be heading into 2018 on an upward trajectory. Devante Davis was a reliable tackler and did a great job jumping the route on his interception. You still hold your breath every time he is tested deep down the field, but Davis made several good plays on the ball and looks to hopefully be regaining some confidence.

PJ Locke looked very comfortable at safety. Locke finished with 7 tackles and a forced fumble. Brandon Jones and Antwuan Davis got burned on Missouri’s long passing TD, but otherwise both played solid. Jones is still a liability against the pass, but he can show half the progress made DeShon Elliott between his sophomore and junior season, he will be perfectly fine in 2018. Davis is at his best when he is active around the line of scrimmage, stuffing the run and short screens. Texas will be searching in the off-season for someone to take over at Nickel (Bonney? Josh Thompson?). Jason Hall embraced his role as the 6th DB on the field and finished with 5 tackles.

Grade: B+

Special Teams

Michael Dickson put NINE punts inside the 10 yard line and Josh Rowland made a field goal. Nothing else more needs to be said.

Grade: A

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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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