I've likely been more...comfortable, is probably the best word...than most regarding the potential and progress to date of the 2012 Texas offense. But even I was completely surprised and impressed with the offense's systematic and complete dismantling of the undersized Ole Miss 4-2-5 defense. Running inside, running outside, passing short, passing deep...the offense got whatever it wanted and provided the strongest overall performance (statistically, at least) in years. The Texas defense was quite the different story. What was once a defense that was strong tackling and tough against the big play is now seemingly incapable of tackling and prone to big plays. Whether the cause is lack of practice after a fall camp spent in thud tempo, or shock after losing defensive leader Jordan Hicks, Manny Diaz has plenty of work left with his players.
If you know how to react to a team being carried by an offense and with several defensive questions, let me know. Strange territory, we're in. Let's look at the numbers to make sense of that exciting Saturday night.
A bazillion: missed tackles by the Texas defense
Yes, I went through the game and counted all of the missed tackles and came up with a bazillion (not really, but the final tally must be close). Poor tackling (and ‘poor' is being generous, I think) played no small part in Ole Miss gains: 30 yard completion on 3rd and 17, 36 yard completion to Donte Moncrief, 75 yard TD pass to Donte Moncrief, 48 yard TD run by Jeff Scott, and a 100 yard kick return TD by Jaylen Walton. Jeff Scott (8 rushes for 95 yards, TD) and Donte Moncrief (7 catches for 144 yards, TD) proved particularly difficult to bring down. Not a knock on those two players, but Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin are on the schedule in a few weeks and are a different beast all together. I wouldn't be opposed to the defensive staff using copious amounts of bye week practice time on tackling drills. If you don't tackle, you don't play.
64-399-6.2: Ole Miss offensive plays, yards, yards per play
Not much to say here. The Bo Wallace led offense came out and had plenty of success against the Texas defense, creating big plays and capitalizing on sloppy defense. The Rebels had to earn their way in the first half, driving 89 yards on 12 plays for a TD and 55 yards on 11 plays for a FG. The second half yielded TD "drives" of 83 yards on 3 plays and 77 yards on 6 plays. Throw in 4th quarter kick return TD, and the Texas defensive and special teams units left a lot to be desired, especially late in the game.
5, 3, 1: Texas defense sacks, INTs, defensive TDs
The 5 first half sacks (one each for Brandon Moore, Jackson Jeffcoat, and Reggie Wilson, and two for Alex Okafor) raise the season sack total to 7. Toss in the 3 INTs off of Bo Wallace (one for Steve Edmond returned for a TD, and two for Quandre Diggs), and the Texas defense looked like a high risk - high reward unit. But we know that's not quite what Manny Diaz preaches. Those negative plays will remain shining moments in an otherwise lackluster defensive performance.
78-676-8.7: Texas offense plays, yards, yards per play
Now that we've gotten the doom and gloom of the defensive performance out of the way, let's talk about the fun stuff. Wasn't that offense fun to watch? I mean really. I had fun. We'll dissect the performance over the remainder of this Inside the Numbers, but on a macro level, it was great to get an idea what this Bryan Harsin offense is going to look like moving forward. It took advantage of an undersized front 6 of Ole Miss with power O, inside zone, and the pin and pull on the ground, then beat single coverage down the field when numbers were committed inside. It was systematic and glorious. This isn't to say we'll be a 600 yard-60 point offense every week, but it was a joy to watch what this unit will look like when the plan is executed.
19-24 - 326, 13.6, 4: Texas passing attempts - completions - passing yards, yards per attempt, passing TDs
I understand the trauma induced by the Texas QB performance in 2010 and 2011, but I hope you were able to enjoy the performance of the passing game against Ole Miss. The play action game was on full display with the deep balls to Marquise Goodwin and Mike Davis (who finished with 2 catches - 102 yards and 5 catches - 124 yards respectively, each with a TD), and in the red zone with TD passes to FB Ryan Roberson and TE DJ Grant. Ash also worked the intermediate game, featuring a few throws to Davis and a nice 23 yard strike to Jaxon Shipley. What I was most impressed with was the touch on short throws Ash continues to display. The play action game in the red zone and liberal use of screens place a high priority on touch, and Ash hasn't disappointed. Only one of the deep balls could really be considered a perfectly thrown ball, but the others were thrown on time and gave the WR a chance to make a play against single coverage. When your WR can beat a DB in single coverage, all you really need to do is give them a chance at the ball while the DB scrambles to catch up. Still, it was as complete a performance in the passing game as Texas has had since the elder McCoy owned campus. The "Jaxon Shipley is our best QB" jokes have officially expired.
54-350-6.5, 4: Texas rushing attempts - rushing yards - yards per rush, rushing TDs
The 350 yard ground and pound performance reflected the passing game's domination. The Texas offense lined up against the undersized Ole Miss front 6 and did anything it wanted. Malcolm Brown went out and gained 128 yards and 2 TDs on 21 carries while satisfying the portion of the fanbase that couldn't comprehend why we wouldn't give the ball to our best playmaker against New Mexico. Joe Bergeron chipped in 11 carries and 48 brutal yards before being sidelined with a bum shoulder (earned after leveling three Ole Miss defenders simultaneously). Add in the speed game by Marquise Goodwin's 2 carries for 80 yards (highlighted by a 69 yard TD) and DJ Monroe's 10 yard TD scamper, and everything worked for the Texas rush attack.
255.7 and 258.7: Texas average passing yards and rushing yards through three games
Mack Brown continues to grin as the Texas offense defines balanced production through three games. We'll see if it manages to maintain this balance once the level of competition picks up, but as of now it appears that either the passing game or the running game will be capable of carrying this offense on any given Saturday.
7 of 12: Texas offense third down conversions
The Texas offense continues to produce on third down. Entering the Ole Miss game, the offense was 19 of 31 on third down, good for 5th in the country. Now 26 of 43, Texas trails Oklahoma State and Texas Tech for 3rd in the country in converting third downs. The conversions: 3 yard Bergeron rush on 3rd and 1, 7 yard Shipley rush on 3rd and 2, 5 yard Bergeron rush on 3rd and 2, 18 yard Bergeron reception on 3rd and 6, 5 yard TD run by Brown on 3rd and Goal, 55 yard TD catch by Goodwin on 3rd and 5, and a 19 yard Johnathan Gray run on 3rd and 2. Not a lot of 3rd down heroics required in this game, as the Texas offense was more than capable of staying on schedule.
5-8, 1-8: Texas TDs - red zone possessions, Texas FGs - red zone possessions
Well, it happened. After starting the season 10-10 (9 TDs, 1 FG) from the red zone, the Texas offense failed to score on two red zone possessions against Ole Miss. Nick Jordan recorded his first FG miss from inside 40 yards (he now moves to 3 of 7 on FG attempts; Anthony Fera, get well soon), and Mack Brown went all Mack Brown while taking a knee from the Ole Miss 1 yardline in the 4th quarter. Red zone scores: Nick Jordan 31 yard FG, a 3 yard DJ Grant TD reception off play action, a 1 yard Ryan Roberson TD reception off play action, a 10 yard DJ Monroe run (who again proves undeniable in scoring opportunities), a 5 yard Malcolm Brown TD run, and a 12 yard Malcolm Brown TD run.
11: straight Texas offensive possessions that led to scoring opportunities
If there's a stat that displays the dominance of the Texas offense this Saturday night, I think this is it. After an opening drive punt by Alex King (who continues to be a star punting), the Texas offense had 11 straight drives with scoring opportunities. The drives: 9 touchdowns, 1 field goal, and a missed field goal. The 13th and final drive of the game ended in a knee at the Ole Miss 1 yard line. The offense has now scored on 21 of the last 29 possessions. Hopefully this number continues into conference play.
Records and Career Marks
300 yards rushing / 300 yards passing: The Texas offense reaches the 300/300 mark for the third time in school history. The first time came in 1990 against Houston, the second in 2009 against UTEP.
Two 100 yard receivers/100 yard rusher: The Texas offense featured a pair of 100 yard receivers (Mike Davis for 124, Marquise Goodwin for 102) and a 100 yard rusher (Malcolm Brown for 128) for only the second time in school history. The first came from the Jordan Shipley - Quan Cosby - Chris Ogbannaya troika in 2008 against Oklahoma.
66 points: The 66 points for the Texas offense is the most since the 2005 Big 12 championship game against Colorado.
19 - 23, 326 yards, 4 TDs: The 326 yards and 4 TDs passing are easily career bests for David Ash. Ash is now 55 - 72 (76.4%), 703 yards, 7 TDs and 0 INTs on the season. He has now thrown 96 consecutive passes without an INT.
15 straight completions for David Ash: The 15 straight completions for David Ash ( on his 3rd through 17th attempts) were the most straight for a Texas QB since Colt McCoy against Oklahoma State in 2008.
128 for Malcolm Brown and 124 for Mike Davis: The 128 yards rushing are Malcolm Brown's second highest total of his career. The 124 receiving yards are Mike Davis's career high.
69 yards: Marquise Goodwin's 69 yard TD run is the longest rushing score since Jamaal Charles' 75 yard TD run against Oklahoma State in 2007, and is the first rushing TD of Goodwin's career.
An offensive performance for the record books. A defensive performance for the meeting rooms. What numbers have you buzzing for this week?