In a game that appeared all but over, Texas somehow put 15 points on the board in the final 3:13 to force overtime and squeak out a win in the Big 12 opener against Texas Tech. The 63-56 victory over the Red Raiders featured many ups and downs, but the Longhorns found a way to get it done against a Texas Tech team poised for an upset. Here are some quick thoughts from a wild afternoon in Lubbock:
- Special Teams was a total rollercoaster ride for the Longhorns. On their first punt of the afternoon, Ryan Bujcevski nearly had his punt blocked. The next punt, the Red Raiders brought the same pressure and got home by blocking Bujcevski. The blocked punt, in addition to a surprise onside recovery and muffed punt recovered in the end zone for a TD, made for an eventful game for new special teams coordinator Jay Boulware. The Longhorns may have evened things out by blocking a punt of their own for a TD and recovering an onside kick made in the game, but Texas simply can not afford to give away field position and quick points if they hope to win the Big 12.
- Chris Ash received a baptism by fire in his first Big 12 game. The Longhorns secondary had a rough afternoon outside of a trio of interceptions by Chris Brown, Chris Adimora and Caden Sterns, the last of which sealed the win. The Texas defense was playing on its heels at times while dealing with Red Raiders’s tempo, and Jay Valai will certainly have some some teaching moments with his CB’s as they review film this week. Josh Thompson and Jalen Green were both targeted frequently and had difficulties matching up against a bigger group of Texas Tech wide receivers.
- Despite the defensive performance overall, it had to be nice for Longhorns fans to see DeMarvion Overshown and Juwan Mitchell making plays on the field together. Overshown in particular flashed several times and appears to have a bright future at linebacker if he continues to develop.
- The Texas offense had a solid first half but ran into some issues during the second half. The offensive line, particularly the right side, struggled mightily with penalties and giving up pressure. Ironically, the Longhorns success came when they fell behind 15 and were forced to air it out. It remains to be seen whether Texas can carry a similar philosophy into future games, but the offense appears to be at its best when #11 is pushing the ball down the field.
- Keaontay Ingram looks to be running the ball really well right now. He has an extra gear right now that hasn’t been present his first 2 years on campus. Ingram and Roschon Johnson could be counted on even more in the coming weeks if Bijan Robinson were to miss time with the neck sprain that forced him out of a game.
- Brennan Eagles has had an up and down first two years at Texas, but the junior came down with 2 huge catches late in the 4th quarter, the first a TD to cut the Tech lead to 56-48 and the second the two-point conversion to tie the game. If Eagles starts to establish himself as a reliable target for Ehlinger, the Texas offense could become very dangerous.
- Overall, it was a game Texas honestly deserved to lose. The Red Raiders controlled the game most of the second half and fell apart late in the 4th quarter. Perhaps this is the close call most great teams have at some point during the season, or it could be a sign for problems Texas will have the rest of the season. The Longhorns are not likely to face a passing attack similar to Texas Tech outside of maybe Oklahoma. Regardless, there is a lot to clean up for Tom Herman and the coaching staff.
Texas will now turn its attention to TCU. The Horned Frogs have owned Texas since joining the Big 12, winning 6 of 8. Gary Patterson makes no secret in the fact he prepares extra for the Longhorns and emphasizes the game to his team. Texas can not afford to overlook TCU as the matchup against Oklahoma looms.
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