Conference play is here, and Texas has an opportunity to beat Oklahoma State for just the second time this decade. The IT Staff looks at keys to the game and other intriguing matchups throughout the country.
I don't need to sell y'all on the importance of winning this Big 12 home opener against a dangerous Cowboy football team with a first rate offense and some really good offensive coaches. Though Texas leads the overall series 24-9, Texas hasn't won since 2014 and the Cowboys have won 7 out of the last 9. By the way, that 2014 Texas win was when Mike Gundy was saddled with Dax Garman as his starting QB. I won't get into the 2015 loss in Austin as I'm not Blame It On The Refs Guy, but I'm getting pissed off just thinking about it and I'm white knuckling and about to punch an object really, really hard.
The Texas defense dominated a bad Rice offense early, allowing only two first downs and 56 yards of offense at the half. That 31-0 lead is exactly what Texas needed to play everyone, save some powder for OSU, and notch the kind of easy dominating win that had been a struggle in the early part of the Herman Era.
The Longhorns came out firing against an overmatched Rice defense, scoring touchdowns on their first four possessions on drives of 82, 90, 73 and 79 yards, respectively. When your first four drives yield >300 yards of offense and 28 on the scoreboard, the game is going to go a certain way if the Texas D shows up. The first drive really told the tale, as Texas converted three 3rd down situations on their way to the score, proving that even if Rice could inflict negative plays in the running game with shifting fronts and overloads (and Texas did a poor job getting out of a couple of bad runs early), the Longhorns could still convert based on Sam Ehlinger's play, OL pass blocking and better skill athletes.
It's band week as UT gets set to take on the Rice Owls. I hope the LHB is ready to match intensity as they get ready to face the MOB. College bands are a big differentiator between the college game and professional, and Rice's squad is one of the most iconic. Expect those nerds to march in formation of the chemical compound of freon, or whatever AC's use these days.