Texas vs UTEP | Post Game Notes
– Andrew King
#14 Texas is 1-0 after a 59-3 win against UTEP. It was a nice start to the season, but this was a week one butt-kicking we haven’t seen from Texas in the past against lesser opponents. They came out and dominated in just about every facet of the game and led 45-3 at half. Sam Ehlinger played into the third quarter but not much more. And he didn’t need to. It was an impressive start to the season for Texas, but this is how they’re supossed to look against teams like UTEP. Really strong start for Chris Ash and Mike Yurcich in their Texas tenures. Here are some of my main thoughts following the win.
Ehlinger looked comfortable, really comfortable. That’s the first thing I noticed from Ehlinger’s first few drives to open his senior season. Picked apart the UTEP defense all night. He finished the first half with an outrageous 419 passing yards and finished the game with 431 yards along with 5 touchdowns. Casey Thompson also looked really solid in relief of Ehlinger. He finished 4/7 with 64 total yards and two touchdowns before Hudson Card ran the offense for the last few series.
Josh Moore, Tarik Black, and Jordan Whittington were the starters and were the favorite targets of Ehlinger early on, but grad transfer Brenden Schooler showed what he can do. He was known as a special teams star during his time at Oregon, but he could make more than just a special teams impact on this team in 2020. People around the program have been raving about Schooler since he recently made it to campus. As he arrived on Sunday. Black/Schooler’s success as grad transfers will only help Texas with selling future grad transfers to come to Texas. As it is a new way to add talent and it seems like Texas added two guys who will be big parts of this 2020 team. Brennan Eagles and Marcus Washington added touchdowns in the second half.
It wasn’t a huge night on the ground for Texas. Keontay Ingram (39 yards) , Roschon Johnson (38 yards), and Bijan Robinson (38 yards) and as a trio they finished with 21 carries for 115 yards.
Right side of the OL struggled was one of the few weaknesses I noticed in week one. Denzel Okafor was the main one I saw struggling at guard. Christian Jones got the start at right tackle. Really solid night from the left side of the offensive line in Sam Cosmi and Junior Angilau.
Everyone has been talking about Joseph Ossai all offseason since his big bowl game performance vs Utah, he recorded the first tackle for loss of the season for Texas but he wasn’t my player of the night on that side of the ball. That goes to Josh Thompson. Coming off a broken foot which caused him to redshirt in 2019. Moved to corner after the new defensive staff came in. Beat out Jalen Green for a starting spot and had a great game tonight. Looked really good in coverage, had a tackle for loss, and an interception. A huge plus from Thompson at corner is that I have no doubt about his ability to open field tackle.
The speed and rallying to the football was one of the major things I noticed tonight. That’s a reason why I loved the move of DeMarvion Overshown to linebacker. With guys like Ossai and Ojomo who move really well up front, Overshown at linebacker, then the speed at defensive back just gives Chris Ash a lot of really good athletes to work with.
The inside combo along the defensive line in Keondre Coburn and T’Vondre Sweat did a great job of clogging holes all night. Both guys can do more than just that but they made life easier for DeMarvion Overshown and those linebackers to fly downhill and hit. Everyone loves the 4-3 because of pass rushers. But it also relies less on your linebackers getting off blocks when they’re outweighed by 50+ pounds.
Not a whole lot of pressure from the Texas defense tonight. It was clear though that UTEP wanted to help their QB out by getting the ball out of his hands quickly most of the time. Freshman Alfred Collins had a nice first career sack in the fourth quarter and Moro Ojomo had a sack in the third quarter but he got a hold of the QB’s facemask which negated the sack. T’Vondre Sweat was had a few appearances in the backfield. And former tight end Reese Leitao got some playing time at defensive end in the second half.
Two guys I didn’t see a lot of tonight was safety BJ Foster and linebacker Ayodele Adeoye.
The main injury note is wide receiver Jordan Whittington who left the game at halftime with a knee injury. Josh Thompson also left the game in the third quarter, but it was to get some stitches so nothing that will keep him out going forward.
Instant Analysis | UTEP
*** 14th-ranked Texas (0-0) got to open their 2020 campaign against the UTEP Miners (0-0) of Conference USA. While the odds were low that this one is much of a contest, it certainly didn’t hurt that Texas got to watch two Big XII foes (Kansas St. and Iowa St.) fall to Sun Belt Conference programs (Arkansas St. and Louisiana-Lafayette).
*** I’m not sure if you could script the beginning of the game any better for Texas. D’Shawn Jamison was a shoe-string tackle away from a 100+ yard Kickoff Return to open the season. On the opening play, the UTEP Safety takes a poor angle and Josh Moore goes 78 yards for the score on a Dig Route. How about a play-action pass on first down? I loved it.
***I don’t know if you all noticed, but on the first play of the second drive Yurcich called the exact same play-action pass to open the drive and Brennan Eagles got alligator arms …
*** Texas rotated a ton of guys at Wide Receiver and they all looked great against UTEP. By my count, six different Receivers (including Cade Brewer) caught passes in the first quarter.
*** I was pleasantly surprised by how Josh Thompson looked tonight.
*** Tarik Black is a legitimate 220lbs. He’s a load after the catch.
*** The “Mesh” concepts that have been introduced to the passing game are a very welcome sight.
*** Unfortunately, Jordan Whittington may have suffered yet another injury.
*** There were a lot of positives to take from tonight’s game, but the Pass Rush was not one of them in my opinion.
*** Kai Money officially has more catches and TDs at Texas than me.
*** Sam Ehlinger was 24/32 for 429 yards and 5 touchdowns AT HALF.
*** Although the score obviously doesn’t indicate it, UTEP had opportunities to makes some plays Offensively and simply failed to do so against the Texas Defense. Texas has some things defensively that they will need to clean up before their Big XII opener against Texas Tech.
*** D’Shawn Jamison is going to be electric this season in the Return Game.
*** Alfred Collins got his first career sack in the 4th Quarter and I feel safe believing that is a precursor for what is to come.
*** I thought that Casey Thompson showed a solid command of the Offense and he looked good going 4/7 for 55 yards and 2 scores.
*** Hudson Card made his debut.
*** In the end, Texas combined for 689 yards of Total Offense.
*** UTEP managed 243 yards of Total Offense and they definitely left plenty out there.
*** Texas Tech, Texas’ next opponent, barely escaped Houston Baptist at home for a 35-33 win. Texas should be double digit favorites in that contest.
*** The Big XII looks terrible after the opening week. I know things will improve, but if Texas can’t get things done this year…
What are your thoughts on the performance against UTEP?
Who/what units stood out?
How do you feel as fans about the team heading into Big XII play?
More on BJ Foster | Sourced
– Super K
As you know, there have been reports regarding BJ Foster quitting the team and leaving yesterday’s game during the game.
I spoke with sources. Am told that he did indeed leave the game out of frustration.
But, I am told that he has already apologized to coach Ash. He is set to meet with the whole staff and it sounds like he is repentant for the decision and will express that to the coaches.
I know in the football world walking away from your team is seen as the unforgivable sin. And, I get that. But I do believe that when you consider the staff changes, the external pressures on the kids through Covid and social unrest and the fact the Foster went from being a star defensive player to a back up, it would be wise to consider this situation more carefully.
I do believe that if he does express his remorse (again, I’m told he has and will in a more formal meeting) the coaches will make path for him to redeem himself. And, I personally would agree with that position.