Keys to the game: What Texas needs to do to beat Tulsa

Wills Layton

As much as last week’s loss to Maryland hurt the hearts of all Longhorn fans, head coach Tom Herman put it best: The sun is going to come up tomorrow. This week, Texas will play Tulsa at home, in what should be a good opportunity for the Longhorns to get their first victory of the season. Here’s what Texas needs to do to result in a comfortable win at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

Get off to a quick start

Nothing was more painful than watching Maryland march down the field on the very first drive of the game. The defense looked lethargic in the first half, and outside of a beautiful diving touchdown grab by junior wide receiver Devin Duvernay, so did the offense. That cannot happen again for the rest of the season if Texas wants to be taken seriously on the national scale.

While Tulsa may not be the most difficult opponent the Longhorns will face this season, they do not deserve to be taken lightly. The Golden Hurricane scored 38 points in their win over Central Arkansas and had a lot of success on the ground, rushing for nearly 300 yards.

If Texas is going to turn the season around and show why the team was ranked at the start the season, setting the tone early against Tulsa is critical. Dominance is a must on both offense and defense. If the Longhorns give Tulsa an inch, you can bet they’ll give USC a mile.

Find consistency in the running game

For the first several Longhorn drives, it looked as though graduate transfer Tre Watson and freshman Keaontay Ingram were going to have a rough day. As the game progressed, the rushing attack became more and more dynamic, picking up first downs and opening up the passing game.

While the run game eventually improved, the Longhorns must find not only a rhythm, but a group of backs they can confidently depend on before their matchup with USC on Sept. 15.

No more turnovers

There are three things guaranteed in life: death, taxes and a Sam Ehlinger turnover to effectively end a game. This has to stop. Since science can’t stop death and the government will always tax its people, sophomore quarterback Ehlinger has to learn from his mistakes.

Way too often last year, three times exactly, Ehlinger and the Longhorn offense ended the game in defeat due to late game turnovers. Whether it be a fumble in overtime, an end-zone interception, two picks in the last couple minutes of the game, you name it, he’s done it.

If Texas anticipates Ehlinger taking it to the promised land, then there has to be improvement on these very freshman-like mistakes. Otherwise, this team will be stuck winning five to seven games for yet another year. The game against Tulsa will be a great opportunity to iron out these issues before USC comes to town with its elite defense.