For the first time this season, the Texas Longhorns will be on the road for a Week Three meeting with the California Golden Bears.
Last season, a Cal unit led by eventual No. 1 NFL Draft pick Jared Goff entered Austin and narrowly escaped with a 45-44 victory over the ‘Horns.
Now, true freshman Texas gunslinger Shane Buechele will be tested on the road for the first time in his young career in hopes of leading Texas to a 3-0 record in what could be a shootout against an explosive Cal offense chaperoned by Texas Tech graduate transfer Davis Webb, Goff’s replacement at quarterback.
The meeting against Cal should serve as a valuable test of exactly where the Longhorns stand prior to entering Big 12 conference play against the Pokes following a bye week.
As noted, it will be the first road test of the season and will challenge a young team with a young quarterback to perform in a late-night time slot.
While Texas has certainly looked the part of a team worthy of its No. 11 ranking in the AP Poll, it’s still unclear how good this Texas team is and could become, considering the Notre Dame victory was likely aided in some form or fashion by the emotion of the moment and a record crowd at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, while UTEP never really had a chance.
To go on the road and pull off a victory against an explosive offense that currently ranks No. 3 in total yards (1,234) would provide further affirmation of what many across the nation are starting to believe: Texas is back.
Sonny Dykes’ program has lost 11 straight games to ranked opponents, a run of losses that dates back nearly four years, to a 43-17 win over the UCLA Bruins in October of 2012.
- The meeting with Cal among its biggest of the entire season for Texas.
Going by the 2015 F/+ team rankings from Football Outsiders, Texas was 2-2 against top-25 opponents, and 3-0 against teams ranked 80th or worse. However, the Longhorns were 0-5 against teams in the 26-79 range.
Cal is ranked 68th so far — the same spot in which Texas ended last season.
What better challenge for the ‘Horns to show they are improved over 2015 than to face off against a team of similar talent to the flawed edition of the 2015 Longhorns?
- A Q&A with California Golden Blogs.
BON: The run defense was poor last season and has gotten off to a pretty disastrous start so far in 2016. Is there any hope that Cal can slow down a strong Texas running game? Is there anything that the 'Horns need to be concerned about?
- The Davis Webb-Chad Hansen connection is one Texas must slow down.
Through the first two games of the season, the Texas Tech transfer has targeted his new favorite pass catcher 48 times, connecting with Hansen 28 times; 14 in each outing. As a result, Hansen not only leads the nation in receptions, but also receiver yards (350) after racking up 160 yards against Hawaii and 190 yards against San Diego State.
- Texas holds the matchup advantage over Cal nearly across the board.
- The burnt orange faithful received an additional 1,500 tickets for Cal game.
Originally contracted for 4,000 tickets, the ‘Horns sold out and requested more. It’s possible that even more fans will attend the game after acquiring tickets directly from Cal or through the secondary market, so expect some healthy cheers from Texas fans when the ‘Horns make a play.
How to watch, listen, and stream
Time: 9:30 p.m. CT
Commentary: Mark Jones will be on the call while Rod Gilmore joins him in the booth for analysis. Quint Kessenich will be on the sidelines.
Radio: Austin Radio Network (Local), Sirius channel 136, XM channel 199 (National)
Online Streaming: WatchESPN
Weather: 76 degrees
Odds: Texas (-7)
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