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Friday, January 8, 2010
Gilbert shows promise for the future

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- It wasn't the easiest of situations to be thrown into last night for freshman quarterback Garrett Gilbert.

After Colt McCoy went out with a nerve injury five plays into the game, the Longhorns had to go to Gilbert, who had no experience in meaningful situations in the first nine games of his college career.

But he did show promise for the future, as these statistics compiled by Trevor Ebaugh from ESPN's Stats & Info indicate.

First, Gilbert had a masterful fourth quarter before a rash of mistakes that enabled the Crimson Tide to salt away a 37-21 victory. Alabama linebacker Eryk Anders forced a fumble late in the fourth quarter, snuffing out the Longhorns' hopes of claiming a comeback victory.

Prior to two desperation interceptions late in the game, Gilbert completed 7-of-9 passes for 63 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter. He compiled a 173.2 pass efficiency rating before Anders' fumble and appeared to be steadily gaining more confidence in his work from the shotgun. Gilbert ended up with 38 of his 40 pass attempts coming out of the shotgun against Alabama on Thursday night.

Here's a look at how Gilbert's numbers compared in the first half and the second half.

As the game progressed, Gilbert honed in on wide receiver Jordan Shipley. The senior wide receiver had a second-half binge with 10 receptions for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Shipley's strong finish enabled him to set the Longhorns' career reception record with 248, breaking the previous mark of 241 that was set by Roy Williams between 2000-03.

Shipley's two TD grabs enabled him to set the Texas single-season touchdown reception mark of 13, breaking the previous mark of Roy Williams (2002) and Limas Sweed (2006) who both had 12.

Shipley also boosted his Texas single-season record of receiving yards to 1,485.

Here's a look at how Gilbert honed in on Shipley in the second half.