Instant analysis: Texas 21, Cal 10

December, 28, 2011
12/28/11
10:51
PM ET
video Stat of the game: Cal turned the ball over five times. After Texas failed to convert on the first three of those turnovers, it finally pushed the ball into the end zone on the fourth. The three-play, 44-yard touchdown drive gave Texas a two-possession lead and, given the way the Texas defense played, that was a lead that would not be surrendered. As for the other turnovers, Texas' defense created plenty of opportunities in prime territory. On one occasion, the Longhorns took the ball away from Cal at the Bears' 19. Texas went three plays and backed up two yards before missing a 38-yard field goal.

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.

Carter Strickland | email

Reporter, HornsNation

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