"Is Texas back?” The Longhorns provided some unexpected answers to one of the biggest questions in the Big 12 heading into this season in Saturday night’s 41-36 win over Oklahoma State in Stillwater.
While OSU lambasted UT’s heralded defense, the ‘Horns responded to every challenge thrown their way offensively.
UT offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin poked around the Cowboys defense with an array of endarounds and misdirection run plays for the majority of the game’s first three quarters. After he got tired of fooling around, the ‘Horns unleashed their power ground game late and wore down the interior of the OSU defense.
Equally important, David Ash, Texas' rapidly progressing sophomore quarterback, made pressure-filled throws when called upon. Ash connected with fellow sophomore Jaxon Shipley on three scoring passes, but on his biggest play of the night, he called on an unlikely target to keep the Longhorns alive.
Trailing 36-34 and facing 4th-and-6 from his own 29-yard line with two minutes remaining, Ash hit otherwise invisible tight end D.J. Grant on a catch-and-run across the middle of the field that went for 29 yards when OSU finally brought him down. Two plays later, receiver Mike Davis high-pointed an underthrown ball down the right sideline to take UT inside the OSU 5-yard line. Running back Joe Bergeron powered into the end zone for the game-winning score two plays later, even though replays clearly showed he had lost control of the ball before hitting paydirt.
(“Indisputable evidence” is truly a bitch, Pokes.)
Texas’ clutch play down the stretch overshadowed a stellar effort from OSU back-up quarterback J.W. Walsh, subbing for injured starter Wes Lunt. Walsh completed 18 of 27 attempts on the evening for 307 yards and 2 touchdowns, and he repeatedly worked the UT secondary over the middle of the field off of play action.
Add in the fact that OSU netted 275 yards on the ground and the bloom is absolutely off of the rose for Manny Diaz and his defense. The Longhorns’ tackling was atrocious from OSU running back Joseph Randle’s 69-yard touchdown run on the second play of the game to the final gun.
This week’s not a good time for Diaz to have to be cleaning up his players’ technique with West Virginia visiting Austin next.
For now, though, Texas coach Mack Brown can rest at least a little easier knowing that he has found a keeper under center in Ash and that his offense has regained some of the form missing in the last two seasons.