Tale of the Tape vs. Texas Tech
It’s the Thanksgiving edition of the Tale of the Tape, and this week the Longhorns match up with in-state rival Texas Tech. Under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury the Red Raiders got off to a hot start winning seven in a row. Since then, the Raiders have hit a road block losing their last 5 straight, including a loss to Kansas State in Lubbock. Losing at home is not something the Red Raiders are accustomed to. Under Kingsbury, the Red Raider offense has resurrected itself back to the “Air-Raid” days when Kingsbury was a player. With both quarterbacks Davis Webb and Baker Mayfield the Red Raider offense has put up points and hung with teams like Oklahoma St. and Baylor for a about a half. They have also just been downright inconsistent when they matched up against Kansas St. Shockingly enough this team is playing better away from the South Plains than usual. If the Red Raiders can match the intensity they came out with against Baylor up in “Jerry World” they got a shot.
The Longhorns come into the Thanksgiving week pretty similar to last year’s Thanksgiving week, on the outside looking in and need a lot of help to capture maybe a share of the Big 12. Texas comes off a loss two weeks ago to Oklahoma St. The Horns were flat from the get go and had problems defending the “mobile” quarterback of Oklahoma St. They got down early and had to depend on the arm of Case McCoy to get them back in it. The senior quarterback came up short but I liked the way he handled the post game press conference. Case owned up to his mistakes and put the loss on him, he’s the leader of this team both on and off the field. Thursday’s game against Tech will close the book on Case’s career at DKR and it is one that he says “he will have no problem getting up for”. He went to high school out there and knows a lot of people from his high school will be watching. I personally think the team has lost its motivation after the loss to Oklahoma St. In those player’s minds is the fact that they need help to win a conference title and their title hopes are out of their hands. Typically in the past when the “40 acres” has that mindset of looking to far forward and to a pre-destined outcome of another Alamo Bowl appearance the team has nothing to play for.
With all the emotions of senior day, Thanksgiving, and families being there I don’t think the UT player's minds will be right for this one. Moreover to the fact that I believe if there was one game Kingsbury wants to win this season it against Mack and the Longhorns on Thanksgiving. The Longhorns are in an almost identical position as last year and I feel the Longhorns will be more ready to eat Turkey than to defend all the Red Raiders wide-outs. I think Coach Kingsbury comes into Austin and absolutely steals a very close one (i.e. game ending drive TD or FG type of game) from Mack and the Longhorns.
Edge: Kingsburys’ Red Raiders upset the Horns in their “Lonestar” jerseys. They out swag the Horns on the field and set a tone for both programs moving forward.
Tale of the Tape vs. Oklahoma State
It’s week 12 in the college football season and this week the Texas Longhorns welcome the Oklahoma State Cowboys(8-1) into town . The Cowboys come into this game after beating Big 12 whipping boy Kansas 42-6.Texas on the other hand, comes off an overtime victory against West Virginia. This wasn’t a very impressive win by the Horns but, in a league like the Big 12 you can’t always win with style you just have to survive. The Longhorns suffered two key injuries this past week which led me to downgrade them in their grades going into the game against the Cowboys. Starting running back Jonathan Gray and defensive linemen Chris Whaley are out for the season and will definitely be huge holes to try to fill. It wasn’t pretty against West Virginia but, the Longhorns survived another week. With the key injury at running back Case McCoy might have to do some of the heavy lifting, which is a very dangerous place to be with a gunslinger like Case. Oklahoma State is in the bottom half of the league statistically in pass defense but they are also #2 statistically in scoring defense. If the game winds up on the arm of Case McCoy don’t be surprised if you see him put up the yards, but expect a pick six or two.
Oklahoma St. is playing like the team everybody thought they were going to be right now. They have won five in a row and are beating teams soundly. They come into Austin on the most opportune time with the recent injuries to Whaley and Gray but, quarterback Clint Chelf is assuming his role as the starting quarterback for this team. With the quarterback controversy seemingly out of the way now and the Cowboys now have a clear cut starter in Chelf, Oklahoma St. is firing on all cylinders. They seem to be two deep at every position. Desmond Roland and Jeremy Smith are the two headed monster in the back field and, Josh Stewart and Tracy Moore are the threats on the outside.
I think the game plan now for Texas has to change and they have to rely heavily on Case. I like Case, he’s the vocal leader and the team rallies around him but I just don’t think he can out throw a Gundy offense.
Tale of the Tape vs. West Virginia
It’s the first week of November and it’s the month when most college football seasons die and people start to talk about next year. The Longhorns have a gauntlet of games coming up with Oklahoma St., Texas Tech, and Baylor still on the schedule. But, this week they travel to Morgantown to face off against the Mountaineers of West Virginia. The Longhorns come off a win against the Kansas Jayhawks who were not all that impressive on the offensive side of the ball in the first half. But they got the W and this tough league every win is going to count especially at the end of the season. After being called out by the statistical wizard (Madani)) about my grade for UT’s defense I’ve decided to show some love to the defense and bump them up to a “B” grade this week. I’m still a little skeptical though, they haven’t played anybody in the top half of the total offense column statistically since Oklahoma.
Just like last week the Horns come in favored to win. West Virginia comes off an overtime win against TCU on the road and is looking to get to .500 on the year (4-5) this week against Texas. This is not the usual West Virginia teams we’ve seen in the past with Geno Smith and Tavon Austin playing school yard ball out there. The Mountaineers are re-building on offense and are led by Senior quarterback Clint Trickett and running back Charles Sims. The only thing that the Longhorn Defense has to worry about in this one is that West Virginia averages around 30 points at home. They play well in front of their home crowd. As long as the Texas defense gets off the field on third down which they have done well the past few games, the Horns should have no problem with containing the Mountaineer offense.
The Mountaineer defenseis pretty much in disarray. Defensive coordinator Keith Patterson will probably be looking for another job next season. The Mountaineers are virtually at the bottom of every defensive statistical category this year. They can’t get off the field on third down, they can’t seem to get to the quarterback, and can’t stop the pass. The only cause for concern the Horns could have is that this defense has caused 13 fumbles on the year. We’ve seen Texas running backs put the ball on the ground this year so if they want to physically impose their will on this defense and suck the life out of “Ol Country Road West Virginia” they must hold on to the football.
Take the Horns: -7