How far have the Texas Longhorns fallen this season? A late-season game was on a double-directional Fox plus channel. Granted, we played an oceanic Florida school, but it was really weird listening to the Craig Way while hanging Christmas lights.
Being limited to the radio is largely why this column is late this week. I had to do a little more research than normal. I know you've been clamoring for your weekly "We Have Issues" (that's what I tell myself, at least). Because, folks, we still have issues.
A win is a win is a win, right? Right.
We had the first 100-yard rusher of the year, more than 50 points scored, a beautiful stat line from Garrett Gilbert, a big defensive touchdown and the first home win in almost 40 days. We'll take it. (Heck, we would have taken a 28-20 win at this point.)
Even if it was against Florida Atlantic, it was nice to see the offense get into a rhythm and execute. Just to know they can. Plus, it was a 10-point game very late in the third quarter, so it's not like the thing was a foregone conclusion at kickoff.
Garrett Gilbert's Progress
He threw just 21 times for 263 yards and two touchdowns. Not 50 passes. No fire drill offense early in the second quarter. He hit James Kirkendoll for a 63-yard score in the second quarter. Amazing how good things can happen when you run plays to the strength of your players. The Hail Mary to Malcolm Williams just before halftime was 99 percent luck, but it was 100 percent just the kind of thing this team needed.
Gilbert also added 60 rushing yards and a touchdown run. He continues to show good ability to run at the right time, and has been effective with the QB draw. Good steps forward for the youngster. Now we see what he can do against the Ags. We'll see if he can keep his head like a developing leader and put the agriculturalists back in their place.
Retooling the Running Game
We had 259 yards rushing led by Cody Johnson's 124 yards. Oh, but guess who had the best per-carry average? If you guessed the most underutilized talent on the team, you'd be right. D.J. Monroe had 7.2 yards per carry, bringing his season average "down" to 8.8. I wouldn't blame him if he pulled a LeBron James and "took his talents" elsewhere.
Although we haven't seen any consistency from the running game all year, I have a strong feeling we're going to need a great ground performance against the Ags.
BROC (Big Receiver on Campus)
No receiver really stepped up to be the No. 1 guy, but senior James Kirkendoll has come up with the biggest plays and games. He had 123 yards including the long touchdown. Malcolm Williams caught an improbably touchdown with an athletic move. Again. It was his only catch of the day, but it mattered. And it was really cool.
Marques Goodwin had one catch that actually hurt because it went for minus-4 yards. For the season he has 29 catches for 292 yards and no touchdowns.
The D-Line Shuffle
This group was back on Saturday with six tackles for loss. The leader? Of course it's Mr. Honors Business Student Sam Acho. The guy had three sacks to bring his total for the season to nine. He's one shy of his total from last year. Alex Okafor and Kheeston Randle each had three tackles, including one for a loss. Jackson Jeffcoat was back and added two tackles.
It was a much better performance across the board, but not much of a test. The defensive line will be critical in stopping (or at least limiting) the A&M passing game tomorrow. They could be the key difference in either going to a bowl game or hanging it up for the season.