Texas Tech QB Jett Duffey wins the prestigious Fitzpatrick/Winston Award for the Most Outstanding Offensive Production Paired With Multiple Boneheaded Turnovers In The Red Zone. The preseason 3rd string QB for the Red Raiders amassed 524 yards of offense (444 throwing, 80 rushing) while also coughing up the ball three times deep inside the Texas Longhorn 19 yard line.
The Longhorns put up 41 points in Lubbock despite surrendering a season worst 5 sacks; Sam Ehlinger set the Big 12 record for consecutive attempts without an interception, further cementing himself as a damn good Longhorn QB and a bona fide winner who has grown more than any player in the program; the staff offset a couple of uninspired second half booth series with some terrific play calls and big picture decisions; and LJH and Duvernay combined for four touchdowns catches, mercilessly exploiting IT’s pre-game identified weakness of Tech’s cornerback play.
The 5-4 Red Raiders have had a competitive season (their three Big 12 losses are all by 9 points or less to ISU, OU and WVU and their non conference opening loss to Ole Miss was when Bowman was still a pup) peppered with some bad streaks of injury luck. Texas represents an opportunity for them to secure bowl eligibility and for Kliff Kingsbury to secure yet another job security win over Texas.
The season’s best performance by the Longhorn offense was a fun watch, not just because it highlighted the supreme growth of Sam Ehlinger, the OL in pass protection, the wide receivers, and Tre Watson being possessed by tackle-breaking demons, but it also showed once again what the Longhorn offense is capable of operating without an imposed governor on its upside.
The defensive debacle you saw live on Saturday in Austin was even worse in review. I enjoy writing for all of you and relish my decades of connection to the Longhorn community, but you all owe me a Go Fund Me page to pay for my psychiatric care after being forced to watch this Longhorn defense play football again.
Texas matches up pretty well with West Virginia in Austin and since there’s no bye week, there’s that much less time for a solid Mountaineer staff to hone in on our tendencies/personnel the way Mike Gundy did in Stillwater.
If you’re interesting in assessing primary blame as to why Texas lost in Stillwater, look to the defense and some key mistakes on special teams. Refer to that sentence if you mistake any criticisms here for a defense of the Texas defense. Or look at the title of the post.
In the 2018 Thinking Texas Football preseason preview, I predicted that the Cowboys would take a step back this year, despite their preseason rankings in the Top 25 and some media Big 12 Dark Horse title talk. Given that the resilient Mike Gundy has won 10+ games in 4 of his last 5 seasons and in 6 of his last 8, the odds probably were not in my favor, but the prediction has borne out.
Here are the current Big 12 standings:
The Longhorn Defense held a Baylor offense averaging 36 points per game to less than half of their season average and also forced the Bears to log seasons lows in production (328 yards) and yards per play (4.4). The Bears had been surprisingly effective running the ball to date, but Texas held them to 88 yards on 34 attempts and right around 3 yards per carry on normal runs (i.e. take out sacks). In all, Texas registered 10 tackles for loss and anytime a defense can ring up double digits in that category while minimizing big plays over the top, they’re very likely on the way to a winning defensive performance.