A Closer Look: #16 Texas Longhorns

Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

“The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You” is probably the most annoying, beating of a song of all eternity.

When the Frogs head into Darrell K. Royal Stadium this Thanksgiving Thursday there will be a sense of renewal for old SWC Frog fans, as well as a sense of new rivalry for the younger generation, who may not fully remember the old days.

Hopefully, we’ll see a substantial amount of purple in the stands among the sea of burnt orange.

Texas has seen a revival this season, thanks to better quarterback play and the resurgence of the running game.

Johnathan Gray and Joe Bergeron make for a potent 1-2 punch out of the backfield, and David Ash seems to know which way is up most Saturdays.

Gray, a true freshman, leads the Horns in rushing with 607 yards and three touchdowns, while Bergeron, the bruiser, has rushed for 550 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Malcolm Brown, the third back, has been slowed by injuries this season, but is still a threat to bust loose.

Fortunately for TCU, they have the best rushing defense in the Big 12, and are good for 7th best in the country.

I feel like in this instance, the Frogs match up quite well with the Longhorns, much like they did against Kansas State (the Frogs held Kansas State to a season-low 115 rushing yards, prior to Baylor holding them to 76).

Meanwhile, Ash is absolutely shattering his statistics from a season ago, when he was splitting time with Case McCoy. He’s thrown for just over 2,300 yards, 17 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions.

However, Ash is still prone to having a bad day, like he did against Kansas when he threw for an astounding 68 yards and two interceptions before being pulled in favor of McCoy.

A matchup to watch will be Jason Verrett lining up across from Mike Davis, the big hitter for the Longhorns at wide receiver. Davis is on pace to have an 1,000 yard year, and could have a big day if Verrett loses track of him.

Watching Kevin White follow Jaxon Shipley around all game will no doubt give me a heart attack. Look for him to get help over the top, but I don’t know how much help the corners will get if TCU needs to send a safety to stop the run.

Granted, with Patterson’s newly revealed 4-1-6 system, there are 4 safeties on the field to help the run D and in coverage.

Defensively, Texas has been lacking this season, and this may be the best opportunity for Trevone Boykin to get on track a little bit. The extra days off should have helped heal his shoulder and foot, and maybe, just maybe, Rusty Burns will try to throw it deep once or twice.

However against a Texas team that hasn’t been good against the run at all, we should all expect a heavy dose of Matthew Tucker and B.J. Catalon.

One of those two will need to run for over 100 yards, with the other getting close. I fully expect TCU to have over 200 yards on the ground in this game.

To put it plainly, only Kansas is worse against the run in the Big 12.

Of course, with the way this offensive line has played, I could be completely wrong.

We’ll find out on Thursday.

Go Frogs.

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