By Steve Habel/Senior Editor
AUSTIN, Texas — Here are a few of the things we are looking for from the Longhorns in their game against San Jose State, which kicks off at 2:30 p.m. CDT Saturday at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium:
NOTES, QUOTES, PLAYERS TO WATCH
• Sophomore quarterback Shane Buechele passed for 375 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score to lead Texas last week in its loss to Maryland. He set new career highs for passing yards, completions (34) and attempts (52) and has now passed for at least 200 yards in 11 of his 13 games. Saturday's performance was his second career 300-yard game.
• Junior defensive back Holton Hill had a game to remember in the loss to Maryland, returning an interception 31 yards for a touchdown and a blocked field goal 65 yards for another score.
• Redshirt freshman Reggie Hemphill-Mapps returned a punt 91 yards for a touchdown in the season-opener and caught seven passes (tying the high on the team) for 69 yards.
SERIES HISTORY: Texas and San Jose State never have met on the gridiron before. The Longhorns are 13-1 (.929) against teams from the current Mountain West Conference. Their lone loss came to Air Force in the 1985 Bluebonnet Bowl.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “We try to not let last year get into our head. Coach (Tom) Herman is huge on being 1-0 every week, so even though this didn’t go as planned, the plan is to come back next week and be 1-0. Every day in practice, start there and then hopefully get the right outcome (this) weekend against San Jose State.” — Texas wide receiver Collin Johnson on his team’s mindset after the loss to Maryland.
Scouting the running game: Expect a lot more from the Texas running game this week against San Jose State after the Longhorns all but abandoned it when they fell behind to Maryland by 20 points in the second quarter. Chris Warren III and Kyle Porter combined for just 52 yards in the opener on only 14 carries.
Scouting the passing game: Quarterback Shane Buechele produced career-best passing numbers and connected with 10 different receivers in the loss to Maryland but may not even start for the Longhorns this week after suffering a bruised throwing shoulder during a fourth-quarter scramble. If Buechele can’t go, the passing game will fall to true freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger.
Scouting the run defense: Texas has to be better at stopping the run, especially up the middle, where Maryland got the bulk of its 263 yards rushing while beating the Longhorns.
Scouting the pass defense: The Longhorns got to Maryland quarterbacks just once last week while the Terrapins made great use of their 15 passing attempts, completing 12 of those throws for 219 yards, an 18.25-yards per catch average.
Scouting the special teams: Texas returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown and scored on Hemphill-Mapps’ 91-yard punt return touchdown but also had a field goal blocked (that went for a touchdown, as well) and missed a field goal, so let’s call that a push. Junior punter Michael Dickson averaged 58 yards in two punts and is a weapon at switching the field.
• Left tackle Connor Williams: It’s hard to tell how dominant he was against Maryland because Texas didn’t run the ball much, but he was flagged for two holding penalties on the Longhorns’ penultimate possession, when they were still in a position to win the game.
• Nose tackle Poona Ford: He blocked a field goal and had three tackles from his nose tackle position but Maryland had great success in the run game, especially up the middle.
• Linebacker Malik Jefferson: He led the Longhorns with nine total tackles (five of which were solo stops) and cleared the way for Hemphill-Mapps’ punt return touchdown with a crushing block on the corner.
• Although Buechele will miss practice this this week with his bruised shoulder, expect him to start and play against San Jose State until the game gets out of hand.
• Freshman tight end Reese Leitao, who was suspended for Texas’ first two games after reaching a plea deal on drug charges stemming from a February arrest, will miss the San Jose State contest.