Texas, after turning the ball over six times against Baylor, did not have a turnover against Cal.
Best call/worst result: On third-and-19 on the Texas 2, the Longhorns decided to air it out. It was an odd decision because co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin had been so conservative. The call worked. Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin was wide open, but quarterback David Ash under threw him. Goodwin had to come back to the ball and stepped out of bounds. The call proved that Harsin can take risks. The play proved that he doesn't have the quarterback to make the throws.
Unsung hero of the game: Goodwin provided the spark on offense for Texas. The junior receiver not only caught a 47-yard touchdown pass, he also made the strongest run of the game with a 37-yard sprint through the heart of the Cal defense at the end of the third quarter. Goodwin's run took the ball to the Cal 7. From there Texas was able to punch the ball in with Cody Johnson and take a two-possession lead.
Record performance: Not all records are positive and this one certainly falls into that category: Texas and Cal combined for 10 points in the first half. That's the lowest total in Holiday Bowl history. Combined, the two teams only had 12 rushing yards in the first half. Cal, which went 40 yards on its first possession, went 33 yards on its next 25 plays. Texas had 48 yards on its scoring drive and 44 yards on its 24 other players.
What it means: For Texas, at least this year and last, any win is a good win. And while this game was not pretty, it will serve as a morale booster for the young players as they head into spring practice. This game also served as a signal to the rest of the team that Harsin wants Ash to be the quarterback in the spring. The freshman, who had been benched, played every offensive snap. Ash's performance, while not stellar, was adequate. Ash didn’t move the offense with alacrity but he also didn't turn the ball over and that is Harsin's number one goal for any quarterback.
Stat of the half: The Texas defense forced two Cal turnovers, one at the Bears' 19-yard line, but the Texas offense failed to convert either into points. Overall the Texas defense limited Cal to 9 rushing yards and 63 passing yards. Cal was able to go 40 yards on its first drive and knock in a 47-yard field goal. But from that point on, the Texas defense was dominant.
What Texas needs to do: The Longhorns need to continue to try the run game and put Ash in situations where he can be successful. The freshman has been backed up in third and long on several occasions and has not fared well. If the Texas offense can get more short yardage situations on second and third down it might be able to take more chances. As it is, Texas has not had a turnover in the first half.
What Cal needs to do: Cal has one of the top receivers in the nation with Keenan Allen. But Texas' defense, particularly Kenny Vaccaro, has been able to keep Allen under wraps. Allen, who has 1,261 receiving yards during the regular season, needs to have the ball in his hands. Cal has to figure out a way for quarterback Zach Maynard to roll away from the pressure and find Allen.
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Texas takes on Cal out in San Diego in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET. Let's take a look at what to expect.
WHO TO WATCH: Texas LB Emmanuel Acho. The Longhorns' top talents are all on defense and Acho headlines the group. The senior leader closed the season on a tear, notching at least 12 tackles in four consecutive games before the loss to Baylor. Acho is everywhere on the field for the Longhorns, and led the team with 109 stops.
WHAT TO WATCH: Texas' quarterbacks. You never quite know who's going to be there. The quarterbacks have been shuffled in and out all year. Case McCoy and David Ash replaced Garrett Gilbert in the second game and neither has grabbed hold of the starting job since. McCoy doesn't quite have the big arm you'd like in a Big 12 quarterback, and Ash has been plagued by poor decision-making. McCoy hadn't thrown an interception all season, but in the finale against Baylor, he threw four. He had three touchdowns, too, but Texas lost convincingly and Baylor's Robert Griffin III won the Heisman at the Longhorns' expense. There's no telling who'll be under center for most of the Holiday Bowl. I'll guess Ash for now.
WHY TO WATCH: We haven't had a chance to see full-strength Texas in a long while. Jaxon Shipley is the team's top receiver, but he's been hampered by a knee injury and missed three games in the middle of the season before returning. He's finally back to 100 percent. Running backs Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron have been slowed by injuries, too. They'll be back. Seven wins was about right for this team, but just about everyone will be back next year, and we'll get some idea of how many to expect in 2012 from the offense's performance in the finale.
PREDICTION: No. 24 Texas 20, California 17 -- The Longhorns suffocate another offense in this one, quieting Keenan Allen and Zach Maynard. Texas has seen better offenses and played well. They take care of business out in San Diego to notch a Holiday Bowl win. A healthy backfield of Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron get back down to business and build toward a big sophomore year.
He played four games at that position as a freshman, never making his mark on the field, or in the stat book, for that matter.
Fifty pounds and a year later, Whaley had moved to the other side of the ball and into the role of a rush end. He started a game, played in 12, had a sack and a couple of tackles for loss. More than that, he was seen as a player on the rise.
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William Wilkerson will be answering your questions about recruiting, the Holiday Bowl, and much more.
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Everything's bigger in (Austin) Texas. Especially football budgets.
The Longhorns topped the list with a value of $129 million, producing $96 million in revenue and $71 million in total profit, far ahead of its nearest competitors.
The program's value is $17 million more than No. 2, Notre Dame. Its produced $19 million more in revenue than Alabama, second in that category. It produced $18 million more in total profit than No. 2 Georgia.
The Big 12 had three teams in the top 20. Oklahoma checked in at No. 10 and Texas A&M was No. 17.
The Sooners were valued at $87 million, produced $59 million in revenue and made $36 million in profit.
The Aggies were valued at $63 million, produced $45 million in revenue and made $30 million in profit.
Forbes also studied the game's best teams for the money, and Kansas State checked in at No. 1 this year. Its expenses were just $11 million, which cashed out at $1,086,705 per victory, the best mark of any team in the country.
Oklahoma State checked in at No. 3, at $1,253,388 per win. Its expenses were $14 million.
Baylor was No. 8, at $1,619,672 per win. Its expenses were $15 million.
I notched perfection in the season's final weekend, but bowl picks are always tough.
For the curious, here's how I've done predicting each team's games this year. You guys gave me a solid B. I'll take it.
Last week: 3-0
Overall: 57-18 (.760)
Missouri 34, North Carolina 28: The Tigers match up pretty well with UNC, and take care of business with a solid performance from James Franklin, who tops 125 yards rushing and throws for 225, accounting for four touchdowns. The Tigers head to the SEC on the right note.
No. 24 Texas 20, California 17: The Longhorns suffocate another offense in this one, quieting Keenan Allen and Zach Maynard. Texas has seen better offenses and played well. They take care of business out in San Diego to notch a Holiday Bowl win. A healthy backfield of Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron get back down to business and build toward a big sophomore year.
No. 12 Baylor 47, Washington 31: RG3 doesn't give many clues as to his future plans, but he looks the part of an NFL quarterback in this one, sending Kendall Wright into the NFL with a big day. We expected plenty of offense in this one, and both teams delivered. Chris Polk racks up big yardage on a suspect Baylor defense, but the Bears pull away late.
Iowa State 24, Rutgers 21: Doubt Paul Rhoads' teams in bowl games at your own risk. They say the team that wants to be in bowl games the most wins them, and games like these are huge for the Cyclones. They'll be ready to go against a mediocre Rutgers team. It should be interesting to see what Jared Barnett looks like with a month to prepare, and I'm betting he looks pretty good.
No. 14 Oklahoma 23, Iowa 21: On the flip side of the "Bet who wants to be here more" coin is Oklahoma, whose trip to the Insight Bowl is far from what they'd hoped in a season that began with national title hopes. The Sooners are banged up and dealing with player exits, but they're still significantly better than Iowa. We see a pretty lackluster performance from the Sooners, but they survive. Iowa is, after all, a team that lost to Iowa State, Minnesota and Penn State, and is playing without its top two running backs.
Texas A&M 31, Northwestern 21: The Aggies are shaken up, too, with one coach (Mike Sherman) fired and its interim coach (Tim DeRuyter) getting ready to take over at Fresno State. The Aggies talent takes over in this one, and Cyrus Gray is expected to return. The Wildcats rebounded later in the season to reach a bowl game, but have only one quality win all season: Nebraska. Texas A&M's talent takes over this big lead is safe.
No. 6 Arkansas 24, No. 8 Kansas State 23: This could be a classic. The Wildcats win the time of possession game (they always do. K-State ranks fourth nationally in the stat) and suffocates Arkansas' offense, which has struggled running the ball all year, ranking ninth in the SEC. K-State finally loses a close game, though, and like the loss to Oklahoma State, a late drive comes up short. A strong performance from the defense though, and K-State enters 2012 as one of the Big 12 favorites.
1. Oklahoma won't finish in the Big 12's top three. The Sooners entered the season as the preseason No. 1 and earned 41 of 43 first-place votes in the Big 12. This was supposed to be the big year for Oklahoma, but upsets and injuries dropped it to 9-3 and a fourth-place finish in the Big 12, via a loss to Baylor that gave the Bears the tiebreaker. Ryan Broyles missed the final three games with a torn ACL, and leading rusher Dominique Whaley missed most of the past four games with a fractured ankle. The Sooners lost two of their final three regular-season games and fell to the Insight Bowl.
2. Despite losing Dana Holgorsen, Oklahoma State's offense will be more productive. Holgorsen revitalized the Cowboys' offense, helping them set a school record with 10 regular-season wins and a share of the Big 12 South. Then he left for West Virginia. Enter Todd Monken. The results? A Big 12 title and 11 regular-season wins, along with more total offense and more points. Who knew?
3. Garrett Gilbert's junior season will last less than two games. Texas stuck with Gilbert for all 12 games of the 5-7 season in 2010, but he floundered in rather spectacular fashion in just his second start of 2011. He was 2-of-8 for eight yards and two interceptions before being benched for Case McCoy and David Ash. The Longhorns rallied to beat BYU that night, and less than a month later, Gilbert underwent shoulder surgery and announced his plans to transfer. He plans to play at SMU next year.
4. You're never out of it at halftime against Texas A&M. The Aggies looked so good so often, especially in the first half against eventual Big 12 champion Oklahoma State. They led 20-3 before losing the lead in the next quarter, and it would only become the first of six losses in which the Aggies led by double digits. Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas State and Texas all erased big leads to beat the Aggies, who finished 6-6.
5. Texas Tech ends college football's longest home winning streak -- then doesn't win again. After suffering close losses to Kansas State and Texas A&M, Texas Tech upset Oklahoma as 28-point underdogs, ending Oklahoma's 39-game home winning streak that dated back to 2005 and became the first Big 12 team to win in Norman since 2001. A week later, though, the Red Raiders were whacked, 41-7, by Iowa State and didn't win a game the rest of the year. Which was more surprising? Both were jaw-droppers. As a result, Texas Tech endured its first losing season in 18 years.
AUSTIN, Texas -- It doesn't matter that Texas is winging its way to the West Coast to face a Pac-12 team that put the high in high-flying.
So what if Cal coach Jeff Tedford has been the passing game guru that has put numerous quarterbacks into the NFL.
Gary A. Vasquez/US PresswireDepsite Cal's passing stats, Texas will focus on stopping 1,200-yard rusher Isi Sofele.
For Texas the mindset is still the same -- stop the run, the rest will follow.
In Texas' five loss it allowed 134 rushing yards per game. In its seven wins, Texas allowed just 82 yards per game.
Cal rushes for 167 yards per game and has a back, Isi Sofele, who averages 105 yards per game. Add to that quarterback Zach Maynard is moving the offense with his ability to scramble and throw on the run, and Texas will be picking its poison on defense.
“Again, it always comes back to first thing’s first," Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said. “The best way to stop the quarterback is to stop the run, take away his best friend, and then you can do some different things with him.”
With the exceptions of the Oklahoma State and Baylor games, Texas had been adept at making offenses one-dimensional. Texas gave up 191 on the ground to Baylor and 202 to Oklahoma State. Those were the two highest totals of the season. Baylor was also able to victimize Texas through the air more than the Cowboys.
Cal, while not as explosive, appears to be of the same mold. Couple that with the residual effects of the Baylor game, and it has made for refocusing of efforts during the bowl practices.
“In this game, and I have said it a million times is, all we do is go back and fix what we made mistakes on,” Diaz said. “We are in a constant fight to battle to improve. That is really all we are trying to do. That is why getting the bowl bid the [day after the Baylor loss] was a quick way to refocus us.
“Then when you play an offense as dynamic as what Cal has, that is an easy way to get yourself excited to go out and finish the year the way we want to finish it. I always look at bowl games as the bridge to next year’s football team. We have some guys who are trying to make a statement about who we want to be in the future, and we have a great opportunity to do that on national TV.”
That national exposure could backfire. Cal has put up big plays, but against lesser teams than Texas. The Bears had a 74-yard touchdown pass against Arizona State. They also had a 90-yard touchdown pass against Washington. Sofele has eight runs of 22 yards or more with his season-best being a 56-yard run against Oregon State.
“We have to get after the running back and try to minimize that,” defensive tackle Kheeston Randall said. “Then we will try to rush the passer. If we do that, we should put ourselves in a successful position.”