The No. 10 Texas Longhorns’ season got underway on a high note with a 45-14 win over Louisiana Tech.
Here are a few initial takeaways from Texas’ showing:
- Texas did what a good team is supposed to do against an overmatched opponent. First things first, Texas won its season opener for the first time since Tom Herman took over, which, in and of itself, is notable. But beyond that, Texas, at long last, finally overwhelmed an opponent who, on paper, it should have its way with. That wasn’t the case last season, as the Longhorns struggled to finish Tulsa (28-21), Kansas State (19-14), and Kansas (24-17) after owning comfortable early cushions. Such is largely why some juries remain out on the Horns, but if Texas is, in fact, returning to an elite status, having its way with a team it’s quite simply better than is among the several ways to verify the rankings and recognition. Not to mention, when Texas wins big, it allows young, reserve pieces to enjoy tremendously valuable in-game experience while providing much some ideal rest for starters.
- Keaontay Ingram looked the part. You never want to make to much of a single game, especially the first game of the season against an overmatched opponent; not to mention one with a sub-par rush defense. That said, Keaontay Ingram certainly looked impressive out of the gates and seemingly verified a bit of why many expect him to truly emerge as a factor this season. After adding some much-needed mass to his frame this offseason, Ingram looked notably stronger, bouncing off and shedding multiple would-be tackles, all while flashing tremendous patience and vision, the cutting ability and burst that made him such an elite recruit, as well as his pass-catching ability out of the backfield. Ingram’s night finished with only 11 carries for 78 yards and one touchdown, in addition to three receptions for 43 yards, so he wasn’t overwhelming statistically on the surface, but his presence was felt, nonetheless. On one single drive — Texas’ second of the second half — Ingram accounted for 61 yards on five touches, hauling in catches of 21 and 14 yards and adding rushes of 12 and 13 yards, followed by a one-yard touchdown to push the Longhorns’ lead to 38-0.
- Kobe Boyce struggled in his new role as a starter. The redshirt sophomore emerged from Texas’ fall camp as the first-team boundary corner, topping true sophomores Anthony Cook and D’Shawn Jamison. But Herman said entering the week that unlike Green’s role on the opposite side, this cornerback competition remained open, and that will likely remain true entering Week 2. In the first quarter, Boyce prematurely celebrated on what he thought to be an incomplete pass, which ended as a 26-yard gain by Malik Stanley on 3rd and 11. In the second quarter, he was flagged for a defensive pass interference, and then on the following play, was beat badly on a post route that would have put points on the board if J’Mar Smith hadn’t overthrown his target. The reality remains that Boyce has done enough throughout the previous eight months to earn his role as the starter, but even entering the final week of the stretch, as noted, Herman said the competition was ongoing. That was evident as Texas inserted Jamison into Boyce’s spot to begin the second half, followed by Cook, who was suspended for the first half, on the ensuing series. Expect those three to continue battling for that starting job ahead of the LSU game.
- Devin Duvernay will likely be utilized far more often in his new role in the slot. Entering the season, Duvernay had hauled in more than four passes only twice during his entire career at Texas. He had four receptions on the first drive of the season, including a four-yard touchdown to put the first points on the board to cap a drive that began with a two-yard rush from Duvernay. And that all got underway after Duvernay returned the opening kickoff for 36 yards to Texas’ 43-yard line. All told, Duvernay led the Longhorns with nine receptions, which was good for a new career-high, turning in 55 yards and one score. This likely won’t be an anomaly either, as the Longhorns entered the season aiming to utilize Duvernay more often. That was evident on Saturday.
- Joseph Ossai appears to have a bright future at B-Backer. The sophomore stepped into his new role as a starter and was nothing short of a difference-maker. Ossai notched one interception courtesy of a tipped pass by sophomore corner Jalen Green, and took another 82 yards to the house for a pick six, though the latter was called back due to a roughing the passer penalty on Brandon Jones. Ossai also added five solo tackles and one tackle for loss.
- Texas looked good, not great. This was the first game of the season and that was evident. Sam Ehlinger, though he finished 28-of-38 for 276 yards and four touchdowns, missed a few throws that would have extended drives. The defense missed its fair share of tackles, which was also to be expected given that the Horns replaced eight starters, but it’s something Texas will need to address before No. 6 LSU comes to town next weekend. And Texas did commit six penalties, including the aforementioned roughing the passer penalty on Jones, which not only took points off the board for the Horns, but ultimately added points for Louisiana Tech, which scored two plays later.