What a win. After witnessing a disappointing regular season and a month of December filled with coordinator uncertainty, this was the type of performance we needed to see from this group heading into a much-needed offseason.
Credit the coaching staff for overcoming lots of turmoil leading up to this game. The staff had this Texas team well-prepared and more than ready to play in front of a home crowd tonight. The players executed their gameplan to a tee and put forth a dominate showing on both sides of the ball.
Surprisingly, Utah turned out to be a great matchup for Texas. The Longhorns physically set the tone at the line of scrimmage and outworked them from start to finish. The more motivated team clearly won this ballgame.
Known for his coaching and preparation for bowl games, Tom Herman had Texas playing their ‘A’ game and sent off another senior class on a strong note. Shoutout Devin Duvernay, Malcolm Roach, Collin Johnson, and the rest of the seniors for the work they’ve put in on the field during these past four years. They’ll be missed.
- Sam Ehlinger was a little giddy on throws he usually hits with consistency and overthrew some receivers early on. After the first two drives, he responded well and put together a classic winning performance as the Longhorns signal caller. He was efficient on down-to-down situations and effective with his legs on designed quarterback runs. And when asked to do so, Ehlinger was pin-point accurate on deep throws to Devin Duvernay and Collin Johnson.
- Duvernay fittingly ended his college career doing what he did all season — making beautiful over-the-shoulder catches while out-possessing Utah’s undersized defensive backs for the ball. It remains unfathomable that this guy wasn’t an All-American or a finalist for the Biletnikoff Trophy. What a year he had.
- While facing a passing attack that posed little threat down-the-field, the Texas defense was able to pin their ears back and play loose throughout the game. From up front to the back-end, the Longhorns physically dominated the Utes on defense. Everyone was pursuing the ball with aggression and tackling with a purpose tonight. Interim defensive coordinator Craig Naivar did an excellent job of keeping things simple for this unit while mixing in some of the blitzes and stunts that Todd Orlando would normally call. Naivar was also very consistent with substitutions and rotations along the front seven. From Keondre Coburn to Moro Ojomo and Malcolm Roach to Ta’Quon Graham, seemingly everyone on defense maintained fresh legs well into the fourth quarter of this game.
- Freshman cornerback Chris Adimora made several big time plays in coverage to halt Utah from gaining any kind of momentum. He displayed perfect coverage technique on the pass breakup towards the end-zone. Adimora kept his hips inside, eyes on the ball, and closed at the perfect time with his defending arm.
I'd argue this PBU by Chris Adimora is among the best Texas defensive plays of the season. pic.twitter.com/9BCJCgAHrw— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) January 1, 2020
Adimora is a name to watch out for next season as he’ll likely compete for a starting defensive back spot under new defensive coordinator Chris Ash.
- Game MVP Joseph Ossai was a man on a mission tonight. He was in Utah’s backfield all night long. Ossai recorded nine tackles, six tackles for a loss (!), and three sacks. As a unit, Texas’ defensive line put forth their best performance this season by far.
- After making the early mistake of trying to field a bouncing punt inside the 10-yard line, D’Shawn Jamison more than made up for it with a momentum swinging 71-yard punt return. This setup Texas’ first scoring touchdown of the game to go up 10-0.
- In his first game back since injuring his collarbone, punter Ryan Bujcevski had a quality game under limited work. He averaged 48.0 yards on two punts.
- After taking over the reigns as the coach calling plays on offense, Herman delivered in a big way against a rather stout Utah defense. He effectively established a run-first identity on offense and called nearly twice as many runs as passes in tonight’s game as Texas was in full control. Between Ingram, Ehlinger, and Johnson, Texas ran for 231 yards (6.2 YPC) on 37 run plays. Winning football at its finest.
- Pretty cool move by Tom Herman to substitute each senior out during a timeout to give them a final standing ovation.
This win marks the first and possibly only bowl win for the Big 12 conference this year. Cheers to ringing in a new decade on a winning note, Happy New Year y’all. Hook ‘Em!