In the middle of this 10-game regular season, Texas could easily sit here 1-4 or 4-1 today. The Longhorns could be considered a top 15 program. Instead, they don’t have a 3-2 rating.
The entire season so far has boiled down to three games: an onside shot at Texas Tech, a missed goal line against TCU and a final interception against Oklahoma.
“I think over the last few games, we’ve shown that we are capable of anything, whether it’s good or bad,” said midfielder Sam Ehlinger after Saturday’s 27-16 win over Baylor. “We know that and we know it’s in our control.”
Ehlinger adds that “when we step aside, we are very good.”
Beat Baylor probably shouldn’t be celebrated too much. The Bears have not played since October 3 and cannot even train a full week due to the COVID-19 outbreak. That said, Texas will pocket the win and move on.
The Longhorns (3-2, 2-2 Big 12) must now decide what they want. Does this team want to challenge for the Top 12 title? Or does he want to be the middle class team for the umpteenth year? This week’s trip to the sixth-ranked (5-0, 4-0) state of Oklahoma will be a big barometer of where things are headed.
Mike Gundi’s gang are the only undefeated team left in the Top 12. Kansas State (4-1, 4-0) is also still perfect in league play. Texas still controls its own destiny, to be sure – the Horns are yet to play all three teams ahead of it in the standings: Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Iowa State.
However, they were also a group with few errors.
By beating Baylor, Texas dampens outside noise. It was a week that the state lieutenant governor blazed a lot on Facebook about the Longhorn band. An airplane flies over the Royal-Memorial Stadium promoting a fan site supporting the maintenance of “The Eyes of Texas”.
As requested by the UT administrators, the entire team then stood together in the field for “The Eyes”. Some brandished the “Hook ’em” signature, some didn’t. Most importantly, the group did it together.
By doing so, the Horn signaled that the “Eyes” problem was no longer a problem at all. Do the band members see it that way? That’s a problem for the Butler School of Music and those at the Tower.
“We made the decision as a team to stand out and sing ‘The Eyes’,” said Ehlinger. “So, going forward, I will assume that it will be like that. And we just want to get better. Big opponent of the week. “
Never before appeared “The Eyes” which divided the team internally at all. If anything, flying a plane overhead and using a player’s name to promote one side only creates a split within the fan base.
Victory only happens when everyone row in the same direction. To that end, head coach Tom Herman said, “I would like to think that our players are trained to reduce noise.”
Turn off the noise and see what happens on the ground. Many seem constructive.
Herman starts a freshman who runs back Bijan Robinson to jerk a game in progress. He averaged 4.6 yards on 12 attempts. The Horns left with Keaontay Ingram in the second half. He had the same total: 3.6 yards per carry 16 attempts. Ehlinger had the longest run of the day, a bout of 19 yards.
Texas finished with 159 yards rushing and now sits third in the Big 12 (174.8 per game).
“We ran 1 yard and 2 yards several times, it’s okay,” said Herman. “But we also have a 9 yard run, 11 yard run, 12 yard run. I don’t want to give out a lot of trade secrets about what works, but we challenge the offensive line, we challenge the tailback, challenge everyone who is really offended.
“Last week we practiced on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, the run period, run period, run period,” he added. “We want to take advantage of the week of goodbye and fix our areas of shortage. And for a week at least, I feel like we did that. “
Herman said the reserve walk back Roshon Johnson reminded his team-mates in the first half “of the emphasis we had put on him and once again very proud of the way our boys responded.”
The Texas linebacker made more games. Juwan Mitchell made 12 tackles and two tackles to lose. DeMarvion Overshown made five tackles and one break pass.
And the more defensive linemen were called by name. Jacoby Jones has four stops, Moro Ojomo has the sack, T’Vondre Sweat and Ta’Quon Graham both play. Keondre Coburn also broke passes on the line of struggle. It’s worth noting that Baylor is without two starting offensive linemen, and Texas still only has one sack.
“Putting in this new defense is definitely a different feeling,” said Graham. “And I feel like everyone has calmed down and we started playing football the way we should.”
Texas passer Joseph Ossai briefly left the game with a shoulder injury during a collision with Jones. But he came back in the fourth quarter, and Herman said he had to play at Stillwater.
The Horns also plays a cleaner game. Texas has a five-season low penalty for 50 yards. Herman said there would be punitive measures applied for unforgivable mistakes.
Maybe Horn just caught the Bear at the perfect time. Perhaps Baylor would have been tougher if the pandemic had not plagued Waco.
Still, Texas is taking a positive step forward. That can’t be denied.
“You know, I’m really excited to see what we do in the future,” said recipient Joshua Moore. “And I thought it would be something special.”
Call Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email [email protected].
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