Quick thoughts on Texas' win

September, 4, 2010
9/04/10
7:46
PM ET
Texas 34, Rice 17: Not exactly the blowout Texas fans had in mind, but the Longhorns were in control for most of this game. Plenty of eyes were on Texas' three running backs Saturday, as they ran for 171 yards on 42 carries -- a four-yard average. Against Rice, that's not a very encouraging sign.

What is encouraging is Tre' Newton, who after losing the starting job to Cody Johnson, stated his case to earn it back. He was Texas' featured back in the second half, and got more carries than either Johnson or Fozzy Whittaker, running for 61 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries. Deep in Rice territory, Newton got it done. Johnson didn't. The offensive line has a lot of influence on that, but the number of touches in the second half for Newton vs. Johnson is hard to ignore.

An OK, but uninspired, debut for Garrett Gilbert, who completed 14 of 23 passes for 172 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions. Malcolm Williams and Marquise Goodwin had four catches each.

One other note: Texas' defensive backs could have made this win much more lopsided if they had hung on to a few interceptions, but they didn't have much trouble doing it last year, when the Longhorns had 25 picks, five more than any other team in the Big 12. Aaron Williams and Chykie Brown both had a pair of catches they could have come down with, and Brown's would have been an easy touchdown. Saturday was out of character for them.

We didn't learn a ton about Texas, other than the running game needs work. We probably won't learn much about them next week against Wyoming. That probably won't be the case when the Longhorns travel to Lubbock in Week 3.

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