Some scores are deceiving. This one isn’t. No. 11 Notre Dame leads Texas 17-0 through one half of action in South Bend.
Notre Dame thoroughly dominated the half, owning a 14-3 edge in first downs and a 230-74 yardage edge. The Irish marched 55 yards on eight plays on their second possession of the game, and then drove 95 yards on as many snaps on their next touch. Malik Zaire capped the first drive with a 16-yarder to Will Fuller, and Josh Adams punctuated the next with a 14-yard dash. Justin Yoon added a 38-yard field goal to complete the scoring.
Zaire has completed 11-of-13 passes for 144 yards and a score while adding 16 yards on the ground. C.J. Prosise has rushed nine times for 31 yards, carrying the load for Josh Adams, who left in the first quarter with a knee injury.
Texas did not notch a first down until its second-to-last play in the first quarter, an 11-yard dash by Johnathan Gray. Tyrone Swoopes completed 1-of-8 (not a misprint) passes for 20 yards and rushed eight times for 26 yards – most of those scrambles while evading multiple Notre Dame defensive linemen. Gray has rushed three times for 18 yards, and Daje Johnson has netted two grabs for 30 yards and one rush for nine. Redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard saw limited action, completing a 10-yard throw to Johnson and taking a vicious sack from Jaylon Smith.
Fittingly, the half ended with two Nick Rose 52-yard field goals erased by Notre Dame timeouts, and the third try sailing wide left as time expired.
Texas will receive to open the second half.
Texas already looks to be undermanned for Saturday’s rivalry game against Oklahoma in the old Cotton Bowl, but now the Longhorns will be without one of its best playmakers. Wide receiver Daje Johnson did not make the trip to the state fair this weekend, which obviously means he will not play this weekend.
Johnson is out nursing a hamstring injury. The injury occurred during last weekend’s game against Baylor, which was his season debut following a four-game suspension. It does not sound as though the hamstring is a serious injury, but hamstring injuries have a way of lingering and causing problems without any way to predict what happens.
Johnson’s loss will be noticeable. The Longhorns offense has been in need of help, and last year Johnson came up with a big play in an upset of the Sooners. Johnson returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown to help pad the Texas lead midway through the third quarter.
The Texas Longhorns could use all the help they can get on offense as the team prepares to face the No. 7 Baylor Bears. And they’ll receive a boost from one of the previously suspended players on the roster.
Wide receiver Daje Johnson will return to the lineup Saturday after being suspended by head coach Charlie Strong for the first four games of the season.
The Longhorns won’t receive added help along their offensive line, though.
Last season as a sophomore, Johnson finished fourth on the team with 24 receptions and added 178 yards. The receiver was also the team’s fifth-leading rusher with 140 yards on 24 carries. Johnson contributed as a returner too.
Baylor owns the nation’s No. 1 offense and averages 641 yards per game, which is nearly 50 more yards than any other team in college football. Texas absolutely needs a full compliment of weapons for this particular contest, and Johnson will be a welcome addition.
Monday brought word that the three indefinitely suspended Texas players would remain that way at least through the Kansas game this Saturday. As it turns out, one-third of that trio (likely) won’t ever play for the Longhorns again.
UT announced late Tuesday morning that Kennedy Estelle has been dismissed from the football team by head coach Charlie Strong. The only reason given was a “violation of team rules.”
The offensive tackle, projected to be a starter, had missed the last two games because of the suspension meted out after he played in the opener against North Texas.
What changed over the past 24 hours that brought about Estelle’s dismissal is unknown. What is known is that a new sheriff is most certainly in charge, and he’s brought a big ol’ broom to town with him.
Estelle had played in 16 games for the Longhorns, starting nine of those contests.
At least for now, the two remaining suspended players, wide receiver Daje Johnson and offensive tackle Desmond Harrison, are still on the team. Both were projected starters entering summer camp.
In what was a fairly newsy news conference Monday in Austin, Charlie Strong announced that suspended players Daje Johnson, Demsond Harrison and Kennedy Estelle will remain suspended, and quarterback Tyrone Swoopes pulled a Joe Namath and said that his 1-2 Longhorns had their sights set on the College Football Playoff.
There was a bit of tangible, realistic, good news for the Longhorns on Monday, that tight end/glorified offensive lineman Greg Daniels is progressing toward seeing the field for the first time this season.
Daniels has not seen the field this season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in August. The time table at that point pointed toward an Oct 11 return against Oklahoma, so he appears to be ahead of schedule.
The senior has mostly been used as an extra blocker in his 25 career games after beginning his career on the defensive line. He has eight career catches for 118 yards; Daniels’ claim to fame was catching a 47-yard pass on Texas’ first play from scrimmage during UT’s 33-7 win over Iowa State way back in 2012, a play the Longhorns ran out of the Wishbone in tribute of the recently-passed Darrell Royal. That play was called by then-Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, who has taken two jobs since then. So, yeah, it’s been a while since Daniels contributed anything of substance in the passing game.
But Daniels’ return to the field would still be an upgrade. Tight ends M.J. McFarland and Geoff Swaim have combined to produce five receptions for 23 yards and a touchdown thus far this season, so it’s not as if that position is a major portion of the passing game in the first place. Pairing Swaim with Daniels would give the ‘Horns two above-average blocking tight ends and, considering the state of the offensive line, that would be a sorely needed advantage.
Texas travels to Kansas on Saturday (4 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1).