S Mykkele Thompson (Jr.)
Although the Texas secondary struggled as a unit against Oklahoma State, allowing Clint Chelf to complete 16 of 22 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns, Thompson had his best game of the season for the Longhorns. In addition to hauling in his first interception of the season against the Cowboys — Chelf’s only turnover of the game — he recorded six solo tackles, his most in a single game this year.
DT Malcolm Brown (So.)
With fellow defensive tackle Chris Whaley done for the season with a knee injury, Brown has added pressure on him in the middle of Texas’ defense. The sophomore responded well against Oklahoma State, recording seven tackles, his most in six weeks. With the Longhorns defense likely to be spread out against Texas Tech’s high-flying aerial attack, Brown needs to have a big game in the middle to stymie the Red Raiders’ running game and keep them one-dimensional.
Longhorns Offensive Line
The big boys up front for Texas have been stellar, allowing an average of only one sack per game in conference play. They continued this solid play against the Cowboys, allowing a single sack at the end of the game to freshman quarterback Tyrone Swoopes. Longhorns quarterbacks have been sacked just twice in their last 142 pass attempts.
QB Case McCoy (Sr.)
It’s hard to argue against McCoy being on this list. The senior signal-caller had his worst outing of the season in the Longhorns’ biggest game of the season, throwing three interceptions and zero touchdowns. His first interception was the costliest, as it was returned for a touchdown by Justin Gilbert to give Oklahoma State a commanding 28-10 halftime lead. Despite good protection from his offensive line, McCoy has been picked off in five straight games.
RB Malcolm Brown (Jr.)
With Johnathan Gray done for the year, Texas needed Brown to explode against Oklahoma State. Instead he came up short, finishing with 73 rushing yards despite carrying the ball 25 times — a paltry 2.9 yards per carry. With two huge games approaching against Texas Tech, the Longhorns need Brown to step up and help them sustain the power running game that has emerged over the course of their Big 12 schedule.
LB Dalton Santos (So.)
Santos had come up big at middle linebacker since senior Jordan Hicks went down with a torn Achilles against Kansas State, anchoring the defense with his aggressive play. But against Oklahoma State he was caught out of position too many times, allowing Chelf to gash the Longhorns through the air and on the ground. Chelf was able to coast into the end zone for the game’s first score when he ran a quarterback draw up the middle for an easy touchdown — right where Santos should have been.