The offensive skill core of Sam Richardson, Aaron Wimberly, Quenton Bundrage and E.J. Bibbs will keep the Cyclones competitive in every Big 12 game
The stuff we heard from Paul Rhoads tonight in his opening remarks … wow. Players have to love playing for a coach who'll ditch the company line and call out the officiating, even if the threat of a fine is legit. You can find the audio buzzing around Twitter right now. Rhoads said he was given the same explanation of the Cyclones' strip at the goal line as everyone in the crowd and is confident the league will review the play and agree Texas back Johnathan Gray had not stopped his momentum.
Had Gray crossed the plane on that goal line plunge, Cyclones linebacker Jeremiah George believes the officials would have ruled the play a touchdown. Instead Gray was said to have his momentum stopped at the line, right before George stripped the ball out of his hands before his knee hit the grass. Neither George nor safety Jacques Washington heard a whistle blow the play dead and are furious at the officials. George said the game was "stolen."
The offensive skill core of Sam Richardson, Aaron Wimberly, Quenton Bundrage and E.J. Bibbs will keep the Cyclones competitive in every Big 12 game this season, though it's fair to wonder where Bibbs' production disappeared to in the second half, especially with Texas' linebacker plainly blowing gaps and coverage assignments.
Bundrage is already one of the best wideouts in the conference. His 97-yard touchdown was a beautiful display of route-running and seam-splitting, but two other catches were great: Midair, while being hit by Adrian Phillips, and with one hand while being held by Carrington Byndom.
Jansen Watson dropped two interceptions and Jacques Washington dropped another as the Longhorns were driving into their territory. Not the only missed opportunities. An illegal block by Brock Dagel killed on drive, a Richardson misfire of an open Tad Ecby killed another. The Longhorns were facing fourth-and-eight had Sam The DB Richardson — who played very well — not been whistled for pass interference in the end zone.
Richardson is so fundamentally sound in space tackling.
The staff is really high on Nigel Tribune, but it's hard to imagine a cornerback having a worse series than Tribune, who came in when Watson was injured and was picked on play after play by the Longhorns. Twice in a row Tribune was called for pass interference while trying to cover Davis, the second penalty likely saving a touchdown.
I'll think long and hard tonight and tomorrow about Iowa State kicking a field goal on fourth-and-two to make it a six-point game and give the Longhorns the ball back at their 25 rather than go for it on fourth-and-three, with a turnover on downs giving Texas the ball at the six. Expect a writeup on it. Rhoads had this to say:
"I had confidence in our defense I wanted to take a six-point lead and force them to score a touchdown and drive the length of our field. A field goal [by Texas, if ISU had a three-point lead] ties it. I was confident."
Washington believes Texas wideout Mike Davis should have been ejected for his hit to the knees of Deon Broomfield. I can't imagine any one disagreeing, with the exception of Davis and head coach Mack Brown.
"It could have ended his season," Washington said.
Rhoads aptly summed up Wimberly's 117-yard performance: "He's a man."
Sam The QB Richardson was gritty on an ankle that's not totally right. He rushed for a gain of 104 yards (offset then by the loss of 21 on sacks) and destroyed Texas in passing scenarios when he saw the middle of the field open up.
Texas' defensive line had the clear edge tonight, sacking Richardson five times.
Somehow, that Texas team is atop the Big 12 leaderboard.