September 12, 2009
2:30 p.m. Central
Needless to say, it’s been an interesting week in college football, and in particular in the Big 12 and the South division. As loyal Eyes Of TX readers know, last week oklahoma lost a heartbreaker to BYU in Dallas, and with it, several key players; Colorado continued to slump in week two, including Friday night’s blowout loss to Toledo, to drop to 0-2; and, Iowa State, Texas A&M and Baylor surprised even college football’s loyalists. The ‘Horns remain #2 in the latest USA Today poll going in to week two; read more about last week’s games in Eyes Of TX’s Big 12 week one recaps here.
Eyes Of TX’s Prediction
Texas 55, Wyoming 10
Wyoming Cowboys (1-0)
Have you ever been to Wyoming? If not, here’s hoping that this will be the first and only time the ‘Horns travel to Laramie to face the Cowboys. Much is being made of the game at Wyoming, and it’s not for the football team. It’s for the altitude – over 7,000 feet above sea level.
The Cowboys are 1-0, defeating Weber State in week one by a score of 29-22, and you might be wondering what there is to know about their team. You’re not the only one, but here’s a name you might recognize – Dave Christensen. Not ringing any bells? Christensen, in his first year as Wyoming’s head coach (and head coaching job period), was previously the Missouri Tigers offensive coordinator for eight years. He is considered one of the offensive geniuses in college football, and was regularly considered for the Frank Broyles Award, given to the country’s top college football assistant coach. Now that we’ve explored all we currently know about Wyoming football, let’s dig a little deeper.
On offense, the ‘Horns could see two quarterbacks from the Cowboys, junior Robert Benjamin or freshman Austyn Carta-Samuels, as both played last week. Unfortunately for Christensen, neither did much to win last week’s game as they combined for just 188 yards in the air and completed less 50 percent of their passes. Benjamin is the more athletic of the two quarterbacks, and he will test the Texas defense with his legs as much as his arm, as he rushed for seven times for 32 yards in week one. In the backfield, the Cowboys lost their key starters, and the replacement this season is 5’11” 204-pound Darius Terry, and he rushed for 99 yards and two TDs against Weber State. He can run both inside and make the edge, and expect Christensen to use him in space to keep the ‘Horns defense honest rushing the quarterback – lots of screen passes can be expected. At wide receiver, the depth is next to none, and experience even less (a combined three TDs last year) – there is no standout, and in the spread offense that can spell trouble, especially in game two of a new offensive scheme. The offensive line is solid, but not great, and they should play a solid half of football before the Texas defensive line begins to dominate late.
On defense, the Cowboys run a base 3-4 defense, meaning they’ll start three down lineman and four linebackers. This week, that won’t work out well, as with no standout players at any of those positions, and the linebackers being forced to make plays and cover the Longhorns’ speedy 4- and 5-wide sets, Texas should have the big-time advantage on offense. While their defensive backs had five INTs last week, they also gave up 322 yards to a D-II school, and that doesn’t pan out for well when the opposing team this week is one of the highest-scoring offenses in the country.
There is no doubt the crowd in Laramie will be up for this game – it’s the biggest game in Wyoming football history – but the crowd doesn’t play the game, and they’ll become a non-factor in the first half. Expect the Cowboys’ fans to pack it up, head to their trucks, and go mend some barbed-wire fence on the prairie by halftime.
#2 Texas Longhorns (1-0)
This should be a another runaway game for the ‘Horns. Quarterback Colt McCoy led the team to 562 yards of offense and 59 points in their opening week. Most of that, unfortunately in this blogger’s eyes, was primarily driven by the passing game. But, McCoy stayed healthy and, despite eight incompletions, he looked strong in his 2009 campaign debut. The offensive line is banged up already – which isn’t a good sign early in the season, but hopefully they are only minor injuries – so you’ll see Tray Allen move back over to the offensive side of the ball to provide depth this week. With the injuries, the big boys up front need to gel again early and keep McCoy’s jersey clean – Longhorn fans don’t want a Sam Bradford incident.
Defensively, you can be sure that defensive coordinator Will Muchamp had his boys up early, working hard and getting their butts kicked all week in practice, as they gave up 20 points to an overmatched Louisiana-Monroe offense, including several break-downs in the secondary that cost the ‘Horns points (and the Vegas spread). That long Warhawks touchdown pass – if you didn’t notice, that defensive back (to remain nameless since it’s early in the season) didn’t play another down the rest of the football game last Saturday. You think he learned his lesson? Don’t mess with Texas? I say don’t mess with Muschamp.
Given the success, or lack thereof, of Wyoming’s pass defense last week – they gave up 322 yards and three TDs to a D-II school – should lean heavily to the ‘Horns advantage on Saturday. While the Cowboys had five INTs to keep them in the game, they weren’t playing against the most efficient quarterback in NCAA history last week. Pure and simple, the Texas offense should out-man Wyoming’s athletes up and down the field. Eyes Of TX would like to see more from the running game – particularly holding on to the football – and you can expect to see a bit more D.J. Monroe this game as offensive coordinator Greg Davis has said they’ll try to get Monroe about 12 to 20 touches a game. How about 200 yards rushing this week?
On defense, expect Muschamp to have his lineman and linebackers trying to put more pressure on the quarterback this week, especially with Christensen bringing his Big 12-like spread offense to Laramie. No sacks last week? Expect to see at least three or four this week as the boys get after it to create chaos in the backfield. The defensive backs will focus on keeping their man in front of them, making solid tackles, and not giving up the big plays, while the big guys up front create plays to get the offense back out on the field.
The following Longhorns will sit out the Wyoming game due to injuries – Michael Huey, OL (ankle), Mason Walters, OL (ankle), and Jared Norton, LB (shoulder) – while three others remain on academic suspension – Deon Beasley (CB), Brandon Collins (WR), and Christian Scott (S).