Ten Things To Know About Texas

There is plenty of time to learn more about Ohio State's bowl opponent with the game almost a month away, but there's no reason to put off learning the basics about the Texas Longhorns. That's why BuckeyeSports.com has put together these 10 things to know about UT to kick off bowl preparations.

Most Ohio State fans know the basic story of Texas this year. The Longhorns, led by quarterback Colt McCoy, started the year ranked 11th in the nation but steadily rose in the polls until a win over then-No. 1 Oklahoma vaulted them into the top spot. Wins over highly ranked Missouri and Oklahoma State cemented the lofty ranking, but a loss to Texas Tech that came thanks to a touchdown with one second left knocked Texas from No. 1. The Longhorns won out but Oklahoma, on the strength of a dominant end-of-season performance, instead received the nod to the title game.

But how did the Longhorns get to where they are now, ranked third in the country and in the Fiesta Bowl to face Ohio State? BuckeyeSports.com has the answers in this introduction to the Longhorns with 10 things Ohio State fans should know about Texas.

1. Texas is in the top 10 in the nation in six statistical categories, including sacks, where the Longhorns' 3.67 per game are the most in the nation. They had seven against Arkansas during a game in which the Razorbacks threw just 28 passes. Other categories in which Texas is in the top 10 are rushing defense (second; 73.6 yards), passing efficiency (second; 180.45), net punting (fourth; 40.2 yards), scoring offense (fifth; 43.9) and total offense (ninth; 476.4).

2. Texas leads the Big 12 in four categories: sacks, rushing defense, total defense and scoring defense. The Longhorns allow 18.6 points per game to lead the Big 12 and sit 20th nationally, while their yards allowed per game average of 339.9 is atop the league but just 50th nationally.

3. The Longhorns are in the bottom half of the Big 12 in just three stats. Those are pass defense (eighth; 266.3 yards), sacks allowed (eighth; 1.83) and punt returns (10th; 8.2 yards).

4. Because of the disparity in the rankings of Texas' rush and pass defenses, many people feel that the best way to beat the Longhorns is through the air. Of course, they had to go up against the Big 12's excellent corps of quarterbacks as well, so it's fair to see how those QBs fared against Texas as compared to how they did on average on the season.

Of the group of Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), Zac Robinson (Oklahoma State), Chase Daniel (Missouri), Graham Harrell (Texas Tech) and Todd Reesing (Kansas), two topped their season average for passing yards and two were kept under it, while Daniel hit his right on the money. Bradford and Harrell went off, as the former threw for 387 yards, five touchdowns and two picks to top his season average of 343.4. Harrell averaged 395.6 yards per game, a number increased by his 474 yards against Texas. The five combined threw 11 touchdowns and just three interceptions, numbers clouded by Bradford's showing that fill up the stat sheet.

5. Texas does not live and die by the turnover. They have forced 16 all season while intercepting opposing teams just six times. They do take care of the ball, though, as Texas has committed only 13 turnovers to tie for fourth nationally in fewest turnovers.

6. Texas places 34th in the country in rushing offense with an average of 176.9 yards despite not having a player who rushes for more than 50 yards per game. In fact, the leading rusher is McCoy, who averaged 48.0 yards per game and had 10 touchdowns. Next up in average yards per game is fantastically named Fozzy Whittaker, who played in just six games but averaged 43.5 yards in those games. Cody Johnson has 12 touchdowns and is a bruiser at 5-11, 255. Vondrell McGee and Chris Ogbannaya had four touchdowns apiece and averaged 31.3 and 27.6 yards per game, respectively.

7. Two wideouts make major contributions in Jordan Shipley and Quan Cosby. Shipley, a senior who isn't a physical freak at 6-0, 190, instead simply makes plays to the tune of 81.8 receiving yards per game, 11 receiving touchdowns, a punt return TD and a kick return TD. Cosby added 79.3 yards per game receiving and eight touchdowns.

8. Some say that Brian Orakpo might be one of the top picks in the upcoming draft, and it's not hard to see why. The 6-4, 260-pound senior defensive end had 18 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks to place sixth in the nation in sacks per game, and four forced fumbles. His combination of speed and size makes him a matchup problem for most teams.

9. No wonder the Longhorns score so many points; they're simply hard to get off the field. The team's third down conversion percentage of 57.1 (89 of 156) is second in the nation behind only Tulsa. Texas is just as good on fourth down, converting a national best 83.3 percent (10 of 12) of those chances.

10. Texas already has had a number of major award winners. Orakpo won the Nagurski Trophy, the trophy presented by the Charlotte Touchdown Club to the nation's best defensive player won by James Laurinaitis in 2006, and associate head coach and offensive line coach Mac McWhorter won the American Football Coaches Association assistant coach of the year award.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories