Each week, we will be breaking down who has the edge position-by-position — Texas or its opponent. Here’s how the Longhorns match up with Tulsa for Saturday’s game.
Quarterback advantage: Texas
Say what you will about another late turnover by Sam Ehlinger on Saturday that resulted in a loss for the Longhorns, but the true sophomore played quite well for the first three quarters. Against Maryland, Ehlinger finished with 263 yards through the air and 30 rushing yards, all of which seemingly came in the second half.
Tulsa does not rely on the passing game as much as most opponents Texas will face this season. Quarterback Luke Skipper totaled 196 passing yards on 62.5 percent completion percentage against Central Arkansas. If last week was any indication, Tulsa will likely keep the ball on the ground against the Longhorns.
Running back advantage: Tulsa
The Week One performance by the carousel of Texas running backs was nothing short of uninspiring, though much of the fault could be directed at the men in charge of personnel and playcalling. The Longhorns finished with 3.9 yards per carry against Maryland.
The lone flash of hope came from true freshman Keaontay Ingram, who finished with 37 yards on six carries, one of which was an 18-yard touchdown. However Ingram’s impact vanished in the second half with Herman opting to keep his experienced backs on the field.
“You’ll see (Ingram’s) role progress and increase. In a close game on the road after an hour rain delay, I made the call,” Herman said in his Monday press conference. “I told Stan (Drayton) we have a fifth-year senior that is running the ball well. We need experience. That’s why you didn’t see him.”
On the other hand, Tulsa, like Maryland, has two solidified running backs that Texas must account for this Saturday. Sophomore Shamari Brooks rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns, and sophomore Corey Taylor II added another 110 yards. Just on account of those two performances, the advantage leans Tulsa.
Wide receiver advantage: Texas
Nine different Longhorns recorded a reception against Maryland, however the spread the wealth approach felt forced in some areas. NFL Draft hopeful Collin Johnson only had three receptions, and the elusive freshmen D’Shawn Jamison and Jerrod Heard accounted for just one catch combined. Whether or not you want to call the lack of touches for Texas’ playmakers “misuse,” there is no denying that their wide receiving core is the better bunch.
Defense advantage: Texas
There is reason for more optimism regarding the Longhorn defense this week against Tulsa. Freshmen safeties Caden Sterns and BJ Foster proved they could hold their own, and with the uncertainty around Brandon Jones and his calf injury, the two freshmen must step up again.
The Tulsa defense allowed just 267 yards to Central Arkansas and forced two turnovers, however the talent on Texas alone gives them the advantage. If the Todd Orlando-led defense can generate a pass rush, there will be few opponents this season given the edge over the Longhorns in this category.