For Texas offense, a tale of two halves

David Leffler

The Longhorn offense debuted its new up-tempo offensive attack Saturday against New Mexico State. The team racked up 715 yards of offense and 56 points. The Longhorns were also held scoreless until the 1:48 mark in the first half by an underwhelming Aggie defense. The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde contrast between the first and third quarters of offense is a concern going into this Saturday’s game against Brigham Young University. Last week, either Texas finally broke out against an out-gunned opponent, or the second half was a preview of the remainder of the Longhorns’ season.

Through the first 28 minutes or so in the first half, Texas’ offensive output amounted to five drives, 133 yards, three turnovers and zero points. It looked horrible, with plenty of people to share the blame. Mike Davis couldn’t hold onto the football, David Ash looked inept with a pair of interceptions and the offensive line couldn’t open running lanes against a significantly smaller opposition.

But things changed when Ash hit John Harris down the right sideline for a 54-yard touchdown. From that point, Texas snagged full control of the game, reaching the end zone on each of its next four possessions and two more times later in the fourth quarter. By the time the team lined up to sing “The Eyes of Texas,” the Longhorns had bombarded the Aggies for 56 points and 582 yards on their final 10 drives in only 15:31 of total possession time.

These numbers show how explosive this offense can be. No matter whom a team plays, 42 points in a half is impressive. Add the fact that only two of Texas’ touchdown drives lasted longer than two minutes, and that becomes scary. But considering the way the game started for Texas, this must all be kept in perspective. Had they played an opponent closer to their talent level, the Longhorns could have easily seen a score of 21-0 early on, changing the whole outlook of the contest.  

There’s a lot to take away from Texas’ season opener, and at the same time, not much at all. Based on what the Longhorns showed, this could be the most productive offensive unit in years. Now they have to do it consistently.