Good things happen when the Texas Longhorns make defenses pay for neglecting the tight end in the passing game, as junior Andrew Beck made two important receptions against the Baylor Bears.
Consigned to blocking on nearly every play this season, the Florida native took advantage of his opportunity against Oklahoma State, catching a pass down the seam for a 39-yard touchdown, the first of his career.
And yet, despite the success of that individual play call, he had to wait three games before he had another chance.
In the second quarter against Baylor, Beck made a 16-yard reception to put Texas in field goal range at the 16-yard line of the Bears.
Trailing by eight in the fourth quarter, the ‘Horns faced a crucial 3rd and 4 from the 7-yard line. In four-down territory, offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert dialed up another wrinkle — a play-action pass to Beck in the flat that produced a critical touchdown:
ICYMI: Andrew Beck with the Touchdown Catch -- TEXAS 35 VS. BAYLOR 34 #TEXASFIGHT pic.twitter.com/AP0RLrNOC4— Texas Football (@TexasFB) November 1, 2016
The play earned Beck a rare appearance in the post-game press conference, where he put the rare catch in perspective.
“It’s exciting. Every time we run it in practice, my eyes get big,” Beck said. “I’m just excited I got called in the game. That’s always a plus. It still hasn’t set in yet.”
For a player who has often struggled with his blocking assignments since moving from linebacker as a freshman, the receptions could provide him with an energy boost — doing the dirty work with no rewards in the passing game is often difficult for even the most blue-collar blockers.
When targeted, however? All of a sudden, the situation is difficult to even process in the aftermath of a game-changing play.
And with the ‘Horns struggling in third and short situations this season — going 24 of 40 when rushing on 3rd and 3 or less and 5 of 11 passing — calling some more plays for the tight end slipping out of the backfield or off the line of scrimmage could be just what Texas needs.