We’ve learned a little something about who we can expect to make plays for the Longhorns this season. Garrett Gilbert finished with a solid line, while Malcolm Brown led the way on the ground and Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley threatened rice through the air. The end result was a 34-9 win for Texas in which they grew stronger late in the game.
Gilbert finished 13-23 for 239 yards and a TD, but he did suffer from a few early drops. While that paints an effective game – and it was effective – Garrett struggled to move the offense early. Change-up formations in plus territory loosened the rice defense up, threatening the perimeter with the athletic David Ash on the field at QB and speedster D.J. Monroe seeing the field. Gilbert did hit Davis for two long passes, both over 50 yards, using play action and setting up scores.
As the game went on, Brown carried the load, finishing with 16 carries for 85 yards and showing the ability to move piles – and the chains in the process. He did have a fumble late in the game that Rice recovered, but the Texas defense held, keeping the four score margin.
Fellow true freshman Shipley was a threat all night, both out of the slot where he caught two balls for 54 yards, and running the ball on the edge where he picked up 26 yards on three carries. He caught a 36-yard touchdown from receiver John Harris on one of co-OC Bryan Harsin’s more imaginative plays, an end around receiver pass.
Rice did test the Texas defense on the ground, gaining 130 yards on 30 carries and holding the ball for nearly half of the game (26:29) despite an ineffective passing game. They were also aided by a handful of key defensive penalties on the Longhorns that kept drives alive and led to field goals.
Texas will take on BYU back in Austin next Saturday at 6:00 CDT in most of the nation’s first chance to actually watch them. A crowd of around 100,000 at Darrell K. Royal stadium might have outnumbered the entire tv viewership that was limited by the new Longhorn Network’s pitiful inability to find deals with major carriers like Time Warner, Charter, DirecTV and Dish Netowrk.