For the Texas Longhorns, their 45-0 victory over the New Mexico Lobos on Saturday night was the tale of two halves. The Horns, who struggled early to stop the Lobos’ triple option attack and therefore didn’t have many offensive chances in the first half, got off to a slow start once again. In the second half, however, they showed some promising signs. Here are some post-game observations from the Horns’ second win of the season.
1. David Ash had another solid game doing exactly what was asked of him. He had an impressive 49-yard touchdown run, and his passing stats from the win look efficient: 16-22 passing for 221 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 turnovers, though some of the passing stats may be misleading due to most of the passes coming off short drop-offs. Regardless, through two games, he is showing signs of improvement which is a good thing for Texas fans. Will he become a great college quarterback? It’s too early to tell, but for now, he is definitely progressing.
2. The Longhorns are completely stacked at running back. Though we didn’t see much of Malcolm Brown (rumors say he may have been limited with an ankle tweak), Joe Bergeron again shouldered the load and got the job done. In all, eight Longhorns combined for a total of 168 yards–not a whole lot, but it was clear that Texas was more focused on the passing game. The only question at running back is how to spread the touches among all the weapons.
3. The Horns have desperately been looking for a tight end and last night we saw them get more involved. D.J. Grant had 2 big catches for 22 yards, while M.J. McFarland caught his first touchdown pass of his collegiate career on a pass from Case McCoy.
4. The field goal kicking game is still an issue. A big issue. The Longhorns need Penn State transfer and All-Big 10 kicker, Anthony Fera to get well. Soon.
5. Freshman linebacker Dalton Santos is going to be amazing. He is already making huge plays on special teams. Keep an eye out for this kid.
6. The defense still didn’t look good early in the first half until the Lobo’s first string quarterback was knocked out of the game. Sure they only gave up less than 250 total yards and pitched a shut-out, but early on the Lobos were having their way with the Longhorns’ defense. Adjustments were made, however, and NM had trouble moving the ball much in the second half. The Texas D did have two more take-aways with an interception and forced fumbled and recovery. Regardless, we still don’t know what to expect from this Texas defense.
7. Everyone, meet Daje Johnson. We’ve been hearing how good he was going to be all summer, and in his collegiate debut he didn’t disappoint. All he did was lead the team in receptions with 3 for 66 yards, making a 45-yard touchdown look easy.
8. Receiver Mike Davis had one of his best games at Texas. He made some big catches and extended plays to capture first downs when needed.
9. The offensive line had a couple of collapses, resulting in two sacks, but overall they have shown continued improvement.
10. Kick-off coverage remains outstanding. At this point, I am not certain as to why anyone would even try to run the ball out against this team with the new touchback giving the team the ball on the 25-yard-line.
Bonus: Though he wasn’t asked to do much last night (the Horns didn’t punt until the 4th quarter), it’s worth mentioning that Alex King, the punter who transfered from Duke, has averaged 52.8 yards on 4 punts this year. It’s a game of field position and that could come in very handy.
Next week, the Longhorns travel to Oxford, Mississippi to take on the Ole Miss Rebels in their first road game of the season. It will be interesting to see how this young team performs in hostile SEC territory.