Instead of bursting out of the gates, the Longhorns stumbled over themselves in route to a disheartening 38-3 loss to the Fighting Irish.
Despite a weak first half the Horns went into halftime only down 17-0. Any hope was soon lost though, as the Irish put the Longhorns away in the second half when QB Malik Zaire led two 5 play touchdown drives. It was a beat down, and it was methodical. Charlie Strong and the Longhorns just didn’t have any answers. Notre Dame was better on all sides of the ball.
When Strong arrived in Austin no one had any idea how shallow the talent pool was or how big the reclamation project would be, we have a better idea now.
|3rd Down Eff||2-14||8-14|
|4th Down Eff||0-0||0-0|
|Yds Per Pass||3.8||13|
|Yds Per Rush||2.1||4.1|
KEY POINT IN THE GAME
This game was decided before Texas got off the bus. They were so thoroughly outclassed in every facet of the game, and it never really felt like they were going to threaten at any point.
Longhorn highlights were few are far between, but perhaps the lone bright spot for the fans was QB Tyrone Swoopes’ 48-yard bomb to John Burt. To put it into perspective though, it accounted for 30% of Texas’ total offense.
— LandGrant Gauntlet (@the_LGG) September 6, 2015
POSITIVES FOR TEXAS
Malik Jefferson – The former 5-star recruit and true freshman linebacker was all over the field making plays. In the first half alone Jefferson accounted for a total of 6 tackles with 1.5 of those tackles for loss.
NEGATIVES FOR TEXAS
Offensive Line – The o-line was abused tonight. They needed to run the ball in order to control the pace, but averaged just 2.1 yards per carry. The line also did little to hold a pocket for Tyrone Swoopes. ND’s pass rush came at will, and Swoopes was running for his life most of the night. The current offensive situation is unacceptable and it starts up front.
The Defense – The strength of this year’s Longhorn team was supposed to be the defense, but the secondary looked anything but elite. Malik Zaire carved up the Horns, and in a league like the Big 12, you cannot afford to have the lapses in coverage and poor tackling.
The QB Situation – The offensive line has a lot to do with this one, so it’s probably not fair to count it as a negative just yet, but we need to talk about it. Tyrone Swoopes looked average, and that’s giving him a little slack for being under pressure the whole night. He completed just 7 of 22 passes for 93 yards. Simply put, there wasn’t much improvement from last year, and that’s a concern.
What Swoopes didn’t do though was commit turnovers, and that may have been why Jerrod Heard didn’t play a bigger role in the game. Swoopes was better equipped to handle being under attack all night.
Texas Player Of The Game
Malik Jefferson – The true freshman accounted for 9 tackles (5 solo) including 2.5 tackles for loss. If this is the level of player that Charlie Strong can continue to recruit the Longhorns will be fine. Of course that will require a great deal of patience from Texas fans while Strong gets them headed in the right direction.
What The Loss Means
Texas is further away from a return to prominence than most people thought prior to the game. This week Texas will need to address issues with their offense and defense before they get another test from Rice. Hopefully the friendly confines of Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium will yield a much better result. Right now a 1-6 start seems not only possible, but likely with Cal, Oklahoma State, TCU, Oklahoma, and K-State up next.
Emptying The Notebook
This was the 2nd worst opening loss in Texas history, the worst was a 47 – 6 loss to BYU in 1988.
In their last two games the Longhorns have amassed a total of just 222 yards combined.
This is the first opening season loss for Texas since they lost to North Carolina State 20-23 in 1999.
Texas is now 2-9 against Notre Dame all time.
It seems the Texas Exes didn’t enjoy the start first game of the 2015 season.
Current mood: pic.twitter.com/0XDudbst7T
— Texas Exes (@TexasExes) September 6, 2015