The outcome was: Mostly satisfactory. The Longhorn offense moved the ball easily in the first half, scoring on their first two drives before exploding for 24 points in the second quarter, keyed by DJ Monroe's 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on his first collegiate touch. Monroe's return helped provide the Sportscenter highlight that voters always seem to like, as well as helping to establish that 59 point final tally that surely will help "Leave No Doubt." Nothing about the final score will come back to haunt Texas in the run towards Pasadena.
However, there were some unsavory aspects to the game, notably the three turnovers, including three fumbles, two by starting running back Vondrell McGee, and an interception by Colt McCoy that looked exactly like the pick-six thrown against Texas Tech last season after McCoy absolutely stared down John Chiles. Michael Huey got carted off the field with a leg injury that will test the Texas depth along the offensive line and Jared Norton appeared to hurt his arm or shoulder. Chykie Brown badly blew his assignment in coverage and gave up a long touchdown pass and the defensive line didn't get as much pressure against Troy Revell as expected against such an overmatched opponent.
Oh yeah, and McCoy barely completed more than 70% of his passes. Unacceptable. What happened to the Colt that we knew and loved?
The Offensive MVP was: Jordan Shipley. It's tempting to give this award to Monroe and his long kickoff return, as well as his nine carries for 64 yards, but it goes to Shipley and his team-leading eight catches for 180 yards and one touchdown. The numbers are impressive and Shipley will continue to remain McCoy's favorite target as long as he can stay healthy, but Shipley gets Offensive MVP honors because of his 78-yard touchdown catch, the type of play that Longhorn fans hope provides a glimpse of Shipley's ability to catch the deep the ball. More explosive plays downfield in the passing game will keep Shipley from catching as many short passes while he takes big hits from the defense. And hey, everyone likes big plays.
The offensive Offensive LVP was: Vondrell McGee. It's a little bit difficult to be too critical after a win that mostly lived up to even the highest of expectations, but after the coaches spent another spring and fall emphasizing ball security and after a season in which Longhorn running backs didn't lose a single fumble, McGee's two fumbles against Louisiana-Monroe were unacceptable. Had Fozzy Whittaker been healthy or Cody Johnson more ready to be an every-down back, McGee probably wouldn't have touched the ball much after the two miscues. It was difficult to tell on the replays what McGee was doing wrong, but the bottom line is that he needs to protect the ball much better as the season wears on. Hopefully the mistakes were anomalies and the fumbles don't become a trend.
The Defensive MVP was: Sam Acho. On a night when the defensive line wasn't overly impressive in their ability to get to the quarterback and finish the play, Acho showed off his high-level motor and nose for the football, recovering two ULM fumbles and finishing with four tackles. The Longhorns will need more than just Sergio Kindle playing well to replace the lost production of Brian Orakpo and Henry Melton and Acho's game on Saturday night indicated that he's ready to finally step into a major role on the team after two years as a bit player. Will Muschamp must be pleased about that.
The offensive Defensive LVP was: Chykie Brown. Much like the offensive Offensive LVP, putting anyone in this slot in a blowout that didn't even stay close very long might be overly critical. Brown's trangressions are really just a single trangression, the 75-yard touchdown allowed to the speedy Luther Ambrose when Brown blew his assignment in coverage. Placed in the context of the game and the fact that Ambrose is one of the fastest receivers, if not the fastest, that the Longhorns will play this season, the play isn't much to get worked up about, except for the fact that Brown is supposed to compete with Aaron Williams for the title of lock-down corner on the team and major mistakes that result in long touchdowns just won't cut it, not when there are players behind Brown waiting hungrily for their own opportunities.
Garrett Gilbert watch: 4/5 for 46 yards, one carry for 12 yards and a touchdown. One of the most satisfactory parts of the game was the poised performance of the true freshman quarterback when he finally entered the game in the fourth quarter, replacing starter Colt McCoy. His lone drive was everything that one could expect from a player just months removed from leading his own high school team, as Gilbert helped march the Longhorns 73 yard down the field on 10 plays. Besides his accuracy and poise in the pocket completing four passes and another that DeSean Hales could have caught, Gilbert finished the drive with a nifty 12-yard touchdown scramble up the middle in which he provided a glimpse at the collegiate level of his improved running ability that aided Lake Travis in the playoffs last fall. Heartening indeed.
Wyoming Fear Factor: 0 out of 10. (5) is the baseline. +1 for the altitude at War Memorial Stadium, -1 for the new coach, Dave Christensen, having little time to establish his system, -1 because the offense was terrible last season, -2 because they lost their top two running backs, -2 because it's Wyoming.
Heading into next week I feel: Teased. Football is finally here, people, and I want more of it. The 60 minutes played on Saturday night were just a beginning, just a tease, and my thirst is nigh unquenchable after the eight-month offseason. Teased by the potential of the electric DJ Monroe, teased by the thre catches by Marquise Goodwin, teased by Shipley's long touchown catch. More, please!