Saturday, September 1, 2012
Instant Analysis: Texas 37, Wyoming 17
By Carter Strickland
It was over when: The Texas defense showed up in the second quarter. After allowing 178 yards in the first quarter and nine points, the defense stiffened and allowed just 26 second-quarter yards and no points. In that quarter Texas also had two interceptions from Kenny Vaccaro and Carrington Byndom. The defense set the offense up with field position at the Wyoming 43 and 44. Texas converted both those opportunities to touchdowns.
Game ball goes to: Texas quarterback David Ash. Maybe not for what Ash did. He had rather pedestrian numbers and was not asked to air the ball out. But it was what Ash didn't do that earned him player of the game. He didn't lose his composure or throw the ball to the other team. Sure, there were some balls that were ill-advised. But not so bad that they went to the other team. And interceptions had been what plagued Ash last season. Ash finished 20-of-27 for 156 yards with a touchdown.
Stat of the game: Texas quarterback David Ash threw 27 passes without an interception. Now while that might not seem like a huge number for the sophomore quarterback, it was the most consecutive attempts he has thrown in his Texas career without a pick. His previous high had been 23 attempts in the Holiday Bowl. So, using some simple math here, Ash has had 50 attempts without a pick.
Unsung hero: Jordan Hicks had a lot of responsibility placed on his shoulders and after a slow start proved to be very effective in his job. The linebacker was able to settle down the defense after a shaky first quarter. He put the defense into the correct blitz packages in the second quarter, shot the gap himself a couple of times and had four tackles in that quarter alone. Hicks also blocked a punt that set Texas up for a field goal to close out the half. He finished with six tackles.
Second guessing: Texas continued to talk about how it had two quarterbacks. But the second of those quarterbacks, Case McCoy, was never thrown into a pressure situation. The problem with that is now Texas doesn't really know if McCoy will be ready when it needs him. And if this season follows the pattern of last season, or the pattern that Texas coach Mack Brown has said it will follow, the Longhorns will need McCoy at some point. With that in mind the prudent move might have been to give McCoy at least one series in the first half. McCoy did enter the game with 2:48 left and Texas leading 37-17. He did not attempt a pass.
What we learned about this team: The Longhorns are exactly what everyone thought they might be -- solid on defense, unspectacular but efficient on offense. But where Texas excelled was on some special teams. Chris Whaley, a converted running back, blocked an extra point attempt. Jordan Hicks, a starting linebacker, blocked a punt. But there were issues as well. Texas had a point-after blocked. True freshman Nick Jordan missed his first collegiate attempt of 44 yards. He missed another 40-plus-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter.