Somehow, in spite of controversial calls, a ridiculous personal foul by senior wideout Mike Davis that deserved an ejection, and bizarre play calling which was antithetical to what was actually working, the Texas Longhorns somehow managed to escape from Ames, Iowa with a 31-30 win over the Iowa State Cyclones.
When Texas ran the ball, they did so with success, but the run was abandoned time and again by the play calling of Major Applehwite, evidenced in the fact backup quarterback Case McCoy unloaded 45 passes on the evening. The Texas explanation for this disparity in the pass versus run was that the “run wasn’t working”. A simple evaluation of the game-tape, however, belies this point.
Joe Bergeron and Johnathan Gray both had their way with huge holes in the run game when they were given a reason to operate. Texas found a way to exploit the Iowa State defense in attacking a young cornerback matched-up against Mike Davis, and earned several pass interference penalties which helped drives in doing so. The unintended consequence of this, however, was a complete and total lack of rythym on the offensive side of the ball, and an inability by Texas to gain and sustain momentum.
On the defensive side of the ball for Texas it was the same song, nine trillionth verse. The defensive line, led by Chris Whaley and Cedric Reed played some inspired football and continually made a habit in making plays in the Cyclones backfield, but beyond them, it was another lifeless evening from a beaten-down defense.
The play in the Longhorns’ second level was brutal, with little consistency evidence and some bizarre changes made from the 1st half to the 2nd that managed to side-track what was working. Sophomore linebacker Dalton Santos was playing with inspiration — racking up nine tackles in the first half — in the absence of starter Steve Edmond who was suspended for the first half of the game due to a targeting penalty and ejection he received against Kansas State.
Instead of leaving Santos in the game throughout to see what he could do with a full 60 minutes, he hardly played in the second half and was replaced by a confused and ineffective Edmond who did nothing to make his mark on the game.
Again, the Texas defense did the bare minimum to get done what needed to be done. The second-level was gashed by quarterback Sam Richardson, who like his predecessors does not have the level of athleticism that would be suggested by his stat line. Richardson gashed the Texas defense on several occasions both through designed quarterback runs and also when having to scramble under pressure.
In short, the 31-30 victor for Texas left a bad taste in the mouth of the Longhorns faithful who see the win for what it is. A temporary reprieve from the reality facing Texas next Saturday in the Red River Shootout.
One has to figure Bob Stoops has discovered what he can do to get the Sooners off to a quick start on the 12th, a lead which Texas most likely will not be able to come back from. The Sooners are hardly the Cyclones.
Texas players said all the right things following the game last night in Ames in regards to the looming Oklahoma match-up.
We have to come out and punch them in the mouth.
We have to play harder and with more confidence.
We’re ready and understand how big this game is.
Talk, to put it simply is talk.
At this point Texas fans expect words to be backed up by production, even if it is production led by the leaders of a team which has to be questioning the game-planning they are being required to follow.
The Oklahoma game will be about football IQ.
Is Texas’ IQ good enough to make the difference?
Most Longhorn fans are doubting it.
Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer and Business Analyst for Rant Sports.