QUICK HITS: No. 24 Texas 17, BYU 16
Posted on: September 10, 2011 10:41 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
TEXAS WON: It wasn't always a thing of beauty -- in fact, it was very rarely a thing of beauty -- but after 2010, no doubt Mack Brown will take it. The Longhorn defense held their visitors from Provo to just three points over the game's final 43 minutes, enabling an inconsistent 'Horn offense to slowly erase an early 13-0 deficit. Brown will no doubt be particularly pleased by that offense's effort on the ground--the notoriously ground-shy 'Horns ground out 167 yards on 42 attempts, controlling the clock with freshman Malcolm Brown (68 yards) and backup quarterback David Ash (36).
WHY TEXAS WON: In the end, the Cougars didn't have much of an answer once Texas fully committed to their running game. The 'Horns two second-half touchdown drives featured run-pass ratios of 5-to-2 and 5-to-3, with another second-half drive checking in at 9-to-3 and eating up 6 minutes before ending on downs in BYU territory. Texas also ended the game with back-to-back first downs mostly earned on the ground.
But those drives also wouldn't have been quite as successful without some measure of balance, and that balance was due in large part to Jaxon Shipley. Shipley finished with just three receptions, but all of them came at key moments in the second half (including a critical 3rd-and-9 conversion on the game-winning touchdown drive). And for good measure, he also played a key role in the Bryan Harsin/Boise State special that ended the game; it was Shipley who took a Wildcat handoff and threw back to Ash for the icing first down.
Texas still needs a dramatic amount of improvement in the passing game; nominal quarterback starter Garrett Gilbert was a disaster, completing as many of his eight passes to BYU (2) as he did to his own receivers. But backup Case McCoy provided a lift, completing 7-of-8 for 57 yards. Not that the rest of college football will want to hear it, but McCoy-to-Shipley could provide the foundation for that improvement.
WHEN TEXAS WON: The Shipley-to-Ask trick play put things beyond doubt, but it was Quandre Diggs' interception of Jake Heaps on the Cougars' previous possession that more-or-less finished things; as gassed as the Cougars were by that stage and as well as Texas was running the ball, the Longhorns running the little remaining clock dry was all but a foregone conclusion.
WHAT TEXAS WON: Thanks to their obvious issues on offense and BYU's own relative lack of firepower in their two games, the victory may not move the Longhorns' needle all that much where the polls or expectations are concerned. But this was also the kind of game that Brown's team would have found a way to lose last year, particularly after falling behind 13-0, and every week that goes by without a loss is another week for the young 'Horns to improve, adjust to Harsin and Manny Diaz, and prepare for the bigger challenges to come.
WHAT BYU LOST: Whatever slim hopes BYU might have had for a crazy BCS bowl run in their first year of independence, we guess. But this is also two straight weeks with a single offensive touchdown; while the Cougars have proven themselves capable of grinding out first downs and extended drives, Bronco Mendenhall may have to work on his team's confidence in either finishing those drives or finding the occasional big play.