Gut Check

In the end, getting the win over Iowa State was a needed step forward for this team. Texas was 2-7 in one score games under Steve Sarkisian before this game. Here are a few thoughts on the game:

1. Texas’s game winning drive was 11 plays, 75 yards, and ate up 6:15 in the fourth quarter.  Other than the drive ending with a touchdown to take back the lead late in the fourth quarter what’s notable is that 9 of the 11 plays were runs.  This illustrates that Sarkisian can adjust his script in crunch time and orchestrate a game winning drive. Previously I was skeptical that he had that capability. Maybe he’s grown in the job.

2. Speaking of scripts, for the third straight game Texas went three and out on their first possession. As you recall, Keilan Robinson blocked Iowa State’s punt after their first possession giving Texas the ball on Iowa State’s 21-yard line. In three plays Texas gained zero yards on a Bijan run, and incomplete pass, and completion for zero yards. Then Bert Auburn missed a 39-yard field goal.

I’m assuming based on Sarkisian’s usual scripting of the first 15 offensive plays of the game, those first three plays were part of that script. Whatever happened to going for the kill shot immediately after forcing a turnover deep in your opponent’s territory?  Just asking.

3. From my seat on row 50 on the 35-yard line for the Iowa State game I observed Bijan Robinson turning down a couple three sure 5-6 yard runs and instead using his amazing jump cutting ability to try and make longer runs. The result was one- and two-yard gains. I may be wrong but sometimes Robinson should take the 5-6 yards.

4. Is it me or is Roschon Johnson faster this year?

5. Sarkisian addressed the recent slow starts at his Monday press conference. He kind of threw Quinn Ewers under the bus saying they needed to look at things to help Quinn make a faster start. Maybe the main thing to look at is Sarkisian’s conservative approach on the first possession of those games.

Oklahoma State

While we’re on the subject of faster starts, Texas might need to score on most of their possessions against Oklahoma State. It could be one of those games where you have to hold serve to keep up.

Spencer Sanders

As of this writing Spencer Sanders’ status for this game is unknown because of an injury to his throwing shoulder.  I’d be surprised if he didn’t play. Last week, versus TCU Sanders completed only 16 of 36 passes for 245 yards. For the season he’s completing a relatively low 58.5 % of his throws. He is however the leading passer in the Big 12 both in total yards at 1639 and average yards per game at 273.

Sanders averages 51 yards per game rushing which when combined with his passing yards makes him the leader in the Big 12 for total yards per game at 324.7.

If Sanders passing is limited by his shoulder injury, Texas’s ability to contain his designed runs and scrambling will be a big key to the outcome of this game. How many 3rd and 4th down conversions will Sanders make with his legs?

Quinn Ewers

Last week I pondered what a bad Quinn Ewers game would look like. If it was his 17 completions on 26 attempts for three touchdowns and 172 yards against Iowa State Texas is in pretty good shape. He would have had more than 200 yards and 4 touchdowns if Casey Cain hadn’t dropped a sure touchdown in wide open spaces.

Stillwater

Texas won 41-34 in overtime the last time they played in Stillwater in 2020. They lost there in 2018 and 2016. The media refers to Boone Pickens Stadium as a hostile environment for Oklahoma State opponents. It’s hostile if you’re mediocre or worse. If you’re a good team and the Oklahoma State star quarterback has an injured throwing shoulder, you should be able to quiet the crowd by sometime in the third quarter.

Final

I think we are all sensing that this Texas team might be of Big 12 Championship caliber. If our senses are good, Texas should march into Boone Pickens Stadium and relying heavily on the running of Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson with a few shots to Xavier Worthy sprinkled in, Texas should get a much-needed win for the program and Steve Sarkisian.

Hook ‘Em,

W.E.

Song of the Week

Donald Fagen, Boz Scaggs, and Michael McDonald Holy Crap!

1 Comment to “Gut Check”

  1. ” T. Boone Pickens still sickens the dickens outta me.”

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