More Than Meets The Eye (Part One)

Much debate has arisen regarding the titanic clash of conference champions in this year's Rose Bowl. Deserved or not, critiques, slams, and trash talk banter has gone back and forth between both teams fans. Among all the message board drama that unfolds in the lovely month of December, few if any, truly evaluate their opponent game by game. But don't worry, for I have done that for you.

All you have to do is read on and draw your own conclusions about Texas. For in this article, I will evaluate the Texas Longhorns, game by game in the 2005 season. I have provided a brief summary of what happened in each of their games and then an analysis of the relevancy of the game. Then, I submit some fun facts that might be of interest to both Trojan and Longhorn fans alike.

This will be the first in a two-part series.

GAME 1 University of Louisiana – Lafayette @ Texas
September 3, 2005

Summary –
The Longhorns scored touchdowns on 6 out of their first 7 possessions (losing a fumble on the first possession after driving 68 yards to the ULL 12 yard-line) and 9 out of their first 11 possessions in the game. They only punted twice (both in the fourth quarter when the game was well out of hand) and outgained their opponent 591 yards to 238. The Cajuns went three and out 8 times in this game. FINAL SCORE: 60 – 3

Analysis –
Sad as it may be, but the biggest thing to take away from this game for Texas was that their kicker Richmond McGee was not cutting it and was eventually replaced later in the game by David Pino, who would go on to lead the team in scoring this year. In this game, Texas missed their first PAT and had two consecutive PATs blocked, all by McGee.

Texas obviously had their way with an inferior team, but these Ragin' Cajuns weren't quite the bowl-eligible team that they would eventually become. They started 1-5, but won the last five games of their season to finish bowl-eligible. While I'm not saying the game would have been close had it been played at the end of the year, the Cajuns were obviously much improved as the season progressed.

With that said, Texas still demolished an overmatched team, and not much can really be deciphered from this game.

Fun Facts –
The Ragin' Cajuns are 90th in the nation in rushing defense, averaging 180.55 yards per game. Texas gained 418 yards in their opener against them and 6 of their 9 touchdowns in the game were on the ground.

Vince Young went 13 of 15 in the first half for 173 yards and 3 touchdown passes. He had one interception in the second half before sitting out the game sometime in the middle of the third quarter.

Jamaal Charles, a four-star running back ranked 14th in 2005 by scout.com, set a Texas freshman debut record with 135 yard rushing in this game.

GAME 2 Texas @ Ohio State
September 10, 2005

Summary –
Texas jumped out to a 10-0 start in the 1st quarter before entering the 4th quarter trailing 22-16. Texas scored the last 9 points of the game in the final 3 minutes on a 24 yard touchdown pass from Vince Young to Limas Sweed and a safety as Ohio State attempted to rally in the last seconds of the game. Both teams only converted 1/3 of their 3rd down conversions and Texas outgained Ohio State 382 yards to 255. FINAL SCORE: 25 – 22

Analysis –
An interesting and thrilling game played by two Top 5 teams came down to the final minutes as Vince Young's touchdown pass has been shown dozens of times as one of many Pontiac Game Changing Performances. It is easy to forget that Ohio State linebacker Bobby Carpenter made some tough comments prior to this game, hoping to end Vince Young's Heisman campaign. Young finished the game 18 of 29 for 270 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He also added 76 yards on the ground on 20 attempts.

Against the #1 rushing defense in the nation, Texas only attempted 17 carries by players other than Young. Those backs only gained 50 yards, for less than 3 yards per carry. If USC's coaching staff is to look at a game plan to contain Texas' potent rushing attack (which averages 273.8 yards per game), this one will be it. While Young was able to lead the team in yardage, he needed 20 attempts to do it, and 32 yards of his 76 total came on a single run in the 1st quarter.

And while Texas went to the air to compensate for their lack of a running game, Young threw two interceptions and fumbled twice, although neither was recovered. Both interceptions happened on Texas' side of the field, and Ohio State converted them into a pair of field goals.

Texas committed three turnovers in this game, two consecutively in the 2nd quarter, and one to start the third quarter, and Ohio State was unable to capitalize by scoring a touchdown. They got three field goals off of those Longhorn mistakes, and not getting at least one touchdown truly cost them down the line. Surely, Pete Carroll will not play "Tressel ball" and if the Trojan offense gets three turnovers all on Texas' side of the field, one can be sure the Trojans will not be kicking three field goals.

While this is an impressive victory over a Top 10, BCS bowl-bound team, it is the opinion of many that had that Ohio State tight end caught that ball in the endzone for a touchdown, the outcome (and each team's season) could have been very different. "Coulda, woulda, shoulda," but Texas still deserves credit for going on the road against a Top 10 team and eeking out a victory (sound familiar Trojan fans?).

Fun Facts –
Ted Ginn, a game breaking playmaker many put in the same league as Reggie Bush entering the 2005 season, had 2 receptions for 9 yards, 1 carry for –2 yards, 1 punt return for 8 yards, and 3 kickoff returns for 82 yards.

Ohio State had 8 penalties for 78 yards. Texas had 4 penalties for 30 yards.

Both teams combined to fumble a total of 7 times. Each team lost a fumble only once.

Texas ran for 112 yards against Ohio State, who has the #1 rushing defense in the nation (74.45 yards per game). Ohio State gave up more yardage to three other teams in the 2005 season: Penn State (117 yards), Michigan State (116 yards), and Minnesota (182 yards).

GAME 3 Rice @ Texas
September 17, 2005

Summary –
Running back Jamaal Charles rushed for 3 touchdowns in the first 20 minutes of the game en route to a 16-carry 189-yard day. Rice was held scoreless until 5:49 in the 3rd quarter. Texas outgained the Owls 483 yards to 209. FINAL SCORE: 51 – 10

Analysis –
While Texas dominated the Owls and led 42-0 at halftime, they did show some humanity, punting once a piece in the 1st and 2nd quarters. Vince Young also threw an interception towards the end of the 1st quarter. This is one of the two games this year that Young did not directly contribute in any way to a Longhorn touchdown.

This blowout should be no surprise; Rice is one of the worst teams in college football. Texas' dominance in this game is not too telling, and this game is at least some proof that Young was not in every game trying to run up his stats. He finished with 101 passing yards, 84 rushing yards, and no touchdowns before getting taken out midway through the 3rd quarter.

What is interesting to read is the game recap. Here are some interesting quotes from players of each team regarding Texas running back Jamaal Charles:

"I haven't seen anyone with a burst like that," Texas guard Will Allen said. "He makes his move and he's gone."

"He has a lot of speed," Rice cornerback Ja'Corey Shepherd said. "What he killed us on was his cutback."

Do these comments sound familiar to anybody?

Fun Facts –
Rice completed 4 out of 15 passing attempts for 99 yards. They are 117th in the nation in passing offense with 103.77 yards per game average.

Texas scored two defensive touchdowns in the 2nd quarter: both on fumble recoveries.

Texas beat Rice by one point less than UCLA did. UCLA beat them 63 – 21.

Rice's lone win came against Tulane (2-9).

GAME 4 Texas @ Missouri
October 1, 2005

Summary –
Missouri played Texas to a near standstill in the first quarter before getting outscored 37 to 7 in the final three. Texas outgained Missouri 585 yards to 330, despite running 14 less plays. Missouri converted 8 of 18 3rd downs, but turned the ball over three times. Texas was penalized 14 times for 135 yards. FINAL SCORE: 51 – 20

Analysis –
Texas turned each of those Missouri turnovers into a touchdown, all in the first 20 minutes of the game. Toward the end of the 1st half, Vince Young had a crucial 33-yard run on 3rd and 30 that led to a field goal.

On the first drive of the 2nd half, Young had a 36-yard run on 2nd and 10 and completed a 27-yard pass to Ramonce Taylor for the touchdown. A pair of 1-yard Henry Milton touchdown runs and an 88-yard punt return by Aaron Ross in the 4th quarter finished the scoring for the Longhorns.

At one point in the game, on 8 drives, Missouri punted 6 times (3 of them 3 and outs), fumbled once, and turned the ball over on downs when Brad Smith got sacked on a 4th and 2 on the Texas 35-yard line.

Missouri, a fairly streaky team (at one point in the season they beat Iowa State and Nebraska back to back to take control of the Big 12 North before losing back to back games to Kansas and Colorado), was able to conduct two scoring drives in the 1st quarter: one of them 11 plays for 87 yards and the other 13 plays for 80 yards, both ending in touchdown runs by Jimmy Jackson and Brad Smith, respectively. But their sequence of drives thereafter proves their inconsistency.

Fun Facts –
Missouri entered this game fifth in the nation in total offense at 554 yards per game. The Tigers finished the season 32nd in the nation at 423 yards per game. They lost to a team ranked in the Top 5 for the 28th straight time.

Against a team who finished 58th in the nation in pass efficiency defense, Young finished 15 of 22 for 236 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. He ran for 108 yards on 13 carries, his first 100+ yard game of the year.

GAME 5 Oklahoma @ Texas (Dallas, TX Neutral Site)
October 8, 2005

Summary –
Coming into this game unranked for the first time since 1999, Oklahoma played as such, giving up 444 yards of offense to the Longhorns as Texas ended a 5-year losing streak to their hated rival. Playing without a healthy Adrian Peterson, the Sooners could only muster 171 total yards of offense and scored their first touchdown at the 11:35 mark of the 4th quarter. FINAL SCORE: 45 – 13

Analysis –
While Texas will take any win over their rivals, this year's match up proved to be the weakest Oklahoma team Texas has faced since 1999. With a first year quarterback at the helm and their star running back ailing, it was nationally well known that Oklahoma was nowhere near the team they had been for the past half-decade.

But like any rivalry, it won't matter, as the Longhorns will certainly take it. Although Texas was penalized 12 times for 110 yards in this game, they forced Oklahoma into four 3 and outs, and after giving up a pair of field goals in the 1st quarter, didn't allow the Sooner offense to go further than the Texas 40-yard line until the game was well out of hand in the 4th quarter.

Jamaal Charles had 116 yards rushing on 9 carries, 80 of them coming on a 1st quarter touchdown run on 1st and 10. He left the game in the 3rd quarter with an injury.

Despite what was considered at the time as a "questionable" pass interference penalty in the 2nd quarter, a play Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops felt "was a big swing," it happened early enough in the game not to completely change the outcome. As the game wore on, it was evident that Oklahoma would not be able to move the ball against Texas' defense. Since the Sooners didn't have an offensive play go longer than 9 yards until the fourth quarter, it is hard to take Stoops' comment at face value.

Oklahoma ended up finishing third in the Big 12 South (behind Texas Tech, who finished with the same conference record but whom they lost to), a considerable achievement considering many were pondering whether the Sooners would even be bowl eligible after the Texas game. But considering the dominance the Sooners have had over the Longhorns the past five years in this series, this game had to have been the biggest psychological boost for the Longhorns all season, even bigger than their road win against the Buckeyes.

Fun Facts –
Vince Young went 14 of 27 for 241 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also gained 45 yards on 17 carries.

Oklahoma finished the year 16th in the nation in total defense (304.82 yards per game), 27th in pass efficiency defense (112.42), 5th in rushing defense (91.18 yards per game), but 49th in the scoring defense (23.91 points per game).

UCLA beat Oklahoma 41 – 24 earlier in the year.

Oklahoma's four losses have been to opponents who have a combined record of 40 – 5 (TCU #14, UCLA #16, Texas #2, and Texas Tech #15).

GAME 6 Colorado @ Texas>br> October 15, 2005

Summary –
Texas scored touchdowns on their first five possessions of the game. Texas dominated time of possession, holding the ball for 38:54 in the game and converting 10 of 17 3rd down conversions. They gained 482 yards and made 24 first downs compared to Colorado's 237 and 14. The Buffaloes got two touchdown passes from quarterback Joel Klatt, one at the end of the half and the other with the game already out of reach. FINAL SCORE: 42 – 17.

Analysis –
Texas showed no signs of a "let down" game after their big win over their hated rival the previous week, going 90 yards on 16 plays on the first drive of the game. While they coasted after half time (they only managed one touchdown in the second half), the Longhorn defense forced the Buffaloes to punt 7 times (4 of them a 3 and out by Colorado).

Joel Klatt went 19 of 39 for 189 yards and threw 2 touchdowns with one interception. Young, on the other hand, was 25 of 29 for 336 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also gained 58 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground.

After coming off back-to-back blow out wins over Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, Colorado looked helpless against Texas' first half onslaught. They could not get anything going against Texas on the ground (45 yards), and they committed two turnovers. When they did get into the redzone, however, they were able to convert for two touchdowns.

Fun Facts –
Colorado had 11 penalties for 83 yards. Texas had 8 penalties for 70 yards.

Texas kicker David Pino missed a 39-yard field goal in the 3rd quarter.

Colorado tight end Joey Kopfenstein had 5 receptions for 60 yards and 1 touchdown.

Young's 86.2 percent completion rate in this game set a Texas record.

Colorado ranks 9th in the nation in rushing defense, allowing 95.25 yards per game. They played Texas twice this season.

That concludes Part 1 of this article. Tune in next week for Part 2 of this article. Comments, questions, and corrections are appreciated: please EZInbox TonyKing.

We would like to thank the following sites for information accumulated for this article:

scout.com
espn.com
mackbrown-texasfootball.com
web1.ncaa.org/d1mfb/mainpage.jsp


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