Early in the game, it felt like the recipe for an embarrassing upset was shaping up, but the offense managed to put it together and the defense plugged some of the holes created with the option game. An explosive ground game set Texas up for its offense to find success, but the Longhorns sometimes struggled to capitalize on the big plays and its ability to put the ball in the red zone.
1. Jonathon Brooks is a game changer for Texas
For the third-straight week, Jonathon Brooks was incredible and Texas benefitted.
The former three-star running back looked every bit of an All-American against the Jayhawks, rattling off a career-high 217 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 10.9 yards per attempt. Something seems to have shifted in the running back after taking the full-time starter role when Cedric Baxter Jr. went down with an injury and he’s making the best of the opportunity.
In those three games, Brooks has rushed for 487 yards, four touchdowns, and is averaging 8.25 yards per attempt. He’s cracked off three rushes longer than 50 yards, including the two explosive touchdowns in the win over the Jayhawks. The ability to find that level of success on the ground and create explosive plays from your running back will continue to pay dividends throughout the Big 12 race.
2. Texas needs to figure out its red-zone woes
Against Kansas, Texas was 5-of-5 from the red zone, but saw multiple drives stall out ending in field goals on drives that should have produced touchdowns.
Adding insult to injury, two of the stalled drives followed a fourth down conversion and a 67-yard run by Brooks, respectively. This is becoming a dangerous trend that can bite Texas in tight games when they should be able to put teams away earlier. Texas was able to pour it on late, but that has been a recurring theme this year and why many teams have played Texas tighter than they should have.
On the year, Texas is 19-of-21 in the red zone but has a higher-than-desirable touchdown-to-field goal ratio. Eight of their 19 red-zone conversions have been field goals, including a 50/50 split in the Alabama and RIce games.
3. Texas needs to find answers at placekicker, especially on longer kicks
A year ago, Burt Auburn was a relatively consistent option for Texas and missed just five kicks on his 21 attempts.
Through five games this year, Auburn has missed five.
Four of the five misses this year by the third-year kicker were from beyond 40 yards, with the longest attempts being a 50-yarder against Kansas and a 56-yard attempt against Rice. Those types of misses looked like they may have been costly early, but thankfully for Texas fans, the offense was able to pour it on late.
Letting a team like Kansas hang around and not putting points on the board by any means necessary can prove costly as the season continues.
Next up for Texas is its annual trip to Dallas for the Red River Rivalry, squaring off with an Oklahoma Sooners team that looks like they may have figured out what ailed them a year ago.