WR Mike Davis (Sr.)
Well, hello there Mr. Davis. Apparently he saw himself on the “Stock Down” portion of last week’s segment and decided to do something about it — and boy, did he. The senior wideout had his best game in conference play, breaking out for 91 yards on three catches, none bigger than the 49-yard touchdown he reeled in with 4:15 remaining in the third quarter. With Oklahoma State in town for a game with huge conference title implications, the Longhorns need Davis to have an encore performance.
WR Jaxon Shipley (Jr.)
While Davis is more of a home run threat, Shipley has fortified his role in this offense as “Mr. Reliable.” He was the man of the hour in Saturday’s game against West Virginia, recording his first touchdown of season on an acrobatic catch in the corner of the end zone before hauling in a nine-yard pass on 4th-and-7 to give the Longhorns a crucial first down. If Davis can stretch the field against the Cowboys and draw some double teams in the secondary, Shipley should have a field day.
S Adrian Phillips (Sr.)
After a couple of subpar games in which he didn’t tackle well, Phillips came back strong against the Mountaineers, recording eight solo tackles and his second interception of the season. Although the Longhorns gave up 40 points on Saturday, just imagine how many they would have allowed Phillips not made those plays in one-on-one situations.
RB Johnathan Gray (So.)
Gray was the Longhorns’ primary offensive weapon heading into the West Virginia game, averaging over 20 carries and 90 rushing yards a game in Big 12 play. Unfortunately, he suffered a ruptured Achilles on a 27-yard run and is now lost for the rest of the season — a crushing blow for this team. With their most talented player now on the sidelines, how will this this offense respond?
DT Chris Whaley (Sr.)
If Gray’s injury wasn’t costly enough for the Longhorns, Whaley’s surely is. The senior defensive tackle had shown a knack for making big plays but is now done for the season after injuring his knee against the Mountaineers. This defense will need someone to step in and fill the massive void that Whaley’s absence creates.
CB Duke Thomas (So.)
Surrounded by Phillips, senior cornerback Carrington Byndom and standout junior cornerback Quandre Diggs, Thomas is by far the least experienced member of the Longhorns secondary. Although he has mostly played well, he also gets burned at times. On Saturday, he got burned — badly. With Texas nursing a four-point lead in the fourth quarter, Thomas got beat on an inside move by West Virginia’s Mario Alford, who blew past him for an easy 72-yard go-ahead touchdown. It didn’t cost Texas the game, but it could have. Thomas has to play smarter.