22-27, 244 (9.0), 4-0: Shane Buechele completions-attempts, passing yards (yards per attempt). passing TDs-INTs
With five offensive starters resting various minor bumps and bruises (three offensive line, TE Caleb Bluiett, and RB D'Onta Foreman) and another turning in a few series before hitting the bench (C Zach Shackelford), the offensive gameplan dialed back the intensity and adjusted for competition.
A week after going for 280 yards on 26 attempts (10.8 yards per attempt, 61.5% completion) with 2 TDs and an INT, Buechele saw his yards per attempt tick down to 9.0 and his completion percentage take a jump to 81.5%. Without the majority of offensive line starters, blocking TE, and starting RB, the Texas offense stepped off the deep ball and play action passing game and worked the underneath routes and screen game.
Offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert used the first two games of non-conference play to work on different facets of the new Texas offense, and Shane Buechele has proven himself a worthy captain of the ship. Two games in, the freshman's 188.34 QB rating is good for 8th nationally, the only freshman among the top 25 and ahead of proven names like Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and JT Barrett.
7 - 73 - 1: Jacorey Warrick receptions - receiving yards - TDs
2 - 52 - 1: Dorian Leonard receptions - receiving yards - TDs
6 - 46 - 2: Jerrod Heard receptions - receiving yards - TDs
The primary beneficiaries of Texas's UTEP gameplan were senior Jacorey Warrick and new WR Jerrod Heard working the screen game and short routes. Warrick had a career game in scoring his first career TD while Heard picked up his first two receiving touchdowns on his 21st birthday, both players scoring from Gilbert's chosen redzone passing weapons: the switch and wheel routes.
Dorian Leonard took advantage of being one of Texas's few deep shots by scoring his first career TD as well.
20 - 95 (4.8) - 1: Chris Warren III rushes - rushing yards (yards per carry) - rushing TDs
8 - 50 (6.25): Shane Buechele rushes - rushing yards (yards per carry)
8 - 35 (4.1): Kyle Porter rushes - rushing yards (yards per carry)
With D'Onta Foreman resting, Chris Warren became the feature back for the Texas offense. Operating behind a predominately backup OL and with running schemes not suited to his strengths, Warren put up mixed results.
Before factoring in three sacks for 16 yards lost, Buechele put up a solid 8 carries for 50 yards on scrambles and solid decision making in the zone read game.
Kyle Porter also saw his first extended action of the year in a change of pace role, showcasing some decent burst and providing fans a glimpse of what made him a pre-season camp standout.
5 - 252 (50.4) - 2: Michael Dickson punts - punting yards (yards per punt) - punts inside the 20
When the Texas offense sputtered, Aussie picked up the slack. The sophomore with a big leg booted five punts over 250 yards. Two games in, Dickson is 2nd nationally with a 52.91 yards per punt average on 11 punts. In fact, his pace puts him in rare air.
#Longhorns' Michael Dickson currently holds highest yds/punt average (min 10 punts) in CFB since 2000 (@sports_ref) pic.twitter.com/L0fNPQQIFo— Drew Lieberman (@DrewLieberman) September 11, 2016
61 - 208 (3.4), 21 - 73 (3.5), 40 - 135 (3.4): UTEP offense plays - total offense (yards per play), pass attempts - passing yards (yards per pass), rush attempts - rushing yards (yards per carry)
8 - 1 (3): Breckyn Hager total tackles - sacks (yards lost)
4 - 1 (9): Malcolm Roach total tackles - sacks (yards lost)
The Texas defense, facing a lighter test compared to the previous week's contest against numerous legitimate NFL prospects, performed better while rolling out a new defensive look. Expecting a run oriented attack with UTEP's backup QB and stud running back Aaron Jones, Charlie Strong and Vance Bedford unveiled a 3-4/5-2 style offense featuring their usual 3-down lineman, Malik Jefferson and Anthony Wheeler at inside linebackers, and two Fox LBs on the outside.
The biggest noise makers in the new look were the Fox LBs, specifically sophomore Breckyn Hager (leading tackler) and freshman Malcolm Roach. Hager showed his customary violence and aggression as a pass rusher and edge terror. And Roach, in his first extended action, showcased movement ability in space that 260 lb. dudes shouldn't be capable of.
Up next is a trip west to face the Cal Bears, where the potential to put up another strong offensive is promising.