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Texas’ notable number: Oklahoma State’s Justice Hill — and the number 4

Posted October 20th, 2017

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Every week this fall, we’re looking at a specific number that’s tied to Texas football.

This week’s notable number is 4.

The No. 4 is worn at Texas by junior safety DeShon Elliott, who leads the nation with his five interceptions. Collin Johnson’s 191-yard game against USC and Reggie Hemphill-Mapps’ 12-catch evening against Kansas State rank fourth in UT’s receiving record books. And of the seven Longhorns who have caught a touchdown pass this year, four are not wide receivers.

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Four also represents the times that Oklahoma State sophomore Justice Hill has rushed for 100 yards this season.

Oklahoma State is producing more yards of offense per game than anyone in the country (610.7 yards). Only Central Florida is scoring more points than the Cowboys, who are averaging 48.8 points with a season-low performance of 31. Quarterback Mason Rudolph has statistics that compare favorably with most of his contemporaries. James Washington may end up being the top receiver in school history.

“Let’s not forget, their running back was a preseason all-conference pick as well,” Texas coach Tom Herman said this week.

That running back is Hill, who leads the Big 12 with 633 rushing yards. Hill has done his damage on only 106 carries, and he’s rushed for five touchdowns. In addition to a 132-yard effort in the season opener against Tulsa, Hill had 102-, 164- and 117-yard games against TCU, Texas Tech and Baylor.

Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando analyzed that the 5-10, 185-pound Hill showcases a perfect blend of physicality and speed. Orlando noted that Hill “runs with his shoulders down.” He also pointed to a 79-yard touchdown run the Cowboy had in last week’s 59-16 win over Baylor.

“I’ve got a ton of respect for him for how hard and physical he runs,” Orlando said. “That’s the combination that you know as a defensive coordinator you ask yourself, is he a physical guy? Great, so he’s not that fast. But if he’s fast, then he’s maybe not that physical. But this kid is both.”

Oklahoma State’s Kendall Hunter (24) runs for a touchdown at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Oct. 25, 2008. Hunter twice ran for 100 yards against Texas. (Eric Gay/AP Photo)

Hill has already hit the 100-yard mark 10 times in his young career. (For context, Thurman Thomas did it 22 times at Oklahoma State and Barry Sanders had 17 such games). His second 100-yard outing was recorded in last year’s 49-31 win over Texas. Against the Longhorns, he ran 25 times for 135 yards and a 30-yard score.

Oklahoma State has dropped 24 of the 31 games in its series with Texas. The Cowboys and Longhorns, though, have split their last 10 games. In six of those, a Cowboy ran for more than 100 yards.

  • 2016 (Oklahoma State 49, Texas 31): Justice Hill: 25 rushes for 135 yards
  • 2012 (Texas 41, Oklahoma State 36): Joseph Randle: 25 rushes for 199 yards
  • 2011 (Oklahoma State 38, Texas 26): Jeremy Smith: seven rushes for 140 yards
  • 2010 (Oklahoma State 33, Texas 16): Kendall Hunter: 23 rushes for 116 yards
  • 2008 (Texas 28, Oklahoma State 24): Kendall Hunter: 18 rushes for 161 yards
  • 2007 (Texas 38, Oklahoma State 35): Dantrell Savage: 23 rushes for 103 yards
Anthony Wheeler-Texas Longhorns
Texas linebacker Anthony Wheeler (45) stops USC running back Ronald Jones II (25) at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sept. 16, 2017. Jones ran for 47 yards on 18 carries against UT. Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman

Only 22 FBS-level teams are faring better against the run than Texas, which is allowing 116.7 yards per game. Maryland’s Ty Johnson ran for 132 yards against Texas, and Oklahoma’s Trey Sermon and Rodney Anderson both averaged 4.8 yards per rush last week. UT, however, held San Jose State’s, USC’s and Iowa State’s leading rushers under 50 yards.

“We always have to stop the run first, then work on the pass,” UT linebacker Malik Jefferson said. “It is very important to make the team one division so we can make calls to defend the DBs so they don’t have to cover; ultimately, we have to get to the quarterback. We have to remember that it is very important to stop the run first.”

PAST NOTABLE NUMBERS

Sept. 1: 1, and mobile quarterbacks

Sept. 8: 56, and Tom Herman’s fourth-down history

Sept. 15: 78, and NFL-ready quarterbacks

Sept. 28: 13, and a deep receiving corps

Oct. 6: 11, and time of possession

Oct. 13: 7, and big plays against UT’s defense

The post Texas’ notable number: Oklahoma State’s Justice Hill — and the number 4 appeared first on Hook ‘Em.

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