Texas Defense Dominates
Longhorns ram Jayhawks 23-0 in UK Coach Weis' last game before firing
By Eric Sollenberger,
9:50AM, Mon. Sep. 29, 2014
The Texas Longhorns marched into Lawrence, Kan., on Saturday afternoon and dispatched the Jayhawks 23-0. The game wasn’t much of a contest, and it definitely wasn’t pretty. Both offenses struggled to get into a rhythm, but Texas’ defense made the difference.
Longhorn quarterback Tyronne Swoopes played mistake-free football and took advantage of the field position that his defense and special teams provided. Swoopes threw for 218 yards on 19/34 attempts, and most importantly – zero interceptions. Despite a somewhat shaky start, the second-year quarterback looks more confident in his passing and running attempts.
While the offense was serviceable, the story of the day was the Texas defense. They had four interceptions – two by Duke Thomas – and they put their offense in great field position. Texas Head Coach Charlie Strong was happy with the defensive production, but lamented the same offense that has struggled to show consistency, saying, “This week we probably should have scored more points than we did, but the defense played a great game so we’re just happy to get a win.”
Kansas limited Longhorn running backs Malcolm Brown and Jonathan Gray to only 73 rushing yards on 25 attempts and made the Longhorns too reliant on the inexperienced arm of Swoopes. Brown and Gray both came to Texas as two of the highest rated recruits in the country, but so far neither one has emerged as the type of game-changing running back that UT had hoped for. They’ve had some good performances to be sure, but Texas is going to need both of them to step up if the Horns expect to finish in the top half of the Big 12 this year.
The big upshot coming from this game was the removal of Charlie Weis as Kansas’ head coach. Weis had amassed a dismal 6-22 record while at UK, and the shutout loss against Texas was the final straw. It was a bit of a surprise move considering the Jawhawks were off to their best start of the Weis era, but things have changed a lot in the Big 12 and losing to the Longhorns 23-0 is a fireable offense.
Now Texas has to deal with the most brutal part of their 2014 schedule with back-to-back games against Baylor and Oklahoma. It would go a long way towards selling Longhorn fans on Charlie Strong’s leadership if they can pull off an upset in either game, but that’s going to be an extremely tall order considering their next two opponents are in the AP top 7. Even if Texas’ defense plays at a high level next week, their offense is probably going to need more than 23 points to compete against Art Briles’ Baylor Bears.
UT Football plays Baylor on Saturday, Oct. 4, 2:30pm in Austin. Read Eric Sollenberger's game preview in Thursday's print issue.