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Saturday, December 29, 2012
Texas defense faces challenge in Wheaton



Getty Images, AP PhotoMack Brown's defense may struggle Saturday when No. 23 Texas takes on Mike Riley and No. 13 Oregon State in the Valero Alamo Bowl.
The No. 23 Texas Longhorns bring the worst defense in program history into their matchup with the No. 13 Oregon State Beavers in the Valero Alamo Bowl (6:45 ET on ESPN).

Here are the five things you need to know in advance of the game:

1. Markus Wheaton, Oregon State’s all-time leading receiver, has been one of the best weapons in the Pac-12 this season. He’s second to Marqise Lee in receptions, receiving yards, 20-yard catches and touchdowns.

2. That’s not good news for a Texas defense that has already allowed more yards in 2012 (4,947) than in any other season in program history. The Longhorns are also allowing the most yards per game (412.3) and the second-most yards per play (6.1) in program history.

Their biggest issues have been big plays and missed tackles. Texas has allowed 61 plays of 20 yards or longer and has missed the most tackles (105) in the Big 12. Last season, the Longhorns allowed 38 plays of at least 20 yards and missed the fewest (81) tackles in the Big 12.

3. Texas is no stranger to playing Pac-12 teams in bowl games. The Longhorns have won four of their past five bowl matchups against Pac-12 opponents dating to 2001, including last season against Cal.

4. Oregon State has been very good in bowl games in recent seasons. The Beavers have won five of their past six bowl games, including two trips to Texas -- the 2006 and 2008 Sun Bowls. Their only bowl game against a Big 12 opponent came in the 2006 Sun Bowl, a win over Missouri.

5. It’s being reported that Case McCoy has been suspended for the game, making it likely that David Ash will start at quarterback for Texas.

The Longhorns are 3-3 when McCoy starts and 11-6 when Ash does over the past two seasons. Turnovers are a big reason why -- the offense has averaged 1.2 turnovers per game when Ash starts, and 3.0 per game when McCoy gets the nod.