Earlier this season the Texas defense was atrocious, but on Thursday night the Longhorns were thankful for facing a Texas Tech team that continues to struggle. Texas (8-3, 7-2 Big 12) recorded 9 sacks in the dominating victory over Texas Tech (7-5, 4-5 Big 12).
Texas quarterback Case McCoy completed 10 of 19 pass attempts for 139 yards and two touchdowns, both scoring plays going to Mike Davis, and the Longhorns had two rushers go over 100 yards in the game. Malcolm Brown led all players with 128 yards and Joe Bergeron added 104 yards and a touchdown. Kicker Anthony Fera chipped in with two field goals and five extra point attempts for a perfect night.
The story of the night was the Texas defense. The Longhorns sacked Texas Tech quarterback Baker Mayfield (24-44-1, 236 yards, 0 TD) and Michael Brewer 9 times. Texas also forced three turnovers and did not let tight end Jace Amaro do too much damage against them, holding the Big 12’s top tight end to 83 yards and one touchdown. Texas Tech did their part to allow Texas to stay on the field and move down field at times. Undisciplined play resulted in 11 penalties against Texas Tech for a total of 100 penalty yards.
Texas now remains in the hunt for the Big 12 championship, although they will need some help from a heated rival, Oklahoma. The Longhorns move in to a tie with Oklahoma State at the top of the Big 12 standings, but due to a loss to the Cowboys the Longhorns would need the Sooners to top Oklahoma State next week. Texas also needs to finish their season with a win at Baylor next week. A Texas win over Baylor and an Oklahoma State loss would send Mack Brown’s Longhorns to a BCS bowl game with the outright Big 12 championship.
Texas Tech’s regular season is now in the books, but the Red Raiders will be going to a bowl game despite limping to the finish line, somewhat figuratively and literally given the injuries. After winning the first seven games of the year, Texas Tech pulled a 2012 West Virginia and lost their final five games of the year as the schedule got tougher. The good news is the team will now get a chance to recharge and prepare for one more game. This year will also serve as a bit of a learning experience for first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
On the other sideline, Mack Brown continues to find a way to keep a Texas team that was all but written off in September in contention for a Big 12 title and a trip to a BCS bowl game. There are changes taking place at Texas, but Brown is making a bit of an argument to remain in charge of the football program. If Brown (and defensive coordinator Greg Robinson) can find a way to get this Texas defense to slow down Baylor next week and the Sooners offer a helping hand in Stillwater, we could be heading to quite an epic showdown in Austin.