Texas has suffered two devastating losses in recent weeks. What should we expect from them against TCU and OU?
In Week 3, the Texas Longhorns faced California. They trailed by three touchdowns in the second half before quarterback Jerrod Heard scored on a late touchdown run that cut the deficit to one point. All they needed was an extra point from kicker Nick Rose and they would have successfully completed the comeback, but that didn’t happen and the kick went wide right.
In Week 4, the Horns had Oklahoma St. right where they wanted them. They led by three late before OSU made the game-tying field goal. The Longhorns got one more chance to go down the field and win the game but they were forced to punt deep in their own territory. Disaster struck again when the punt was mishandled and kicked out of bounds for a few yards. OSU would eventually nail the game-winning field goal.
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Both of these games were heart breakers for the Longhorns and their fans and they were both Texas’ fault. They had a chance to win both and gave them up by making silly errors, so what should we expect when they play No. 4 TCU this weekend and No. 15 Oklahoma on October 10th?
Though the Longhorns got all they could ask for and more against Notre Dame in Week 1, these two games will arguably be their hardest, along with their match against Baylor in the final week of the season.
The first thing to look for is a more energized and prepared team. Though they may not have the players to match up with both of these Big 12 powerhouses, they have many young guys with bright careers ahead, like Heard, that will be looking to play well against these rivals.
Speaking of Heard, he will be arguably the most interesting player in both of these games. After solidifying his spot as the Longhorns starting quarterback with some good performances, he is going to face some defenses that don’t allow quarterbacks to rush like he does. If he is able to escape for a few runs, expect them to be explosive, just like the ones against California.
The next thing to watch for is Texas’ defense and special teams. For a defense that was hyped up before the season started, they have not looked great early on, even though they forced a few interceptions against OSU. Special teams just needs to play through one game mistake-free in order to boost their morale and avoid making future errors. These will be the factors that determine whether or not Texas will be able to hang around or if they will be dominated again.
The last thing to analyze is changes that Texas head coach Charlie Strong might make. He was a part of the loss to OSU because of his poorly-timed penalty late in the game that helped the Cowboys tie it up. Also, the Horns will play TCU in Fort Worth and OU in the Cotton Bowl. This will be Texas’ first away games since Week 1, so look for any changes Strong might make to be accompanied with a more hostile crowd surrounding the game.
Overall, the Longhorns don’t have good chances in these games but that doesn’t mean good things can’t happen. Simple improvements on both sides of the ball could be bright signs for a team that is still a few years away from making things interesting again. The main thing Texas needs to get out of these games is the experience of playing some of the nation’s best teams.
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