Charlie Strong wasn’t brought to Austin to take Longhorn decals off of helmets, move upperclassmen back onto campus and make players walk to campus. He was hired to coach defense and restore Texas’ identity as a hard-nosed football team.
So far, so good.
Texas completely shut down North Texas on Saturday night, defeating the Mean Green 38-7. The defense actually pitched a shutout – UNT’s only touchdown came on a botched snap inside the Longhorns’ own end zone – and actually outscored their counterparts by posting a touchdown of their own.
How about these defensive highlights?
– Texas allowed only 94 yards of total offense on 60 plays. That’s 1.57 yards per snap.
– North Texas quarterbacks completed 3-of-17 attempts for 15 yards with no touchdowns, four interceptions and a pick six. That’s a quarterback rating of minus-21.9.
– In 43 carries, eight North Texas rushers combined for a long rush of eight yards.
– North Texas was 3-of-15 on third down, and carried an 0-fer deep into the second half.
– Texas forced more punts (nine) than it allowed first downs (eight).
– When considering Texas accounted for 68 yards in interception returns, the North Texas offense had a net impact of 26 yards. That’s 16 inches per play.
The offense was a work in progress, as was expected. David Ash completed 19-of-34 passes for a modest 190 yards with a touchdown. Malcolm Brown, Johnathan Gray and true freshman D’Onta Foreman combined to rush 31 times for 184 yards and two touchdowns.
The only downer on the night was the loss of senior center Dominic Espinosa to an apparent ankle injury. Strong offered no update in his post-game press conference.
Texas hosts BYU next week, while North Texas opens its home schedule against SMU.