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.
We showed up ready to play. The game is fun when your guys work their way into displaying their talents on center stage. We have our share of good players. Many were back home---hometown heroes from back in the day. Rice fought gamely but this was a mismatch. Here are the grades:
Texas secured a good victory that included some nice stats for star Sam Ehlinger and a lot of snaps for freshman and back-ups. Several players that will likely redshirt this season got in on the action in this contest.
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.
The Owls are 0-2 after a game loss to Army (14-7) in their opener and a hiding at the hands of a decent(ish) Wake Forest team (41-21). I'm not going to do the Lou Holtz thing where I build up Rice as the second coming of The Sacred Band Of Thebes, but they can keep the game scrappy for a bit if Texas is still working through some LSU residue. If Texas shows up, the game will be over fairly quickly and we can get walk-on RB Mason Ramirez the eight carries he deserves and get the Casey Thompson Heisman chatter started.
The non-conference slate is much easier than previous seasons, at least there isn’t a bizarre game against a unique and talented Maryland squad before injuries sap their roster but instead the LSU home game sandwiched between bouts with Louisiana Tech and “at Rice” in NRG which will likely hold mostly Texas fans. There’s all the potential in the world here for Texas to win the Big 12 championship and make the playoffs under one of the following three scenarios.