Chris Warren – How about setting a Longhorns freshmen rushing record for most yards in a game with 276, which also happened to be the most anyone has rushed for in a single game in the Big 12 this season, in your first ever collegiate start?
Warren was simply unstoppable for most of the night on his 25 carries [11 yard average].
Earlier this week Warren’s father, Chris Warren, told me he was ready to see his son “pound some folks.” He pounded several on his way to a 91-yard touchdown in the second quarter to tie the game.
Then in the third quarter, shortly after John Bonney forced a fumble and set UT up with great field position, Warren rumbled in from 21-yards out for his second touchdown [assist to Alex De La Torre for a nice lead block].
He followed that with a 23-yard touchdown run with 1:36 left in the third quarter to draw UT to within 3, and then scored again from 8-yards out with 2:06 left to give Texas a fighting chance.
The kid was nails all game.
I’ve known him for a while now having covered his recruitment and it always struck me how sincere and unassuming he was. That hasn’t changed one bit, not even after he had a right to pat his own back after the game. He was disappointed that it came in victory.
Want to know just what type of player he is? Charlie Strong told a quick story about wanting to put Warren in a game earlier this season when Johnathan Gray needed only a few yards to break 100-yards for the game.
Warren refused to go in until Gray got the yards needed to eclipse the 100-yard mark. Class. A lot to like about the 6-foot-2, 230-pound back.
Paul Boyette – Was very active early on for the Longhorns, snuffing out a screen that led to Patrick Mahomes having to bring ball down and get sacked on Tech’s third possession. Two plays after that he batted down a Mahomes pass to force a TTU punt.
Not only that but during the commercial break after that series Boyette’s wife, Imani, was honored with the Honda Award.
Boyette really had to step up with both Hassan Ridgeway and Poona Ford getting banged up during the game. I thought he played well all things considered.
Malik Jefferson – Jefferson was all over the field, really doing whatever he wanted, out of UT’s 3-3 look.
His best play came late in the first quarter when he caught speedy TTU receiver Devin Lauderdale from behind and forced a fumble, which Holton Hill recovered at the Tech 41. That eventually led to a 32-yard FG for Nick Rose that gave UT a 3-0 lead.
Jefferson, however, did hurt his ankle in the second quarter. He was evaluated during halftime, came back on the sidelines for the second half but did not play again.
Kirk Johnson – It took the freshman a while to get involved on offense but he made it count when he got his opportunity. Johnson busted off a 32-yard run on his first run late in the first quarter to set UT up at the TTU 9.
Texas went handed it off to him on two straight plays right after that, but didn’t get much going as the run plays called for him to run right into the teeth of Tech’s defensive front without a lead blocker.
Johnson injured his leg on one of those final runs and was taken out of the game to be evaluated.
Third down defense – The Longhorns dodged some bullets on these downs [Devin Lauderdale burning John Bonney by about 10 yards but dropping an over-the-shoulder TD reception], but for the most part were really good on third down.
Texas Tech came into this one as one of the best third down teams in the country but UT held the Red Raiders to converting 4-of-13 on third downs. TTU was 0-for-1 on fourth down.
Tyrone Swoopes’ Running – Hello, big fella. Show us those wheels. He did on his 46-yard TD run in the third quarter, which gave Texas a 38-34 lead. Overall Swoopes rushed for a net of 98 yards and two touchdowns.
Tyrone Swoopes deep throws – It wasn’t a great day for Swoopes throwing the ball, especially deep.
His biggest miss came on a 4th-and-7 late in the game when he overshot Daje Johnson, who had a step on his man, on a wheel route.
He also had Lorenzo Joe WIDE OPEN down Texas’ sideline and just barely overthrew him at one point. Swoopes wasn’t under much pressure and had his feet set on the throw. You simply have to complete those. Have to.
He was also intercepted in the second quarter as well but I’m not going to put that one on Swoopes and say it was just a better play by TTU CB Nigel Bethel.
Luck – Jakeem Grant’s TD reception. Nuff said.
Snaps – Taylor Doyle forced Swoopes to pick the ball off the turf one time too many.
Penalties – Texas had eight of them for 64 yards. More than anything, though, it was the timing of the penalties that crushed UT. Like when Texas had a completion on that failed fourth-down drive that would have given them a manageable third down. Instead Texas was called for an ineligible man downfield.
There were several other holding penalties that hurt UT too. Not good.
Injuries: At one point the Longhorns were without Jerrod Heard, D’Ont Foreman, Patrick Vahe, Malik Jefferson, Desmond Jackson, Peter Jinkens and Naashon Hughes. Yeah.
Then, right before half, we learned that Heard was out for the remainder of the game with a head injury, Kirk Johnson [leg] would miss the rest of the game and that Jefferson was being evaluated with an ankle injury.
Oh, Hassan Ridgeway got dinged up in the second quarter too, and Poona Ford was banged up in the third quarter. Both players had to be helped off the field.
Jinkens came out in the third quarter with a brace on his right knee, walking with crutches.
Shiro Davis was also injured in the third quarter.
The final injury report, read to us after the game, was as follows: Dylan Haines [left knee], Kirk Johnson [right knee], Tank Jackson [stomach], Jerrod Heard [concussion], Malik Jefferson [left ankle], Peter Jinkens [right ankle], Hassan Ridgeway [right ankle], Caleb Bluiett [ right knee].
Fourth Down Call – Uh, what? Fourth-and-7 and you throw a wheel route to Daje Johnson? Tyrone Swoopes hadn’t shown the ability to throw the deep ball all night but you choose to go with a deep route to Johnson in that spot? I just didn’t get it.
Jay Norvell said that was the play he wanted.
Texas’ First Redzone Attempt – Kirk Johnson got Texas deep into Texas Tech territory with a 32-yard burst on his first run of the game. So what does UT do? Runs Kirk Johnson up the middle on consecutive plays without a lead blocker. Then, on third down, the pocket collapsed on Heard [why you don’t roll him out on that play is beyond me) and he gets sacked.
RUNNING TIDBITS THROUGHOUT THE GAME
Kent Perkins started at right guard and Tristan Nickelson started at right tackle for the Longhorns with Patrick Vahe nursing a knee injury. I will say that Vahe seemed to be walking around pretty good without a crutch during warmups.
Nickelson was called for a holding call on Texas’ first possession that washed away about a 20-yard reception for John Burt into TTU territory.
The Longhorns started the game with Duke Thomas at free safety ahead of Jason Hall and had John Bonney at the nickel. Hall did come in on the first series though.
Longhorns started the game off, and played the majority of Thursday night, in a 3-3 look with Malik Jefferson basically playing off instinct doing whatever he wanted. Duke Thomas often came up to the line of scrimmage and either blitzed or dropped back into coverage.
Dylan Haines picked off Patrick Mahomes on TTU’s first possession and picked up his 200th career return yard on the interception. He is second behind Chris Carter's 261 for the all-time UT lead.
It was announced to us in the press box with 7:16 left in the first quarter that Desmond Jackson had a stomach issue and he might not play.
Tyrone Swoopes acted as Texas’ running back on its second series, actually taking handoffs from Jerrod Heard.
Peter Jinkens was taken back to the locker room with a knee injury at the end of the first quarter. He was injured on Hill’s fumble recovery.
Texas became the first team to hold Texas Tech scoreless in the first quarter this season.
Jerrod Heard was shaken up on a sack he took early in the second quarter. He ended up going back to the locker room after being looked at on the sidelines for a few minutes. Swoopes replaced Heard at QB.
Heard did not return to the game.
When are things going to turn for the Longhorns? It just seems like everything is going against them these day.
Texas has to take a JUCO QB in 2016 right?
How good could this team be with a capable quarterback/passing game and consistent play calling?
How dangerous can the Horns be on the ground in the future with D’Onta Foreman, Chris Warren and Kirk Johnson? All three have lead back potential. UT might actually be able to afford to not take an RB in 2016 the way these guys look, and then you still have Tristan Houston waiting for his chance. I think UT will end up taking an RB in this class but I don’t think it would be the worst thing in the world if they used that scholarship toward another DB, defensive linemen or offensive linemen.
Why not give DeShon Elliott a chance in this one when Jason Hall clearly wasn’t having a great day tackling and Dylan Haines gets injured?
Does Charlie Strong make coaching changes to his staff on Dec. 6 or …? That would be the day after Texas ends its season against Baylor.