Following Texas’ 31-22 win over Texas Tech, here are five things that stood out:
1. Can one win change a season?
Most folks including yours truly picked Texas Tech in this game. I predicted that Texas Tech would win by three. I thought the Texas offense would be pretty good but that the Texas Tech defense would play better than the Texas defense. In the end, the Texas defense and the Texas offense played better than most folks expected. Texas was 6-2 and a lot of folks were wondering if it would win one of its last four games. After this victory it looks as though Texas could be favored against TCU and Iowa State with the big tilt against Kansas State to close the season.
With this victory, Texas coach Mack Brown could have gone from fans wanting him gone to being in the top 20 with the possibility of a 10-win season still intact. One game can start a spiral and one game can stem a tide. For a Texas team that seemed to be on the ropes, this win could not have come at a better time.
2. Go out on a limb
It does not seem like much but you go out on the limb because that is where the fruit is. Texas has been conservative on offense at times this season, but it could not afford to come out conservative against Texas Tech. The Longhorns got the ball to their playmakers early and often and allowed quarterback David Ash to stretch the field.
This looked like the Texas team that we saw against Ole Miss that was confident in what it was trying to do and the players it was trying to do it with.
3. Say it loud!
Brown looked like he had won the conference championship in Lubbock after the game. It was a very important game which Texas had to win in order to have the Baylor and Kansas wins mean anything, regardless of what you have heard in a news conference.
Everyone from the coaches to the staff to the players to the parents needed this game. Every football program has the customary 24-hour rule of being down after a loss or happy after a win. Texas does not need more than 24 hours but it should use it all. I do not want to go Phil Collins with this opinion but Texas won today against all odds. The only folks that thought it could win were the people in the locker room and that was all they needed.
4. The defense was not great but it was better
Let’s be honest, better was enough. Texas was a mess on defense and could not stop teams from being two dimensional. While Texas could not be happy with giving up over 300 yards passing, it has to be somewhat refreshed with giving up just 112 yards rushing. The Longhorns missed some tackles but tackled better.
Sometimes progress is measured in small victories. Texas fans better be happy with the incremental growth that they saw against Texas Tech. It is something they can build on and something that will give them confidence going forward.
5. Kudos to Davis
After a really good freshman season, wideout Mike Davis hit the sophomore slump and hit it hard. Another year in this Texas offense, an experienced quarterback and a new roommate later, Mike Davis is the team’s leading receiver and a big-play threat down the field.
He finished the night against Texas Tech with four catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns with a long of 75 yards.
He has had a few drops but more big plays. Just as the team seemingly was headed for the scrap heap, Davis did not listen to the naysayers and worked himself back into being one of the better receivers in the Big 12. In this life, all we want is a shot and he has taken advantage of his.