Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Big plays might undo Texas Longhorns
By Justin Ray, ESPN Stats & Info
The Texas Longhorns are 4-0, ranked No. 11 in the AP poll and getting ready to host No. 8 West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday.
In 2011, Texas had the best defense in the Big 12, leading the conference in rushing and passing defense. However, the first month of this season has been a different story.
The Longhorns lost their two leading tacklers from last season to the NFL -- linebackers Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson. Texas currently is seventh in the Big 12 in total defense and ninth in rushing defense.
In fact, the Longhorns are currently 58th out of 69 BCS-AQ teams in rushing defense, allowing 180 yards on the ground per game.
Texas is also allowing almost seven rushes of 10+ yards per game this season, by far the worst in the Big 12, and third worst among all BCS-AQ teams.
The Longhorns pass defense, which was a huge strength a year ago, has been porous in 2012 as well.
In 2011, the Longhorns allowed just two touchdown passes of 20 yards or more, tied for fewest in the FBS with LSU and Alabama. Last week at Oklahoma State, Texas allowed two and has already surrendered five in the first four games. In fact, in their last six games the Longhorns have allowed seven touchdown passes of 20 yards or more.
Against Oklahoma State, Texas allowed 300 yards passing and 275 yards rushing in the same game for the first time since 1950.
With Geno Smith and the explosive Mountaineers offense coming to Austin, the Longhorns have very little time to fix their issues on the defensive side of the ball.