- Carter Strickland, Reporter, HornsNation
Stillwater, Okla. -- After a wild 41-36 win over Oklahoma State, Texas is 4-0 with West Virginia coming to Austin next weekend:
1. David Ash: The sophomore quarterback has started to prove that he is much more than just a game manager. Ash has thrown for 300-plus yards in back-to-back games. But what might have been the most impressive feat for Ash was the drive immediately following his first interception of the season. Ash threw the pick on the first drive of the third quarter. The very next drive, Ash drove the team 61 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown. Texas coach Mack Brown said Ash's composure was impeccable and he was unflappable in all situations. On the game-winning drive Ash hit on pass of 29 and 33, the former on fourth and 6.
2. Third down conversions: The Longhorns converted their first four third downs en route to two touchdowns and continued that trend throughout the night. Texas was 9 for 17 on third downs. While those kept drives alive, Texas also benefitted from fourth down conversions. The Longhorns had three fourth down conversions, including one the aforementioned 29-yard pass thrown by Ash to tight end D.J. Grant. Texas is now 7 of 8 on fourth down conversions. The only miss it had was when Case McCoy took a knee against Ole Miss.
3. Johnathan Gray: Texas struggled in the run game but freshman Johnathan Gray found his stride on the second-to-last drive of the game. Gray rushed for 45 yards on five carries on the drive. His contribution helped Texas rush down the field and take a temporary 34-33 lead. Mack Brown said Gray showed him a few things in that fourth quarter that should bode well for the future.
1. Injuries: Texas came into the Oklahoma State game with leading tackler Jordan Hicks (hip) and starting defensive tackle Brandon Moore (virus) on the sideline. The Longhorns lost two more defensive players and leading rusher, Malcolm Brown against the Cowboys. Brown injured his ankle and did not come back in the second half. Starting safety Adrian Phillips and defensive tackle Desmond Jackson were also hurt against the Cowboys. The issue with all the defensive line injuries it that Texas will be facing another fast-paced offense next week in West Virginia. And the Mountaineers quarterback, Geno Smith, is not only an accurate passer but extremely elusive with his feet.
2. Tackling: Texas spent the entire bye week practicing on tackling and immediately missed a tackle against OSU that led to a 69-yard touchdown. The Longhorns were unable to get in the proper position for the first quarter as Oklahoma State rolled up 192. Tackling has been an issue for Texas since the start of the season. Texas missed 11 tackles against Ole Miss. There was a missed tackle that led to an 82-yard touchdown in the opener against Wyoming. If the issues are nor fixed very quickly, Texas will have issues when it plays Baylor and West Virginia, two teams that combined for 133 points Saturday.
3. Run game: Texas wants to be balanced and as such came into the conference opener with just three yards separating rushing (258) and passing (255). But the Longhorns proved they could not line up and push Big 12 defenses around. Sure, Texas was missing Brown for the second half, but Texas averaged 3.3 yards per carry. The Longhorns wanted to prove to itself that it has an offensive line capable of pushing around the defensive lines in the Big 12. It was unable to do that.
Stillwater, Okla. -- After a wild 41-36 win over Oklahoma State, Texas is 4-0 with West Virginia coming to Austin next weekend: THREE UP1. David Ash: The sophomore quarterback has started to prove that he is much more than just a game manager.