Longhorns

Former Texas cornerback Quandre Diggs chases TCU’s quarterback Traevon Boykin in the team’s battle against the Horned Frogs last Thanksgiving. Diggs and the Longhorns lost the game and finished their season with a 6–7 record.
Photo Credit: Ethan Oblak | Daily Texan Staff

Friday marks the final day of classes for those who are graduating in just a few weeks. Since arriving on the 40 Acres as freshmen in August 2011, the Class of 2015 has seen mixed results for Texas Athletics.

Longhorn Network launched a mere two days after the Class of 2015 began school. The tenures of former football coach Mack Brown and former basketball coach Rick Barnes came to a close. 

Through it all, there were some triumphs but plenty of struggles. Here are some numbers, dates and stats that define the Class of 2015’s time at the University of Texas.

3: The number of Division I national titles. In the summer of 2012, Texas men’s golf defeated Alabama 3–2 to win the program’s first title since 1972. That fall, volleyball won its first national championship since 1988 by defeating the Oregon Ducks. In March, men’s swimming and diving won its first national title since 2010 — its 11th total.

169: Losses by the major three men’s sports. Baseball, football and basketball have amassed 169 combined losses over the past four seasons, the most since the 171 total losses endured by the class of 2001. If the baseball team drops five more games, the Class of 2015 will be the
losingest senior class in school history.

21: Losses by Texas football. The Longhorns gave up 21 losses from 2011–2014, tying it with 2010–2013 and 1988–1991 for the most losses over a four-season span since 1986-1989, when the Longhorns dropped 24 games.

58.33%: Men’s basketball’s winning percentage. Texas has had its lowest win percentage over a four-season span since it only won 58.08 percent of its games from 1995–1999. Texas’ 57 losses over this time were the most the program had recorded in four seasons since the Longhorns dropped 63 games from 1983–1987.

2004: The last time the women’s basketball team advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s second weekend until this year. The No. 5-seeded Texas women knocked off No. 4-seeded Cal 73–70 in Berkeley to advance to the Sweet 16, but the Longhorns fell to the eventual champion, No. 1-seeded Connecticut Huskies, 105–54 in the Sweet 16. This was the first time making it that far since 2004.

58.26%: Baseball’s winning percentage. Texas had its lowest winning percentage since winning 57.09 percent of its games from 1998–2001. Barring winning the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Texas baseball will miss the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the Class of 2015’s four seasons
in Austin.

2013: The year softball finished the season ranked No. 3 in the country. The No. 3 ranking in 2013 was Texas’ best final ranking in program history. This also marked the team’s first appearance in the Women’s College World Series since 2006.

4: Big 12 Conference titles for volleyball. The Longhorns went 61–3 in conference play and did not lose more than one conference match in a season.

0: The number of double-digit win seasons by football, single-digit loss seasons by men’s basketball or 50 plus-win seasons by baseball. The last University of Texas class to witness none of the three feats while enrolled in school was the class of 1969.

Freshman pitcher Connor Mayes came in for an inning as one of six Longhorn relievers of the night. Sophomore starter Josh Sawyer lasted just four innings against Sam Houston State. Whereas the Longhorns struggled on the mound, the Bearkats had no problems, holding Texas to just three hits.
Photo Credit: Rachel Zein | Daily Texan Staff

For two weeks, the Longhorns have been looking for a spark to get on track.

Instead, they got more of the same against Sam Houston State on Tuesday night.

The Longhorns failed to score for just the second time this season, only managing three hits. Meanwhile, the Bearkats took advantage of their opportunities with big innings in the fourth and seventh to leave Austin with a 5–0 win.

“We were flat,” head coach Augie Garrido said.

The struggles began early for the Longhorns (19–18), who were coming off of a rough showing against Oklahoma this weekend. Texas batters went down in order in the first three innings, which included two strikeouts looking.

Senior second baseman Brooks Marlow made sure the Longhorns wouldn’t fall victim to the perfect game with a one-out double in the fourth, but his team left him stranded after the next two batters each grounded out to first base.

The Longhorns only got the leadoff batter on base once — in the ninth inning — something the team had been doing early in the season.

“It causes us to put pressure on ourselves,” junior center fielder Ben Johnson said.

Texas finished the game going down in order five times. Sam Houston State junior reliever Jordan Church needed just 10 pitches to retire the side in the seventh and only eight in the eighth.

Texas pitching, which had kept the team in most of the games in the slump, also had a bad night. Sophomore starter Josh Sawyer labored through the first three innings on 56 pitches and then gave up two runs in the fourth, one of which came on a wild pitch.

The bullpen then ran into trouble in the seventh. With two outs in the inning, junior pitcher Travis Duke gave up four-straight hits, allowing Sam Houston State (20–19) to plate another three runs.

“When [Sam Houston State] got the two that was one issue, but when they got the three other ones, it made it a different game,”
Garrido said. 

The loss is Texas’ 10th defeat in the past 12 games and the first time the Longhorns were shutout at home since April 18 last year against TCU.

That loss came at a similar point for the Longhorns, who at that time lost three straight Big 12 series. Garrido said the trick this season is for the team to experience success again.

“They’re still that same person,” Garrido said. “We’re trying to get them to be the ball players that they are.”

The Longhorns will hit the road for a three-game series at Kansas beginning Friday. 

Even with all of the recent struggles at the plate, Garrido said that he still believes in his players going forward.

“I think it’s in there, and it can come out,” Garrido said. “I think it’s a matter of confidence.”

Junior left fielder Ben Johnson had a career day on Sunday. Johnson went 5-for-5 with two RBIs and raised his batting average to .443 on the season.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Led by junior left fielder Ben Johnson, No. 12 Texas secured a 12–4 win and a series split against Stanford (9–8) on Sunday afternoon in Palo Alto, California.

Johnson hit a perfect 5-for-5 and finished the game with two RBIs.

“Ben has worked really hard at his game. … He’s worked very hard in the weight room,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “I think this is really leading towards a level of confidence … that feeling of confidence he has, it’s almost magical. He got five [base hits] today, which is a pretty good season for a lot of people.”

The Longhorns (10–6) got off to a hot start in the first inning, scoring five runs. Johnson led off the first with a single to center field. After Johnson’s leadoff single, Stanford was able to get two outs, but Texas answered with four straight walks to score two runs.

Redshirt junior designated hitter Taylor Stell smacked a two-run single to extend the Longhorns’ lead to 4–0. The Longhorns capped off the inning with an additional run to push the lead to 5–0.

Texas continued its offensive explosion in the second inning. Sophomore catcher Tres Barrera ripped a ball past the left-field fence for a two-run home run to put the Longhorns up 7–0.

Stanford tried to fight its way back into the game, scoring two runs in the third and sixth innings. The Cardinal got the game to within three, but Texas quelled the Cardinal comeback in the seventh inning with a pair of RBI singles from Johnson and senior right fielder Collin Shaw.

In the ninth inning, sophomore center fielder Zane Gurwitz hit a two-run home run to push the Longhorns’ lead to 11–4. Johnson followed Gurwitz’s homer with a triple and scored on Shaw’s single.

Stanford couldn’t find a way to score in the bottom frame and Longhorns finished the game with a 12–4 win.

While the offense was on display Sunday, sophomore starting pitcher Josh Sawyer (2–2) had a solid outing, allowing two runs on four hits. 

“[Sawyer’s] improved each time he’s been out there,” Garrido said. “He’s got a little perfectionist in him, which is part of what makes him good. He practices right, takes his bullpens and really works at them game-like. He’s an up-and-coming star pitcher for us.”

After dropping the first two games of a four-game series, splitting the series was important for the team’s RPI, Garrido said.

“If you split 50-50, you’re coming out of it with a pretty good score,” Garrido said. “But if you go three losses and one win, it really adds up in the wrong way quickly.”

Texas returns home to play Incarnate Word (7–9) at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The game will air on Longhorn Network. 

Junior guard Kendal Yancy turned in 14 points, tying a career high, and freshman forward Myles Turner put up his second straight double-double. However, their big games were for naught as Texas blewa late-game lead to fall to No. 17 Oklahoma, 71–69.
Photo Credit: Joe Capraro | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns had a chance to steal one in Norman, Oklahoma, on Tuesday night.

Big nights from sophomore guard Kendal Yancy and freshman forward Myles Turner had the Longhorns up 5 with 3:34 left. The offense was running smoothly, and the defense was playing hard. It looked as though Texas had No. 17 Oklahoma on the ropes in what could have been a huge conference road win for head coach Rick Barnes and company.

Then Oklahoma sophomore guard Jordan Woodard hit a three. Senior forward TaShawn Thomas followed with a three-point play. Woodard finished an acrobatic layup, and junior forward Ryan Spangler found himself free for a layup on a pick-and-roll.

And, just like that, Texas (17–9, 6–7 Big 12) let one slip right through its hands as Oklahoma escaped, 71–69.

“We did a lot of good things tonight,” Barnes said. “We’re close, but close doesn’t get it done.”

Yancy, who started his fourth straight game, hit big shots for the Longhorns and seems to be finding his confidence. Yancy tied his career high in points with 14 while bringing down six boards.

But with the game on the line and the Longhorns down 2 with just seconds left, it was senior forward Jonathan Holmes who took the big shot for the Longhorns and clanked a deep three from dead on.

Texas almost overcame its turnover problem and ran a smooth offense for most of the game. Oklahoma forced Texas into 13 turnovers, at times instilling a full-court press. The Sooners, on the other hand, took good care of the rock, committing only five turnovers. Texas, despite having athletic players across the board, currently sits last — by a large margin — in the conference in forced turnovers.

For weeks, Texas has been in the zone defense, but against Oklahoma and its plethora of shooters, Texas went back to a man defense. Until the end, the defense was strong, as it held Oklahoma to 36 percent shooting. Turner and junior center Prince Ibeh protected the rim, assisting in a team-record-tying 13 blocks.

After a slow start, Turner turned in his second straight double-double. He scored 17 points with 10 boards and six blocks.

“I feel more confident,” Turner said. “But I still feel like I need to get the ball in the post, that mid-range area.”

Junior guard Javan Felix was efficient with his shots today, as he was perfect from downtown to score 10 points on just six shots.

While Turner, Yancy and Felix turned in admirable performances in a tough road environment, Holmes and sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor disappointed. Holmes was 1-of-6 from deep, with the one being a meaningless, open shot at the buzzer. Taylor was 1-of-10 from the field and disappeared late in the game.

“We just put so much pressure on [Taylor] to do good things,” Yancy said. “On this bus ride home, I’m going to check on him.”

As a team, Texas struggled yet again from long range, connecting on just 8-of-23. Inside the arc, however, Texas shot 50 percent.

Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

After claiming their third Big 12 win last weekend in Lubbock, the Longhorns look to win two straight against the Mountaineers in Austin. West Virginia comes in with a 6-3 record, ranked fourth in the Big 12, while Texas sits at 4-5. Follow here and @texansports on Twitter for live updates and scores. 

2:35- Texas and West Virginia both take the field. Mountaineers receive the ball first. 

2:41 - Q1, 12:36, Texas 0 - West Virginia 0: Longhorns take over on their own 11-yard line.

2:50 - Q1, 6:35, Texas 7 - West Virginia 0: QB Tyrone Swoopes finds TE Geoff Swaim in the back corner of the end zone for the touchdown, capping an 11-play, 90-yard drive for the Longhorns.

2:54 - Q1, 6:27, Texas 7 - West Virginia 0: West Virginia's Mario Alford takes the ensuing kickoff all way into Longhorn territory. The Mountaineers will start with the ball on the Texas 45-yard line.

3:06 - Q1, 3:10, Texas 7 - West Virginia 3: The Longhorns stuff the Mountaineers on the goal-line to force West Virginia to settle for a field-goal.

3:13 - Q1, 2:20, Texas 7 - West Virginia 3: Texas goes three-and-out, and P William Russ muffs the punt. West Virginia starts its drive in Longhorn territory again, this time at the Texas 48-yard line.

3:16 - Q1, 1:00, Texas 7 - West Virginia 3: The Longhorns return the favor, forcing a West Virginia three-and-out and a missed field goal. Texas will take over at its own 36-yard line.

3:19 - Q1, 0:00, Texas 7 - West Virginia 3: At the end of the first quarter, the Longhorns lead West Virginia, 7-0.

3:25 - Q2, 13:04, Texas 7 - West Virginia 3: After a three-and-out, the Longhorns switch to Michael Davidson at punter, who pins the Mountaineers deep in their own territory. West Virginia will start the drive at its own 1-yard line.

3:36 - Q2, 8:56, Texas 14 - West Virginia 3: Junior running back Johnathan Gray breaks off one of the best runs of his career, taking it 39 yards to the end zone to give Texas an 11 point lead. 

3:49 - Q2, 6:19, Texas 21 - West Virginia 3: After another quick stop by the Texas defense, Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray combine to lead the Longhorns down the field, as Gray punches it in to give Texas an 18-point lead over No. 23 West Virginia.

4:00 - Q2, 2:08, Texas 21 - West Virginia 3: Kicker Nick Rose misses yet another field goal for the Longhorns but, on West Virginia's first play from scrimmage, DB Quandre Diggs picks it off for the Longhorns. Texas takes over on the West Virginia 22-yard line.

4:04 - Q2, 1:12, Texas 24 - West Virginia 3: Kicker Nick Rose redeems himself, hitting a 39-yard field goal to extend the Longhorn lead.

4:35 - Q3, 11:45, Texas 24 - West Virginia 3: The Longhorns can't muster anything on their opening drive of the second half and are forced to punt. A penalty gives the Mountaineers great starting field position at their own 42-yard line.

4:45 - Q3, 8:38, Texas 24 - West Virginia 3: LB Jordan Hicks makes a couple huge plays as the Longhorn's stop West Virginia on fourth down and force a turnover. Texas will take over on its own nine yard line.

5:00 - Q3, 4:02, Texas 24 - West Virginia 3: West Virginia misses yet another field goal, keeping the Longhorns up by 21 late in the third quarter.

5:10 - Q3, 0:00, Texas 24 - West Virginia 3: At the end of the third quarter, the Longhorns lead 24 - 3, but West Virginia is driving at the Texas 23-yard line.

5:44 - Q4, 6:38, Texas 26 - West Virginia 16: After a Longhorn safety, West Virginia scores again to close the gap to 10 points mid-way through the fourth quarter.

END, Texas 33 - West Virginia 16: Longhorns win. 

Photo Credit: Joe Capraro | Daily Texan Staff

Not even a full day passed after Texas’ disheartening 40-21 loss to Brigham Young University before head coach Mack Brown felt the need to make a change to his coaching staff.

Now, the burden falls on the players to make changes of their own.

After surrendering a school-record 550 rushing yards to the Cougars last Saturday, Texas’ defense enters into a state of transition. Players took the ousting of defensive coordinator Manny Diaz personally and plan on spending the week fixing the issues that have plagued the defense the past few seasons.

“When you give up 550-some yards on defense and the defensive coordinator gets fired the next day, you kind of feel responsible,” senior cornerback Carrington Byndom said. “We do take that upon ourselves. There’s nothing we can do about it but just continue to get better and strive to keep working for this weekend.”

The Longhorns struggled with poor tackling and allowed the Cougars to plow through the middle of the defense at will. Junior linebacker Jordan Hicks believes fixing the issue starts with better execution and says achieving this starts with ensuring the Longhorn defenders are on the same page on every play.

“I think a lot of that comes with understanding why we’re doing what we’re doing,” Hicks said. “Whatever just needs to be done, like ask more questions, get in the film room more, whatever — we’ve got to be able to know that we’re doing everything right and going through practice and feeling very confident coming out on Saturdays knowing that we’ve prepared.”

Diaz’s replacement is former Texas co-defensive coordinator Greg Robinson, who comes with 36 years of coaching experience. Robinson began working as a football analyst for the Longhorns in July, and Brown believes that he will make an immediate impact in improving the team’s pursuit to the ball. 

“He makes great adjustments,” Brown said. “When he was here before, we tackled very well. We chased the ball. We were very sound fundamentally, and he’s a guy that kids love to play for.”

The Longhorns know enhancing their run defense is a vital step in keeping points off the board and getting the ball back in the hands of the offense. That’s where Robinson comes in — he was successful in stopping the run with a 2004 Texas team that relinquished just 107.4 yards on the ground per game.

Robinson has only four days of practice with his new team before Texas lines up against Ole Miss on Saturday. The coordinator met briefly with the Texas players for the first time Sunday evening, and Hicks admits that he is unsure of whether Robinson will employ changes to the schemes they ran under Diaz.

“I don’t know what to expect defensively,” Hicks said. “I’m not sure if we’re sticking with the same stuff or taking it in a new direction. I have no clue. We haven’t talked about it yet.”

Sophomore running back/ wide receiver Daje Johnson (4) tallied 62 rushing yards and 67 yards through the air while scoring two touchdowns in the Longhorns win over NMSU. 

 

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

The tension was palpable on a hot, sticky evening at the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium for the Longhorns’ season opener Saturday. With less than three minutes remaining in the second quarter, the much-anticipated new up-tempo Texas offense produced more turnovers than points against New Mexico State’s defense, and the attitude of the fans reflected that. Faces betrayed fear, snarks called for jobs and groans rumbled across the sections.

Then, in a matter of seconds, the offense sparked when David Ash connected with John Harris for a 54-yard touchdown with 1:48 left in the first half. From there, the offense blazed en route to a 56-point outburst and a school-record 715 yards of total offense.

The surge doesn’t guarantee success in the future, but the evidence indicates that the pedal-to-the-metal pace may work. Any time a team breaks a school record it’s a positive sign. The offense did have its hiccups, but by the end of the game it did what it was designed to do: wear down a defense.

“I can definitely tell you the tempo showed up in the third and fourth quarter,” co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite said. “You ask any tempo team, and that’s what’s going to happen … You can see in the run game, those two-to-three yard gains in the early first half started turning to five, six, seven, eight, 15, 20, 30-yard runs.”

The Longhorns gained 173 yards on the ground alone in the fourth quarter, and the team’s depth showed. Jalen Overstreet, the fourth or fifth running back on Texas’ depth chart, led the team with 92 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. By the way, Overstreet was a quarterback this time last year.

Texas’ up-tempo attack worked well after the slow start. Each of the Longhorns’ eight touchdown drives spanned less than five minutes, and six of those were in under two minutes. The offense showed an ability to move quickly and an explosiveness that was lacking last season.

The positives certainly outweigh the negatives offensively, but it’s hard to ignore the slow start. Texas was horrible early on. The offensive line wasn’t getting much of a push, Ash made poor decisions and a trio of turnovers stalled drives.

The result of these miscues: Texas failed to score for 27 minutes against the third-worst scoring defense in the Football Bowl Subdivision last season. If that stretch were to come against a Big 12 opponent, the end result would be different. It’s tough on a defense to see the field so much in such a short time, especially when it doesn’t have a cushion to lean on.

“When you have two three-and-outs, your defense is right back out there if you have a turnover,” head coach Mack Brown said. “So if you’re going to do it, and we are going to do it, you need to stay on the field.”

The offense flashed breakout ability, and now it must find the consistency that makes a group go from dangerous to potent.

Big 12 play is just two weeks away and the Longhorns are already early favorites to win the conference.

All nine coaches from the other Big 12 schools gave Texas, the reigning Big 12 Champions, their first-place votes for preseason favorite. Baylor received one first place vote from Longhorns coach Patty Fendick-McCain.

Despite the early billing, the Longhorns dropped 15 spots to No. 29 in the team standings. However, Aerial Ellis, No. 28 singles player, and Breaunna Addison, No. 35, moved up in the singles rankings.

Texas will need a strong showing against visiting Rice to validate its selection as conference favorites.

Rice brings two ranked players in singles, No. 71 Natalie Beazant and No. 80 Dominique Harmath.

Beazant will be a challenge for whoever faces her. The sophomore is coming off of a freshman campaign filled with accolades. She claimed Conference USA Player and Freshman of the Year honors, as well as conference first team honors in singles and doubles play.

Texas and Rice start dual match play at the Penick-Allison Center Saturday at noon.

Junior Bailey Webster goes up for one of her 15 kills during Texas’ sweep of Colgate on Thursday.

Photo Credit: Zachary Strain | Daily Texan Staff

Why Texas won:

Swiftly and easily, Texas dominated its first NCAA tournament game against Colgate on Thursday night, swallowing the Raiders and starting the postseason on a strong note.

By the numbers:

4: Number of points allowed by the Longhorns in the first set, the fewest allowed in UT history for non-fifth sets since 2001.
.543: The Longhorns’ hitting percentage, their second-highest of the season
15: Number of kills junior Bailey Webster launched, the highest number of kills on the team

Set by set:

Set One

Bailey Webster’s three subsequent kills at the beginning of the set gave way to more powerful swats and slaps from the Longhorns along with four service aces. One final explosive kill by sophomore Haley Eckerman led to set point, as Texas concluded the set, 25-4.

Set Two

Four straight Texas points and two back-to-back kills by sophomore Khat Bell launched the second set, which included 10.5 Webster points. The set ended on Bell’s kill, 25-11.

Set Three

After an initial Webster kill, Colgate inched up closer to Texas and upped the score. Two back-to-back Bell kills allowed Texas to pull away, 14-9, as freshman middle blocker Sara Hattis stepped in, launching a kill of her own as well as a double-block with junior setter Hannah Allison. The Longhorns completed the sweep at 25-15.

Tournament Tidbits

The numbers were in Texas’ favor: in first round NCAA matches, the Longhorns are 24-0 and have appeared in 29 NCAA tournaments. Starting in 1982, the Longhorns earned their spots in 18 straight NCAA tournaments. Only two other teams, Penn State and Florida, have advanced to the NCAA third round seven times in the past eight years.

Up Next:

After defeating North Carolina State, the Texas A&M Aggies will find themselves once again facing their rival Longhorns. The two Texas schools play at 7 p.m. in Gregory Gym, preceded by a Fan Fest from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Gregory plaza in honor of the game.

Printed on Friday, November 30, 2012 as: Efficient offense leads Texas over Colgate

Players to Watch

Terrance Williams - Baylor Senior Receiver

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Nick Florence
Florence entered this season with possibly the toughest job of any other player in the nation; replacing Heisman trophy winner Robert Griffin III. He isn’t the game changer RG3 was and doesn’t propel the Bears to that level, but the senior has put together a solid year. Florence has completed 63 percent of his passes this season, with 1,874 passing yards and 18 touchdowns. Florence is a smaller quarterback standing at 6-foot-1, but his arm strength and accuracy are second to none in the Big 12 thus far in the season. Although the Bears are 0-2 in the conference at this point, Florence’s arm and poise have kept them in both contests. Against West Virginia, Florence had a career game passing for 581 yards and five touchdowns despite being overshadowed by Geno Smith. The Texas defense has proven vulnerable to solid passing attacks this season, so Florence should be a player to watch when the Bears takes on the Longhorns this week.

Terrance Williams
Every quarterback needs at least one reliable receiver to throw the ball to when the game is on the line. Williams fits that bill perfectly. At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Williams possesses impressive quickness and the ability to pick up yards after the catch. in five games he has amassed 37 catches for 830 yards and eight touchdowns. It should be noted that 314 of these yards came in the shootout against West Virginia, but Williams has proven to be a man of consistency, compiling at least 100 yards and two touchdown catches in all but one game this season. Williams is a receiver that pads his stats with speed. He is currently averaging 22 yards per catch, and has recorded a reception for at least 45 yards in every game this season. The Longhorns have had a hard time tackling speedy receivers so the coverage should be tight with Williams. Fans should expect Terrence Williams to make a big impact in this game.

Bryce Hager
Hager currently leads the Bears in total tackles this season with 61 and is third nationally with 12.2 per game. Hager is a stocky defender who causes the most trouble in stopping the run game. Hager has also forced two fumbles. Two other factors that will boost Hager’s play are location and history. The sophomore defender is an Austin Westlake product and will probably look to step up his game in his hometown and his father, Britt Hager (1986-88), is Texas’ career tackles leader. A strong and compact run stopper, Hager should be a player for Texas to keep in their sights as he returns to Austin for a matchup against the rival Longhorns.