Saturday, September 1, 2012
Texas shakes off rough start for rout
By David Ubben
Texas joined Big 12 members Iowa State and Oklahoma as the only Big 12 teams to trail on Saturday, but the Longhorns rebounded late for a 37-17 win.
The Longhorns didn't assert themselves until late in the second quarter, but the box score looks like it should if Texas is to join the Big 12 elite this season.
David Ash? A quiet night, but for Texas, that's a good thing in this case. He didn't make any big plays, but completed passes consistently, hitting on 20-of-27 throws for 156 yards and a score. The best stat of the night for him? Zero turnovers.
Case McCoy? He got late mop-up duty but didn't throw a pass, and Ash's status as the leading man never looked in doubt.
Meanwhile, Texas' All-Big 12-caliber duo of backs made all the noise necessary for the win. Both Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron topped 100 yards. Bergeron scored twice, Brown once. It was an underwhelming debut for hyped freshman Johnathan Gray, though. He carred four times for just nine yards.
Most impressive from Brown and Bergeron? Both averaged better than seven yards a carry. We'll see if they keep that up in Big 12 play, but that's impressive against any bowl team like Wyoming was a year ago.
This is who Texas will have to be, and who Ash needs to be for Texas to do any major building from last year's eight-win campaign. Ash completed just 56 percent of his passes last year, throwing eight picks to four scores.
Yes, it's Wyoming, but outside of a 43-romp over Big 12 doormat Kansas a year ago, Ash never had a game when he played extensively and completed more than 61 percent of his passes.
Tonight, he completed 71 percent.
Texas' vaunted defense was underwhelming tonight, giving up a clownish 82-yard touchdown when a pair of defensive backs collided and receiver Robert Herron was left standing. The Longhorns gave up 276 yards through the air and 345 total yards of offense, gaining 436 of their own.
Texas has the personnel. I'm willing to chalk this one up to early-season jitters and an off night. The Longhorns did hold Wyoming to an impressive 1-of-11 on third downs. That will get the Horns a long way in Big 12 play.
Of course, they'll see offenses with a whole lot more firepower. Plenty to work on for Texas in advance of next week's game against New Mexico, who used a 38-point second quarter to lay waste to Southern on Saturday night, 66-21.