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The SMO: Texas has a fighting chance in Big 12 play

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NCAA Football: Texas at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Obligatory reminder: The SMO does not deal in logic or reason. It is a 100 percent emotional overreaction to the game preceding it or the game following it. Do not counter with statistics or figures because chances are I haven’t looked at them nor do I probably even understand them.

Texas went on the road and beat a much-improved Iowa State team 17-7 Thursday night.

It wasn’t pretty, but it’s looking more like the Maryland game — not USC — was the fluke of the season. Texas held a team that was averaging 41 points per game and had scored in every single quarter this season to just seven points and 10 yards rushing.

At full strength, Texas wins this game 41-7. Offensively, the team was a mess last night. But going to Iowa midweek and winning your first conference game by double digits? I’ll take it.

Here are 25 thoughts about the season so far and one optimistic prediction.

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  • DeShon Elliott — who now has an NCAA-lead-tying four interceptions on the season — is playing lights out football in the Texas secondary. Elliott and cornerback Holton Hill now combine for six of the team’s seven total interceptions (Kris Boyd secured the other last night.) That’s seven interceptions in four games for the Texas DBs. The Longhorns only had 10 interceptions all of last season. Credit also goes to the front seven for getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks and forcing them to make bad throws directly into Elliott’s hands. He is always in the right place at the right time. Also, he does things like this:
  • Opposing teams are scared to target Holton Hill. Kris Boyd did a good job holding his own against Allen Lazard.
  • Still can’t figure out why ESPN’s Brian Griese can’t pronounce “Hughes.”
  • Kyle Porter is really good at running the football so long as no opposing player touches him. Porter led the team in carries again (ugh) with 17 and could only drum up 39 yards on the ground. His team-leading 46 carries has resulted in less than 150 total yards in four games. Comparatively, Chris Warren has carried the ball 42 times for 256 yards this year — but for some reason isn’t the featured back in this offense. Porter is the better pass blocker but, yeah, no one really understands what’s going on here. If you ask Tom Herman, he’ll tell you that Texas will have trouble running the ball regardless of who touches it with all the injuries on the offensive line. Still, not really sure why Porter has been designated the featured back when I’m not sure he’s broken a single tackle this season.
  • True freshman Toneil Carter is playing himself into the rotation — which is good because Texas clearly needs more options at running back.
  • If holding wasn’t against the rules, this Texas offensive line would be up there with the best in the country.
  • I like watching college football on Thursday night. I hate watching my team play college football on Thursday night. In the future, let’s keep all non-holiday Texas games on Saturdays please. Certainly, if we run the conference like everyone says we do, the powers-that-be can lobby against Thursday night football.
  • Tim Beck better be really good at recruiting.
  • I would never have guessed that watching Texas’ defense would be more rewarding than watching the Texas offense — yet here we are.
  • Some program is going to come in and hire away Todd Orlando to be a head coach. I wonder if Houston fans are having second thoughts.
  • There is no quarterback controversy. Texas has two back-up quarterbacks fighting for the starting spot.
  • Would really like to see Shane Buechele stop taking monster hits on designed QB-runs when he is coming off an injury. I imagine we all probably feel this way.
  • Patrick Vahe’s new facemask with a bar down the middle is old-school and awesome and I love it.
  • Opposing teams are now 0-for-7 (!!!) going for it on fourth down against the Longhorns. Last night, Iowa State — who entered the game 4-for-4 on fourth down — went 0-for-2.
  • Todd Orlando might be MENSA.
  • Iowa State’s new partnership with Bugles is pretty cool. Thought it was a little much to sacrifice their helmet decals for a corporate sponsorship though.
  • Poona Ford is a monster — and ESPN NFL Draft expert Todd McShay agrees:
  • Malik Jefferson in pursuit gives me goosebumps:
  • Buechele completed the ball to 11 different Texas players (and one Iowa State defender) Thursday night. 14 players have caught a ball so far this year. Texas is deep at WR, but someone is going to have to step up with Collin Johnson to be a consistent target for Boosh. Young guys like Devin Duvernay and Reggie Hemphill-Mapps need to touch the ball more.
  • Where is John Burt? I was hoping last season was just a sophomore slump — but four games in and Burt only has one catch for six yards.
  • Outside of one atrocious shank, Michael Dickson has been outstanding punting the football. Multiple punts of 60+ yards in one game will get you paid in the NFL.
  • If you thought Josh Rowland was going to hit this, you’re lying:
  • Barking Carnival pointed it out yesterday, but if you read between the lines of Herman’s calculated answers during his post-game SportsCenter segment, he seemed pretty furious with offensive production.
  • Texas went on the road, played horribly on one side of the ball, and still won by double digits. I don’t care if it was just Iowa State — that’s progress. A Charlie Strong-coached team doesn’t win that game.
  • The Texas offense has serious limitations, but the Texas defense can keep this team in every single game. Texas will win some games they aren’t supposed to because of Todd Orlando.

SMO Prediction

Texas goes 2-1 through Kansas State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.