3rd Quarter: 10-16, Comeback?

The duo of McCoy and Ash seems to be working (mostly due to Malcolm Brown, but who’s counting?). The crowd is getting behind the defense. A comeback is brewing.

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Halftime: 3-13, Gilbert is out

It’s official. Gilbert is out and Case McCoy is in. He and Ash have been switching off plays but it has not proved successful. The Texas offense is struggling to find an identity and it doesn’t seem like they are anywhere close to finding one. Hey, at least we have points on the board.

Texas-ex Dusty Mangum came in as halftime entertainment to try and kick a field goal to win 100,000+ Frosty’s (one for everyone in attendance). He shanked two kicks and I’m extremely disappointed.

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1st Quarter: 0-6, BYU up early

Garrett Gilbert is 1-6 with 2 interceptions as the Horns have struggled on offense. Most of the fans around me are already calling for David Ash (who has seen some early field time already). The defense has stepped up still not allowing an opponent into the end zone. Texas needs their QB to make smarter decisions if they are going to come out victorious.

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Just in case you missed it …

… here are a few headlines from the past week that everyone should be aware of.

  • Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin has decided to return to football at UT after coming one centimeter shy of the finals for the long jump at the World Championships in South Korea. He said he missed football more than he thought. I don’t care why he came back, I’m just glad 84 will be on the field this week bringing a little more experience to a very young receiving corps. Check out Goodwin’s interview on the Texas practice report.
  • Thank goodness another team is taking the spotlight off of Texas and the Longhorn Network. Texas A&M’s attempt to join the SEC may be held up by none other than … BAYLOR! The Bears are threatening litigation, which was the only thing the SEC said would keep them from absorbing the Aggies. Kind of like Superman telling the world his only weakness is Kryptonite.
  • Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops says the annual Red River Rivalry game between OU and Texas isn’t “necessary” if the landscape of college football changes and the two are not in the same conference. Watch the video if you can stomach all of that crimson.
  • The depth chart only has minor changes for the week against BYU. David Ash is now the official third string QB with Connor Wood gone. Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown are still in an either/or position for second string RB, but they have flipped sides. What does this tell us? Expect to see more of Brown in the first half rather than last week where all his carries came in the second half. Lastly, with the arm injury to Demarco Cobbs, Aaron Benson will now back up Jordan Hicks while Chet Moss moves in behind Emmanuel Acho.
  • Texas has cracked the top 25 of the AP Poll. The Longhorns are ranked 24th after their 34-9 victory over Rice. The rest of the poll looks like this:
AP Top 25
1 Oklahoma (32) 1-0 1448
2 LSU (17) 1-0 1415
3 Alabama (9) 1-0 1409
4 Boise State (2) 1-0 1310
5 Florida State 1-0 1196
6 Stanford 1-0 1154
7 Texas A&M 1-0 1033
8 Wisconsin 1-0 1031
9 Oklahoma State 1-0 981
10 Nebraska 1-0 947
11 Virginia Tech 1-0 906
12 South Carolina 1-0 843
13 Oregon 0-1 828
14 Arkansas 1-0 752
15 Ohio State 1-0 606
16 Mississippi State 1-0 594
17 Michigan State 1-0 530
18 Florida 1-0 382
19 West Virginia 1-0 357
20 Baylor 1-0 284
21 Missouri 1-0 242
22 South Florida 1-0 221
23 Penn State 1-0 147
24 Texas 1-0 135
25 TCU 0-1 130
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UT 34, Rice 9: Out with the old, in with the new

One game in and the effects of program-wide change can already be felt on the 40 Acres.

Texas’ 34-9 victory over Rice on Saturday ushered in a new era for UT football, one with trick plays and a lot of true freshman contributors (18 saw the field, a record for a Mack Brown coached team). After a slow first half, which is to be expected with a team running a new offense against someone other than their scout team, Texas still had 13-6 lead at the half. The lone touchdown came after a fumbled Rice punt return left Texas with a short field.

“We forced the one turnover with our punt coverage team that led to the points,” said Brown. “We had some long drives, but we didn’t score when we got into the red zone. Coming out the second half, I was really proud of the offense taking a 99-yard drive to score, a 94-yard drive to score, and being really physical in the running game.”

The second-half drives instilled confidence in the new offense, which included trick plays that added a little fun into a program that didn’t have much of it last season.

“It’s a big deal,” said receiver John Harris, who had one of the most exciting plays of the night passing for a touchdown off a reverse. “It grabs the crowd and grabs the team. It brings a lot of energy to the team when you need it.”

The 36-yard touchdown pass to Jaxon Shipley was the first thrown by a non-QB since Ricky Williams in 1997.

“I think as part of stuff that we’re trying to incorporate with these players and utilize their skills, that’s part of it,” said Co-Offensive Coordinator Bryan Harsin of the play. “We’ve run that play in practice, and John’s made great decisions on that whether it’s there or not. We trust him, and he did the exact same thing and actually threw a heck of a ball.”

Probably the most anticipated appearance of the night was by true freshman Malcolm Brown who had 16 carries, all coming in the second half. He led the Horns in rushing with 86 yards, the most by a Texas freshman in a season opener since Jamaal Charles in 2005. Sophomore Mike Davis led the team in receiving with his career-high 115 yards on three catches.

As the offense came alive in the second half, the Texas defense played at a steady pace throughout the game. The only cause for concern was that the Texas D had zero sacks and zero interceptions. Not something you expect from a pass defense with a lot of athletes at defensive end and corner.

To the credit of the defense, Rice’s offense played very conservatively. The longest pass of the night by the Owls was a 15-yarder by running back Sam McGuffie. Also, despite the lack of forced turnovers, the Texas defense didn’t allow a touchdown. It was the first time the Horns held an opposing offense out of the endzone since the Big 12 title game against Nebraska in 2009.

As far as season openers go, this was a good start for a Texas team that greatly needed one. Still quite a bit to work on, but the feeling after this year’s Rice game as opposed to last year’s is much better. Up next week is BYU, which with the latest rumblings about conference realignment, could be a preview to a future conference foe. But we’ll save that for another time.

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