Case McCoy

Recruiting brothers: deserved or strategic?

Former Texas football coach Mack Brown had a history of recruiting brothers to the 40 Acres. And it seems current head coach Charlie Strong’s staff is on their way to following the trend.

Early Thursday morning Strong extended an offer to 2016 Gilmer Athlete Demarco Boyd. Demarco is a talented player in his own right, but most schools seem to understand that his best quality is his ability to influence his brother Kris Boyd, a 2015 Army All-American cornerback.  

The Boyd’s aren’t the first star brothers Strong’s staff has offered this year as 2015 RB Kirk Johnson and 2016 WR Collin Johnson have been committed to the Longhorns since April. The Johnson brothers were also seen as a package deal, but are widely regarded as high quality recruits no matter who they could bring with them.

The art of recruiting brothers is a time-honored practice. Brown was a master of it, recruiting some of the best talent in the country to Texas during his 16-year tenure. Sam and Emmanuel Acho, from the class of 2007 and 2008, respectively, benefited greatly from Brown’s willingness to offer within the family. The Acho brothers ended their careers at Texas as highly decorated linebackers, with both being named finalists for the Lott IMPACT Defensive Player of the Year Award while garnering All-Big 12 and All-American honors.

Though, on the other end, the Vaccaro brothers didn’t see the same equal results as the Acho’s. Older brother Kenny thrived as a defensive back under Brown, eventually being named All Big 12, All American, and a first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Younger brother Kevin, from the class of 2012, has dealt with a few injuries, but for the most part it seems that the junior safety has not been able to impress the new coaching staff enough to earn quality playing time. After recording five tackles in his freshman season on special teams, Vaccaro has played in just seven games without recording a stat.

But the McCoy brothers are perhaps the greatest example of recruiting both brothers based on the older brothers accomplishments. Former quarterback Colt McCoy left college as a two-time Heisman finalist and as the NCAA leader in career wins.  His legacy still lives strong at Texas, where many believe he should've won the 2009 National Championship. 

Younger brother Case McCoy is a different story. Though he was an accomplished high school quarterback, many saw his recruitment to Texas a favor from Brown, based on pedigree rather than potential. Case had an interesting career at Texas, splitting time with former quarterback David Ash for the better part of three years. Though he had some success at Texas, he was never near the player his brother was.

One half of Brown’s last brotherly recruits are still making an impact for the Longhorns. Senior WR Jaxon Shipley has been a consistent playmaker for the Longhorns throughout his career, breaking into the top 10 in school history in receptions, receiving yards, and punt return yardage. Older brother Jordan, who graduated in 2010, is one of the best Longhorn receivers in recent history, breaking records throughout his career including a school record 273 receiving yards against UCF in 2009. The eldest Shipley was a Consensus All-American as a senior, and recipient of the Paul Warfield Trophy, given to the nation’s best collegiate wide receiver.

Recruiting talented brothers is a long standing tradition in college football. Sometimes, as was the case for the Acho and Shipley brothers, both were recruited based on their own ability and potential. Other times, and probably too often, one brother is targeted by a school who has no intentions for him to contribute anything to the team besides a talented sibling.

It’s too early to tell where Coach Strong’s two sets of brothers will fall in this argument, though it seems as if the Boyd brothers fall into the same mold as the Vaccaro’s and McCoy’s. The Johnson’s seem to fit in with the Acho’s and Shipley’s, but it will not be clear until their time on the 40 Acres is up. 

Senior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley has seen a dip in his numbers without junior quarterback David Ash over the past few seasons. 

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

For the second straight season, Texas will be without junior quarterback David Ash for a considerable amount of time because of concussion symptoms.

While the absence of an experienced starter under center would certainly impede any team, the loss of Ash could prove to be even more significant for the Longhorns.

Since he took over as the full-time starter as a sophomore, Texas has faired considerably better with Ash in the lineup. In Ash’s 16 starts since the beginning of the 2012 season, the Longhorns have gone 12-4 while averaging 36.6 points per game. Over that same stretch, Texas has scored just 27 points per game while struggling to a 6-5 record without Ash.

The biggest disparity last season, though, came in terms of total offense. In Ash’s three starts in 2013, Texas averaged a whopping 537.3 yards per game, compared to just 370.1 in its 10 games without him. To be fair, the Longhorns racked up a school-record 715 yards against a far inferior New Mexico State team in one of Ash’s game, but they still registered at least 450 yards of total offense in each of the other two contests he started.

One major reason for this discrepancy in offensive output stems from Ash’s ability to limit mistakes and make the most of his pass attempts. His efficiency rating of 153.3 was good for fifth in the Big 12 in 2012, and the 156.3 mark he posted in three games last year would have been good for third best in the conference had he maintained it over the course of a full season. Additionally, Ash has posted an impressive 2.7-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio since becoming the starter in 2012.

On the other hand, backup quarterback Case McCoy struggled to replicate these numbers when pressed into duty last season. In 13 games  with 10 starts in 2013, McCoy threw 11 touchdown passes against 13 interceptions, while posting a 109.3 efficiency rating. 

While the Texas offense as a whole takes a step down without Ash, nobody seems to experience a bigger drop in numbers than senior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley. In Ash’s 16 starts since the beginning of 2012, Shipley has hauled in six touchdown receptions and enjoyed seven games with at least six receptions. In 11 games without Ash, though, Shipley has recorded just two touchdowns while turning in just three games with six or more grabs.

Sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes gets the start in Ash’s place this week after completing 5-of-13 pass attempts for 26 yards while rushing for 79 yards and a score in limited playing time last year. Texas has had mixed results with quarterbacks making their first career starts in recent seasons; McCoy passed for 168 yards and two touchdowns in a win against Iowa State in 2011, while Ash struggled later that season against Oklahoma State, passing for 139 yards and two interceptions.

The Longhorns hope Swoopes can utilize his considerable size and speed to make an immediate impact after being thrust into the starting lineup, but, as past history suggests, the offense won’t be the same without Ash under center.

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff


That is the record Texas compiled during a seven-year span when it started legends Vince Young and Colt McCoy at quarterback. Texas played for two national titles — winning one — in addition to winning two more BCS bowls in 2006 and 2008. Young beat teams with his feet and arm and made the team “inVINCEable” during the latter part of his career. McCoy was one of the most accurate passers in NCAA history and the winningest BCS-conference quarterback.

But over the past four seasons, with the quarterback carousel of Garrett Gilbert, Case McCoy and David Ash in full swing, Texas has gone just 30-21. During this time, the Longhorns missed a bowl game while only winning two of three minor bowls from 2011 to 2013. Gilbert was highly touted but flamed out. McCoy will be remembered for his late game moxie but struggled in his last few games. Ash can play brilliantly when healthy, but his durability appears to be a nagging concern. 

The quarterback position at Texas has been a mess lately and will likely remain so in 2014. The Longhorns will play their spring game Saturday with three active quarterbacks who have completed 5 of 13 passes for 26 yards in their careers combined.

Only sophomore Tyrone Swoopes got reps at quarterback in a game last season, playing in six games after a controversial burning of his redshirt against TCU. With such limited opportunities, it’s hard to tell whether Swoopes will be successful at this level, but it’s encouraging that head coach Charlie Strong sees Swoopes already taking advantage of Ash’s absence.

“He did a really outstanding job last Saturday,” Strong said. ”I know I don’t know his numbers, but he had really good numbers and threw an unbelievable ball to Marcus [Johnson] down the sideline where he beat one of our defensive backs. It was a big throw, but he did a really good job, and he settled in and had the confidence and just a different air about him when leading the offense.”

Texas’ other quarterbacks Saturday will be former wide receiver and tight end Miles Onyegbule, a senior, and sophomore Trey Holtz, both of whom should play to give Swoopes time off the field.

Many fans believe salvation is on the way with the enrollment of touted recruit Jerrod Heard on campus this summer. Heard led his team to two state titles in high school, but, while there could be temptation to play him early, Texas’ smartest move may be to redshirt him this season. Young and Colt both redshirted during their first seasons on campus, and that may be the best way to set up Heard for a successful career. 

Texas’ best hope in 2014 is to keep Ash healthy, but it should be prepared in the likely event he misses time. Perhaps it will nab USC transfer Max Wittek, who is a talented quarterback looking for a change of scenery. The Longhorns are thought to be the frontrunners for Wittek’s services, which would provide them with a solid backup in the likely event Ash suffers yet another setback.

The team will likely struggle until assistant coach Shawn Watson can develop his quarterback, but Heard may be the answer in 2015 or 2016. Until then, Texas fans need to remain patient as the Longhorns search for their next world-beating signal caller.

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

SAN ANTONIO — Just minutes after the Alamodome clock hit zero, a sea of fans wearing burnt orange draped over the Longhorns’ tunnel and chanted the name of their longtime coach.

Mack Brown held the “Hook ‘Em Horns” hand symbol high above his head as he walked off the field and into the locker room for the final time as Texas head coach.

Texas’ 30-7 loss to Oregon in the Valero Alamo Bowl is a tough way to end the 2013 season, but that was hardly the only storyline following Monday night’s game. Brown, who announced his resignation earlier this month, watched his 16-year tenure with Texas officially come to an end, but he said he was still at peace with his decision to step down following Monday’s game.

“Sally and I have absolutely no regrets,” Brown said. “We’ve had a wonderful 16 years and we’re glad we came here. We’ve made so many great friends and had so many great moments with these players.”

Despite this, senior quarterback Case McCoy admitted it was difficult to not send him off with a victory. 

“It’s tough, there’s not doubt about it,” McCoy. “We would’ve rather gone out with a win for sure, but we love the man and the man loves us. Inside that locker room we know we fought for him.”

Texas struggled on offense throughout the game, managing just 236 yards of total offense and 13 first downs. McCoy was at the forefront of these struggles, completing eight of his 17 passes for a season-low 48 yards.

Oregon jumped out to an immediate 7-0 lead, as senior safety Avery Patterson intercepted McCoy’s second pass attempt of the game and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown. McCoy threw another pick-six in the fourth quarter to junior linebacker Derrick Malone, who took it back 38 yards to the end zone.

Oregon sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota, on the other hand, turned in a strong performance in the victory, passing for 253 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 133 yards on 15 carries. Oregon, as a whole, ran well, totalling 216 yards in the win.

Following the game, though, all of the focus remained on Brown.

“Coach Brown brought us all here,” senior left guard Trey Hopkins said. “Guys that other teams may not have wanted, guys that may not have really have had a family, he brought us into a family atmosphere and showed us that he cared about us.”

Brown was touched by the fans’ acts of appreciation throughout the game, but he said this was hardly anything new from the Texas fan base.

“Our fans have been great for 16 years,” Brown said. “It’s unbelievable. Sally and I can’t even answer all the e-mails, and texts and Facebook messages and tweets for the last two weeks. It’s been wonderful, but it’s really been that way.”

Texas figures to undergo a number of considerable changes next season, but none will be bigger than the replacement of Brown.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

For the second straight year, Texas will make an appearance in San Antonio for the Valero Alamo Bowl. But this time the focus is fixed on head coach Mack Brown.  

After announcing earlier this month that he would step down, the Longhorns look to finish Brown’s storied career at Texas with a victory against No. 10 Oregon.

“There will be no doubt or no question if we're going to go out there and fight and play hard,” senior quarterback Case McCoy said. “There's not going to have to be a whole lot of motivation for that. Everybody is going to want to go out there and finish this thing right.”

The Longhorns (8-4) will face a difficult test in Oregon (10-2), which has been in the national spotlight since the beginning of the season. The Ducks, expected to be a national championship contender, have averaged 573 yards per game and a total of 75.4 plays per game.

“I know the preparation we put in week in, week out, that's not going to change going into this game.” McCoy said. “As we saw who we were playing, we were all in the film room the next day. This is a big game for us, no doubt about it, playing a top‑10 team that's well‑coached.  Five weeks ago they were in a hunt for the national championship.”

The Longhorns will conclude their season against the best quarterback they have faced all season. Marcus Mariota has completed 227 of his 360 passes and averaged 9.5 yards per passing attempt. In addition, Mariota’s ability to scramble adds another dimension to the Ducks’ option attack.

Texas has had difficulty with mobile quarterbacks, notably in losses against BYU and Ole Miss earlier this season. The Longhorns have missed 71 tackles this season -- down from 112 they missed last season -- and dual-threat quarterbacks have been a main source of those misses.

“This guy has good wheels,” said defensive coordinator Greg Robinson. “He can move around.  He can run the ball up the field.  But he can maneuver in the pocket, as well.  He's pretty good at trying to stay alive so he can chuck that ball downfield.”

Oregon will be a tough test to send off Brown with a win at the Alamo Bowl. But the team is prepared for Brown’s last stand.  

 “If you came to this university, you accepted a job, you accepted a scholarship, you want to play here, you all have that pride,” McCoy said. “There will be no doubt or no question if we're going to go out there and fight and play hard. Everybody is going to want to go out there and finish this thing right.” 

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Texas’ 30-10 loss to Baylor ended the Longhorns’ hopes of a Big 12 title and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl. Here are four takeaways from Saturday’s loss to the Bears:

Offensive Inconsistency

Texas failed to find a rhythm on offense throughout the game, managing just 217 total yards in the contest. The Longhorns earned just 12 first downs in the contest and struggled mightily on third down, converting on just 2-of-17 attempts.

Senior quarterback Case McCoy turned in arguably his worst performance of the season, completing just 12-of-36 passes for 54 yards, an average of 1.6 yards per attempt. He also threw a pair of interceptions.

“We didn't hit any passes,” head coach Mack Brown said. “We just weren't consistent on offense at all. It was just an ugly night for us offensively. I'm very disappointed.”

Defense scuffles in second half

After limiting Baylor’s top-ranked offense to just three points in the first two quarters, the Longhorns failed to maintain their stingy effort in the second half.

Junior quarterback Bryce Petty threw touchdown passes on each of Baylor’s first two possessions in the half, with the Bears adding a field goal on their third drive of the third quarter.

After managing 62 rushing yards in the first half, Baylor exploded with 159 yards on the ground after halftime. The Bears also improved their third down offense considerably in the second half, converting on 6-of-11 attempts after going just 1-of-8 in the first half.

“You have to give (Baylor) credit,” senior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat said. “They came in the second half and made adjustments and plays.”

Difficult finish for seniors

Saturday’s loss was especially tough for the Texas seniors, as it marked their final opportunity to win a conference title at Texas.

Texas controlled its own destiny for a Big 12 championship going into its matchup with Baylor thanks to Oklahoma’s 33-24 upset win over Oklahoma State earlier in the day. Texas finished conference play at 7-2, with its lone losses coming against Oklahoma State and Baylor.

Seniors like McCoy and Jeffcoat maintained their goal of a conference title, and they were admittedly upset that they were unable to clinch the championship after coming so close.

It's disappointing for the seniors who played for this team and the coaches,” McCoy said. “It's a hard loss to take when it was so close. It was something we fought for and worked for to get to this point. It's just a disappointing feeling.”


Big day for Malcolm Brown

Junior running back Malcolm Brown provided the lone bright spot for the Texas offense, compiling 131 rushing yards on 25 attempts.

The game marked Brown’s second consecutive 100-yard rushing performance and his fourth of the season. He finished just four yards shy of his career-high, which he set as a freshman against Oklahoma State in 2011.

Brown also led Texas with four receptions for 19 yards, and he accounted for the Longhorns’ lone touchdown with a 2-yard catch in the fourth quarter. 

This weekend, Texas players and fans alike must do something they probably never imagined they’d have to — root for Oklahoma.

The Longhorns can clinch a share of the Big 12 title with a win over Baylor, but the only way they can earn an outright conference championship and trip to the Fiesta Bowl is if the Sooners defeat Oklahoma State.            

“I’ll be rooting for them,” senior quarterback Case McCoy said of the Sooners. “It makes me sick to my stomach to think about, but I hope they play well.”

Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma State share identical 7-1 records in conference play, but the Cowboys control their own destiny for a trip to the Fiesta Bowl due to their wins over both the Longhorns and the Bears. Should Oklahoma upset the Cowboys on Saturday, the winner of the Texas-Baylor game would clinch the conference crown.

Texas figures to have a good idea of whether it remains in contention for the Fiesta Bowl by the time its game against Baylor kicks off at 2:30 p.m., as Oklahoma versus Oklahoma State begins at 11:00 a.m. Despite this, head coach Mack Brown wants the Longhorns to remain focused on their own game and nothing else.

“The game before us is something that’s out of our control,” Brown said. “Let’s worry about how we play. As a team, we talked about the championship run with Oklahoma State. We didn’t play well. We’re going to talk about us playing well, the preparation, practice. We’re going to talk about the things we do.”

McCoy seconded this, saying he would rather not even know the outcome of the Bedlam game before he takes the field.

“I don’t want to know at all,” McCoy said. “I don’t think it will change the way I play. In this situation, you can’t control everyone. All I can control is how I play, how I get my team ready to play.”

Other players, like senior cornerback Carrington Byndom, would like to know the outcome of the morning game as soon as it ends, but he agrees the team’s focus should be on beating Baylor.

“It wouldn’t hurt to know,” Byndom said. “Obviously we’ll be getting ready to take the field. Our main focus is winning the game. Everything else will play out as far as that.“

Regardless of what happens before they take the field against the Bears, senior defensive Jackson Jeffcoat believes the Longhorns should be proud of how far they’ve come this season.

“It’s great that we’re in this position,” Jeffcoat said. “Starting the year off 1-2 was frustrating. To be able to work our way back up here, to be able to get a conference championship, is special. Only two teams are normally battling for it. We’re going to be working hard for it.”

A win over Baylor allows Jeffcoat and the rest of the seniors to earn at least a share of the conference championship for the first time, but they need some help from their hated rivals to earn their first BCS bowl appearance too.

Junior running back Joe Bergeron has stepped up since an Achilles injury sidelined sophomore running back Johnathan Gray. Bergeron wore Gray's jersey in Thursday's game to honor the injured back.

Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

In its second game without the Aggies on Thanksgiving, Texas was able to run past Texas Tech 41-16 in the final home game of the season. With a game against conference-leading Baylor remaining, here are four key aspects to take from Thursday’s game:

Defensive front

Texas has had its struggles on defense this year, but, since defensive coordinator Greg Robinson has taken over the play calling duties from Manny Diaz, much has improved on the defensive front. So far this season, the Longhorns have recorded 35 sacks with nine of those coming against the Red Raiders. All of Texas’ sacks this season have come in its eight wins.

Senior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, who played more of a linebacker role Thursday, recorded a career-high three sacks in the game. Junior Cedric Reed added to the pass rush with two of his own, while also adding five tackles.

Case McCoy

Senior quarterback Case McCoy played in his last home game of his career Thursday coming off his worst performance of the season against Oklahoma State. McCoy tallied three interceptions with no touchdowns against the Cowboys, while Oklahoma State broke Texas’ six game winning streak.

McCoy threw for 180 yards against Texas Tech as he passed for two touchdowns and ran for another. The Graham native completed 10 of his 19 passes for an average of 7.3 yards a play.

“I understand I didn’t give my team a chance to win last week,” McCoy said. “Your job is to take care of the ball and manage the game, like I said I did tonight. It’s good in this stadium to bounce back and have a game like that.”

Texas still strong without Johnathan Gray

Junior running back Joe Bergeron wore No. 32 Thursday night in honor of injured sophomore running back Johnathan Gray, but, instead of just taking his number, he also took his identity. Bergeron, who has had limited playing time this year with fumbling issues, ran for 102 yards and a touchdown against the Red Raiders.

The Longhorns had two 100-yard backs on the night as junior running back Malcolm Brown recorded 128 yards himself. Texas’ running game took a shot when Gray got injured against West Virginia earlier this month. The remaining backs for the Longhorns have been able to fill the hole in the ground game without Gray, as Bergeron and Brown have held up their end of the work.

Big 12 title hope remains intact

After Texas started the season 1-2 for the first time since 1998, many laughed at head coach Mack Brown when he said a hope for a Big 12 title still remained. Eight games later, that faith is still intact. The Longhorns no longer control their own destiny after losing to Oklahoma State two weeks ago, but their rout of Texas Tech brought back some hope.

Texas needs to beat Baylor on Saturday for at least a share of the conference championship, and, if Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State, the Longhorns have a chance for the outright title. Look for Texas fans to root for their Red River rivals this weekend as they watch the Longhorns take on the Bears in their last game at Floyd Casey Stadium.

Photo Credit: Sam Ortega | Daily Texan Staff

Senior quarterback Case McCoy played as big a role as anyone in Texas’ six-game winning streak to kick off conference play.

After entering the second half of the Longhorns’ Big 12 opener against Kansas State on Sept. 21, McCoy started and won each of Texas’ next five games, throwing for 1,141 yards and seven touchdowns against six interceptions over that stretch.

The senior was unable to replicate this success against No. 12 Oklahoma State in his last game, though, throwing for a season-high three interceptions while failing to connect on a touchdown pass in Texas’ 38-13 loss. McCoy accepted the blame for the loss after his season-worst performance, but he remains confident in the Longhorns’ ability to finish the season strong.

“I, being the quarterback, I being the leader on this team, have to take full responsibility for that,” McCoy said. “From my position, I didn’t play well enough to even give us a chance to win... We’re two weeks past that now. These guys haven’t given up. We understand that if we win two more ballgames, we’re putting numbers on the wall and we’re still sharing a Big 12 title.”

McCoy addressed the team following the loss and admitted that he needs to play better moving forward. Following his subpar performance, head coach Mack Brown said McCoy remains as vocal as ever in the locker room.

“Case has really stood up and he’s accountable for our team, as a quarterback should be,” Brown said. “He’s been a very good leader with this group and he’s been very honest with them. He stepped up after the game the other day and he’s been very vocal at practice.”

Senior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat appreciated McCoy’s accountability, but he said the rest of the team was quick to assume much of the blame as well.

“We told him ‘Hey, it’s not on you,’” Jeffcoat said. “‘You’re not there only person out there playing. It’s on all of us. It’s on the whole team; defense, offense, the whole team.’ We told him we just need to get that stuff corrected.”

The most pressing thing that needs to be corrected is the turnovers. Texas lost the turnover battle, 3-1, for the first time this season against the Cowboys, and McCoy knows the importance of keeping the ball out of the opponent’s hands.

“I understand I touch the ball every play,” McCoy said. “I understand that you have to make plays as a quarterback to win games, but also your No. 1 job is to take care of the ball. I didn’t do that. That shows, when you lose the turnover battle like that, the score doesn’t usually go in your favor.” 

Texas maintains the ability to win at least a share of the Big 12 title this season, but it needs to defeat Texas Tech to keep its hopes alive. To do this, the Longhorns likely need a big performance on offense to keep up with the high-scoring Red Raiders, and no player figures to be more important in this
than McCoy.  


Junior David Ash announced Monday that he will not play again this season. Texas will continue to start senior Case McCoy, who did not throw any interceptions in the first five games of the season. He has thrown nine in the last five, including a three-interception performance in Texas’ 38-13 loss to Oklahoma State on Nov. 16. McCoy’s numbers may improve against a Texas Tech defense that has only forced seven interceptions on the season in opposition to OSU’s 19. Freshman quarterbacks Davis Webb and Baker Mayfield have split starts in Texas Tech’s current four-game losing streak. The two have combined for over 4,000 yards passing and 28 touchdowns in a season that included a 7-0 start. Texas will most likely game-plan for Mayfield, who threw for 314 yards, four touchdowns and an interception in Tech’s 63-34 loss to Baylor on Nov. 16. The walk-on from Lake Travis high school has struggled against the top defenses in the Big 12, throwing five combined interceptions against TCU and Kansas State.

Advantage: Texas Tech


Running Backs

Carries are limited for Kenny Williams in a Texas Tech offense that has ran the ball almost 300 times less than they have passed. But the junior from Hendrickson high school has 439 yards and eight touchdowns rushing on the season. Sophomore DeAndre Washington provides 4.3 yards a carry with 388 yards on the season and four touchdowns. Neither back has rushed for 100 yards in a game this season, but provide a pass threat, combining for over 400 yards receiving on the year. The Texas run game produced 151 yards and a touchdown in their first game without sophomore Johnathan Gray against Oklahoma State. Junior Malcolm Brown started with a 55-yard, one touchdown first half and added 28 yards in the second half. Junior Joe Bergeron averaged 4.9 yards a carry in a 49-yard performance that demonstrated the Longhorn backfield was still intact. With the recent performance of the pass game, perhaps there will be a leniency on the running backs against a Texas tech defense that gives up 186 yards a game on the ground.

Advantage: Texas


Wide Receivers

The Texas receiving unit has yet to produce a 300-yard game this season and will be compared to a Tech receiving core that has never combined for less than 300 yards in more than one game. Senior Mike Davis surpassed Jaxon Shipley as the team’s leading receiver in the 38-13 loss to Oklahoma State with nine catches for 112 yards. Davis and Shipley have been in tandem as McCoy’s most consistent receivers, combining for 328 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games. The Texas receivers may pick up on a few pointers from Tech’s 63-34 loss to Baylor, where the secondary allowed 335 yards through the air. Junior tight end Jace Amaro has been the main target this season for the Red Raiders and surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving mark in just nine games with a 174-yard, one touchdown performance against Oklahoma State. Senior Eric Ward leads the receivers with eight touchdowns and has accumulated 381 yards and five touchdowns in the last four games. Sophomore Jakeem Grant is third in receiving with 707 yards on the season, and provides a deep threat with five receptions of over 30 yards. Tech will provide the toughest matchup the Texas secondary has seen this season.

Advantage: Texas Tech


Offensive Line

Texas Tech has given up twice as many sacks as Texas, but has passed almost twice as often, so, the proportions even out. Sophomore Le’Raven Clark was named freshman all-America a season ago and has since moved to left tackle. Clark will have the duties of protecting his quarterback from Jackson Jeffcoat, who has seven sacks on the season. The Red Raiders gave up three sacks to Baylor in their last game, and will face the third-ranked pass rush in the Big 12 against Texas. The Longhorn offensive line has only given up three sacks in the last six weeks, and had an unblemished record against Oklahoma State until freshman Tyrone Swoopes was sacked on the last play of the game. The styles between Texas and Tech vary completely when it comes to offensive line, but the Longhorns have given up 10 less tackles for loss, including both the pass and the run. Protection has come from left guard Trey Hopkins and left tackle Donald Hawkins, who together maintained a four-game stretch of sackless football ball from the left side.

Advantage: Texas


Defensive Line:

The Red Raider pass rush has emerged mostly from the linebackers, but the key for Tech will be stopping the Longhorn run game. Tech has struggled recently against the run, allowing almost 300 yards a game in their last four match-ups. They will face off against an offensive line that has paved the way for almost 180 rushing yards a game for Texas and has given up three sacks in the last six games. Seniors Dartwan Bush and Kerry Hyder will battle for the line of scrimmage and each have two sacks on the season. The Texas defensive line was shutout against Oklahoma State a week after the line had a six-sack, five-forced fumble performance against West Virginia. It was the first time since playing Ole Miss that the d-line did not have a sack in a game. The Cowboys allow the 10th fewest sacks in the nation. Tech’s offensive line has allowed 14 more than OSU. Sophomore tackle Malcolm Brown stood in for the injured Chris Whaley in an impressive seven-tackle performance against Oklahoma State, but the key to success against Tech will fall upon defensive ends Jackson Jeffcoat and Cedric Reed, who each hold the second-most sacks in the Big 12.

Advantage: Texas



Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 38-13 win over Texas, including an 18-yard scamper for the game’s first score. Mayfield is not as much a dual-threat player, but Kenny Williams and DeAndre Washington will provide an issue to a Texas linebacker group that has struggled in the open field. Incomparable to West Virginia’s Charles Sims, who had 135 total yards and three touchdowns against Texas earlier this season, Williams and Washington present a style of play that the Texas linebackers do not excel against. The linebackers provide the defensive pass rush for Texas Tech, with 11 sacks split between their four starters. Senior Will Smith leads the team with 3.5 sacks on the season and had a career-high 16 tackles against Baylor on Nov. 16. Their top concern will be against the run after being a part of a rush defense that has given up over 1,000 yards in the last four games. The Texas backfield will be limited with Johnathan Gray out for the season with a torn Achilles and Daje Johnson suspended for violating team rules. Facing less offensive firepower, Tech will be able to gameplan in less variety. 

Advantage: Texas Tech


Defensive Backs

The Red Raider secondary was torched against Baylor, where Bear quarterback Bryce Petty threw for 335 yards, three touchdowns and averaged almost 20 yards a completion. The Texas passing game ranks 43 places behind Baylor nationally, but possess the threat of depth and talent with wide receivers Mike Davis, Jaxon Shipley, Marcus Johnson and three other receivers who all have touchdown receptions of over 50 yards. Their success will be dependent on the performance of the recently struggling Case McCoy. The Texas secondary has struggled after facing passing offenses that are ranked in the top four in the Big 12, giving up 487 yards and three touchdowns to Oklahoma State and West Virginia. They will now face their toughest matchup yet against the top passing offense in the nation. The defensive backfield will look to exploit the youth of freshman quarterback Baker Mayfield, who has thrown an interception in each of his last five games. 

Advantage: Texas Tech


Special Teams

Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert marked for the sixth kick return of over 40 yards against the Texas kickoff team this season. The Longhorn kick-coverage team is fourth-to-last in the nation in yards given up per return, and their punt coverage team is eight-to-last. Field position will be key against the top ranked passing offense in Texas Tech, whose return team has six returns of over 30 yards on the season. The Red Raiders’ kick return team averages 23 yards a return behind freshman wide receiver Reginald Davis and junior defensive back Austin Stewart. Tech’s kick and punt coverage teams both rank in the bottom half in the nation. Their field goal team has been sound as junior kicker Ryan Bustin has made each of his last eight field goal attempts.

Advantage: Texas Tech