TEXAS – This game was much sloppier than I believe most people anticipated.
Despite three turnovers and a forgetful performance from the secondary, Texas was able to scrape away a 36-30 win against Oklahoma State. While the score may not reflect some of the more pressing issues that each team had on the field Saturday night, injuries, miscues and penalties were a bigger part of this game than both coaches certainly had hoped.
However, we saw some light.
Sam Ehlinger certainly did not have his best game of the season, but his arm kept the team in the game for all four quarters, despite all of Texas’ setbacks. He finished with 281 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. Freshman Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders also showed out in prime time, but his two interceptions ultimately made a huge difference in the outcome. Keaontay Ingram played arguably the best game of his young career.
In the end, turnovers and penalties were the difference in this game. Texas was able to come out with a win, but there are certainly some major concerns about their secondary and discipline.
Let’s look at some of the highlights from this Texas victory.
1. Player of the Game
As I mentioned earlier, Ingram had a memorable night. The Oklahoma State defensive line struggled to shut him down from kickoff to the final whistle. Ingram finished the game with 114 yards on 21 carries and also caught a 26-yard pass. Ingram showed Saturday night that he would run through a brick wall if that’s what it took to get to the next yard marker.
He truly is starting to look like a complete back, which is a huge bonus for a team with injury issues at that position. See below if you don’t believe me.
You think Keaontay Ingram wants to prove he can indeed play big-boy football? pic.twitter.com/EJWvAquq4i— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) September 22, 2019
2. Best Offensive TD
If you were wondering how long Herman had this trick play in his bag, the answer, according to Ehlinger’s post-game presser, was, about a week. The play started with a handoff to Ingram in the Texas backfield and ended with Ehlinger hitting a wide-open Cade Brewer for a 25-yard touchdown.
See the madness below:
WHAT A TRICK PLAY BY TEXAS!!— Abdul Memon (@abdulamemon) September 22, 2019
A REVERSE FLEA FLICKER FOR A TOUCHDOWN pic.twitter.com/NbEwDjKQfW
3. Best drive:
The Longhorns found themselves down 3-0 early in the game, and with the juggernaut of an offense on the opposing sideline, Texas could not afford to go down two possessions in a game like this. Texas drove the ball 66 yards down the field in under four minutes on a drive that was capped off by a beautiful touchdown throw by Ehlinger to Devin Duvernay.
Roschon Johnson also had 20 yards on the ground that drive, while Ingram tallied 28. Texas went up 7-3 after this score and did not find themselves trailing for the majority of the game after that.
Check out this fantastic throw and catch:
Ehlinger throws this literally where only one person can catch it. That's Duvernay's 4th TD of the season, Ehlinger's 12th. pic.twitter.com/46DMCB1gx5— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) September 22, 2019
4. Momentum Shift:
It was 4th down and 6 late in the game for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Following a delay-of-game call, the Cowboys decided to run a fake field goal-shovel pass, which was immediately shut down by the Texas defense. This kept the Horns up 28-23. An ensuing touchdown drive led by Ingram put Texas up 35-23 and they never looked back.
5. Best Defensive Play:
Spencer Sanders scrambled to the right, thinking he had an open receiver, but third-year defensive back Montrell Estell had other ideas.
Estell with the INT and a return. Texas ball. pic.twitter.com/tcCwqrGaYe— Jake Meltzer (@jakemeltzer) September 22, 2019
Aside from the sub-par play in the secondary, one thing the Texas defense was able to do Saturday night, something that arguably was the small difference in this tight game, was contain Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard.
It is very difficult to completely shut down a back such as Hubbard, especially at the rate he was used (37 CARRIES). Hubbard did rush for 121 yards and two touchdowns, but one of those was very late in the game. Texas held Hubbard to 3.3 yards per carry, an astronomically smaller number than the other teams that have faced the NCAA’s leading rusher.
Overall, Hubbard was not as big of a factor in the game as the Cowboys had wished. He did not have poor performance by any means, but it took him nearly 40 carries to eclipse the 120-yard-mark.
The Longhorn’s ability to keep the “damage-control” to a minimum on this guy may have bought them a win.
7. One Main Concern:
I hate to use the word sloppy to describe a hard-fought football game between two talented teams. However, the amount of penalty flags thrown tonight, many of which were for a pure lack of discipline, was embarrassing. In order to beat the best teams in the country, Texas must first learn how to not beat themselves. Blown coverages, turnovers, and penalties will bring down a team faster than any other opponent.
Texas was penalized six times for a total of 66 yards. A few of these penalties were also careless 15-yard penalties that nearly could have cost Texas this game. I am sure this will be a focal point in practice this week.
With a bye-week coming up, the Longhorns will have an extra week to prepare for their next Big 12 matchup with West Virginia, which gives guys Jordan Whittington, B.J. Foster, and Collin Johnson an extra week to heal.
The Longhorn’s ability to come away with a win against Oklahoma State for the first time since 2014 is just one more step in the right direction for Texas.