A breakdown of Texas’ 2017 schedule, from Terps to Tech

Posted August 30th, 2017


Thanks, Charlie.

Last year — as Texas was slumping to a 5-7 record — embattled coach Charlie Strong predicted that UT would win at least 10 games in 2017, regardless of who was on the sidelines. Well, Strong was fired and is now at South Florida. Tom Herman is now stuck with that 10-win promise.

Read more: Bowl winners await, but just how tough is Texas’ 2017 football schedule?


Those 10 wins, of course, are not easy to find on paper. Five of the 12 teams on Texas’ schedule were ranked higher than the No. 23 Longhorns in the Associated Press’ preseason poll. Eight of those foes played in a bowl game last year. At one point this season, Texas will play five bowl winners in a six-game stretch.

So, was Strong right or wrong? We’ll have to see.

1. Maryland, Sept. 2

Texas has only played Maryland three times, and the Longhorns probably won’t have much use for their film from the 1978 season’s 42-0 win. Herman can rely on assistant coaches Tim Beck and Drew Mehringer, who played Maryland last year as offensive coordinators at Ohio State and Rutgers. (Ohio State scored 62 and Rutgers scored 13).

UT’s defensive line take get two types of tests in the game. Last year, Maryland ranked 43rd nationally in rushing offense (199.5 yards per game) while Texas ranked in a tie for 76th against the run (189.8). Four teams averaged more sacks in 2016 than Texas’ 3.42, while only San Jose State surrendered more sacks per game than the Terrapins (4.17).

Last year: DNP

The last 3:

1978: Texas, 42-0

1960: Texas, 34-0

1959: Texas, 26-0

2. San Jose State, Sept. 9

Texas has never played San Jose State, and that fun fact wasn’t expected to change until UT needed a fill-in game after Central Florida begged off the schedule. San Jose State, which opened its season last week against Strong and South Florida, went 4-8 in 2016.

Like Texas, San Jose State has a new head coach in Brent Brennan. Andrew Sowder, who was a quality control coach at Texas last year, is now coordinating an offense that averaged 24.4 points per game last year.

Last year: DNP

PASADENA, CA – JANUARY 02: Running back Ronald Jones II #4 of the USC Trojans runs with the ball against defensive end Shareef Miller #48 of the Penn State Nittany Lions in the second half of the 2017 Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 2, 2017 in Pasadena, California. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

3. at USC, Sept. 16

Last season, Texas was 2-0 and climbing the national rankings when it visited the West Coast and a downward spiral began. Will there be any deja vu this year?

The 2017 USC team, of course, is better than a 2016 Cal team that beat Texas 50-43, but the scoreboard operators might not know the difference. The Trojans averaged 34.4 points per game in 2016, and a Heisman Trophy front-runner (quarterback Sam Darnold) and 1,000-yard rusher (Ronald Jones II) are among the players back on USC’s roster. USC also opens this season as the No. 4 team in the AP poll.

USC has three home games to start the fall, and the Trojans will be tested by the time the Longhorns arrive in Los Angeles. Up first is Western Michigan, last season’s 13-win darlings. No. 14 Stanford then visits the Trojans for a conference clash.

Last year: DNP

The last 5:

2006: Texas, 41-38

1967: USC, 17-13

1966: USC, 10-6

1956: USC, 44-20

1955: USC, 19-7

Iowa State wide receiver Allen Lazard (5) avoids tackles from Texas safety Kevin Vaccaro (18) and cornerback Sheroid Evans (1) on a punt return in the second quarter at Royal-Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. (Stephen Spillman / for American-Statesman)

4. at Iowa State, Sept. 28

Texas is off following the USC game, so the Longhorns will have plenty of time to prepare for its Thursday night at Jack Trice Stadium. UT boasts a 12-2 record in its all-time series with the Cyclones, but one of those loses was an unexplainable 24-0 shutout during its last visit to Ames.

Iowa State is in its second season with Matt Campbell, who just led the Cyclones to a 3-9 record. Texas might as well toss out last year’s tape since Jacob Park (who threw 13 passes against the Longhorns) is now the full-time starting quarterback and Joel Lanning (who threw 21 passes) is a linebacker. Allen Lazard, who had a game-high seven receptions, still plays the same position, though.

Last year: Texas, 27-6

2016: Texas, 27-6

2015: Iowa State, 24-0

2014: Texas, 48-45

2013: Texas, 31-30

2012: Texas, 33-7

From left to right: Jesse Ertz, Byron Pringle and Alex Barnes are expected to be the cornerstones of the Kansas State offense. (GETTY IMAGES)

5. Kansas State, Oct. 7

Texas has lost its last five games in Manhattan, Kan. But good news, Texas fans: The Wildcats are only 3-6 in Austin.

Kansas State quarterback Jesse Ertz is back, and he picked up 78 of last year’s 1,012 rushing yards in a 24-21 win over Texas. (Ertz also rushed for two scores in the victory). One of four teams to hold Texas to 21 points or less in 2016, the Wildcats also have six defensive starters back.

Ranked 20th and 23rd, Kansas State and Texas will begin the state within shouting distance in the AP poll.  The two teams last met as ranked adversaries in 2012.

Last year: Kansas State, 24-21

The last 5:

2016: Kansas State, 24-21

2015: Texas, 23-9

2014: Kansas State, 23-0

2013: Texas, 31-21

2012: Kansas State, 42-24

Texas linebacker Naashon Hughes sacks Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield as Poona Ford applies pressure at the Cotton Bowl on Oct. 10, 2015. Texas defeated Oklahoma 24-17. (RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

6. Oklahoma, Oct. 14 (Dallas)

Texas fans still smarting from last year’s 45-40 loss in the Red River Showdown can take solace in the turnover on Oklahoma’s roster. Dede Westbrook, who had 232 receiving yards and three touchdown catches in last year’s game, is now playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Samaje Perine, who rushed for 214 yards, is a Washington Redskin. Ex-OU running back Joe Mixon resides in Cincinnati and Bob Stoops took his 11-7 coaching record against UT into retirement.

Baker Mayfield, however, is still under center for Oklahoma, which was ranked seventh in the AP’s preseason poll. A Lake Travis graduate, Mayfield has completed 64.1 percent of the passes he has thrown against his hometown team. Mayfield, who played at Texas Tech in 2013, has also passed for 838 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.

Mayfield, however, is 1-2 in three starts against Texas. When asked at the Big 12 Media Days about evening the score against UT, Mayfield conceded that “It’s obviously very important to me.”

Last year: Oklahoma, 45-40

2016: Oklahoma, 45-40

2015: Texas, 24-17

2014: Oklahoma, 31-26

2013: Texas, 36-20

2012: Oklahoma, 63-21

Wide receiver James Washington (28) of the Oklahoma State Cowboys looks to the crowd after scoring in front of defensive back Dane Jackson (11) of the Pittsburgh Panthers September 17, 2016 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

7. Oklahoma State, Oct. 21

In the next installment of its series against Heisman Trophy contenders (Darnold, Mayfield), Texas will host quarterback Mason Rudolph and an Oklahoma State team it has lost two straight games against. Last year, receivers Jalen McCleskey and James Washington burned Texas for 200 yards and three touchdowns (on only seven catches).

This game may be the measuring stick at Texas for new special teams coordinator Craig Naivar. Oklahoma State blocked three extra-point attempts by Texas in last season’s showdown. A flubbed punt by UT was also critical in the 2015’s final score.

Last year: Oklahoma State, 49-31

The last 5:

2016: Oklahoma St., 49-31

2015: Oklahoma St., 30-27

2014: Texas, 28-7

2013: Oklahoma St., 38-13

2012: Texas, 41-36

From left to right: Zach Smith, JaMycal Hasty and Chris Platt are expected to be the cornerstones of the Baylor offense. (GETTY IMAGES)

8. at Baylor, Oct. 28

Three of the last five meetings between Texas and Baylor have been decided by six points or less. That includes last year’s game, which Texas won in the final minute with a 39-yard field goal. Last year’s game will likely be talked about at future family gatherings for the Foremans since as D’Onta scored twice and Armanti hauled in a 38-yard catch on the game-winning drive.

Baylor fans might be unfamiliar with Herman, and Matt Rhule will be introducing himself to the Texas fans. The two coaches know of each other, however. Two years ago, Herman’s Houston Cougars beat Rhule’s Temple Owls 24-13 in the American Athletic Conference’s championship game.

Last year: Texas, 35-34

The last 5:

2016: Texas, 35-34

2015: Texas, 23-17

2014: Baylor, 28-7

2013: Baylor, 30-10

2012: Texas, 56-50

TCU running back Kyle Hicks (21) was a 1,000-yard rusher last season and also was a threat catching passes out of the backfield. (GETTY IMAGES)

at TCU, Nov. 4

TCU was the only Big 12 team that Strong was unable to beat during his tenure. In fact, Texas never got close to the Horned Frogs in 48-10, 50-7 and 31-9 losses.

Despite not looking the part in last year’s 22-point shellacking of Texas, TCU was a mediocre team that went 6-7. It was TCU’s third losing season under Gary Patterson, who took over the program in 2001.  The Horned Frogs return 17 starters this year, one of which is quarterback Kenny Hill.

Last year: TCU, 31-9

The last 5:

2016: TCU, 31-9

2015: TCU, 50-7

2014: TCU, 48-10

2013: Texas, 30-7

2012: TCU, 20-13

LAWRENCE, KS – SEPTEMBER 03: Steven Sims Jr. #11 of the Kansas Jayhawks celebrates with his team after scoring a touchdown against the Rhode Island Rams defense in the first half on September 3, 2016 at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)

Kansas, Nov. 11

It’s Kansas. Texas can mark this down as a win, right?

We kid, we kid. The Jayhwaks, after all, have a standout defender in Dorance Armstrong Jr., the Big 12’s preseason defensive MVP. Last year’s win over the Longhorns has given Kansas some newfound confidence. Not everyone is buying Kansas’ stock, though — the Jayhawks were last in the Big 12 preseason poll — but Jayhawks fans may actually have a reason to travel to Austin for this game. Unless, of course, they choose to spend their travel money on the following Tuesday’s Kansas-Kentucky basketball game in Chicago.

Last year: Kansas, 24-21 (OT)

The last 5:

2016: Kansas, 24-21

2015: Texas, 59-20

2014: Texas, 23-0

2013: Texas, 35-13

2012: Texas, 21-17

PHOENIX, AZ – JANUARY 02: Wide receiver Ka’Raun White #2 of the West Virginia Mountaineers catches a 53 yard reception past defensive back Kweishi Brown #10 of the Arizona State Sun Devils during the first quarter of the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl at Chase Field on January 2, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

at West Virginia, Nov. 18

The last ranked team on the slate for Texas is West Virginia, which checks in at No. 22 on the AP poll. With a 4-2 mark, West Virginia joins Kansas State and USC as the only teams on UT’s schedule that have an all-time winning record against the Longhorns.

West Virginia is coming off a 10-win season that linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton classified as “disappointing” at the Big 12 Media Days. The Mountaineers return only nine starters, but quarterback Will Grier is set to resume his career after a transfer from Florida. Benton is also among the talent left on a defense that ranked 35th nationally in scoring defense (24.0 PPG).

Last year: West Virginia, 24-20

The last 5:

2016: W. Virginia, 24-20

2015: W. Virginia, 38-20

2014: Texas, 33-16

2013: Texas, 47-40 (OT)

2012: W. Virginia, 48-45

From left to right: Nic Shimonek, Da’Laun Ward and Keke Coutee are expected to be the cornerstones of the Texas Tech offense, though Ward’s eligibility status is in doubt. (GETTY IMAGES)

Texas Tech, Nov. 24

If history has taught us anything, it is that points will be scored in this game. The winning team has scored at least 31 points in each of that last six meetings, and the last two shootouts were decided by 45-37 and 48-45 scores. Last year, Texas and Texas Tech ranked eighth and 10th in the Big 12 in scoring defense. (At 43.5 points per game, Texas Tech boasted the country’s worst defense).

Will UT’s running game feast on the day after Thanksgiving? Two years ago, Chris Warren III ran 25 times for 276 yards against Texas Tech. The 341 rushing yards that D’Onta Foreman tallied last year in Lubbock was the third-best performance in school history.

Last year: Texas, 45-37

The last 5:

2016: Texas, 45-37

2015: Texas Tech, 48-45

2014: Texas, 34-13

2013: Texas, 41-16

2012: Texas, 31-22

The post A breakdown of Texas’ 2017 schedule, from Terps to Tech appeared first on HookEm.

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