Football

Texas-Notre Dame notebook: The freshmen got their shots

Posted September 5th, 2016

One of the key plays of Texas’ 50-47 win Sunday night was Naashon Hughes’  blocked field goal at the end of the third quarter.

It preserved what was a 31-28 lead for Texas at the time, but it was set up by a controversial play. On a third-and-12 from the Texas 19, Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer found receiver Torii Hunter Jr. in the end zone. But Texas safety DeShon Elliott went high on a hit of Hunter, who was unable to hold onto the football.

After lying in the end zone and being tended to for a few minutes, Hunter left the game. Afterward, Kizer was asked if he thought a targeting penalty should have been called. Such a penalty would have given the Irish a first down.

Said Kizer: “You know, I don’t know much about the rule. What I do know is that I threw a ball that put my receiver at risk, and I haven’t seen a replay, but if he’s (leading) with his head, I don’t understand what else could be done. From what I do understand, is that’s something that can be reviewed in a box and if they didn’t see anything then I don’t know what they’re looking for.”

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First-time freshmen: Quarterback Shane Buechele and center Zach Shackelford were the only freshmen to start, but other members of their much-heralded 2016 recruiting class saw playing time. Defensive linemen Chris Daniels, Jordan Elliott and Andrew Fitzgerald, safety Brandon Jones, running back Kyle Porter and linebacker Malcolm Roach each made their debuts.

Go for it: Two of Texas’ touchdown drives were set up by short-yardage situations in which running back D’Onta Foreman picked up two and three yards on fourth-down attempts. The Longhorns ended the game with a 2-for-2 performance on fourth downs and an 8-for-18 showing on third downs.

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Big crowd: The announced crowd of 102,315 set a school record, besting the 101,851 fans that saw the Longhorns drop a 48-45 decision to West Virginia in 2012.

Sunday’s win over the Fighting Irish also marked the first sellout of the Charlie Strong era. The Longhorns had averaged 92,069 fans over the 12 home games in Strong’s first two seasons.

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Numbers game: Six Longhorns switched their jersey numbers before they took the field on Sunday. The most significant edit belonged to Buechele, who donned the No. 7 he wore at Arlington Lamar. Buechele was previously listed as No. 16.

Senior defensive back Sheroid Evans (1) and wide receivers Devin Duvernay (2), Lil’Jordan Humphrey (4), Jake Oliver (6) and Collin Johnson (9) also had new numbers on their backs.

Mack speaks: Former Texas football coach Mack Brown was working for ESPN at the Notre Dame game, but he also made an appearance at halftime. With Vince Young and the 2005 national championship team standing near midfield, Brown was given a chance to address the crowd. He stated that the 2005 team was perhaps one of the best-ever to play college football.

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