2019 Alamo Bowl: Texas vs. Utah

Good Morning and Happy Alamo Bowl Longhorn Fans!

Texas Longhorns vs. Utah Utes

The Longhorns are in San Antonio for the last game of the 2019 Texas Longhorns Football Campaign.  Our 7-5 Horns will face No. 11 Utah, who had had a great season, going 11-2 and 8-1 in the Pac-12.  More on the Utes below.

The game kicks off tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Alamodome.  San Antonio is a great and easy road trip, even on New Year’s Eve.  I am hoping for a good showing from Longhorn Nation.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN, with Dave Flemming providing play by play, Louis Riddick analyzing, and Paul Carcaterra reporting on the sidelines.  As always, on the Longhorn Radio Network with the Voice of the Longhorns, Craig Way with the play by play, Roger Wallace in the booth with Craig, and my friend Quan Cosby on the sidelines with insight and more analysis.  KROD 600 AM in El Paso, KFRO 1370 in Longview, and KLVQ 1410 AM in Malakoff.   ESPN Radio will also broadcast the game nationally.

The Vegas line opened with the Utes favored by 6.5 and is right at a touchdown late Monday night.  Over/under is 55, which I think is right on the money.

This will the 56th bowl game for Texas, second most all-time behind Alabama.  The Longhorns bowl record is 29-24-2.  Looking forward to getting that 30th bowl win Tuesday night!

This will be the just the second meeting between Texas and Utah.  The Horns won the first one 21-12, on September 18, 1982, here in Austin.  That was a couple of weeks into my first semester of law school, and I honestly don’t recall if I went to the game.  But I did check out the box score.

Texas rushed for 318 yards that day, as Darryl Clark posted 162 on 20 carries, Terry Orr had 9 rushes for 61 yards and 2 scores, and Carl Robinson had 3 carries for 24 yards and a touchdown.  Robert Brewer completed 3 of 11 passes for 28 yards, no scores, and a pick.  The Texas defense was great, led by Mark Lang and Jeff Leiding with 12 tackles each (3 & 2 TFL respectively) and Kiki DeAyala, who had 11 tackles (5 TFL) and 2.5 sacks and 7 quarterback hurries.  Other stars on the field that day for Texas were Tony Degrate, Mossy Cade, and Jerry Gray.   I miss the defensive prowess of those teams.

Utah Utes

Utah had a great year and dang near went undefeated in the regular season.  The Utes were the champions of the Pac-12 South.

In pre-conference play, Utah did what good teams should do, run the table.  30-12 over Brigham Young in Provo, then two wins at home – 35-17 over the Northern Illinois Huskies and 31-0 over Idaho State.

The one blemish was the 23-30 loss to Southern Cal in Los Angeles in a Friday night game to open Pac-12 play.  The Utes held the Trojans to 13 yards rushing but did allow 368 passing.  Utah ran for 247 against Southern Cal that evening.

After that loss, Utah would win 8 straight Pac-12 games:

  •             38-13 win over Washington State at home.
  •             52-7 thrashing of Oregon State in Corvallis.
  •             24-3 home win over Arizona State
  •             35-0 shutout of Cal Berkeley in Salt Lake City
  •             33-28 over Washington in Seattle
  •             49-3 home win over UC Los Angeles
  •             35-7 win at Arizona
  •             45-15 win over Colorado at home.

Six games where the opponent scored 7 or less.  Serious defense.

The 15-37 loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game surprised me a bit, but Oregon had a good season too.  The Pac-12 overall is not that good, and my opinion is that the Big 12 is a better and tougher conference.

Individuals to look for in the game.

Zack Moss, No. 2, is the Ute running back.  The 5-11, 222 pound senior from Hialeah Gardens, Florida, has 1,359 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground, plus 374 yards receiving (26 catches) and 2 scores.  No. 11 nationally rushing at 113.25 yards per game.

No. 1 Tyler Huntley is the Utah quarterback.  The 6-1, 205 senior is also a Florida man, from Dania.  He has solid stats and is very efficient.  205-278-7, 2,966 yards, and 18 touchdowns.  That is a 73.7 completion percentage, which has him ranked second in that category behind a guy who had a good season, Joe Burrow of Louisiana State.

Huntley spreads the ball around.  10 players with at least 10 catches, and Brant Kuithe has the most with 31 for 572 yards and 6 TDs. Demari Simpkins has 30 for 340, and Jaylen Dixon has 23 for 333.

Defensively, the Utes are led by No. 20, Devin Lloyd, 6-3, 225 pound linebacker, with 85 tackles (43 solo, 9 TFL, 5.5 sacks).  No. 13 Francis Bernard, senior linebacker, has 83 tackles (44 solo, 7.5 TFL).  No. 26 Terrell Burgess, senior safety – 75 tackles (47 solo, 6 TFL, .5 sack).  No. 23 Julian Blackmon, safety, 60 tackles (41 solo, 4 TFL, 1.4 sacks).  All-American cornerback Jaylon Johnson (no. 1) is very good, and likely will be on Duvernay.  They get a lot of sacks.  No. 6 Bradlee Anae, a 265 pound defensive end from Hawaii, has 12.5 sacks for 90 yards.  No. 99, defensive tackle Leki Fotu (6-5, 335 pounds), has 8.5 tackles for loss (50 yards).  I hear 6 defensive players from Utah are going to the Senior Bowl.  That is amazing.

The Statistics

I pulled all of the stats after the conference championship games were concluded and before any bowl games were played.

Offense
Statistic
Texas
Utah
Rushing Offense #54 – 172.0 ypg #29 – 207.0 ypg
Passing Offense #19 – 296.2 ypg #65 – 235.5 ypg
Total Offense #15 – 468.2 ypg #34 – 442.5 ypg
Scoring Offense #18 – 35 ppg #27 – 34 ppg
First Downs #8 – 25.3/game #47 – 22/game
Sacks Allowed #107 – 33, 108 yards #43 – 21, 125 yards
Tackles for Loss Allowed #58 – 68, 264 yards #74 – 73, 265 yards
Third Down Conversions #9 – 49.1% #13 – 47.8%
Fourth Down Conversions #113 – 38.9% #93 – 45.8%
Red Zone Offense #10 – 93% / 80% #56 – 85% / 68%
Long Run Plays #26 – 79, 11, 4, 2, 2, 1 #18 – 83, 19, 11, 4, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1
Long Pass Plays #12 – 145, 46, 19, 9, 6, 3, 2 #52 – 118, 46, 19, 14, 9, 5, 2, 2
Long Scrimmage Plays #8 – 224, 57, 23, 11, 8, 4, 2 #21 – 201, 65, 30, 18, 10, 6, 3, 3, 1
Defense
Statistic
Texas
Utah
Rushing Defense #47  – 139.8 ypg #1 – 70.3 ypg
Passing Defense #127 – 306.4 ypg #13 – 185.9 ypg
Total Defense #108 – 446.3 ypg #3 – 256.2 ypg
Scoring Defense #74 – 28.9 ppg #5 – 13.2 ppg
Sacks #83 – 22, 118 yards #39 – 30, 229 yards
Tackles for Loss #70 – 70, 233 yards #58 – 73, 345 yards
First Downs Allowed #113 – 23.1/game #2 – 14.3/game
Third Down Conversions #74 – 40.0% #7 – 29.3%
Fourth Down Conversions #29 – 42.1% #94 – 57.1%
Red Zone Defense #102 – 88% / 57% #11 – 72% / 40%
Long Run Plays Allowed #56 – 59, 13, 4, 2, 1, 1 #5 – 36, 5, 3, 1, 1, 1, 1
Long Pass Plays Allowed #130 – 149, 53, 21, 15, 8, 3, 2 #24 – 92, 24, 13, 6, 3, 2, 2
Long Scrim. Plays Allowed #128 – 208, 66, 25, 17, 9, 4, 2 #8 – 128, 29, 16, 7, 4, 3, 3
Other
Statistic
Texas
Utah
Turnovers #16  – 9F, 4I : 13 #16 – 9F, 4I : 13
Turnover Margin #25  19:13; 0.50 #16  21:13; 0.62
Penalties #114 – 91, 852 yards #118 – 95, 809 yards

*Based on total number of penalties.

Yes, the Turnovers statistics are correct:  Exactly the same.

Match-up Comparison
Texas Offense
Utah Defense
Rushing Offense – 172.0 ypg 70.3 ypg – Rushing Defense
Passing Offense – 296.2 ypg 185.9 ypg – Passing Defense
Total Offense – 468.2 ypg 256.2 ypg – Total Defense
Scoring Offense – 35 ppg 13.2 ppg – Scoring Defense
First Downs – 25.3/game 14.3/game – First Downs Allowed
3rd Down Offense – 49.1% 29.3% – 3rd Down Defense
4th Down Offense –  38.9% 57.1% – 4th Down Defense
Red Zone Offense – 93/80 72/40 – Red Zone Defense
LRP – 79, 11, 4, 2, 2, 1 36, 5, 3, 1, 1, 1, 1- LRP Allowed
LPP – 145, 46, 19, 9, 6, 3, 2 92, 24, 13, 6, 3, 2, 2- LPP Allowed
LSP – 224, 57, 23, 11, 8, 4, 2 128, 29, 16, 7, 4, 3, 3 – LSP Allowed

 

Texas Defense
Utah Offense
Rushing Defense – 139.8 ypg 207.0 ypg – Rushing Offense
Passing Defense – 306.4 ypg 235.5 ypg – Passing Offense
Total Defense – 446.3 ypg 442.5 ypg – Total Offense
Scoring Defense – 28.9 ppg 34 ppg – Scoring Offense
First Downs Allowed – 23.1/game 22/game – First Downs
3rd Down Defense – 40.0% 47.8% – 3rd Down Offense
4th Down Defense – 42.1% 45.8% – 4th Down Offense
Red Zone Defense – 88/57 85/68 – Red Zone Offense
LRP Allowed – 59, 13, 4, 2, 1, 1 83, 19, 11, 4, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1- LRP
LPP Allowed – 149, 53, 21, 15, 8, 3, 2 118, 46, 19, 14, 9, 5, 2, 2- LPP
LSP Allowed – 208, 66, 25, 17, 9, 4, 2 201, 65, 30, 18, 10, 6, 3, 3, 1 – LSP

 It doesn’t take a lot of analysis to see the challenge that Herman and the Texas offense will face Tuesday evening.  Utah is quite simply one of the very best defenses in the country.  As of Monday night, they are still #1 in the country in rush defense, #4 in scoring defense, and are now #1 in total defense.  Utes allowed 7 rushing touchdowns all year.

Conversely, the Texas defense is horrible in several categories, including dead last in the country in Long Pass Plays allowed, and at No. 128 on long scrimmage plays allowed, we were two spots from the bottom.  Pass defense at 127.  That is why Mr. Orlando is no longer our defensive coordinator.   Unacceptable.

The Texas offense was actually pretty good statistically.  Ranked in the top 10 in 4 categories and top 20 in 3 more.  If you didn’t know how bad the defense was you would wonder how Texas only won 7 games.

The Utah offense is solid too.  Very comparable to Texas statistically.  But I think the Texas defense will match up pretty well.  Which means that I am expecting a low scoring game.  I am guessing in the 20’s, and I am going with Texas 27, Utah 24.

Official Preview:

https://texassports.com/news/2019/12/27/preview-football-vs-no-11-utah-dec-31-2019.aspx

Game Notes:

https://texassports.com/documents/2019/12/23//1_Notes.pdf

Devin Duvernay

I would be remiss if I did not take the time to recognize and applaud the amazing year that Mr. Duvernay had.  Going into bowl season, he was ranked nationally as follows:

  • 1 in receptions, with 103.
  • 1 in receptions per game, with 8.6
  • 4 in yards, with 1,294.
  • 7 in yards per game, 107.8.

Duvernay and Zach Shackelford were the only two Longhorns to be first team All-Big 12.

Devin Duvernay will finish in the top 2 or 3 of most key season statistical receiving categories in UT history, including second behind Jordan Shipley in yards and receptions, although it is conceivable that a record setting game in San Antonio could get him very close in those two.  The fact that he is listed as questionable for the game makes my head hurt and my stomach very unsettled.  Let’s hope he’s feeling good to go, because Texas is going to have to pass the ball to beat the Utes, and we need Devin catching it.

Texas Legacy Support Network

Billy Dale, a member of the 1969 team and a great Longhorn, has a wonderful website filled with Texas sports history and memories.

https://www.texaslsn.org/

The website helps generate support for the TLSN, which in turn is helping support Longhorns and many worthwhile charities.

Fred Bednarski:  I highly recommend, above all other links in this email, the Fred Bednarski story.  They have made a film about him.

https://www.texaslsn.org/jon-dasilva-the-fred-bednarski-story

Jim Bayless:  My friend Jim Bayless, who played tennis for the Horns, has a great article on the site:

https://www.texaslsn.org/jim-bayless-game-set-match

Texas Longhorns 49, Texas Technical Sand Aggies 24

Just a reminder that Texas did finish the regular season with a victory.  A solid beat down of the Sand Aggies, as Sam Ehlinger passed for 348 yards and 2 touchdowns and ran for 83 and a score.  Roschon Johnson had 105 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Devin Duvernay had 6 catches for 199 yards and a score.  A brilliant day offensively for the Horns.

My prediction of Texas 48, Tech 31 was pretty close.

Coordinators

As we all know, Todd Orlando was let go and Tim Beck relieved of his duties as offensive coordinator.  The searches for new coordinators were on, and the media coverage they generated was almost overwhelming.  I don’t go trolling in other teams’ blogs and message boards (okay, maybe I go to TexAgs occasionally to marvel at the regular meltdowns by the Texas Agricultural & Mechanical faithful), so I don’t know if similar searches at other schools have this much scrutiny, but I assume it is similarly ridiculous at other big-name programs.  I am just glad it is over, and especially glad that Texas made two solid hires in Chris Ash and Mike Yurcich.

Lots of articles and information out there, and the official statements from Texas Athletics (on TexasSports.com) are good and worth a quick read if you haven’t taken the time to get to know our new coaches.  Here are my quick takes.

Yurcich is not a household name, but his work is more familiar to you than you realize.  His 6 years at OC at Okie State (2013-2018) were excellent and helped the Pokes beat us 5 out of 6 times in his tenure there.  38-13 in 2013, 183 rushing and 197 yards passing; 30-27 in 2015, 103 & 292; 49-31 in 2016, 163 & 392 [hard to believe we lost that game with 329 yards rushing]; 13-10 in 2017, 146 & 282; and 38-35 in 2018, 181 & 321.  His work with Justin Fields at The Ohio State University is further evidence of his ability to develop talent (an area where I think Texas could use some help).

Chris Ash also has Ohio State ties, and he and Herman coached together at Iowa State and with the Buckeyes.  He didn’t do well at Rutgers, but as I told one person who asked about Ash, I am not sure Nick Saban could have much success at Rutgers, even with Darrell K Royal and Mike Campbell coaching the defense and Mike Leach and Hal Mumme on offense.  Ash has done well as a defensive coordinator, and I think he will have a good run here in Austin.

Recruiting

As most of you know, I am not a big follower of recruiting.  I will read a post on one of the blogs every few weeks, and I sometimes keep up with some of the stars Texas is tracking and pursuing. But for the most part, I focus on the team and games during the season, and I shift my attention to basketball and baseball in January.  The new national signing day in December changed that a little, and so I was excited to see a pretty darn good haul for the Horns before Christmas.  Here is a short quick look from Scipio Tex and a link to the official UT release.  Some very good players in what is now a somewhat small but strong class.

https://www.barkingcarnival.com/2019/12/18/21028993/texas-longhorn-football-signs-16-for-national-signing-day-1

https://texassports.com/documents/2019/12/18//Texas_Football_National_Signing_Day_release_Dec_18_2019.pdf

Texas Longhorns Basketball

The Horns beat High Point (coached by Tubby Smith) at the Erwin Center Monday night to finish the pre-conference schedule with a very good 10-2 record.  True, most of the wins were over much lesser opponents (Northern Colorado, California Baptist, McNeese State, and Texas Agricultural & Mechanical among them), but I will take 10 wins before January.   Texas opens conference play in Waco this Saturday night, 7:00 p.m. and the game will be on ESPN2.  Next Wednesday, the Land Thieves are in Austin for a game in the Drum, 8:00 p.m.  This is a fun, young team, with good guard play.  You need to come support Andrew Jones, and you need to see some of these young kids play.

Bowl Games

 We saw two amazing College Football Playoff Semifinal Games on Saturday.

The first one, Louisiana State’s destruction of the Land Thieves, was amazing because of the ease with which Joe Burrow and the Tigers scored.  Over and over and over again.  21 points in the first quarter.  28 in the second.  Bayou Bengals 63, Land Thieves 28.

The other semifinal was an amazingly good game.  Clemson got the 29-23 win over The Ohio State University, but my goodness was that a hard hitting college football game.

Which gives us Ed Go Tigahs Orgeron and Louisiana State versus the goodest ole boy, Dabo Swinney and his Clemson Tigers in the Big Easy for a Natty.  I have actually never really had much of a desire to go to a national championship game that Texas wasn’t playing in.  Until now.  The Crescent City is going to be lit.

In other games, that I got to watch, the Air Force win over Washington State in the Cheez-it Bowl, 31-21, was really good.  Mainly because I love watching a well-coached, disciplined team execute a triple-option offense.  And the Falcons did it almost to perfection in beating Leach and his Cougars.  Louisiana Tech shutting out Miami (FL) 14-0 was impressive; if you didn’t notice, La Tech finished the season 10-3.  Texas beat them 45-14.

Four other games to note.  Congratulations to Mack Brown with North Carolina’s 55-13 win over Temple in the Military Bowl.  Notre Dame whipped Iowa State 33-9 in the Camping World Bowl.  Go Irish.  Oklahoma State ran out of time against Texas Agricultural & Mechanical and was trailing 21-24 when the clock hit zero.  And lastly, congrats to the Virginia Cavaliers on a great season and dang near beating Florida in the Orange Bowl last night, falling 28-36 but covering.  Hook Em Hoos!

Some good games besides ours on Tuesday.

Florida State and Arizona State in the Sun Bowl.  1:00 p.m. on CBS.  Sun Devils favored by 4.5.

No. 23 Navy and K State in the Autozone Liberty Bowl should be good.  Navy favored by 3.  2:45 pm on ESPN.

New Year’s Day

No. 18 Minnesota and No. 12 Auburn in the Outback Bowl.  Noon on ESPN, Auburn favored by 7, and the over/under is 53.5.  I like the line and War Eagle!

No. 14 Michigan and No. 13 Alabama.  Noon on ABC.  Crimson Tide favored by 7, over/under is 58 in the VRBO Citrus Bowl.  Alabama has 2 losses, and they will not have a third.  Tide to win and cover.

No. 6 Oregon and No. 8 Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.  4:00 p.m. on ESPN.  Going to be an interesting game.  Badgers favored by just 3, and I think they are going to run all over the Ducks.  But I thought Utah was going to beat the Ducks too, and Utah is in San Antonio with us.  We shall see.

And the Sugar Bowl.  No. 5 Georgia probably will be a little more interested this year, if for no other reason than they don’t want to hear the nonsense dispensed by too many last year.  Bulldogs are favored by 5.5 over no. 7 Baylor, and I think that is a good line.  I can see this being a game decided by a late Georgia field goal.

Monday January 6, Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns and the Miami RedHawks in the LendingTree Bowl from Mobile.  6:30 p.m. on ESPN.  U La La favored by 14.

Monday January 13, 7:00 p.m., Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Expect a great national championship game from Clemson and Louisiana State.  Bayou Bengals favored by 5.5.  Geaux Tigers!

College Football Playoffs

As you know, I spend a little bit of time on college football.   I am not an expert, but I am a pretty hardcore fan.  I have changed my mind a couple of times on how to best structure the FBS playoffs, although I am steadfast in my belief that the current system is far better than anything what we used to call Division I has had in my lifetime (which, as a side note, all of sudden seems so much longer as I realize that in 2020 I will begin my seventh decade on earth, if it is His will).

Anyway, the current 4 team system is way better than the 2 team BCS.  I have decided the next step, and maybe the last one needed, is to expand to an 8 team playoff with the first round played at the higher seed’s home stadium.  All 5 conference champions are in, a Group of 5 school has a real shot at playing the “big boys”, and what better reward for a great regular season and being one of the Top 4 seeds than to host a home game in December at your house?  Play that first round 2 weeks after the conference championships and thus a couple of weeks before the semifinals.  You are adding 1 game for those 8 teams, and if it means a chance to play for a National Championship, isn’t that worth it?  Had we done it this year, here is what it would have looked like, with first round games in Baton Rouge, Columbus, Norman, and Clemson.

Music

A collection of some of my favorite songs.

Mack the Knife, Bobby Darin

Good Lovin’, the Rascals

Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen. An old version with the Big Man on sax.

Let’s Groove, Earth, Wind & Fire

September, Earth, Wind & Fire

T.S.O.P. (The Sound Of Philadelphia), MFSB featuring The Three Degrees

Shoo Doo Fu Fu Ooh  Lenny Williams

Love X Love, George Benson

Wild World, Jimmy Cliff

hen Will I See You Again, Three Degrees

My best wishes to all for a happy and healthy 2020.

Featured photo by Nick Wagner of the Austin American-Statesman.  Great pic.

See you later 2019.

God Bless Texas

God Bless America

Tim Taylor
Tailgating before Home Football Games
The Juan Heisman Tailgate
Lot 38, East of Sid Richardson Hall.
HOOK EM HORNS!!

© Timothy C. Taylor, Sr. 2019.  All Rights Reserved (as to original material).

www.jw.com/ttaylor

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