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Texas Longhorns Football

The Story of the Season: Chapter 1

Photo: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

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The University of Texas opened it’s 127th football season with a 45-14 win over Louisiana Tech on Saturday night at DKR Texas Memorial Stadium. More than 93,000 fans were in attendance for the lopsided contest.

If Texas fans left the game feeling unsatisfied with a 38-point win, perhaps they need to be reminded that this was the first time the Horns won their opener in three years. Alternatively, they should tell a Tennessee Vol fan about their dissatisfaction – the Vols lost to Georgia State on Saturday.

The Horns are 1-0, but society has devolved to a point where fans feel compelled to be critical in order to sound knowledgeable:

“…. But J’Mar Smith threw for 331 yards. If Louisiana Tech was effective, Big 12 offenses are going to have a field day with the Longhorn secondary.”

That’s true. It’s also true that Texas started two new cornerbacks.

With safety help over the top, Texas cornerbacks appeared content to let receivers catch passes underneath in exchange for not letting wideouts get behind them. Considering that quick scoring strikes are a critical ingredient in college football upsets, that is a prudent trade-off.

For Jason Washington, UT’s cornerbacks coach, missed tackles and players trying to make a big hit instead of a sure tackle is likely of greater concern than allowing passing yardage between the 20’s.

“….But Sam Ehlinger still missed deep throws and his accuracy was off. Without help from his receivers, Ehlinger looked average.”

Pipe down, Bradshaw.

If fans want to nitpick, Louisiana Tech’s quarterback completed <gasp!> 31 passes. That many completions led to a time of possession advantage for the Bulldogs. Additionally the Bulldogs sacked Ehlinger causing a missed field goal.

Before trying to derive Texas’ final 2019 record based on one game, consider that Louisiana Tech is an unknown. The Bulldogs’ bright spots on Saturday night could be foreshadowing a dominant run through their Conference USA slate.

Whether fans like to admit it or not, not many, if any, conclusions can be drawn from Texas’ season opening victory:

  • Texas started a lot of inexperienced players. With a comfortable lead in the second half, even more inexperienced players were able to log valuable minutes on the field.
  • Every time one of Ehlinger’s passes was a fraction off the mark, it’s impossible to know whether the fault lies with the quarterback, a receiver’s route, or the tandem’s timing.

Truth be told, no one knows how good either team will be this season. The good news is that the game checked all the boxes – Texas won. Texas avoided major injuries. Plenty of players gained valuable experience.

Anyone trying to glean more or less from Saturday’s win should stop. 45-14 was a solid win. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Much more will be known next weekend with ESPN’s College GameDay filming in Austin and the No. 6 LSU Tigers in town.

Head Coach Tom Herman loves to talk about going 1-0 each week. At the end of opening weekend, the safest bet is that a team would rather be 1-0, than 0-1. Just ask Will Mushchamp.

 

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Each week Matt Cotcher will continue to build “The Story of the Season” as it unfolds.

Preface

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