USA TODAY Sports
A thrilling 4th quarter comeback punctuated Alex Okafor's dominating 4.5 sack performance, with the Texas defense posting 10 sacks.
For 30 minutes, the lows of the 2012 football were all too obvious. Porous run defense, unproductive offense riddled with conservative playcalling and hamstrung by repeated mistakes. But whatever transpired at halftime needs to be bottled and reproduced in the offseason, as it worked to spark the offense to 3 second half Texas TDs and an apparent shoring up of the Texas defense. The final 30 minutes reminded me how good football felt. On to how Texas won the Alamo Bowl.
8 - 6 (40) - 4.5 (39) - 1: Alex Okafor total tackles - TFL (yards lost) - sacks (yards lost) - forced fumbles
We have to start with the most dominant player on the field. Alex Okafor put on one of the most impressive, most dominant performances by a Texas defender in a long, long time. Alex Okafor's 4.5 sacks were a career high, an Alamo Bowl record, and tied for the second most in an FBS game this season. His sack and forced fumble on OSU's third drive set Texas up at the OSU 30 yard line that the offense would convert to a field goal. He was unstoppable throughout the game, and the Beavers were insistent on using a single blocker on Okafor the entire game. Texas fans, and Okafor's draft stock, appreciate the move. It was a great way for Okafor to end a solid career at Texas, and great reward for his selfless contributions to the school. Playing his sophomore year as a 260 lb DT was no easy task, and I think we all are happy to see his commitment pay off.
5 - 132 - 2: Marquise Goodwin total touches - total yards - total TDs
We move from the Alamo Bowl defensive MVP to the offensive MVP. Goodwin, a borderline NFL prospect, got one final opportunity to showcase his world class speed, including his electric 64 yard TD run on a jet sweep, the Longhorns only TD of the first half. According to ESPN, Goodwin ran the final 40 yards of the scamper at a stupid 3.8 seconds. He also capped the Texas comeback with a 36 yard touchdown pass from David Ash.
10 - 17 - 2: sacks by the Texas defense - tackles for loss - INTs
Faithful readers of Burnt Orange Nation were aware of Cody Vaz's penchant for holding onto the ball under pressure. In this piece, Wescott noted that Arizona State was able to pressure Cody Vaz and sack the Beaver's junior QB, who was more willing to take the sack rather than force throws under pressure. Manny Diaz may have read the same piece, as he drew up pressure that got home in a healthy portion of Oregon State passing plays. Of the 38 passing opportunities for Oregon State, Vaz was sacked 10 times (26.3% of opportunities) and only completed 15 of his 28 passes (53.6% completion). Here are your Texas tackles for loss makers: Mykkele Thompson (1 TFL), Alex Okafor (6 TFL, 4.5 sacks), Tevin Jackson (1 sack), Dalton Santos (1 TFL), Cedric Reed (2 TFLs, 0.5 sacks, 4 QB hurries), Desmond Jackson (1 sack), Kendall Thompson (3 TFL, 2 sacks), Carrington Byndom (1 TFL), Reggie Wilson (1 sack). The sacks accounted for 81 yards lost for Oregon State, and a total of 87 yards lost due to TFL. Vaz, who had only thrown 1 INT in his previous 6 games this season, also threw 2 INTs on the day. On the whole, Vaz was given Rudy Carpenter treatment from start to finish.
45 - 258 - 20 vs. 28 - 64 - 7: Oregon State first half vs. second half plays - yards - points
It was another frustrating "tale of two halves" for the Texas defense. The first half, highlighted by the too-typical-for-2012 5.73 yards per play for OSU, featured more of the porous run defense that victimized the Texas run D early in the season. Storm Woods, the Pflugerville RB, led the OSU rushing attack with 15 first half carries for 98 yards (6.53 yards per carry), while other ball carriers (excluding Cody Vaz sack yards) had 7 carries for 55 yards (7.86 yards per carry). The second half was a different story. While holding Oregon State to 2.29 yards per play overall, the Texas run defense shored up, slowing Storm Woods to 6 carries and 20 yards (3.33 yards per carry, while battling cramps) and other ball carriers to 4 carries and 13 yards (3.25 yards per carry). Where the first half had two-12 play drives for Oregon State, and an 8 play drive, the second half didn't have a drive longer than 5 plays.
29 - 118 - 10 vs. 35 - 223 - 21: Texas first half vs. second half plays - yards - points
Much like the defense, it took the offense a half to get rolling. Under newly appointed offensive coordinator Major Applewhite, the offense slugged through a 4.07 yards per play first half (1.93 yards per play if you remove Goodwin's 64 yard carry) that featured 3rd down throws short of the first down marker, terribly similar to bad Greg Davis. However, the offense seemed to come alive the second half. Removing the final drive where Texas took knees, the offense averaged 6.37 yards per play. There are a few possible explanations for this improvement.
26.9 vs. 24.8: Texas first half vs. second half seconds between offensive snaps
Among the first things Major Applewhite mentioned after taking over playcalling duties for the departed Bryan Harsin was Major's desire to increase the tempo of the offense. With little time since taking over and the gameplan largely installed, it was doubtful we'd see the full iteration of Major's vision for the offense. Whether the double-digit second half deficits forced Major's hand, or he recognized that the offense needed a spark is anyone's guess. Regardless, the Texas offense snapped 2 seconds faster per snap in the second half. I'm away from home, and lack a recording of the game to complete the analysis, but based on pure recollection it seems the second half featured smaller personnel groupings, less frequent huddling, and less pre-snap motioning. The improved pace had a notable impact on David Ash.
7 - 13, 53, 0 - 0, 0 - 0 vs. 14 - 20, 188, 2 - 1, 5 - 35: David Ash first half vs. second half completions - attempts, passing yards, passing TDs - INTs, rushes - rushing yards
Two very different halves for David Ash, In the first half, Ash completed 53.8% of his passes at 4.08 yards per attempt, didn't throw a TD pass or INT, was sacked once for 8 yards lost, and didn't rush the ball. In the second half, Ash completed 70.0% of his throws at 9.40 yards per attempts, threw 2 TD passes and 1 INT, was sacked once for a 5 yard loss, and carried the ball 5 times for 35 yards (7 yards per carry). He started the second half with a line similar to the first half, going 7 - 13 for 75 yards and an INT before finishing the game with 7 consecutive completions, the final two going for TDs. When taking the ball down 27 - 17 with 11:24 remaining in the game, Ash finished the game 7 - 8 for 113 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs. Clutch, IMO.
The Alamo Bowl win doesn't change the disappointing aspects of the 2012 season, but it sure feels better ending the season on a win. There is much to work on in the offseason, but for now we can enjoy the win. The final Inside the Numbers will put 2012 totals together, and will hopefully be up soon. Hook ‘em.