The Texas Offense Finds Its Identity

Johnathan Gray rushed for 141 yards on 28 carries against Kansas State. (Photo Credit: AP/Eric Gay)
Johnathan Gray rushed for 141 yards on 28 carries against Kansas State. (Photo Credit: AP/Eric Gay)

With three minutes left in the first half, David Ash handed the ball to Johnathan Gray on the 21-yard line.

Flashbacks of last week’s game, when Texas failed to convert on third down in the waning seconds of the first half, rushed into the minds of the burnt orange contingent. That conversion failure led to a field goal with 39 seconds remaining, which gave Ole Miss just enough time to score a touchdown with the clock reading 0:00.

Though Texas’ opponent (Kansas State) would once again score a late touchdown in the first half, Texas already pushed the lead far enough to dilute any momentum.

(Also See: Team Effort: Texas Defeats K-State

Gray’s incredible 21-yard run, fully stocked with two sharp cuts and three missed tackles, pushed the lead to 17-0, and put the game out of reach.

Gray finished the evening with 141 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns.

Not only is this the first time this season a Longhorn has rushed for over 100 yards, but it’s the most yards a Texas player has rushed for since Joe Bergeron, then a Freshman, rushed for 190 yards against Texas Tech in 2011. This is also the most yards Texas, as a team, has rushed for since that game.

“If you want to win college football games, you have to run the ball.”

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Fans are used to this diatribe by Brown. Yet, despite Brown’s persistent message, rushing has continued to be a thorn in the Longhorns’ side.

In the last two games, the Longhorns averaged a mere 3.4 yards per carry on a mondo 80 rush attempts.

It’s gotten to the point where moaning after a one-yard gain up the center is a tradition at DKR.

While the media and talking heads claim Texas lost its identity in recent weeks, Brown’s stubbornness to run the ball has been on full display.

Texas has averaged over five more rush attempts per game than passing attempts, and have more rush attempts in three out of the four games this year (the lone exception coming against BYU, where Texas averaged, as mentioned above, a mere 3.4 yards per carry).

The rewards of this tactic simply couldn’t be seen until Saturday’s game, when the one-two punch of Gray and Malcolm Brown was on full display.

Texas finished the game with 227 rushing yards and 225 passing yards, a balanced attack if I’ve ever seen one.

If the Longhorns continue this tactic, their identity is set and their fight for the Big 12 Title just got very interesting.

Brian Kendall

Part-time journalist turned full-time blogger, Brian is an online staff writer at Horns Illustrated and serves as senior staff writer for digital marketing agency Speak Social. Brian currently resides in Austin and you can read his blog at the following address: