Texas football: Immediate reactions from a shootout loss
It's been less than an hour since the end of the LSU-Texas game. Let's drop some immediate reactions.
1) Neither of these teams looked like DBU
Former players from both of these schools crowed all week about which one was the real DBU, but after over 800 yards of passing between Sam Ehlinger and Joe Burrow it's safe to say neither secondary lived up to the moniker on this sweltering Texas night.
It's hard to remember that this was a 3-0 game at the end of the first quarter because when both of these teams got going, they really, really got going. The second half was one scoring drive after another as neither defense could get off the field. Luckily for the Tigers, they had built a 13-point cushion before the offensive chaos ensued and that was the real difference. Which brings us to the second point.
2. Those two empty trips to the red zone really bit Texas hard in the end
Tom Herman tried to downplay the two empty possesions that ended in fourth-down stops for Texas, including a drop on the goal line by Keaontay Ingram and Sam Ehlinger getting stuffed at the one-foot line, but they loomed large in the final score of this game.
Imagine an alternate reality where Texas is up 21-3 - or even 13-3 - early in the second quarter and tell me that doesn't completely change the complexion of how this contest played out. The Longhorns certainly fought back from some early frustrations, but in a heavyweight fight like this one the team the team that leaves the most points on the field in the red zone often comes out on the wrong end.
3. Roschon Johnson was the best Texas running back tonight
Crazy to think that a guy who was taking snaps at quarterback with two weeks to go before the start of the season has suddenly become your best option at tailback, but that was the case in this game. Sure, he only had seven rushes for 37 yards, but he led the team in yards per carry on a night where there was often slim pickings between the tackles. Not only that, but he was extremely physical against the most talented defense the Longhorns will see all year. Not bad for a guy who wasn't even allowed to be hit in practice through the spring and most of the fall.
On the bad end of this your No. 1 running back Keaontay Ingram has yet to get really going through two games and at times looked a little lost out there against LSU. Texas has to hope they can get him some confidence against what should be easier sledding next week at Rice.
4. Brennan Eagles is going to be a star
We said it last week when he caught a pair of touchdowns, but it was even more obvious against LSU. Brennan Eagles looks the part and might end up being the most talented receiver in a loaded group.
His 55-yard touchdown catch and run was one of the most athletic plays on a day loaded with athletic offensive plays. Of course, he wasn't the only receiver who had a big day for the Longhorns.
5. Devin Duvernay belongs in the slot
Often the forgotten man last year, Duvernay currently leads the Longhorns in receptions and yards through two games. Moving him around in the formation allows Texas to dictate who will cover him and where he will eventually end up.
Add in opponents' healthy fear of physical freaks Collin Johnson and Brennan Eagles on the outside and you have the recipe for the kind of day Duvernay ended up having. He caught 12 passes for 154 yards including a clutch 44-yard touchdown catch and run on a fourth down that kept Texas in the hunt in the fourth quarter.
6. The Cowboy package got ridden hard
There was a ton of ballyhoo about Texas' special eight defensive back package coming into the season.
The hype seemed to build to a fever pitch particularly coming into tonight's game against LSU, but after some first-half adjustments by the Tigers it looked completely helpless to stop Joe Burrow and the freak athletic trio of Justin Jefferson Ja'Marr Chase and Terrace Marshall. All three went for over 100 yards and caught four touchdowns between them.
This package could still end up working, but there are plenty more explosive offenses on the Texas schedule. The Longhorns have exactly one week to figure things out against Rice before a suddenly-dangerous Oklahoma State comes trouncing into town.
7. Joe Burrow is going to light up the SEC
This LSU passing attack is for real. Yes, it was aided by some shaky defensive play from Texas tonight, but in an SEC where everyone is still punching ATMs and hoping it will make money come out, the Tigers are living in the future.
This much speed is going to give fits to teams with big linebackers and run-stuffing defensive linemen built to stop the I formation. LSU is suddenly a legit national title contender.
8. Texas can still get where it wants to go
The Longhorns are on thin ice, but not out of the College Football Playoff discussion by any means. Previous seasons have shown us that the committee is willing to forgive an early-season loss, particularly when a team challenges itself with an ultra-tough non-conference game.
Still, the Longhorns will have to scoreboard watch at least a little bit from here on out. They need LSU to either finish with two or more losses or win the SEC to avoid losing a head-to-head discussion with the Tigers.
Of course there's a long, long way to go before that can be considered a real problem. Texas has to navigate a tough Big 12 schedule with what suddenly appears to be a an ailing defense.