It was a long day for David Ash the first time he faced Oklahoma State.
Making his first career start, Ash threw the ball 40 times — as many attempts as he had in his first five games combined. He completed 22 passes for just 139 yards and was picked off twice in the 38-26 loss to the Cowboys in Austin last October. Ash gets another shot at them in Stillwater, Okla., this Saturday.
“I remember trying to do too much [against Oklahoma State] last year,” Ash said. “I was trying to squeeze balls in little tiny windows that weren’t really windows.”
Two games later, Ash only attempted seven passes, completing four in a 52-20 victory over Texas Tech. The Longhorns rushed for more than 400 yards for the second straight game, but their passing game was almost literally nonexistent. It got so bad that someone joked to wide receiver Mike Davis that Texas had turned into a triple option-style Georgia Tech team.
“I didn’t know what to say,” Davis said. “It was terrible. But we’re all on the same page now. We’ve always been good running, now we’re clicking in our passing game. Our offense is so good now... [Ash] was kind of shocked sometimes. It just wasn’t clicking for him but he’s overcome that.”
Ash has come a long way since last October. Fast forward 11 months and you’ll find a sophomore signal-caller who has thrown seven touchdown passes without getting picked off, a quarterback who has gone from being a liability to one of the offense’s biggest assets.
He threw for 326 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-point win over Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss., two weekends ago. The last time Texas had that good a game from its quarterback, the NCAA’s all-time winningest quarterback was under center.
“I’ve seen glimpses of it the whole time I’ve been here,” junior guard Mason Walters said. “The guy — and you know his number — Colt, he was the last guy to be able to do that. David’s completely different. I hope to see it more.”
Despite boasting the nation’s most productive offense and playing at home this weekend, Oklahoma State is a three-point underdog against Texas. Ash’s performance against the Rebels is a big reason why.
“It’s been a while and it was definitely a great game for all of us,” junior guard Trey Hopkins said. “David did a great job of leading the team. He made very good decisions throughout the game and [made] communication with the offensive line. That’s one of the biggest things that we haven’t had too often since I’ve been here.”
The Big 12 is full of some of the most high-flying offenses in the country. Unlike last year, Ash has proved he can keep up.
Printed on Thursday, September 27, 2012 as: More seasoned Ash faces OSU rematch