The Texas Longhorns fought off injuries and 10 years of bad mojo to notch a victory over the worst Kansas State team fielded in many years, and reached 1-0 in conference play. 1 down, 8 to go!
38 - 115 (3.03) - 3: Kansas State rushing attempts - rushing yards (yards per carry) - rushing TDs
Week 2 of the Greg Robinson project started to show some improvement over the dreadful performances against BYU and Ole Miss. The defensive tackles posted their best game of the season, controlling blocks and letting linebackers play clean and untouched. The defensive ends played sound on the outside, stringing out outside run plays to a back seven legitimately flowing to the ball. Against the option, the outside run force continually forced the pitch and rallied to the outside back, one time forcing a fumble from John Hubert. Hubert, one of the better backs in the conference, was limited to 41 yards on 12 carries, and QB Daniel Sams, the focus of much of Kansas State's offensive strategy headed into the game, was largely disregard after early struggles.
Greg Robinson, take a bow. The Kansas State offensive line is a work in progress, but Robinson has this team playing respectable defense in two weeks with clear, coherent game plans, and now has a bye week and Thursday game to continue to build and install his imprint on the defense.
3, 4 - 20, 10 - 30: Texas defense turnovers, sacks - yards lost, tackles for loss - yards lost
Included in the improved Texas defense's performance was the creation of many negative plays. Three turnovers in the run game: one fumble on a botched pitch when Mykkele Thompson played the option well, a Jake Water buttfumble that Dalton Santos fell on, and a strip sack fumble from Cedric Reed. The defense notched four sacks, two from Jackson Jeffcoat and one each from Cedric Reed and Steve Edmond. The 10 TFL (of 68 total offensive snaps for KSU) were led by Jordan Hicks' 2.5, Jeffcoat's 2, and Peter Jinkens' 1.5.
13 - 237 (18.2) - 0: KSU WR Tyler Lockett receptions - receiving yards (yards per catch) - receiving TDs
The speedy Tyler Lockett is a legitimate NFL prospect, and took turns torching Texas DBs in single coverage. Duke Thomas and Quandre Diggs took a few notable beatings deep, drawing tough assignments with no safety help, given Robinson's commitment to stopping the KSU run game. Great game from a special player. And while the Texas run D did not allow another career performance on the ground for an opponent, the 237 receiving yards is a school record for KSU. Uhh...progress?
81 - 452 (5.6) - 31: Texas offensive plays - total yards (yards per play) - points
The Texas offense cracked the desired 80+ plays per game mark, and posted a school best 452 yards against Kansas State. The production favored the first half, led by David Ash, with 6 drives going for 46 plays and 265 yards (5.76 yards per play) and 17 points. The second half started with three Case McCoy led drives of 29 plays and 159 yards (5.48 yards per play) and 14 points, before the final three drives of game icing.
28 - 144 (5.14) - 2: Johnathan Gray rushing attempts - rushing yards (yards per carry) - rushing TDs
9 - 40 (4.44) - 1: Malcolm Brown rushing attempts - rushing yards (yards per carry) - rushing TDs
Johnathan Gray posted another stellar performance and was gifted the benefit of better team performance. He got better push this game from the offensive line against one of the lesser defensive fronts in the conference, and was able to showcase his open field vision and explosive cuts on two very impressive TD runs. Fun fact: John Gray is the first Longhorn to rush for 100 yards against Kansas State. The carries and yards are career highs for the talented Aledo product, and through 4 games Gray is on pace to be the first Longhorn with a 1,000 rushing yard season since Jamaal Charles in 2007.
Props to Malcolm Brown, he hasn't gone quietly into the night, despite being used in a role lesser than what he expected coming to Texas. He brings a different dimension than Gray, and breaks arm tackles much easier. Brown is a great change of pace back, and took advantage of his opportunities to carry the ball. But what I was most impressed with was his lead blocking as a lead back in Texas's two back sets, used much more heavily with TE Greg Daniels out for the game.
3 - 80 (26.7) - 1: Kendall Sanders receptions - receiving yards (yards per catch) - receiving TDs
5 - 70 (14.0) - 0: Marcus Johnson receptions - receiving yards (yards per catch) - receiving TDs
With Mike Davis missing the Kansas State game with an ankle injury, sophomores Kendall Sanders and Marcus Johnson stepped up and filled in for the leading Texas receiver. Sanders filled in as the deep threat, blowing past KSU's coverage on his 63 yard TD snag from David Ash, and added 72 kick return yards for a career best 152 yards. Marcus Johnson filled in as a reliable short and intermediate target, showcasing steady hands and solid route running. He was the biggest surprise out of fall camp, and his explosiveness out of breaks to create separation was on full display against the Wildcat secondary. While the ankle injury may not be something that keeps Davis out for long, the rise of Sanders and Johnson gives Texas 4 legitimate receiving threats, not including Daje Johnson.
Darrell Wyatt, take a bow. Of all position groups on the roster, his has come the farthest and is now most consistent. The cupboard was bare for him in 2011, and he's built a deep group of fundamentally sound pass catchers, as well as willing and capable blockers. And his best recruiting class won't be on campus till next season.
5 - 31 (6.2) - 0; 127: Jaxon Shipley receptions - receiving yards (yards per catch) - receiving TDs; career receptions
The five catches for 31 yards from Shipley isn't a line that jumps off the stat sheet, but it's the consistency and reliability of Shipley that's notable. It is now 8 straight games that Shipley has recorded at least 5 receptions, and he's reached the 5 reception mark in 11 of his last 14 games. The streak has him now at 8th on the career receptions list at Texas with 127 receptions, passing Limas Sweed's 124 catches and Eric Metcalf's 125.
238 - 10: Mack Brown career victories - tied for 10th all time
The victory over Bill Snyder moved Mack Brown into a tie for 10th all time in career victories (with Woody Hayes) at 238. Congrats to Coach Brown on the milestone. Hope he breaks that tie in Ames next week.