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The SMO: D’Onta Foreman working overtime to save Charlie Strong’s job

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NCAA Football: Texas at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Longhorns defeated the Texas Tech Raiders 45-37 in Lubbock on Saturday afternoon, as phenom running back D’Onta Foreman unleashed for more than 300 yards on the ground and the Texas defense stepped up to make big stops when it mattered.

Texas is now 5-4 on the season with two straight wins against potent offenses. Here are some thoughts:

The Great

D’Onta Foreman is the best football player the Texas Longhorns have suited up this decade.

Foreman thrust himself further into Heisman contention with a phenomenal rushing performance against the Red Raiders, carrying the ball 33 times for 341 yards and three scores, not including a fourth touchdown that was ruled a fumble by a struggling team of Big 12 referees.

This was Foreman’s tenth straight 100-yard rushing game, which is absurd. Foreman has 1446 yards on 206 attempts this season with three more games to play — one of them being Kansas. It’s not crazy to think he could eclipse to the 2000 mark. The last two games alone, he’s rushed for 591 yards.

Heisman voters are going to overlook him because of #Big12Defense, but they shouldn’t. There is no question Foreman has been one of the best, if not the best, player in college football this season. If Texas was a two-loss team or better, this wouldn’t even be a question.

He’s no poor man’s Derrick Henry. He’s a rich man’s D’Onta Foreman.

The Good

Hey, hey, what do ya say? The Longhorns D showed up today.

After giving up 212 yards on 26 first quarter plays (bad), the Longhorns D stiffened up a bit, allowing only 270 yards on Tech’s final 74 plays (good). That’s an average of less than four yards-per-play for one of the nation’s most electrifying offenses led by one of the nation’s best quarterbacks. It was going to take an outstanding performance to hold this game under 85 points (Vegas odds), but somehow, it hit the under. The Texas defense is maturing.

The Red Raiders didn’t hit 500 yards total offense yesterday, which was a victory for Texas. Only TCU and West Virginia have held Texas Tech to less total yards this season.

And, even more crazy, the game was sealed with a Texas defensive stop in the end zone — thanks to DB Kris Boyd’s clinching interception. We’ve been waiting to see some big plays from this defensive backfield.

I think this new defensive coordinator might be onto something.

Look at this:

I think you can call that progress.

The Ugly

I’m going to skip the bad and get straight to the ugly. Texas coaches almost handed this game away.

I don’t like second-guessing play calls when they don’t work, because I am, for the most part, a huge idiot and these guys have a much better understanding of the game than I do. But, unless he was injured, I don’t know how D’Onta Foreman gets wiped out of gameplan on those final two series. I love the 18-wheeler, and Texas did actually score a touchdown yesterday from it (that was called back), but on 4th-and-short in that situation, hand it to the guy with 300+ yards on the day. If, for no other reason, than nobody will second guess the decision.

Luckily, the only play the Red Raiders have in their playbook for 4th-and-short is QB sneak — otherwise the tone of this column would probably be a little different.

It felt like Texas was going to hand this game away in ugly fashion, but the Horns D stepped up big time.

I think you can call that progress.


The Horns host West Virginia next week for a chance to become...

...

bowl eligible.

It’s not going to be easy, but Texas will have a chance to takedown a West Virginia program that is having its best season in years. Kickoff is 11 a.m. on FS1.

Let’s see some more progress.