Posted on: December 16, 2011 3:38 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
A look at the key matchup that could decide the Holiday Bowl
Texas running backs Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron versus California linebacker Mychal Kendricks
There are plenty of match ups to watch for in this game but Texas' two running backs against the Pac-12 defensive player of the year should be a focus if you're watching at home. Both Brown (turf toe, knee) and Bergeron (hamstring) have been hurt and missed time during the second half of the season but have been practicing and should be full strength for the bowl game.
They're going to need to be 100% against Kendricks. The heart and soul of the Bears' defense, Kendricks was a big reason why the team was solid on that side of the ball despite having to replace several contributors. He averaged eight tackles a game and was third in the conference in tackles for loss at over one per game. His pass defense is pretty good too despite being a bit undersized at 6-foot, 240-pounds and learning the inside linebacker position this season after a few years on the outside.
Highly touted out of high school, Brown took most of the rushing load this season for the Longhorns and finished 7th in the Big 12 in yards. Bergeron was more of a surprise but did just as well, if not better, with fewer carries. The loss of Fozzy Whittaker put even more on the two freshmen and with both battling injuries, was a big factor in the offense slowing down.
Texas needs the ground game to be effective to take pressure off of their so-so quarterbacks and the Longhorns need Brown and Bergeron to be healthy and productive if they want a chance to win. They'll be squaring off against a great, experienced linebacker in Kendricks however. Should be a fun match up to watch.
You can read our complete Holiday Bowl preview here.
Posted on: November 15, 2011 5:45 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
TEXAS WILL WIN IF: The Longhorns are going to have to adapt to life without Fozzy Whittaker. He wasn't the team's leading rusher, in fact he's third on the team with 386 yards, but he was the key to Texas' Wildcat formation. The good news is that as long as Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron can play, the Longhorns still have plenty of talent at running back, even without the offense's vocal leader. Still, it won't be easy to find running space against a Kansas State defense that is third in the Big 12 in rushing yards allowed per game (117.2) and has only given up 16 rushing touchdowns on the season. What's tougher than running against Kansas State? Keeping Kansas State, particularly Collin Klein, from running against you. Though this is a Texas team that has the best rushing defense in the Big 12 and has only allowed 9 touchdowns all season. This will be the toughest test that Manny Diaz's unit has faced this year. If it can prove capable of slowing down Klein, then the Longhorns can win this game.
KANSAS STATE WILL WIN IF: On defense the Wildcats are going to have to take away the Texas ground game. It won't be easy, but the fact of the matter is that this Texas offense needs to run to have success. David Ash is not a passing quarterback yet, and when the Longhorns lost Fozzy Whittaker last week it was ugly. If the Wildcats can avoid their recent trend of getting down early in games and actually build a lead and force Texas to throw more than it wants to, this could get out of hand quickly. On offense, the formula will remain the same. Collin Klein right, Collin Klein left, Collin Klein up the middle. Sprinkle in a pass here and there, mix, and voila! Touchdowns. Though it's not going to be easy against this Texas defense.
X-FACTOR: John Hubert. This Texas defense is good enough against the run that it can slow down Collin Klein if the Wildcats become too dependent on their quarterback. The best way for Kansas State to make sure that doesn't happen will be if Hubert can find some room and make the Texas front seven respect the option. If Hubert isn't able to pick up yards and the Texas defense is allowed to key solely on Klein, Kansas State could be in trouble.
Posted on: November 13, 2011 8:42 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The news was somewhat expected after seeing the injury on Saturday, but Texas confirmed the worst for running back Fozzy Whittaker on Sunday night. The school announced that Whittaker had suffered a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee, which ends Whittaker's 2011 season and college career.
Whittaker suffered the injury during the first quarter on Saturday in Texas' loss to Missouri.
The impact of Whittaker was very evident in that loss, as the Longhorns offense seemed lost without him. Not helping matters was that Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron were both out of the game as well. Still, even when those two return, Whittaker will not be easy to replace.
As well as being a special teams threat on kick returns, Whittaker also runs the Wildcat formation for the Texas offense. A formation that Bryan Harsin's offense had been using with great results in the last few weeks.
Whittaker finishes his career at Texas with 1,233 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. He had 386 yards and 6 rushing touchdowns this season.
Posted on: November 12, 2011 3:26 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 3:27 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
MISSOURI WON. This was not the prettiest game ever played, and a lot of it had to do with the wind howling through Columbia, Missouri on Saturday. The difference maker was that Missouri was able to run the ball a lot more effectively than the Longhorns and used it to put points on the board. Though just because the Mizzou ground game was more effective than Texas', it doesn't mean it was that great. The Tigers averaged only 3.4 yards per carry on the day and finished with 151 yards on the day. Kendall Lawrence did most of the damage, as Henry Josey left the game in the second half with what looked like a knee injury. Lawrence finished the day with 106 yards and a touchdown.
WHY MISSOURI WON. Not to take anything away from Missouri in this game, but the entire game changed with the injury to Texas running back Fozzy Whittaker in the first quarter. The Longhorns came into the game already missing both Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron, and once Whittaker went down the Texas offense could get nothing going against this Missouri defense.
WHEN MISSOURI WON. As I said above, this game was probably over when Whittaker left the game. Still, things weren't officially over until Mack Brown and Texas decided to punt twice in the fourth quarter after there were only six minutes left in the game and they trailed by 12. It seemed as though the Longhorns were waving the white flag.
WHAT MISSOURI WON. Well, this is a huge win for Missouri for a couple of reasons. It's the first time Missouri has beaten Texas under Gary Pinkel, and the first time it's beaten Texas under anybody since 1997. More importantly for this season, however, the win improved the Tigers record to 5-5 on the season and leaves them only a win shy of bowl eligibility.
WHAT TEXAS LOST. The Longhorns had built up a nice amount of momentum the last few weeks behind their ground game, but with so many injuries to the backfield, this team will have a hard time winning games if it has to throw the ball. The Longhorns will have to get healthy in a hurry if they want to finish the season with a winning record in the Big 12.
THAT WAS CRAZY. There was a bit of a Blocked Punt Party in this game during the third quarter. Missouri blocked a Texas punt to set itself up with a first and goal at the 1-yard line, but only got a field goal out of it. A few minutes later Texas returned the favor by blocking a Missouri punt, sending the ball out the back of the end zone for a safety.
Posted on: November 12, 2011 12:50 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 12:50 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The depth Texas has at running back is being severly tested on Saturday afternoon. The Longhorns were already without both Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron heading into today's game against Missouri, and now the Longhorns will be without Fozzy Whittaker.
Whittaker hurt his right knee while making a cut on a run in the first quarter. Whittaker immediately went to the ground clutching the knee and looked to be in a lot of pain. There is no official word on what the injury is, but according to sideline reports, Whittaker will not be returning to the game.
Which means that Bryan Harsin will have to rely on D.J. Monroe, Jeremy Hills, and Cody Johnson for the rest of the afternoon.
Texas came into this game rushing for more than 400 yards in each of its last two games, but it looks like it will have to rely on the arm of quarterback David Ash a bit more today.
Posted on: November 6, 2011 1:13 am
Edited on: November 6, 2011 1:26 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
A handy recap of who really won and who really lost that you won't find in the box score.
WINNER: Oklahoma State's BCS title dreams
This was here last week as well, but that doesn't change the fact that it's true. Though Kansas State gave Oklahoma State just about everything it could handle on Saturday night the Cowboys still emerged from the scorched earth and rumbling fault line that was Boone Pickens Stadium with a win. Now the Cowboys are 9-0 on the season and will move up in the BCS standings to the second spot after Alabama's loss to LSU.
So as long as Oklahoma State keeps winning -- and there are still three games to go, so nothing is guaranteed -- then it's going to end up in New Orleans. There is no Big 12 title game to get in the way, though a game against Oklahoma will serve as the Big 12 championship, but at least it's played in Stillwater and not Jerry World.
WINNER: Brandon Weeden's Heisman hopes
With Alabama losing that hurts Trent Richardson's chances because voters tend to vote for the best players on the best teams, and since Alabama has a loss now, they won't be considered one of the best teams. It's stupid, but it's reality. Now, Weeden likely won't be able to pass Andrew Luck without Stanford suffering a loss, but he's still the quarterback of the #2 team in the country. That alone is enough to get you consideration these days, let alone the fact that Weeden's now thrown for 3,212 yards this season and 26 touchdowns on one of the best offenses in the country.
LOSER: Ryan Broyles
To be clear, there has never been an injury suffered by any player that I've enjoyed. Every single one of them stinks, but Ryan Broyles' torn ACL on Saturday made me sadder than most. This is a kid that has not only been a great player during his career at Oklahoma, but someone who passed up on the chance to become a millionaire in the NFL last spring so he could return to Norman and play for a national title. Now his season is over and his draft stock is going to plummet. This world has never been fair, but sometimes it's just downright cruel.
LOSER: Preseason expectations
Before this season started Texas A&M was ranked 8th in the AP poll and 9th in the Coaches poll. Well, just in case you needed any more evidence to see why preseason polls are absolutely ridiculous since we're offering opinions on teams before seeing a single down played, just look at Texas A&M. After getting beat soundly by Oklahoma on Saturday the Aggies are now 5-4 and 3-3 in the Big 12 staring at a date in the Alamo or Sun Bowl. Considering that the school is moving to the SEC next year, those preseason expectations may also end up costing Mike Sherman his job.
WINNER: Smashmouth football in Austin
Why should Bryan Harsin even bother calling a pass at this point? Over the last two weeks he's seen his offense rush for 880 yards and 11 touchdowns. After scoring 6 rushing touchdowns against Texas Tech it's the first time the Longhorns have run for at least 5 scores in consecutive games since 2005. Making things even more impressive, the Longhorns didn't even have Malcolm Brown available on Saturday. The combination of Brown and Joe Bergeron over the next few seasons, with some David Ash mixed in, is going to keep defensive coordinators up at night.
LOSER: Justin Tucker
Who is Justin Tucker? I'm glad you asked. Justin Tucker is Texas' punter. He's only had to punt once the last two weeks. Though I suppose that could just as easily make him a winner. Plus, at least he's also the placekicker and gets to kick field goals from time to time. Just to keep his leg from falling asleep.
WINNER: Baylor's offensive virility
Yes Baylor was able to put up a lot of yards in its last two games against Texas A&M and Oklahoma State, but it still wasn't able to put a lot of points on the scoreboard in either matchup. That changed on Saturday night against Missouri when the Bears not only scored 42 points to beat Missouri 42-39, but also picked up a school record of 697 yards of total offense in the process. Robert Griffin was responsible for 470 of those yards and 4 touchdowns while Terrence Ganaway rushed for 186 yards on only 12 carries. 15.5 yards per carry is a pretty good clip.
LOSER: Texas Tech
What the hell has happened, Raiders? Two weeks ago you were ahead of Oklahoma 31-7 in the second half, preparing to shock the world. Since then you've been outscored 124-37. I mean, you lost to Iowa State 41-7 last week and Iowa State was only able to beat Kansas 13-10 on Saturday night. Kansas!
WINNER: Speaking of Iowa State...
Hey, so it wasn't pretty, but the Cyclones picked up a 13-10 win against Kansas on Saturday night. The win improved Paul Rhoads' team to 5-4 on the season, which means it's only one win shy of bowl eligibility. That's great news for the program. Unfortunately, here's the bad news: Iowa State's last three games are against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State.
LOSER: Kansas' chances of winning a Big 12 game in 2011
Listen, we all know Kansas is a bad football team. I'm not going to pile on the program even more, but the school's best chance of winning a Big 12 game this season was on Saturday night in Ames, and the Jayhawks fell short 13-10. Now the Jayhawks finish the year with Baylor, Texas A&M and Missouri. Three teams who aren't untouchable by any means, but I'm not liking Kansas' chances in any of them.
Tags: Alabama, Andrew Luck, Baylor, Big 12, Brandon Weeden, Bryan Harsin, David Ash, Iowa State, Joe Bergeron, Justin Tucker, Kansas, Kansas State, LSU, Malcolm Brown, Mike Sherman, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Paul Rhoads, Robert Griffin, Ryan Broyles, Terrence Ganaway, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Texas Tech, Tom Fornelli, Trent Richardson, Winners And Losers
Posted on: November 5, 2011 3:34 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2011 3:35 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
TEXAS WON. For the second week in a row the Longhorns looked dominant against an opponent. Last week it was Kansas on the other end of a beatdown, and this week it was Texas Tech's turn. The trio pictured to the right -- Fozzy Whittaker, Joe Bergeron, and D.J. Monroe -- did most of the damage for Texas on Saturday, as the Longhorns rushed for 416 yards and 6 touchdowns, averaging 8.2 yards per carry on the day.
WHY TEXAS WON. Simply put, Texas Tech just couldn't stop the Texas rushing attack. Bergeron finished with 191 yards and 3 touchdowns, and Whittaker had 83 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hell, even wide receiver Marquis Goodwin picked up 45 yards rushing on 2 carries, as he just wanted to get his hands on the ball considering Texas only threw 9 times in 63 plays on offense.
WHEN TEXAS WON. When Joe Bergeron scored his first touchdown of the day with 1:46 left in the first half to give Texas a 31-6 lead, there was no reason to believe the Red Raiders would mount any kind of comeback in the second half considering they hadn't stopped Texas once in the entire first half.
WHAT TEXAS WON. The respect is coming back. While Texas is not on the same level as either of the Oklahoma schools in the Big 12 -- which their two losses showed -- there's a chance that Texas may be the third best team in the Big 12 conference. In fact, if the Longhorns play like they have the last two weeks on both sides of the ball for the rest of the year, then I wouldn't be shocked to see the Longhorns finish third in the conference and go to the Holiday Bowl. Not a terrible end to the season after what took place in 2010.
WHAT TEXAS TECH LOST. What isn't Texas Tech losing at this point? The program was on a high two weeks ago after beating Oklahoma, but even in that game it had to hold on to dear life after blowing a 31-7 lead. Since then it's been blown out at home by Iowa State and now was manhandled by Texas. Tech is now 5-4 on the season and needs another win to get to a bowl game, but with Oklahoma State, Missouri and Baylor left on the schedule, there's no guarantee they'll get it.
THAT WAS CRAZY. The Texas offense had 10 possessions on Saturday, and scored on 8 of them. The only 2 possessions that Texas didn't score on? Those were stopped by halftime and the end of the game.
Posted on: October 30, 2011 12:22 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
A handy recap of who really won and who really lost that you won't find in the box score.
WINNER: Oklahoma State's title chances
Coming into Saturday's action, Oklahoma State joined LSU, Alabama, Stanford, Clemson, Kansas State, Boise State and Houston as the only unbeaten teams remaining in the country. It was also ranked third in the BCS. Well, after a full day of action, you can scratch both Clemson and Kansas State off the list. With LSU and Alabama playing again next week, one more unbeaten will fall and should Oklahoma State beat Kansas State, it's going to move into the top two of the BCS rankings.
There's a long way to go in this season still, but things are lining up nicely for Mike Gundy's team, especially since Oklahoma State won't have to play in a conference title game (like Alabama, LSU or Stanford) and it'd certainly be ranked ahead of Boise State and Houston if all three of those schools finish unbeaten. So all Oklahoma State has to do is keep winning. That shouldn't be that hard, right?
LOSER: The Kansas State mystique
Did I ever really feel that Kansas State was a legitimate contender for the Big 12 title this season? No, not really, but I wanted to. It was just such a great story for the program and Bill Snyder in his second stint in Manhattan, and I wanted it to last as long as possible. If for nothing more than the story. Unfortunately Oklahoma closed the book on Kansas State in the second half on Saturday, taking what had been a close game in the first half and turning it into a laugher with 35 unanswered second half points. Considering that Kansas State has to travel to Stillwater next week, I don't think things will get much better.
WINNER: James Franklin
Admittedly, I've been a bit rough on the Missouri quarterback this season. Though, in my defense, he's been tough on himself too, pinning the blame for last week's loss against Oklahoma State on himself thanks to turnovers. Well, Franklin can still be a bit up and down at times for my taste, but he's only a sophomore and he showed us all how good things can be when he's on an upswing against Texas A&M. Franklin finished the day with 295 yards and 4 total touchdowns in Missouri's comeback overtime win against the Aggies. Most importantly, Franklin didn't turn the ball over a single time.
LOSER: Texas A&M's chances in the SEC
You know, following the loss against Missouri on Saturday and including the loss against Arkansas earlier this season, Texas A&M is 0-2 in the SEC this season. It's 3-1 in the Big 12. Might want to reconsider that move, Aggies.
WINNER: Freshman running backs in Austin
Texas didn't exactly have much trouble against Kansas on Saturday night, and a big reason why was the combination of two of Texas' freshman running backs. Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron combined to carry the ball 41 times for 255 yards and 4 touchdowns. Yes, it was against Kansas, but that kind of performance has to make Mack Brown and Bryan Harsin feel pretty good about the future of the Longhorn backfield.
LOSER: Kansas football fans
It has not been a fun season to be a fan of Kansas football in 2011. In fact, it's been pretty horrific for the most part. Still, even though the Jayhawks defense has been terrible, the Kansas offense has played pretty well. The Jayhawks came into Saturday night's game averaging 30 points and 400 yards of offense per game. Those numbers are going to drop after Saturday night's game. The Kansas offense didn't record a single point against Texas, though in its defense, it's really hard to score points when you only manage 46 yards of total offense. No, I didn't miss a number there, it was 46 yards. In the entire game. Sorry, Kansas fans, but basketball season starts soon enough. Until then, I suggest whiskey.
WINNER: Jared Barnett
He took a vicious blow to the head in his first career start, and I didn't think he should return to the game, but it will still be hard for Jared Barnett to forget his first career start at Iowa State. He wasn't the most efficient quarterback throwing the ball, completing 14 of his 26 passes for 155 yards and a score, but he kept the chains moving plenty of times with his legs. Barnett rushed for 92 yards and another score, as Iowa State pulled off one of the biggest surprises I've seen in the Big 12 this season, knocking off Texas Tech 41-7 in Lubbock. I think it's safe to say that the QB job is Barnett's to keep.
LOSER: Sam Bradford
I don't think the former Oklahoma quarterback will be all that upset about it, but Sam Bradford saw his name erased from the Oklahoma record books on Saturday afternoon. Landry Jones shattered Bradford's record for most passing yards in a single game by an Oklahoma quarterback. Bradford's mark of 468 yards fell to Bradford's 505-yard performance, and it wasn't the only record Jones broke on the day. His five touchdown passes on Saturday gave Jones 90 career touchdown passes, more than any Oklahoma quarterback in history.
Tags: Alabama, Arkansas, Big 12, Bill Snyder, Boise State, Bryan Harsin, Clemson, Houston, Iowa State, Jared Barnett, Joe Bergeron, Kansas, Kansas State, Landry Jones, LSU, Mack Brown, Malcolm Brown, Mike Gundy, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Sam Bradford, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tom Fornelli, Winners And Losers