The Texas Longhorns entered yesterday’s matchup against the Rice Owls fresh off a 45-38 loss to LSU in Austin and were looking to get back on track. The Longhorns coaches and players alike likely wanted to get that bitter taste out of their mouth against Rice while also doing their best to get healthy before next week’s home contest against Oklahoma State.
A week ago I did a running thread on Twitter as I re-watched the LSU game so I got the idea of doing something similar this week, but wanted to publish it here so anyone who was interested could follow along. I always enjoy going back and reviewing games afterwards because I am able to take in the full picture and see things that I may not have picked up live. While I try to take in as much as possible in the moment, I often tend to watch the ball like most.
So here I will go back through each snap and I will provide insight on anything interesting that I pick up along way. I will publish this and update it accordingly as I work my way through the broadcast.
The Longhorns win the toss and elect to get right down to business and receive. Texas comes out in 10 personnel with Keaontay Ingram offset to the left with Sam Ehlinger under center. With Collin Johnson ruled out before kickoff, Malcolm Epps is getting the start in his place.
Starting offensive line was left to right was Cosmi - Braun - Shackelford - Angilau - Kerstetter.
The staff got Ingram a touch on a swing screen right out of the gates. Ingram was beat up by many after he dropped a potential touchdown pass last week against LSU, so it’s good to see the coaches trying to get his confidence by up by getting him a touch through the air early.
Texas motioned into empty and seemed to have Rice confused a little bit after they motioned Ingram out wide. A lot of talking happening on the Owl side of the ball, but instead of potentially a big play, Derek Kerstetter moves early and is flagged for a false start.
Malcolm Epps with his first catch of the game and it goes for a first down. With Johnson out I was very curious to see what Epps did with his expanded role in the game plan.
Rice showing light boxes (2 linebackers) and has sent blitzes off the edge and along the interior on early downs to try to inflict negative plays. Blaze Alldredge had his name called a good bit last night and just notched a TFL to put Texas in a third and long.
Epps notches his second catch of the drive as he uses his size to his advantage as he boxes out the defender and moves the chains.
We have our first Roschon Johnson sighting of the drive and he doesn’t wait around too long to introduce himself. Ehlinger moves the pocket right off play action and hits Johnson on the wheel route up the sideline for six. Johnson continues to make plays each week as he finds the end zone.
Here’s a look at Roschon Johnson’s first career TD. (CBSSN) pic.twitter.com/k9p5YAem9c— Kaelen Jones (@kaelenjones) September 15, 2019
Texas executed a similar play against Oklahoma State last year for a touchdown to Ingram on a dime from Ehlinger.
Not a bad start to the contest. Rice was able to put Texas in some third and long situations early, but Ehlinger and the offense didn’t flinch and put it in the end zone.
First defensive series of the game Rice comes out in 11 personnel with a single back pistol look. First play from scrimmage the ball goes into the belly of Aston Walter who splits the Texas defense for a gain of 15. Not the start you want to see after what transpired last week.
Rice head coach Mike Bloomgren came over from Stanford, so their identity of wanting to establish the run early and shortening the game shouldn’t come as a surprise considering they have adopted the intellectual brutality mindset. After showing that pistol look they bring the formation in tight with a fullback with a back dotting the I-formation.
Despite hitting that that 15 yard gain early in the series, the Owls were only able to gain maybe a handful of yards after that and were forced to punt.
Second offensive series for the Longhorns. After Ehlinger pulls the ball down and takes off for a first down, he proceeds to hit Epps on a quick slant that goes for a 49 yard gain, but Sam Cosmi is flagged for being illegal man down field. Big play for the Longhorns comes off the board.
Ehlinger must have really liked what he saw in the matchup with Epps on this drive. Went to him three straight times and would have been three straight catches had it not been for a drop that went through the hands of Epps.
RoJo is back in the game and gets back to back touches on the ground including 7 yards off of a counter play that he was able to pick his way through some traffic.
Well hello there, Jake Smith. Smith gets vertical right down the middle of the field and Ehlinger hits him in stride for a 53 yard touchdown. Good protection from the offensive line and Ehlinger delivers a good ball. Texas lost an explosive play earlier on the drive, but quickly made up for it just a few plays later.
Sam Ehlinger with a 53 yard TD to Jake Smith! Texas up 14-0 vs Rice! pic.twitter.com/g6FMdc65I0— #BOOMIN (@ftbeard_17) September 15, 2019
Two drives in and Ehlinger is 9/10 for 157 yards and two touchdowns that went for 25 and 53. Not too shabby.
Not much doing on the following drive for Rice. Longhorns are rallying to the football and not allowing much on the ground. On 3rd and 3 Rice tries to throw a bubble screen to Austin Trammell and Kobe Boyce read it all the way and almost had himself a pick six. Timed it perfectly and he was going to be able to stroll into the end zone untouched if he was able to hang on. He’s going to catch a lot of grief in the film room for that one.
Texas going right back to work with Johnson at running back. Get a split zone look and Johnson shows good wiggle as he is able to get a gain of 13.
Right after that nice gain by Johnson there is a bust up front as a Rice defender comes completely unblocked and throws Johnson for a loss of four. Third TFL for the Owls of the quarter.
Devin Duvernay is not an easy out when he has the ball in his hands. Came across the field on a drag route that looked like it was going to go for a minimal gain and he is able to hit the sideline and finishes the play by delivering a blow to a couple Rice defenders. On the broadcast they quoted Yancy McKnight as saying Duvernay is a 600 pound squatter in the weight room and that they had to top him out at that amount. Not your typical slot receiver.
Entering the second quarter, Texas had already tallied 12 first downs to Rice’s 1 and that came on their very first play from scrimmage.
It’s early on in the game and I’ve already seen underclassmen receivers Marcus Washington and Alvonte Woodard checked into the game for Texas. They got the youngsters into the game even earlier than I anticipated.
Texas gets their first 4th down of the game at the 12:19 mark in the second quarter and they don’t even flinch about going for it. They line up quickly with a trips look to the field and give it to Ingram who only has one man to evade as he strikes pay dirt. 26 yard touchdown for number 26. Three offensive series and all three have gone for touchdowns.
Heading into their third offensive series, Rice has a grand total of 26 yards on 7 plays. And they quickly found themselves in third and long after D’Shawn Jamison wrangled the ball carrier for a TFL.
Rice’s first completion of the game came on this third and long, but it did not move the sticks and the Owls were forced to punt again. So far nothing has gone right for the Owls.
Texas is about to begin the fourth offensive drive and have already tallied 331 yards of total offense on 29 plays (11.4 yards per play) and now have 14 first downs to Rice’s 1.
Just three games in and it is evident that the Longhorn staff and Ehlinger trust true freshman Jake Smith. He’s been consistently targeted each week and is already showing his play making ability despite just getting here in the summer. Smith is looking like a guy who will be earning himself a single digit jersey number in the near future if he continues to make plays.
Everything has been going well for the Longhorns right up until now. Zach Shackelford got his ankle rolled up on and is slow to get up and eventually has to be helped off the field. Shackelford is a key cog to the Texas offensive unit and with Oklahoma State coming to Austin next week this is an unfortunate occurrence. Derek Kerstetter slides over to center with Shack out and Denzel Okafor comes in to play right tackle.
With Shackelford heading to the sideline things don’t slow down one bit for Ehlinger and the Texas one bit. He hits Brennan Eagles along the sideline for a nice gain and then comes back to the other side of the field on a roll out and hits Smith again for his second touchdown reception of the night. The offense remains perfect on the night and the Longhorns now extend the lead to 28-0.
Less than 2 full quarters and the Longhorns have 14 plays that have gone for 10 yards or more. That seems kinda good.
Defense is up again as the half is in the home stretch. Texas only rushes three to start the series and that is plenty as Keondre Coburn notches his first sack after beating a double team. I see you, big fella!
Two plays later Malcolm Roach gets home to Stewart and wrangles him down, but since he was able to fall forward it won’t go down as a sack. Rice is punting yet again.
We get our first glimpse of Daniel Young who had previously been out with an injury from camp and he comes out running ANGRY as he drops the hammer on a Rice defender on a gain of 13. Young is going to play a key role within this offense given how thin the depth has become due to injuries so it is nice to see him running with a purpose.
With 2:37 left in the first half, the Owls notched their first defensive win of the ball game and forced the Texas offense to punt. Almost made it through the half perfect.
The Owls do next to nothing with their possession and give the ball back to the Texas offense with a short field after the shanked punt. Yikes.
Ehlinger to this point is 19/21 for 226 yards and 3 touchdowns. He’s having a decent night.
Despite having the short field and time to move the ball the Longhorns aren’t able to move the sticks and out comes Cameron Dicker for a loooooong field goal. 57 yards to be exact.
Dicker puts a foot into and it is GOOD. That would have been good from 60+. Texas has themselves a weapon in Dicker. 31-0 Longhorns as we head into the half.
Rolling into the second half the Longhorns have out gained the Owls 350 yards to 56 and the first down margin is now a very lopsided 19 to 2. The Longhorns were 6/9 on third down conversions and converted a 4th down attempt while the Owls were 0/6 in the first half.
Early in the second half we now see JUCO transfer LB Juwan Mitchell inserted into the lineup.
TaQuon Graham puts a Rice offensive linemen on skates with a bull rush and puts him right in the lap of Stewart that causes a incomplete pass that was initially ruled a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by Jalen Green. Second time this year that Texas has had a defensive touchdown wiped off the board, but this one was looked to be the correct call.
Texas not taking their foot off the gas here in the third quarter. Great protection once again for Ehlinger as he fires a dart to Duvernay over the middle for a gain of 17.
Ehlinger with a big boy play here. Ehlinger is able to shake off a free runner after Ingram whiffs on him in pass pro and he fires a strike to John Burt along the side line on a comeback route moving to his right. Whew.
Ehlinger is now up 271 yards passing and is 22 for 25 with three touchdowns. He’s been calm and in control all game long.
Rice just didn’t have anything for Texas defensively. 91 yard drive is capped off by Ingram’s second touchdown of the night as he hits it out the backdoor of an inside zone run. 38-0 Texas.
At this point Ingram has almost lapped the entire Rice yardage output in his rushing yards alone.
Rice’s offense finally has signs of life with under 5 mins to go in the quarter, as Tom Stewart hits Austin Trammell for a 45 yard catch and run as he beats Josh Thompson who gets turned around in man coverage. Owls are in business for the first time of the night.
The Owls were heading in the right direction, but Jeffrey McCulloch gets a ton of penetration on a blitz and is able to slow Stewart enough so that Ayodele Adeoye can clean it up and get him down for the sack. Owls are knocked out of field goal range and have to punt.
With the game well in hand at this point, Casey Thompson has entered the game at quarterback for Texas. Ehlinger’s night is over. Texas is about to empty the bench and get their youngsters some game experience. Heading to the fourth quarter now with the only question being whether the Owls will be able to crack the scoreboard.
Blaze Alldredge was one of the few bright spots for the Owls on Saturday. Showed some good closing speed just now as he wrangled Thompson for a sack. Texas has to punt.
D’Shawn Jamison was beat on a double move, but Moro Ojomo was able to get just enough pressure to make Stewart misfire.
On the very next drop back, Juwan Mitchell gets to Stewart and brings him down for a sack. He’s flashed a few times in this game.
A facemask call extended this drive for Rice after initially being stopped on 3rd and 18 and they are now into the red zone for the first time in the game.
The Owls are finally able to crack the scoreboard and wipe away the shutout. Stewart hits Walter in the flats off play action to get into the end zone. Best drive of the night for the Owls by a long shot.
Texas loves throwing the ball to their running backs on swing screens. That’s not new news, but they have been very effective and just about every running back including Daniel Young has caught one of these.
Well hello there, Kennedy Lewis. Takes a short throw for a nice gain up the sideline after showing good balance to stay off the ground after corralling a low pass from Thompson.
Seeing some of the reserve offensive linemen in the game. Tope Imade, Rafiti Ghirmai, Christian Jones, and JP Urquidez all checked into the lineup.
Freshman wide receiver Marcus Washington almost put a Rice defender on the highlight film, but he let the ball get into too much and wasn’t able to bring it in.
Dicker is true once again from 46 yards. Dicker The Kicker is off to a nice start this year.
Inside two minutes now and Donovan Duvernay is beat deep by Bradley Rozner for a gain of 41.
A couple plays later, Walter is into the end zone again on the receiving end of a pass from Stewart. Couple of late garbage time touchdowns against the reserves isn’t a big deal, but I know Todd Orlando would have loved to have kept them off the board.
One of Rice’s linebackers kicked the PAT through. That’s fun.
You know what else is fun? D’Shawn Jamison making a house call on the ensuing kick off in his home town. First KOR TD since 2012 against Oklahoma State. That’s a good high note to end the game on.
D’Shawn Jamison’s kickoff return for a TD was the Longhorns first since 2012. Herman on the return unit not letting up late:— Jeff Barker (@JeffBarker_) September 15, 2019
“All those guys that jogged out there could’ve said ‘this game’s over’...They played it like it was the opening kickoff of the Super Bowl.” @D_JAMISON5 pic.twitter.com/JGWMH6aTrp
( That kickoff was also huge if you took the over or took the Longhorns to cover last night)
FINAL: Texas 48 Rice 13
Texas was in control of this matchup from the moment they teed the opening kick up. Dominant effort by Ehlinger and the Texas offense and the defense kept Rice in check offensively until late in the game when the reserves were getting their feet wet. This was a good confidence builder heading into next week’s tilt against the Cowboys in Austin, who will certainly pose much more of a challenge offensively with the likes of Spencer Sanders, Tylan Wallace, and Chuba Hubbard.
This is a running thread and will be updated accordingly.