Keys to the Game: Texas must win battle against BYU’s linebackers this week

Matt Warden

Pick Up the Linebackers

Texas rushed for 359 yards against New Mexico State, boasting a stellar offensive line that will be tough for any defense to beat. But two interceptions by David Ash showed that even with the talent in the trenches, defenses can still get into the backfield on occasion. BYU boasts an excellent group of linebackers known for racking up tackles and harassing the quarterback. BYU racked up 34 sacks last season and held its opponents to only 86.9 rushing yards per game. The second level of the BYU defense is fast and strong and will likely be in the backfield many times this weekend but Texas can nullify this game plan by focusing on picking them up. Virginia only produced 223 total yards against the Cougars last weekend. Texas needs to pick up the linebackers to give Ash a chance to burn the secondary. 


Keep Running

This key is becoming more and more redundant each week but the success of the Texas football team when they run the ball often speaks for itself. The Longhorns racked up 359 rushing yards last weekend against the Aggies which was eighth-most by any team in Week 1. The Longhorns got more than 60 rushing yards from four different players, including 91 by Ash. Texas carried the ball 42 times, wearing down the Aggies defense after a shaky start had New Mexico State in the game at halftime. When Texas runs the ball they produce more in the passing game as evidenced by 356 yards through the air last weekend. It sounds too simple to work but it just keeps working for the Longhorns. They need to put pressure on the BYU defense with lots of rushing attempts. 


Maintain Possession

For all of the good that Texas did in its opening game of this season, a look at the box score shows that turnovers were an overlooked issue. Texas turned the ball over three times against New Mexico State and that cannot happen against BYU if they want to win. Ash completed 20 of 28 passes but threw two interceptions early in last weekend’s game and will need to avoid making early mistakes as BYU possesses more weapons on both sides of the ball than the Aggies did. The Cougars will definitely put the pressure on the Texas backfield to make plays early but it will be imperative that the Longhorns keep their composure and not turn the ball over. If they can minimize the help that they give to BYU then the Longhorns will likely pick up a victory.