Malcolm Brown has been waiting for a game like this.
He’s clearly not had the type of senior campaign he envisioned - 452 yards on 109 attempts (52. 1 yards per game average) coming in - but he took advantage of Tech’s poor run defense (ranked 118th in the country) to the tune of 116 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns. He’s the first UT player to rush for over 100 yards in a game this season.
Brown even broke off his longest run of the season, a 28-yarder, in the first half.
He also played a much larger roll in the second half this week than he did last week when he only carried the ball once through the third and fourth quarters.
Swoopes listened and Harris made good on his promises numerous times on Saturday hauling in five passes for a career-high 165 yards, including a long of 68.
Harris is now up to 814 yards on the season. He has to be the clear-cut leader for most improved player in the Big 12, right?
Johnathan Gray looked much quicker and appeared to have that burst that’s been lacking this season on his way to 76 yards on 16 carries.
Yes, that could have had something to do with Tech’s rush defense, and overall defense in general. Regardless, it was nice to see Gray with that mobility. It’s been a long road back from his torn Achilles tendon.
Jaxon Shipley caught his first touchdown pass of the season in the fourth quarter.
I repeat, Jaxon Shipley caught his first touchdown pass of the season in the fourth quarter.
It may be hard to believe, or not, but it finally happened on a play-action pass from Tyrone Swoopes that gave Texas a two-score lead.
Shipley finished the game with three receptions for 23 yards and that four-yard TD reception.
Swoopes, again, didn’t have his best day. But his wide receivers didn’t help him out in a few critical situations by dropping passes on third downs.
The first notable one came on Texas’ first possession on a third down deep in Tech territory intended for Marcus Johnson. He has to make that catch, especially if he wants to continue to get opportunities in those situations.
John Harris dropped a couple, including on a slant-and-go early in the third that would have gone for a touchdown. But it’s hard to complain too much with the type of game he had.
Johnson dropped another nice pass from Swoopes in the third quarter that would have set Texas up near the red zone. But it appeared like he would have made the catch had he not been interfered with.
Jason Hall also saw his first action in a few weeks in the first half, though, he immediately came in and received a late hit penalty. But he made up for that by breaking up a would-be touchdown reception to Dylan Cantrell in the back left of the end zone.
Texas tight end Geoff Swaim got injured in the second quarter but got up and walked off on his own. He returned to his old ways of blocking his tail off soon after and even was Johnny on the Spot when he recovered a Malcolm Brown fumble. That could have been a huge blow to Texas’ bowl hopes had that injury been serious.
The offensive line really struggled to protect Tyrone Swoopes in the first quarter. He was sacked three times in the first 15 minutes, which is the most he’s been sacked in a game dating back to BYU.
But you’ve got to give this unit credit for the way they fought for four quarters. They changed the game in many ways in the second half between their run blocking and ability to keep Swoopes upright and not under fire.
Swoopes continues to hold on to the ball way too long and takes too many unnecessary hits and loses too many unnecessary yards when he could simply throw the ball out of bounds.
Sure it’s easier said than done with defenders in hot pursuit, but it’s an adjustment that has to be made. It’s something Shawn Watson has noted he’s working with Swoopes on.
It cost Texas seven points in the first quarter when he waited too long to try to get rid of the ball, lost it, and Tech’s Branden Jackson recovered for a TD.
Sergio Kindle’s hit against Texas Tech QB Taylor Potts probably still takes the cake for biggest Longhorns hit on a Red Raider QB. But Quandre Diggs threw his hat into discussion with his de-cleater of Patrick Mahomes in the second quarter.
Diggs, playing in the nickel to Mahomes’ left, noticed that Tech’s young QB was going to take off with the ball, so he quickly abandoned his man and came crashing down on Mahomes, knocking him out of the game and the ball out of his arms, which UT recovered. Malcolm Brown would truck his way in a few plays later to give Texas the lead.
The Longhorns were begging for a momentum changer and that hit supplied it. Diggs talks the talk, but he has most certainly walked the walk this season.
Just when you thought Nick Rose had turned the corner and was going to turn into that reliable force Texas has been searching for from its place kicker, he missed again.
Rose nailed a season-high 46-yard FG on Texas’ first possession. Gusty wind could have sent that thing anywhere but Rose continued his positive momentum by splitting the uprights. He improved to 8-for-12 on the year and has completed 3-of-5 from between 40 and 49 yards.
But then he pushed a 37-yard attempt way left in the second quarter leaving doubts in the minds of many as to whether he can get the job done.
As for what Texas plans on doing at kicker next season, well Rose and Nick Jordan will both return. The Longhorns, it appears, won’t take a kicker in 2015.
Little-used defensive back Bryson Echols saw time at nickel instead of Adrian Colbert. You’ve got to wonder if the coaching staff is losing faith in Colbert’s coverage skills. Echols was said to be so good at DeSoto High School that he was rarely ever challenged. He faired well when he was in there. We’ll see if he gets a shot moving forward.
The Longhorns are still being too careless with the ball.
Sure, Swoopes’ fumble will be the most talked about but Shipley and Brown also fumbled. Those can be crushing against better teams.
Shipley fumbled while trying to gain extra yards after picking up a first down midway through the second quarter. He leaped into the air and had the ball punched out prior to him hitting the ground. Fortunately for him, Texas Tech couldn’t turn it into points.
Brown fumbled on the following possession but Swaim recovered it.
Both players redeemed themselves with touchdowns.
Per usual, Duke Thomas drew the attention of the majority of the opponents passes. While most of them came from a preferred walk-on, Thomas played well. In fact, you could say that it was one of his better games.
For the first time tonight you really saw why coaches think Andrew Beck is going to be a solid player at tight end.Beck, who moved over from linebacker after Greg Daniels’ injury, saw some time in the second half and was solid in his blocking assignments. He did drop a nice pass from Swoopes in the fourth though.
*****Longhorns 2015 QB commitment Zach Gentry's junior highlights
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