Football

Texas-Iowa State Postgame Reaction

Charles Omenihu and Naashon Hughes. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Charles Omenihu and Naashon Hughes. (Will Gallagher/IT)

The Texas defense played four quarters, the Texas offense totally dominated one and the 3-3 Longhorns cruised to a much-needed home win.

DEFENSE

Does getting on the same page start with an armband crib sheet?

Most of the Texas defenders sported them (Locke, Jefferson, Wheeler, Boyette, Hager, Boyd to name a few) and it’s alarming that they’re needed in Week 6, but you can’t fault the final product. Everyone was on the same page tonight.

We’ve been making defense hard for five weeks. Tonight, we learned that defense isn’t that hard.

Know your assignment, do your job, tackle, compete, line up correctly. We did exactly that. I saw three coverages the entire night: Cover 2, 3, Man. We blitzed a little, but were mostly content bringing four, running some DL stunts and letting the game reward fundamental play.

The end result was 6 points allowed, 7 of 21 allowed on conversion downs (3rd + 4th down), <300 yards of offense surrendered and eight sacks.

Few Texas fans would guess that a secondary featuring Bonney, Locke, Boyd, Haines and Hall would be our best starting back end five, but actual performance trumps theoretical talent 10 times out of 10. Hill and Davis sorely needed a benching and Elliott and Jones need to be worked into games rather than start them. Our season long personnel are far from decided here, but Strong was able to set the proper understanding of what will earn snaps on this team going forward.

The starting linebackers didn’t hurt us and they seemed a hell of a lot more decisive. DL dominance and no stupid defensive calls makes for clearer snapshots.

Bonney(!), Locke and Boyd did a nice job of manning up (in every sense of that word), tackling and playing basic, fundamental football. Boyd was particularly active and physical and Bonney made a number of open field tackles.

Texas played fast and mental clarity had a lot to do with that.

As I suggested in the preview, the Texas defensive line was able to completely dominate a very poor Iowa State OL (Chris Nelson in particular got in some people’s asses, Hughes had 2.5 sacks?!?) and the ISU QBs are pretty substandard. We played a lot of guys on the DL and I suspect you’re going to see a lot of good grades on Coach’s DL report card.

Jeffrey McCulloch. Wow. He had so many moments where he jumps off of the screen. Motor and closing speed.

OFFENSE

Not to beat a dead horse, but this offense can’t overcome long chains. We need the legitimate threat of the run to open up the offense. I’ll keep writing that as long as we keep doing it. This time, we did it in the first half.

1st Drive – #6 kills with Offensive PI
2nd Drive – D’onta Foreman fumble
3rd Drive – False start penalty
4th Drive – #11 Questionable Offensive PI
5th Drive – long Dorian Leonard completion erased by illegal man downfield on Nickelson
6th Drive – Armanti Foreman TD called back for personal foul

Buechele, Gilbert, and Mattox vs Notre Dame. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Buechele, Gilbert, and Mattox vs Notre Dame. (Will Gallagher/IT)

You get the drift. That’s how you go into the halftime down 6-3 when your offense fits on an index card. Shane was a thoroughly unimpressive 8 of 15 for 66 yards and the offense was totally compressed by tendency and the tyranny of 3rd and long.

A couple of slant routes and a Duvernay deep ball later, Texas was off to the races.

In the second half, Buechele found his composure (he was a ridiculous 18 of 23 for 230), #7 started throwing strikes, dumb offensive penalties evaporated and by the end of the third quarter, the game was over.

Ten different Texas receivers caught balls and D’onta Foreman did his customary work earning hard yards as our OL struggled to open clean seams.

Once we wore down the ISU front and forced the ISU secondary to cover the whole field, it was over. Special h/t to Jake McMillon for yeoman’s work once again.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Even allowing the late 1st half long kickoff return, we tied overall. And that’s a win.

Conclusion

I was pretty uptight watching the first half. We were determined to wallow in the mire. But the defense held firm, the offense got its act together and Texas cruised to an easy win.

We’ll see what we learned from this game in Manhattan next week.