First Look: Texas

Back in the postseason after a one-year absence, Texas has found a successful formula by running the ball and playing tough defense.

Texas (7-5, 4-5 Big 12)
Notable wins: at UCLA 49-20, vs. BYU 17-16
Notable losses: vs. Oklahoma State 38-26, at Baylor 48-24, at Missouri 17-5

Offense

Statistical Leaders
Quarterback Case McCoy: 1,045 yards passing, 7 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 61.4 percent completions
Running back Malcolm Brown: 707 yards rushing, 5 touchdowns, 4.4 yards per carry
Wide receiver Mike Davis: 609 yards receiving, 1 touchdown, 45 receptions

Primer: Under new offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, formerly of Boise State, the Longhorns have returned to their roots as a power running team, averaging 210 yards rushing per game.

But injuries to running backs Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron and Fozzy Whitaker took their toll in the last month of the season, as the offense accounted for just 60 points in its final four games.

Sophomore quarterback Case McCoy seemingly seized the starting job with his performance in a last-second win at Texas A&M but there might again be doubt after committing four turnovers in the loss at Baylor. Freshman David Ash is more mobile and likely to be used in some option packages, even if McCoy holds on to his spot.

Pass protection has been an issue all year long, as Texas is allowing more than two sacks per game and ranks 74th nationally.

Defense

Statistical Leaders
Linebacker Emmanuel Acho: 120 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 3 sacks
Defensive end Alex Okafor: 14 tackles for loss, 7 sacks
Cornerback Quandre Diggs: 3 interceptions, 13 pass breakups

Primer: Another new arrival on the Forty Acres, former Mississippi State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has reenergized the Texas defense. Only the transcendent performance of Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III kept the Longhorns from finishing in the top 10 nationally in total defense, rushing defense and pass efficiency defense.

The defensive line is as stout and athletic as any in America, but balanced offenses like Oklahoma State and Baylor have given Texas trouble.

Cal's challenge will be getting running back Isi Sofele going against a unit allowing 3.3 yards per carry to open up opportunities for wide receivers Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones off play action.

Special Teams

Statistical Leaders
Kicker Justin Tucker: 92 points, 17 of 20 field goals, 41 of 41 extra points
Punter Justin Tucker: 39.2 average yards per punt, 13 of 54 punts inside the 20-yard line
Kick Returns: 24.1 yards per return, 2 touchdowns
Punt Returns: 14.9 yards per return, 1 touchdown

Primer: Handling both duties as kicker and punter, senior Justin Tucker has proven himself to be a reliable option, converting 5 of 6 field goals from 40 yards out and longer.

The loss of senior running back Fozzy Whitaker (407 yards rushing, 6 touchdowns) to a right knee injury also trickled down to special teams, where he had 100-yard kick return touchdowns against both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.


BearTerritory.net Top Stories