Stopping the run, establishing solid ground game essential again for Texas this week

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Texas wins if...

...it gets the ground game established. After averaging 3.4 yards per carry in back to back weeks, the Longhorns desperately need to unleash their stable of running backs to salvage the season. The offensive line, which returned all five starters from a season ago, has been a massive disappointment through three weeks and has kept the offense from getting into a consistent rhythm at any point. Johnathan Gray had nearly 100 yards in the first half against Ole Miss, and the Longhorns were able to take the lead into halftime. The second half was a different story, as Gray could only muster nine rushing yards, and the offense dried up. The pattern is disturbing and it needs to be corrected, whether they pass to open up the run or finally decide to punch their opponent in the mouth at the point of contact. The defense has resembled a dumpster fire so far in 2013, and getting a rushing attack established helps sustain drives and keeps them off the field. If Texas can get to around five yards-per-carry on Saturday, they will have a chance to start Big 12 play 1-0.

 

Texas loses if...

...no one on the defensive side of the football figures out how to stop the zone read. A week after giving up 550 yards on the ground to BYU, Ole Miss came to Austin and did their best impression of the Cougars. While they didn’t eclipse half a thousand like the Cougars did in Provo, they did rumble for 272 yards on 45 carries, good for six yards per carry. As Mack Brown said this week, if Kansas State wasn’t running the zone read before, they’ll install it this week and bring it to Austin. Jake Waters has taken most of the snaps at quarterback for the Wildcats up to this point in the season but backup quarterback Daniel Sams has averaged 7.5 yards on his 21 carries and could fit more of what the Wildcats will try to do to the Longhorns this weekend, which is pound the rock. If Texas once again cannot stop the ground game, Texas will more than likely find itself with its first 1-3 start since 1956.