“We’ve been telling them since we got here that our best was good enough, but less than our best probably wasn’t. Tonight we took a step,” Texas head coach Tom Herman said following the game. “We played less than our best and still beat a really, really good football team.”
The Longhorns may not have played their best game of the season, but many of the lessons learned and individual performances set them up to succeed as they dive into Big 12 play following the bye week.
Offensive Line: No Sacks, 3 TFL (3 yards)
When Herb Hand arrived a year ago, the Texas offensive line took a massive step forward, becoming a unit the Longhorns could depend on to get the job done. This year that group has seemed to take another step forward, dominating the point of attack and giving the Texas skill players room to work.
For just the second time in the last two seasons, the Texas offense did not surrender a sack, while the three yards lost on the ground is the lowest total under Herb Hand and the second-lowest during the Herman era at Texas. The Texas line took away a huge part of the Cowboys’ defensive scheme with its play, as Saturday’s clean sheet was just the second time Oklahoma State has been held without a sack in the Jim Knowles era.
Keaontay Ingram: 21 car, 114 yards. Rec, 26 yards
Two weeks ago, Keaontay Ingram had one of the worst games of his career at Texas. When the Longhorns opened conference play, Ingram not only shed the knee brace he wore for the first three games, but managed to shed some of the questions about his play, as well.
Needing a feature back to take the load off of the quarterback, Ingram answered the bell and turned in career-highs in carries, rushing, and total yardage, eclipsing the 1,000-yard career rushing mark in the process. If Ingram can manage four yards against West Virginia, he will find his name on Texas’ top 50 career rushing totals.
One of the biggest advantages Ingram gave to Texas was his ability to put them in front of the chains. Ingram had eight carries longer than five yards on first down and five of those went longer than 10 yards. In fact, 56.6 percent of his production this season has come on first down.
In spite of only having one reception, that one reception seemed to be a culture play from Ingram.
Early in the fourth quarter with Texas driving to put some distance in front of the Cowboys, Ingram found a soft spot underneath the OSU defense and quarterback Sam Ehlinger checked down to him with nobody open. Ingram broke four tackles, turning a five-yard reception into 26 yards, setting up a Roschon Johnson touchdown two plays later.
You think Keaontay Ingram wants to prove he can indeed play big-boy football? pic.twitter.com/EJWvAquq4i— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) September 22, 2019
Brennan Eagles: 73-yard reception
The sophomore receiver has quickly turned into Ehlinger’s big-play target, giving the Texas offense a much-needed shot in the arm on a few occasions this season. With Texas holding a narrow 14-13 edge in the second quarter, Ehlinger connected with Eagles for the longest touchdown of both of their careers, extending Texas’ lead to 21-13.
Eagles has gone over 50 yards twice this season, after being on the receiving end of a 55-yard touchdown pass to take a lead over LSU two weeks ago. Eagles now sits with more 50-yard plays this year than the entire Texas team from a year ago.
Texas now sits at 1-0 in Big 12 play and 3-1 on the season heading into a much-needed bye week. The Longhorns will need a week to mend several injuries before their Big 12 road opener against the West Virginia Mountaineers.