The promises of an improved defense under new head coach Charlie Strong came to fruition last week, as the Texas defense held North Texas to less than 100 yards of total offense.
But after the Longhorns lost their redshirt senior center Dominic Espinosa, and redshirt junior quarterback David Ash suffered concussion symptoms for the third time in his collegiate career, the defense’s effort against the Mean Green has lost its luster.
So with all the negativity surrounding the Longhorns, how does Texas avenge last year’s drubbing versus BYU?
Texas wins if...
The defense can continue to play at the same high level against a much better opponent in BYU. The Longhorns will be in a position to beat the Cougars if the defense is able to continue to force turnovers as it did against North Texas.
Offensively, the Longhorns need to continue to use their running backs. Senior Malcolm Brown and junior Johnathan Gray must pound the ball and break off a few big gains to open up the play-action pass for sophomore Tyrone Swoopes.
Swoopes needs to manage the game and not do too much. He doesn’t need to be superman; just a quarterback than can get the job done.
Texas loses if...
BYU and its junior quarterback, Taysom Hill, play as well as they did against UConn in week one. The Longhorns will face an uphill battle, and they might find themselves with a second consecutive loss to the Cougars if they can’t contain the Cougars’ high-octane offense.
While the defense shined in its first game under Strong, Hill and BYU provide a much stiffer test. Strong called Hill a Heisman candidate, and if Texas can’t shut him down, it’s going to be a long night in Austin for the Longhorn defense.
As for the offense, if Swoopes struggles and the offensive line doesn’t improve from last week, a victory will elude the Longhorns.