Mike Davis X-Factor for Texas Longhorns in Valero Alamo Bowl

By Tyler Brett
mike davis
Brendan Maloney – USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Longhorns are hoping to send Mack Brown out on a high note this bowl season. To do that, they’ll need to find a way to beat the Oregon Ducks in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Part of their winning formula has to be scoring points when the Horns are on offense. While Texas has leaned heavily on their running game to get the job done in 2013, the real key may be wide receiver Mike Davis getting loose in the passing game over the top.

On the year, Texas has struggled to pass the ball consistently. Case McCoy has completed just 57.4 percent of his passes this season for 1,885 yards with 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions as the Horns rank No. 72 in passing offense this season. Despite all that, Davis has flashed elite ability on the outside in 2013 and ranked No. 6 in the Big 12 in receiving this season catching 49 passes for 715 yards and scoring eight touchdowns. Over the final three games of the season, Davis caught 16 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns, though he posted just three receptions for 14 yards in the season-ending loss to the Baylor Bears.

Against Oregon, he can’t disappear for this offense if they have any shot at keeping up in the Alamo Bowl. He’ll have his work cut out for him as Oregon boasts one of the most talented secondaries in the nation and Davis is likely to get mirrored all day long by Oregon’s All-American cover corner, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. The junior cornerback is an elite talent that will be playing on Sundays in the near future thanks to his ability to stick to top receivers and shut them down. He’ll be tasked with keeping Davis quiet throughout the game and eliminating him from the passing attack.

Davis has game-breaking ability and can test Ekpre-Olomu throughout the game over the top but the question with Davis is often one of effort, not ability. It’s going to be a fight to get open and make plays but if Davis wins some of those one-on-one opportunities and provides a deep threat for McCoy and the Horns, it will allow the Texas offense to stay balanced throughout the day and keep pace the high-scoring Ducks. Is Davis up to the task in his final game for Texas?

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