With the help of one of the nation’s top freshmen classes, the Texas Longhorns are going back to the Big 12 Championship Game for the first time since 2009. The coaching staff deserves a ton of credit for preparing the freshmen class for instant impact on the field. There’s been some significant individual freshmen contributors over the past decade at Texas. But, there hasn’t been a standout class with multiple key contributors right away. This RevolUTion18 class has provided that.
Texas was able to escape Lawrence with a 24-17 win over the Kansas Jayhawks. The offense played sloppy and the defense had some late miscues to keep the game closer than it really was.
This win sets up a rematch with the rival Oklahoma Sooners. Along with a conference championship at stake, a potential spot in the College Football Playoff is on the line for the Sooners.
Joseph Ossai made his first career start at linebacker, Caden Sterns led the defense with eight total tackles, and Anthony Cook had a sack to lead the way for the freshmen.
With the new NCAA redshirt rule, which allows players to play up to four games without burning a redshirt, expect the Longhorns to manage those numbers carefully. To keep track of the new redshirt rule, the number of games that each player has appeared in will be listed next to their position. This will be updated game-by-game. If there is no number listed next to their position, this means they’ve already exceeded the four-game limit and can no longer redshirt. 11 true freshmen have surpassed that mark so far.
Keaontay Ingram (RB): Outside of a nice drive to start the second half, the Jayhawks bottled up Ingram in the run game. Ingram still managed to gain 51 yards on 13 carries (3.9 YPC) and had a four-yard reception. He looked hesitant running the ball early on but picked things up in the second half.
Let’s hope for a bounce-back game this Saturday against a defense he averaged 6.6 yards per carry against the first time around.
Season Stats: 129 carries for 676 yards (5.2 YPC) — 3 TDs, 21 receptions for 123 yards — 2 TDs (5.9 YPC)
Brennan Eagles (WR): On a play where Eagles looked to be open running a crossing route, Ehlinger nearly threw an interception as he fired the ball right to the defender between the crossing of Eagles and Humphrey.
Season Stats: 1 reception for 35 yards
D’Shawn Jamison (WR/KR/PR): The offensive staff finally found an efficient way to get Jamison involved in the offense. We saw him start in the slot and then motion into the backfield, where he got his touches. It was an effective package on Saturday as Jamison gained 14 yards on two carries.
It’ll be interesting to see if the offense continues to use this motion wrinkle with Jamison against Oklahoma. The run-pass option is there when the defense keys in on Jamison.
Season Stats: 4 carries for 8 yards (2 YPC), 3 receptions for 2 yards, 10 kick returns — 20.2 YPR, 9 punt returns — 13.1 YPR - TD
Keondre Coburn (DT-2): Coburn got some action at defensive tackle after the Longhorns went up 24-7.
Season Stats: 1 tackle (solo)
Ayodele Adeoye (LB-3): Adeoye nearly picked up his second personal foul penalty of the season on a low, late hit out of bounds after a kick return. Luckily, the refs didn’t call it. Adeoye must be smarter than this considering how costly and unnecessary 15-yard penalties can be.
Joseph Ossai (LB): Ossai got his opportunity to shine against Kansas due to multiple injuries surrounding the front seven on defense. Ossai got the start at B-Backer with the starting B-Backer Jeffrey McCulloch filling in for an inactive Gary Johnson at the Rover linebacker position.
After last week’s strip sack against Iowa State, Ossai was ready to go. The freshman linebacker had five total tackles (three solo), was effective on run stops, and got some pressure on Kansas quarterback Peyton Bender. Overall, this was a very telling performance on how well Ossai fits for Orlando’s defensive scheme. He is going to be a force at the edge linebacker position over the years.
Season Stats: 11 tackles (5 solo), sack, FF
DeMarvion Overshown (LB/S): Overshown appeared on special teams but did not record any statistics.
Season Stats: 1 tackle
Anthony Cook (CB): Cook made the freshman play of the game late in Friday’s game. With Kansas driving and facing a 3rd and 10 down 24-14, the freshman cornerback was inserted on third down. Cook surprisingly lined up at the rover position and was used as the blitzing defensive back. Todd Orlando dialed up the perfect blitz call and Cook got to the quarterback for a huge sack. His first career sack forced the Jayhawks to kick a field goal to make it 24-17. After Texas recovered the ensuing onside kick, the Kansas offense didn’t touch the field again.
Big sack for young @_ACook21. #ThisIsTexas #HookEm pic.twitter.com/PkpaxQA9rZ— Texas Football (@TexasFootball) November 24, 2018
Season Stats: 18 tackles (13 solo), PBU, sack
Jalen Green (CB): Green saw more action on special teams but did not record any statistics.
Season Stats: 1 tackle (solo)
B.J. Foster (S): Foster returned to his true rover safety position with Brandon Jones back at strong safety. He slid back over to strong safety at times after Jones went out with an injury. Foster captured three solo tackles with one tackle coming for a loss. A 15-yard facemask penalty after a third-down stop was his lone notable mistake in this one.
While his speed and hitting ability stand out, Foster needs to work on becoming a better fundamental tackler. There have been various times where he over pursues the play and goes full speed into the ball carrier. This results in a missed tackle almost every time. Pursuing the ball carrier better, staying low, and using the legs more than the arms are among the things Foster can improve on as a tackler.
Season Stats: 36 tackles (26 solo), 7 TFL, 2.5 sack, INT, FF, 2 PDs
Caden Sterns (S): After a couple of sub-par Big 12 performances, Sterns closed out the regular season with three straight games of elite defensive football. Sterns led the team with eight total tackles (five solo).
The ball-hawking safety almost had his fifth interception of the season, too. He read the quarterbacks eyes to break on a dig route over-the-middle and closed in on the receiver at the perfect time to knock the ball away. If he was a split-second faster to the ball, it would have been an interception.
Season Stats: 59 tackles (41 solo), 3 TFL, sack, 4 INTs, blocked FG, 4 PBUs
Cameron Dicker (K): Dicker made his lone field-goal attempt of the game — a 34-yarder.
Season Stats: 16-22 FG (72.7%) — 4-5 20-29 yards, 4-5 30-39 yards, 7-10 40-49 yards, 1-2 50+ yards, 35-35 XPs (100%), 2 tackles (1 solo)
Ryan Bujcevski (P): Bujcevski averaged 40.6 yards on five punts and prevented any chance of a good return.
Season Stats: 54 punts — 40.5 YPP, 13 downed inside-the-20, 8 50+ yards, 1 tackle
Other true freshmen that have played this season:
Joshua Moore (WR)*
Season Stats: 7 receptions for 53 yards — TD
Malcolm Epps (TE-1)
Season Stats: 1 reception for 18 yards
Moro Ojomo (DT-1)
* - Injured