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Is Texas Truly Back?

Texas has now won five straight games after a season-opening loss to the Maryland Terrapins. But are the Longhorns truly back?



Tim Heitman, USA TODAY Sports

I’ve never been a fan of preseason polls or making record predictions before actual football is played. It’s an easy way for unrealistic expectations to manifest themselves before actually knowing how a team will play under the spotlight.

I didn’t think Texas should be ranked coming into the season. In my opinion they had not done anything to warrant a preseason Top 25 ranking, and they lost a good bit of talent after last season. On top of that, this Texas program still had a lot to prove to make us think they were on the rise. Not just that they had improved, but that they were actually BACK. Let’s be honest — they’ve seemed like a team wandering lost in the wilderness the past several years.

Then Maryland happened. We saw a team that started slow and looked sluggish and unprepared, but managed to fight and battle through adversity. Then the turnover bug struck three times over and foiled a late comeback attempt. For the second year in a row the Terps stunned the Longhorns and the entire country was wondering if things were getting better in Austin. Then the Tulsa game happened. The Golden Hurricane were clearly an inferior opponent that the Longhorns should have ran out of DKR, but instead Texas let them hang around and had to manufacture a late drive to run the clock out. Not an ideal start to the season.

The Longhorns limped into the toughest stretch of their schedule, which included three ranked opponents and a road test in Manhattan, Kansas — a place they hadn’t won in since 2002. This was a brutal stretch of games where fans were going to discover everything they needed to know about Tom Herman’s 2018 Longhorns.

So, what did Texas do during that stretch? They answered. They beat up on then-ranked USC 37-14, then followed that up by snapping a losing streak to the Horned Frogs, who were also ranked. Then they grounded-out a win in Manhattan — their first since 2002. The Longhorns entered the Red River Showdown 3-0 over that stretch, with a chance to make it five straight.

The Sooners entered the matchup boasting arguably the best offense in the country, with certainly one of the most explosive quarterbacks in Kyler Murray. While the Texas defense played well coming into the Red River Showdown, I was still uneasy about how they matched up against the Sooner wideouts and their big play potential. Todd Orlando also had to worry about containing Murray in the pocket, which is a very tall task because of his elusiveness and ability to play backyard football.

It felt like a game that would take at least 40 points for the Longhorns to come out victorious, which held true this past Saturday. The Texas offense has shown the ability to put together long methodical scoring drives this year, and that was exactly what they would need against Oklahoma. Limiting the amount of possessions that Murray and the Sooner offense would get was critical. Teams don’t want to try to get into a shootout with the Sooners, but that’s exactly what happened in Dallas.

When the Sooners marched down the field for a touchdown on the opening drive, it was almost certain that Texas would be in for a long day. But the Longhorns gathered themselves and went on the offensive. Sam Ehlinger and his offense marched down the field in five plays and answered immediately with a touchdown of their own, sending the message that they were not going to back down. The Texas offense scored on each possession of the first half and didn’t punt until their second possession in the second half. Along the way they forced Murray into an errant pass that was picked off by Brandon Jones, which was converted into points. Murray would also put the ball on the ground later in the contest that would turn into a Texas touchdown. That’s two turnovers by the Heisman contender that turned into 10 points for Texas.

Turnovers in this game are typically contributors to the outcome. Texas needed some things to bounce their way in Dallas if they were going to pull off the upset, and those turnovers by Murray are an excellent example. The Longhorns were in control of this game until the 4th quarter, when the defense seemed to run out of gas and the offense couldn’t sustain drives. Adversity struck in the form a Sooner rally that resulted in a tied game, but the Longhorns had one more opportunity to put the game away in regulation.

Enter Dicker the Kicker.

The Texas offense manufactured a nine-play, 52-yard drive to setup the freshman kicker from Lake Travis for a 40-yard field goal attempt.  If Dicker were to nail it, he would become a legend overnight in Austin. The young man didn’t disappoint, as he stepped up and drained the biggest kick of his life. The upset of the 7th ranked Sooners was complete and the Longhorns completed a brutal stretch of their early season schedule at 4-0. This was a feat that any, including myself, didn’t think was possible just a few weeks ago.

Texas now sits at 5-1 on the year and is ranked 9th and 14th in the AP and Amway Coaches Polls respectively. Texas is undefeated in Big 12 play and in control of their destiny.

But is Texas back, like many were quick to say after the season-opening Notre Dame win a couple years ago?


Here’s why I say maybe. Saying Texas was back after one game , post-Notre Dame, proved to be premature. That could very well happen again after 6 games if this Texas team shows it hasn’t learned from the past.

One of the mantras for Tom Herman and this team has been about finishing. And while they’ve shown so far they can finish games, they now must finish the larger task of finishing the season — showing they have the discipline and will to win the Big 12. Texas is showing progress on the field, and that can’t be debated, but we all know that a program like Texas should compete for a conference title and playoff spot every year. Once they show some consistency in that regard, we can say for certain that they are back.

The 2018 Longhorns are halfway to their goal, but there is still a lot of season left. They have to show that they can truly finish. The optimism about this team is high, particularly because of the quality play from Sam Ehlinger at the quarterback position. Aside from the Maryland game, Ehlinger has taken very good care of the football and is showing the progress you want to see from a second-year player. The offense as a whole is in a much better place this year, and that’s a tremendous sign for a team that lacked an identity before.

Texas has a chance to truly put itself back on the national stage, but they still have to show they can finish the race. As Tom Herman says, they need to go “1-0 every week” and not get ahead of themselves. Through six games, Herman and his staff have done an excellent job of keeping the team focused on the task-at-hand — winning one game at a time.

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Big 12

Texas Basketball Tied for 4th in Big 12 Preseason Coaches Poll

Kansas Jayhawks take the top spot



Photo: USA TODAY Sports

The Big 12 Conference released its preseason coaches team rankings for the upcoming basketball season on Friday. The Longhorns find themselves tied for 4th, with the TCU Horned Frogs, in the field of ten teams.  The Kansas Jayhawks top the poll for the eighth consecutive season, collecting all first-place votes and finishing with 81 total points.  Kansas State and West Virginia round out the top 3, with 72 and 61 points respectively.

The Big 12 will hold its preseason media day on Wednesday, October 24 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, site of the 2019 Conference Tournament.

The Longhorns kick off their season against Eastern  on Tuesday, November 6th against Eastern Illinois at the Frank Erwin Center.

Complete Big 12 Coaches Preseason Poll

1Kansas (9)81
2Kansas State72
3West Virginia61
6Iowa State41
7Texas Tech36
10Oklahoma State10

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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



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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Seahorn’s Five Thoughts: Baylor



John Gutierrez, USA TODAY Sports

Things didn’t go according to plan from the jump with Sam Ehlinger suffering a shoulder injury during the first series of the football game. Yet the Longhorns managed to gut out a win against the pesky Bears of Waco and move to 6-1 on the season. The Longhorns have now won 6 in a row and still have a chance to accomplish the goals they set out for at the start of the season. The main thing right now is for them to get healthy and nurse some bumps and bruises before heading to Stillwater to take on the Cowboys.

Here’s what I’ve got on my mind after today’s tight contest against Baylor.

  • It Wasn’t Pretty… but it was a Win

This game had a hard left turn in the first offensive series for Texas, with Ehlinger suffering a shoulder injury that would eventually rule him out for the rest of the game. This meant backup quarterback Shane Buechele was called in cold to guide the ship for the rest of the contest. Buechele hasn’t received a game snap all year long, and was thrown right into the pressure cooker. Thankfully the junior quarterback has several starts under his belt and he was able to lean on that experience to help get the Longhorns across the finish line today with a win today.

Don’t get it twisted, though. Ehlinger going out early completely changed the dynamics of this ball game and how the Texas offense typically operates. The designed quarterback runs were out the window, Ehlinger’s ability to improvise and hurt a defense with his feet was gone, and most importantly, the steady hand that has guided the Texas offense all year long was gone. Nobody really knew what to expect when Buechele was thrust into action this afternoon. He made some nice throws, led some solid drives, but he also had one interception on a ball that he overshot on a post, resulting in points for Baylor.

On the flip side of things the Texas defense had a solid day at the office, but with the offense handling some adversity, they had a tall task of slowing down a capable offense. The secondary had some forgettable moments today (particularly on third down and long), but at the end of the day they were able to hold the Baylor offense to 17 points and 328 yards of offense. When you take into account that a good chunk of that came on the final drive when the Bears started in the shadows of their own goal posts, then it’s not too bad in the grand scheme of things.

This wasn’t a style-point game like many hoped it would be and it wasn’t always pretty, but it was still a win nonetheless and you will take them however you can get them.

  • Keaontay Ingram Goes Over the Century Mark

Coming into the contest, Texas had yet to tally a 100-yard rusher, but that came to end via freshman running back Keaontay Ingram. Ingram led the Texas rushing attack to the tune of 110 yards on 19 carries (5.78 YPC) and he dazzled with some really nice runs, showing off his vision and patience in the process.

Ingram flashes remarkable traits and often seems to get positive yardage when it looks like he has no room to run. There were times where I could see penetration from the Baylor front before Ingram got to the LOS and he still managed to squeeze through the hole and pop out on the other side. Mind you, this is all transpiring after Tom Herman said that Ingram isn’t playing at 100% from the injury that caused him to miss a game earlier this year.

The future is bright for #26 in burnt orange, who looks better every week.

  • Dicker the Kicker is Mortal

Freshman kicker Cameron Dicker showed today that even after draining a game-winning kick against Oklahoma last week and making three field goals afternoon, he is in fact capable of missing. The freshman from Lake Travis started the day 3 for 3 before missing two kicks (both his shortest and longest attempts) that would have put the game out of reach for Baylor.

It may sound like I’m nitpicking here on a freshman, but when points were at a premium like they were today, you have to push one of those through and give yourself a little more wiggle room.

  • The Secondary has Some Sore Spots That Need Addressing

The Texas defense only allowed 240 yards passing today against a pretty good offense, but they were also fortunate in some cases that it wasn’t more. This is going to feel like I’m calling some guys out, but when Baylor needed a big play or was in a crucial spot they seemed to always go at whoever PJ Locke or Davante Davis was covering.

Both Davis and Locke have spilled blood for the program and have been solid citizens, but it seems obvious at times that teams are picking on them. I’ve been quietly wondering if the defensive staff would start working in some alternative options, but as the season has moved forward they’ve continued to roll with their guys.

I don’t have access to how practices play out, so I’m not sure if guys like Josh Thompson or Anthony Cook aren’t doing enough to unseat the veterans, but I know what I see on Saturdays hasn’t been great. Eventually it could get this team beat if the right opponent presents itself.

  • The Injury of Sam Ehlinger

I hate ending on a sour note, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a tad bit concerned about the injury that kept Ehlinger out for essentially the entire ball game. When Ehlinger emerged from the locker room, most thought he was just getting the cut on his hand addressed, but others noticed he was not really moving his shoulder as he moved around. Herman addressed the media after the game and disclosed that Ehlinger suffered an AC sprain in his throwing shoulder, and that they were hopeful that he could be throwing by the end of the week.

The silver lining is that Texas is heading into a bye week, so Texas has an extra week to get 11 healthy. If he does have to miss a game, they have an extra week to get Buechele reps and game ready for road test against a team that Texas has struggled with in recent contests.

The down side of things is that injury of this nature could take several weeks to fully heal, and with Ehlinger being as important as he is to the team, you may not want to risk further aggravating the injury. Needless to say, this is going to be something to monitor closely as the matchup gets closer.

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Game Day: #9 Texas vs. Baylor

The #9 Texas Longhorns host the Baylor Bears at 2:30 PM on Saturday at DKR



The #9 Texas Longhorns look to continue their winning ways as they host Big 12 opponent Baylor on Saturday. Texas holds it first Top 10 ranking since 2010, and has beaten the Bears three straight, including a 38-7 win last season in Waco.

With a win today, the Longhorns become bowl eligible and remain undefeated in conference play as they head into a bye week. At the conclusion of the first quarter, the The Texas football program will celebrate the 20th anniversary of former Texas running back Ricky Williams’ Heisman trophy winning season.

The matchup between Texas and Baylor will be televised nationally on ESPN.

What:  Texas Longhorns (5-1, 3-0 Big 12) vs. Baylor Bears (4-2, 2-1 Big-12)
When:  Saturday, October 12, 2018
Time:  2:30 PM CST
Venue:  Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium
Location: Austin, Texas
Television: ESPNLast Meeting: Texas defeated Baylor 38-7 (10/28/17, Waco)
All-time series record: Texas leads Baylor 77-26-4

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