It was not pretty, but the Horns took care of business out West this weekend and came away victorious in a thriller. This now brings the Longhorns to 7-3 on the season and puts them in position to win 8 games for the first time since Mack Brown left in 2013. Texas looked great for three quarters. They controlled the time of possession and moved the ball effectively. Then came the fourth quarter. Texas Tech came out swinging with a huge 57-yard strike to Antoine Wesley. The horns were able to respond with a score of our own, however a Tech field goal, onside kick, and two more touchdowns tied the game at 34-34. Luckily, quarterback Sam Ehlinger led a 7 play 75-yard drive capped off with a Lil’Jordan Humphrey touchdown that was eerily familiar to a Michael Crabtree one years ago. Standing in the frigid stands with that West Texas wind blowing hard, I watched the sea of red and black pour out of the stadium and give anyone in burnt orange one last sentiment that would certainly not make their mothers happy. Man was I glad to be a Longhorn.
The Longhorn’s host #22 Iowa State in the home finale at DKR this season. Following a 1-3 start, the Cyclones made a quarterback switch to freshman Brock Purdy and have been on a roll. Winners of 5 straight, Iowa State has impressive wins over Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, but none more impressive than their 30-14 win over West Virginia. The Cyclones will come into the game with a very balanced offensive game plan. They have run the ball effectively with NFL draft prospect David Montgomery. Texas’ defense has not been able to stop the run effectively since the Baylor game a month ago. They did a better job last week controlling Tech’s running backs but allowed Tech quarterback Jett Duffey to gash them. The Longhorn’s struggle when they are unable to pressure the quarterback and frequently allow opposing quarterbacks to scramble for big yardage. Purdy is going to be looking for that opportunity throughout the game, as he has been quite effective for them running the ball. Passing wise, I am not sure what to expect in this game. I have been expecting our secondary to step up for a few weeks now, but each week it is seemingly getting worse. We surrendered 444 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air last week. That same effort this week will result in Iowa State receiver Hakeem Butler adding to his already solid season numbers. At 6 foot 6 225lbs, Butler is a physical receiver, but also boasts the ability to break off huge plays. Luckily for the Longhorn’s, Iowa State’s offense has not been as explosive and effective as our opponents in the last few weeks. At this point, I am trying to throw out any bit of optimism for our defense. If y’all are reading this, PLEASE start playing like y’all were earlier in the season!
Offensively, I was once again pleased with our performance last weekend. The offense did stall out a bit in the fourth quarter and were unable to convert on some big third downs, but they came up big when it counted. With Collin Johnson unable to play, Lil’Jordan Humphrey delivered in a big way with 8 receptions for 159 yards and two touchdowns, the second of which sealed the game for the Longhorns. Devin Duvernay also showed up with 66 yards and two touchdowns himself. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger continued to be turnover free and threw for 312 yards ad 4 touchdowns. Running backs Keayontay Ingram and Tre Watson also combined for over 140 yards and one touchdown. Iowa State has been pretty stout up front, surrendering 109 yards rushing per game, but has shown a weakness for giving up big plays in the secondary. Look for Humphrey and Johnson, if healthy, to continue to find success stretching the field and providing Ehlinger with good targets.
That game winning drive was big the Longhorns. Not only did it give us the win, but it showed the poise and confidence Ehlinger has developed over the course of this seasonn. He looks extremely comfortable in the pocket and trusts his receivers to make plays. I love what I am seeing from him. The last home game for many seniors, and potential NFL draft picks, I think the Longhorn’s will come out and take care of business this weekend, but it may be harder than it looks on paper. There are a lot of rumors circulating Tom Herman right now. This weekend will be a big test to see if Herman is able to block all of that out and bring the Longhorns to 8-3.