Forward Progress

After the game, in celebration of a solid conference road win (yes, I said “solid”), I fixed myself a short scotch on the rocks and sat down to scroll through the Barking Carnival live game thread. I usually review the thread to see how the younger- than-me Longhorn Football nerds were reacting to the game as it was happening.   I was in celebration mode, so, I was a little surprised at the ferocity of the complaints and criticism directed at the Texas offense during the second half.  The prevailing theme was that offensive coordinator Tim Beck is an idiot and Sam Ehlinger should replace Shane Buechele.

My observations and thoughts during the second half can be boiled down to concern that Texas might lose this game,  as they have lost so many games like it in the past three years.  Yes, the offense’s inability to move the ball out of their end of the field and thus surrendering field position to Iowa State in the third quarter was frustrating.  But I understood the offense’s struggles in the context of an offensive line that has been decimated by injury, forcing Derek Kerstetter—a true freshman—into the starting lineup at right tackle. Kerstetter had not played a down of college football before the Iowa State game. Tristan Nickelson—until a few weeks ago a backup right tackle—was  making his first start at left tackle, replacing the injured Connor Williams. Further, Shane Buechele was returning from a three- week absence due to a shoulder injury.  So I wasn’t thinking that Beck and Buechele were at fault; I was thinking Texas was in a tough spot on the road, and I was just hoping the Horns could catch a break or that Collin Johnson or some other receiver could make a play to get Texas out of the shadow of their own goal line.

Finally, after a 17-yard punt by Michael Dickson, Iowa State got the ball on the Texas 28 and scored a touchdown four plays later. That was their only score of the game, and Texas still led 14-7. Texas did get a break when a replay review showed that Armanti Foreman’s knee was down before he fumbled the ensuing kickoff.  After a 54-yard punt by Dickson and an interception by Deshon Elliott—in  what seemed like a miracle—Josh Rowland made a 49-yard field goal to give Texas some breathing room at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

I was very pleased that the offense was able to kill the last 7:35 seconds of the game with a 13-play 40 yard drive. Three yards and a cloud of shredded tire tread anyone?  That game-sealing drive put me in a celebratory mood.  I wasn’t cursing Tim Beck or Shane Buechele.  I was happy to be drinking a scotch and enjoying a Texas victory in a game that, over the past few years, would have been another bitter defeat.

Onward and upward!

Game Notes

Texas kicker Josh Rowland turned my head and should have turned yours with a clutch 49-yard field goal and four touchbacks.  Things could be looking up in the kicking game.

Not so much in the return game. Armanti Foreman was swarmed by Iowa State defenders just outside the 10 yard line. On kickoff returns,  it’s almost as if Texas blocks no one at all, zilch, zero, nada. Thank god for replay, which showed Foreman’s knee went down a fraction of a second before he coughed up the football.

Oh yeah, the defense turned in its third straight outstanding performance.  It seemed as though Iowa State quarterback Jacob Park was under attack on every pass attempt.  Don’t want to spit in the well, but Texas’ tackling has been the best it’s been in a decade.

Chris Warren III whiffed while trying to block an Iowa State defensive back on a flanker screen pass. If Warren makes the block, Texas has a big play. As it was, Texas lost a yard.  That play offers a clue as to why Warren is not the starter.  From my vantage point, Warren is not an instinctive runner. He often does not see where the hole is.  I’m guessing that coaches start Kyle Porter because he’s a good blocker. I don’t see any other reason he should be playing. Bring on Toeneil Carter.

 

Hook “Em,

W.E.

Over/Under Results

At the risk of being accused of nepotism, I’m obligated to report that Clayton Frink won the Iowa State Over/Under with 9 correct answers. Wes Peoples and Greg Swan tied for second with 8 correct.  It was interesting to me that more than 50% of the contestants picked Ehlinger over Buechele for more total yards.

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BF

4 Comments to “Forward Progress”

  1. Bill, I thought I got every question right, did you count mine?
    It’s the first time in years we seem to be improving each game

    • Hey Andy,

      I didn’t get your entry. You should receive a confirmation email after you submit.

  2. nepotism? Obligated?
    I’m on a roll.

    • The integrity of the contest has been called into question in the past with so many Frinks winning, placing and showing. 🙂

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