Longhorn dreams

Longhorns hook the Raiders and set up for the unimaginable season

Longhorns hook the Raiders and set up for the unimaginable season

The Longhorns would love another shot at Oklahoma—right now. The win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders was so complete, so dominating, so powerful, the team must be ready to take on the world. Well… maybe not Alabama or LSU, but Oklahoma State for sure, and yeah, maybe OU too.

The Texas Longhorns crossed a bridge to the future Saturday with their 52-20 dismantling of Texas Tech. The game was never close, unless you count the 0-0 tie at the opening kick-off.

Texas’ offense ran for 235 yards, throwing just three passes, the defense nearly intercepted three passes and Joe Bergeron, who just two weeks ago was number three on the tailback depth chart, had 113 yards rushing—all in the first half.

By the time the game ended, the Longhorns racked up over 400 yards rushing for the second straight game, and destroyed the same team that beat Oklahoma—in Norman. Texas never punted, never turned the ball over, and scored on every possession. It was a dominant performance against a good football team.

We’ll leave it to others to break down the X's and O's. Rather, at the end of this season, after the bowl game Texas qualified for on Saturday, Longhorn fans will look to this victory as the day it all came together—and it happened without Texas' leading rusher (Malcolm Brown) or leading receiver (Jaxon Shipley), both of whom were hurt. “I'm shocked,” exclaimed Mack Brown. “We're developing some depth. We had to play a lot more people on defense. So all those young guys are having to grow up fast.”

And grow up they have. Texas is now a force to be reckoned with, is certainly the best team in Texas and the unimaginable just two weeks ago has now become attainable: ten wins. “[I told the team] let's talk about ten," said Head coach Mack Brown after the game. "If we play well, if you don't turn the ball over, you run the ball and stop the run—they had 30 yards rushing, or 27 or whatever it is, we had 439 [rushing yards]. If you can continue to get numbers like that you have a chance. You have a chance next week.”

Look at those stats one more time. Texas ran for over 400 yards… again. Texas ran the ball so well they hardly needed to pass, throwing just nine times the whole game. To their credit, two of those were deep passes. Joe Bergeron finished the game with 192 yards rushing. He’d have hit 200 yards had he not been shaken up late in the fourth quarter.

On defense, Texas sacked Seth Doege four times and forced him to hurry eight throws. The Texas defense held Tech to just 27 yards rushing.

We can now confidently say Texas has more than a chance in a league full of great offenses and mediocre defense. A team that runs for over 400 yards week in and week out, will win in the Big 12… a lot. When you average 9.4 yards every time you run a play, you give yourself a great chance to win.

“You go back and we're all preachers of history,” explained Brown. “We go back and look, and Texas ran the ball when we were good. That's who we were. And we would throw deep. And then we played great defense. So that's what we want to get back to.”

They’re back. Here’s how I saw the game:

Continue the downhill running game: Malcolm Brown was hurt so Mack Brown made a game time decision to keep him on the bench unless absolutely necessary. Welcome to Texas, Joe Bergeron. The team garnered 439 yards on the ground.

Score when you get close: The Horns scored every time they had the ball. They never punted. It doesn’t get better than that. “I know that if we’re not turning the ball over, we’re giving ourselves a chance,” said Co-offensive Coordinator Bryan Harsin after the game. “I’m really happy about the red zone, that we scored every time we were down in the red zone.”

Speaking of turnovers… jeez: Zero. None. Perfect. Of course the defense didn’t force any either, but it’s not like they didn’t try. Texas DB’s dropped at least three interceptions. Gotta catch the ball guys. Still—great effort.

Pressure Seth Doege, shut down Tech’s running game and kill the screen pass: Done, done and done. Doege went down four times, was under pressure all day long, and Tech ran for only 27 yards. Wow.

Next weekend Texas travels to Columbia, Missouri. The Missouri Tigers are reeling right now and Texas is surging. A win in Columbia sets up the Longhorns for a serious run at 10 wins this season. It’s still a bit optimistic to say that, I know, but the way this team is playing, nothing seems impossible.

Austin Photo Set: News_Kevin_UT football_tech vs texas_Nov 2011_joe bergeron
Running back Joe Bergeron #24 of the Texas Longhorns makes a second quarter long run down the sidelines against safety D. J. Johnson #12 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders on November 5, 2011 Photo by Erich Schlegel/ Getty Images
Austin Photo Set: News_Kevin_UT football_tech vs texas_Nov 2011_defense
Running back Kenny Williams #34 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders is stopped from scoring on the goal line in the fourth quarter by linebacker Tevin Jackson #42 and other Texas Longhorn defenders Photo by Erich Schlegel/ Getty Images