Texas v. Colorado

TEXAS LONGHORNS v. COLORADO BUFFALOES
TGIF, Longhorn fans!

What a week in college football! I thought my weekend couldn’t be much better after #1 USC self-destructed in Corvallis, but to my dismay, other top teams around the country went down in dramatic fashion, including #4 Florida (to Ole Miss, at the hand of former Texas QB Jevan Snead), #9 Wisconsin (to Michigan), and then #3 Georgia (to #8 Alabama). Tough week for the SEC, Big Ten and Pac-10. That all accumulated with rankings at the end of the weekend putting three Big 12 teams in the top 5 nationally – oklahoma #1, Missouri #3, and Texas #5. It’s time to stay focused, boys, because it only gets harder from here on out.

Good coaches usually break a season in to three parts in order to keep their players focused – 4 non-conference games, and then the first and second parts of the conference schedule. Texas had it easy until now. The next 5 weeks are scary like Halloween to a 5-year-old – we face four top 25 (and three top 15) teams in that span, and it begins with Colorado this weekend.

The Recap: Texas v. Arkansas
Final Score: 52-10
For the third time this year, the ‘Horns beat a team handily by the same score. I’m beginning to think every week I need to predict a 52-10 final score! Everything about this game was as predicted – Texas came out and manhandled a less-talented Arkansas team. Both the offense and defense looked outstanding, and each put up big numbers. I loved seeing pressure on the QB, and Colt looked fantastic again. Has anyone noticed he’s up to #3 in Heisman Trophy predictions behind two other conference QBs – oklahoma’s Sam Bradford and Missouri’s Chase Daniel? I’ll take that!

Highlights:
QB Colt McCoy continues to be spectacular – on Saturday, he was 17 for 19 for 185 yards and 3 TDs passing, and added 9 carries for 84 yards and 2 TDs.

McCoy’s completion percentage is better than any QB in the country right now – 80 percent – and his TD-INT ratio is currently 14-1. McCoy is 3rd on Texas’ career TDs list, one behind Ricky Williams, with 75 career TDs.

WR Jordan Shipley had 8 catches for 83 yards and 2 TDs, while WR Quan Cosby had 5 catches for 67 yards and 1 TD.

Shipley has accumulated 20 catches for 321 yards (16.1 yards per catch) and 6 TDs through week 4.

Cosby has 23 catches for 345 yards (15.0 yards per catch) and 3 TDs so far this season.

Freshman RB Cody Johnson had 9 carries for 43 yards and 1 TD. On the season, he has 39 carries for 166 yards (4.3 yards per carry), and 4 TDs.

Texas outrushed Arkansas 208 to 11 yards with 6 different rushers, had 8 different receivers catch passes, and the ‘Horns scored on their first 4 possessions.

The Texas defense held Arkansas to 191 total yards, and CB Aaron Williams made an interception and returned it 81 yards for a TD.

This was the most lop-sided victory in the rivalry in almost 100 years (4th most lopsided all-time against Arkansas).

More than 97,833 fans enjoyed the spoils of the 52-10 victory over Arkansas at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

Texas has outscored opponents 198 to 36 through 4 games this season (an average of 49.5/points per game).

Lowlights:
In my mind, Colt is still running the ball too much. He does good things when he has it in his hands, but I think over the course of the season, the coaches need to use the QB run sparingly and let our RBs do the work.

Texas fumbled the ball in the 4th quarter and Arkansas returned it 80 yards for their only TD of the game.

Arkansas Game Links:
TexasSports.com: “Longhorns Rout Razorbacks, 52-10”
ESPN: “QB McCoy nearly perfect as Texas embarasses Arkansas”

This Week
Eyes Of TX’s Prediction
Texas 35, Colorado 21

Everything about the ‘Horns game plan on Saturday worked to perfection. The running and passing attack was nearly flawless, the defense played the best I’ve seen them play all year, and the special teams were actually, well, special. Colt continued to look superior to most QBs in the country, spreading the ball around all over the field. The running game looks better, and I think freshman RB Cody Johnson solidified his starting role going in to conference play. Between he, Vondrell McGee and Fozzy Whittaker (who has been out with a sprained knee), Johnson just seems to “get” the zone-read scheme and make the most of it. Whittaker’s a close second, but he just hasn’t had enough reps in games to be the go-to guy yet. McGee, while talented, just isn’t quite clicking yet. With our rarely used FB now injured, expect to see RB Chris Ogbonnaya move over to that position. The TE spot isn’t our strength with Irby out for the season, but they held their own against the Hogs. The defense just looked spectacular from all angles…the defensive line held their end of the bargain, which allowed the LBs to create havoc and the CBs did more than their part in controlling the secondary, including the interception returned 81 yards for a TD. Everything’s coming together, but the team needs to keep improving each week. Starting OL Cedric Dockery said it best, “This is the best team we’ve had since the national championship.” I’m not counting our blessings yet, but they sure look good so far.

Colorado Buffalos (3-1)
This is classic Colorado – they’ll look good early in the season, and then blow it against an inferior opponent like they did last Saturday against Florida State. Just because they’ve lost a game doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous, they are. And don’t think these guys have forgotten what Texas did to them last time they played – a 70-3 debacle in Houston in the Big 12 title game on Texas’ way to the national championship in 2005. They’ll remember, and with a home crowd that is as rowdy as any you might encounter, expect some bite out of these Buffs.

The leader of the Buffs offense is none other than the coach’s son, Cody Hawkins. While he’s nothing to write home about, he typically gets the job done. Think about it, the kid has been studying this offense his whole life. He’s mobile, but prefers to stay in the pocket, buy time and hit his receivers. On occasion, he’ll tuck it and run, but his production is seen in the passing game to the tune of 808 yards, 9 TDs and 4 INTs on the year. Overall, the Buffs have a fairly balanced offense, averaging 202 passing and 138 yards rushing per game. While balanced, it’s not spectacular – their offense is the 11th most productive in the Big 12. Their anchor in the backfield is…not who you’d think. If you remember, in recruiting, they picked up the top RB in the country in Darnell Scott last year. But, he’s not the top guy…rather, it’s fellow freshman Rodney Stewart. He averages about 87 yards per game, and at 5’6” and 165 pounds he’s small, can hide behind the offensive line, and hit his running lanes if and when they open up. Expect to see some of Scott, but Stewart should lead the charge out of the backfield. At WR, they have Josh Smith (17 catches, 204 yards, 3 TDs) and Scott McKnight (16 catches, 178 yards, 1 TD) – these guys are eerily similar in size and talent to our own Jordan Shipley and Quan Cosby. They also use their TEs, Riar Geer and Patrick Devenny, but mostly in play-action – and they are productive when the running game is working, tallying a total of 3 TDs on the year. Their offensive line is similar in talent to the Arkansas boys, which isn’t great, and they’ve given up 8 sacks this season – in other words, they need to step up their game if they hope to contain Texas’ far-superior defensive front seven.

On defense, Colorado also ranks poorly – especially against the run. Weakness for Colorado = opportunity for Texas. Their DL is small, and Texas should be able to push them around pretty easily, creating time for Colt and open lanes for the RBs. Let’s use that advantage to get the running game going and get our backs to the second layer of the defense. At LB, they have a talented guy in Jeff Smart who is extremely small for the position, but he’s fast and uses that to his advantage to beat blockers and lead the team in tackles on the season. Texas will have to get a body on him or he will make plays. Their secondary is better than the DL, which isn’t saying much, and their CBs are small, but fast and athletic – they’ve tallied 5 INTs on the season. The safeties are big, physical guys who can provide plenty of solid run support, but I don’t think they’ve been tested by a pass-happy offense yet. In other words, Colt needs to make his reads, look off his receivers and deliver the ball with authority down the field as he should have 1-on-1 coverage since I think Colorado will try to blitz the safeties to put pressure on Colt. The special teams are mediocre unless Josh Smith is back returning kicks, and he can provide some excitement if Texas doesn’t contain on kick-offs and punts.

For the game, I expect Colorado to try and get their WRs involved in the game early, but to make a game of it, Hawkins has got to stay upright in the pocket, and their offensive line is going to need to help their running game be successful to set up play-action. I think you’ll see the RBs catch more balls out of the backfield than they have all season this week to try and calm the Texas rush. In the end, Texas should win this game, although Colorado will give us a better game than we’ve seen so far this season. Texas just needs to get the ball in the hands of their playmakers, and let them do the work. Play smart, and play strong.

I will remind the group of one more thing before kick-off on Saturday. It is one week to the Cotton Bowl. One week until #5 Texas faces #1 oklahoma. Last year, the week before the Texas/ou game, the Sooners also played Colorado in what should have been an easy win in Boulder. Guess who didn’t win? That’s right, oklahoma. The ‘Horns need to stay focused on this week, and then they’ll get their shot at Stoops’ Sooners. Win this one, and then the real battle for Big 12 supremacy begins.

Resources
Texas Exes Alumni Association Web site: http://www.texasexes.org/
Texas Exes Membership Department: 1-800-369-0023 (for membership card requests)
Texas Exes Puget Sound Chapter Web site: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/texas_exes_puget_sound/

Hook ‘em!

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