Matchups: vs. UTEP

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Photo Credit: Zoe Fu | Daily Texan Staff
  • Quarterback
  • Advantage: Texas

The Longhorns appear to have finally found their quarterback in Shane Buechele. The true freshman showed a lot of poise against Notre Dame in his first career start and threw the deep ball particularly well. To compliment Buechele, senior Tyrone Swoopes, who plowed through Irish defenders all game, has fully mastered his role in the 18-wheeler package. The change of pace with Swoopes creates another dynamic for this new and improved offense.

UTEP quarterback Zack Greenlee is by no means incapable. The junior threw for 229 yards and three touchdowns last week against New Mexico State. But will have his work cut out for him against a talented Texas secondary. 

Running Back

  • Advantage: Texas

Junior D’Onta Foreman joined Swoopes in his bulldozing efforts last week as he ran for 131 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Chris Warren III received 14 carries last Sunday but was unable to get going. The duo makes up one of the most potent backfields in the country.

UTEP’s best player is running back Aaron Jones. The explosive junior returned from an ankle injury that sidelined him for most of last season and rushed for 249 yards and two touchdowns against New Mexico State.

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  • Wide Receiver
  • Advantage: Texas

Texas has loads of talent at wide receiver, and that was on full display against Notre Dame. Junior Armanti Foreman and sophomore John Burt each accounted for multiple big plays against the Irish secondary. Texas’ younger receivers should also get some reps this week. Seniors Jaquan White and Cole Freytag lead the way on the perimeter for the Miners.

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  • Offensive Line
  • Advantage: Texas

The Texas offensive line looked much-improved against a physical Notre Dame front. The Longhorns were able to open up holes and run the ball effectively. The unit has a lot of experience and should only continue to get better as the season progresses. The Miners have an experienced group up front, led by two seniors and a junior.

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  • Defensive Line
  • Advantage: Texas

The Texas defensive line is not there yet, but it wasn’t that bad last Sunday. The Longhorns had a tough time pressuring the quarterback and gave up 206 yards rushing. But, Texas was able to get critical stops in the game when it mattered most. UTEP’s defense has installed a new 3-4 scheme and is still a work in progress.

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  • Linebacker
  • Advantage: Texas

Malik Jefferson. That name is enough to swing the balance in Texas’ favor. The sophomore linebacker is clearly the best player on this Texas defense, and it would come as no surprise if he makes the All-America team this year. UTEP’s linebacking core possesses tons of experience, led by senior Nick Usher and junior Alvin Jones.

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  • Defensive Back
  • Advantage: Texas

The Longhorns’ secondary had a few moments where it broke down last Sunday, but the unit is still very talented and deep. The Miners’ secondary had 10 pass breakups last week against New Mexico State.

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  • Special Teams
  • Advantage: UTEP

UTEP’s Terry Juniel is a returner not to be taken lightly. The sophomore averaged 16.2 yards per punt return last week, including taking one back for 36 yards. Time will tell if Texas can create similar explosion in its return game. The Longhorns struggled to find any open space, and the field goal team had an extra point blocked.