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Inside the numbers: The Texas offense buoyed by one big quarter

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Outside of a few big drives, the Texas offense struggled moving the ball, while the defense rebounded well.

NCAA Football: Texas at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

From looking at the box score, it seems odd the Texas Longhorns felt like they out of the game for a majority of the contest. They finished just two yards behind the Maryland Terrapins offensively, and averaged more yards per play than their competitor.

So why did it feel so lopsided at times?

The Longhorns made their money in the second quarter of the game, scoring 15 of their 29 points. At a closer look, Texas’ second period inflated its overall numbers for the game.

Texas amassed 176 of its 405 yards in the second quarter, 43 percent of its total output for the day, which includes 68 of its 142 rushing yards and 108 of the Horns 263 passing yards. 45 of their total yards in the second quarter came on just two plays — a 23-yard completion to Lil’Jordan Humphrey and a 22-yard touchdown pass to Collin Johnson.

If you isolate the other three quarters of the game, in which Texas racked up 229 yards on 50 plays, the Longhorns averaged 4.58 yards per play, nearly a full yard less than their average for the game.

Texas also struggled to extend drives, allowing vital time for the defense to rest and to create a rhythm for the offense.

After a five-play drive that ended with a punt to open the game, Texas’s second possession ended positively with a one-play touchdown drive. The Horns followed with four consecutive three-and-outs, but managed to cap the quarter with three drives of 69 yards, 36 yards, and 50 yards, two of which ended in touchdowns. Seven of their drives lasted less than 90 seconds of game time, with two of those drives leading to Maryland to touchdowns.

On the other side of the ball, after struggling mightily in the first quarter, Texas managed to put the clamps on in the second half, helping to fuel the Longhorns’ comeback.

Isolating the first quarter, Maryland put up 181 yards on 23 yards, averaging 7.87 yards per play, including 93 yards to freshman Jeshaun Jones. The Texas defense managed to slow down that pace significantly in the following three quarters, holding the Terrapins to just 226 yards on 56 plays, a clip of 3.96 yards per play.

Following the first quarter Maryland put together just four drives longer than four plays, two of which resulted in the Terrapins’ 10 fourth-quarter points.

Regardless of how the numbers play out, there is one number that really matters, the 34-29 final score. If Texas cannot diagnose and correct the issues exposed on both sides of the ball against Maryland, the Longhorns could be in for a long season.