Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Midseason review: Texas
By David Ubben
Record: 4-1 (1-1 Big 12)
The season was looking up for the Longhorns, who started to find an identity (albeit one with two heads at quarterback) after a comeback win over BYU that featured the end of the Garrett Gilbert Era in Austin. With David Ash and Case McCoy at the helm, Texas went on the road and rolled over UCLA and Iowa State and got everyone wondering, "Just how good are these new-look Longhorns?" as they ascended to No. 11 in the polls while teams above them stumbled.
Oklahoma answered that question rather emphatically in Dallas on Saturday. Texas may be better this year, but the Longhorns are nowhere near the team that routinely churned out 10-win seasons nine times in the past decade. The turnover margin that plagued Texas shifted heavily in the Longhorns favor (+6) until Saturday's disaster, which featured five Texas turnovers, including three that went for scores. Baylor, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Texas A&M and others are lined up after Texas' nonconference slate which seemed solid in name only, and we won't have to wonder just how good these Longhorns are for much longer.
Offensive MVP: Jaxon Shipley, WR. The true freshman has been an immediate impact for the Longhorns, catching 25 passes for 369 yards, 10 more catches and 35 more yards than any other player on Texas' roster. He also leads the team with three catches for touchdowns, throwing another in one of the defining plays of the comeback win over BYU. He'll only continue to get better, but the second half of the season will feature even more highlights.
Defensive MVP: Emmanuel Acho, LB. Acho's older brother, defensive end Sam Acho, was the Longhorns MVP last year. Emmanuel is carrying on that tradition with a great start to his season. The senior linebacker's 42 tackles are 10 more than any other player on the Longhorns' roster, and he's leading the team with two sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss.