Four notes from UT’s loss to BYU

Just one week after an inspiring win over New Mexico State, the Longhorns took a major step back in their 40-21 loss to Brigham Young University. Here are four things that stood out in Saturday night’s game: 

Ineffective run defense

The Texas defense relinquished 550 yards on the ground against BYU, setting a school record for most rushing yards allowed in a game.

The Longhorns struggled with poor tackling and runs up the middle, and the Cougars capitalized with an average of 7.6 yards per carry. Sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill took advantage with 259 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, the second highest rushing total for a quarterback in BYU history. 

Texas had trouble stopping the BYU zone read. This poses a significant problem moving forward, as many of the Longhorns’ upcoming opponents feature that system in their offensive playbooks.

Offensive-line woes

The veteran Texas offensive line had no answer for the Cougars’ front seven, as David Ash and the running backs battled pressure in the backfield throughout the game.

BYU racked up four sacks, five quarterback hits and eight tackles-for-loss while limiting the Longhorns’ run game to just 3.4 yards per carry. At the forefront of this was senior All-American linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who lit up the Longhorns with eight tackles, one sack and four quarterback hits in the game.

The Cougars’ ferocious pass rush broke through the Texas line with relative ease, and Ash rarely found time to locate his receivers. The junior quarterback failed to get comfortable in the pocket all night, and he took more hits than usual because of poor protection.

Wide receivers impress

Despite the ineffectiveness of the running game, the Longhorns’ starting wide receivers each provided strong performances.

Senior wide receiver Mike Davis built on an impressive Week 1 with eight catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns against BYU. Much of his yardage came on a 57-yard bomb down the left sideline for his first score of the night.

Junior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley recorded a big game as well, working the underneath game to haul in eight passes for 105 yards. In addition, sophomore wide receiver Kendall Sanders showed promise in his first game of the season with four catches for 36 yards.

Another slow start on offense

After failing to score on their first five possessions last week, the Longhorn offense was stagnant to start the game against the Cougars.

On its first three drives, the Texas offense managed just 23 yards and went three-and-out on each possession. The Longhorns woke up on their fourth drive with a touchdown strike from Ash to Davis, but they were forced to punt for a fourth time in their fifth possession of the first quarter.