Stock Up: Johnathan Gray
Gray finally had the kind of game Texas fans have been waiting for this year. He had ten carries for a whopping 101 yards and three touchdowns, giving Texas its second consecutive week with a 100-yard rusher. His 39-yard touchdown run set the tone in the second quarter, and the 40-yarder on his next touch set up his one-yard touchdown run. He then iced the game with a fifteen-yard touchdown scamper.
Stock Down: Charlie Strong
If it wasn’t apparent in the UCLA game, Texas has looked confused when it has a lead late in games. Ultimately, that confusion comes down to the head coach. Despite a large lead and the clock in its favor, the Longhorns still put the ball in sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes’ hands. Not only did Swoopes fail to complete any of his fourth quarter passes, he rarely ran down the play clock, even when the game clock was running. Why was Swoopes snapping the ball with fifteen seconds left on the play clock and a large lead? In addition to the poor clock management at the end of the game, Strong could have ended the first half differently. With West Virginia pinned deep in Longhorn territory with just under a minute remaining, Strong refused to call a time-out to get a shot at a late field goal. Although his team is looking better, his clock management skills can definitely improve.
Stock Up: Cedric Reed
The senior defensive end was an absolute beast Saturday. There’s a reason he was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week, Athlon National Defensive Player of the Week and a nominee for the Capital One Cup Impact Performance of the Week. He had a career-high three sacks, a safety, four tackles for a loss and a forced fumble to go along with his two quarterback hits. The defensive end changed the game for the Longhorns and set the tone in one of Texas’ best defensive performances to date.
Stock Down: Tyrone Swoopes
He’s not a closer, at least not yet. When Texas put the ball in his hands in the fourth quarter, he could not deliver. He had seven pass attempts in the final fifteen minutes. Six of those fell incomplete, while the other team caught the only completion. In the second half, he completed just 2-of-14 pass attempts. For the third week in a row, he looked sluggish and overwhelmed. His consecutive stellar performances against Oklahoma and Iowa State are starting to look like flukes. In the three outings since he “turned the corner,” he has completed just 46.8 percent of his passes.