Texas notebook: UT backfield catches on as running game continues to stall

Posted October 14th, 2017


DALLAS — Texas’ running backs made contributions with their hands instead of their legs on Saturday.

Chris Warren III, Kyle Porter and Toneil Carter were limited to 17 yards on 14 attempts in a 29-24 loss to Oklahoma. With 106 yards, quarterback Sam Ehlinger led Texas in rushing for the second consecutive week. For the fourth time this season, UT had its most rushing attempts recorded by a quarterback. (Ehlinger needed 22 rushes in his second straight 100-yard effort).

The Longhorns, though, found other ways to get the football to the backs.


Texas’ first play was a 15-yard screen pass to Porter, and the sophomore later scored on a similar play. Warren led UT with his 55 receiving yards. His four receptions were tied with Reggie Hemphill-Mapps for the Longhorn lead.

Porter left the game in the second half with a chest injury. He did not return.

Not perfect, but still good: Texas entered the day as one of six FBS teams that had not allowed a fourth-down conversion this season. The Longhorns were unable to remain perfect, but UT did have a fourth-down moment.

Successful on its first seven stands of 2017, Texas lost its fourth-down shutout on the second play of the second quarter. After Oklahoma called a timeout, Mayfield motioned to the receiving corps and Dimitri Flowers took a direct snap on a fourth-and-1. The 246-pound fullback rumbled three yards to the Texas 14. The Sooners eventually scored a touchdown on the drive.

UT, though, did get one big stop. With 59 seconds left in the first half, Mayfield was intercepted by John Bonney on a fourth-and-3 try from the Texas 31. The interception — Mayfield’s first of the season but fourth in fourth starts against Texas — set up UT to drive 52 yards for a half-ending field goal.

Here’s the kicker: After missing twice in last week’s win over Kansas State, Texas junior Joshua Rowland hit a 34-yard field goal at the end of the first half. Texas coach Tom Herman, though, kept him on the sidelines in the second half.

Down 23-17 with 11:33 remaining, Texas faced a 4th-and-8 at the Oklahoma 27. Instead of attempting to slice Oklahoma’s lead in half with a 44-yard field goal into the wind, Herman kept his offense on the field. Ehlinger threw incomplete.

Texas later took the lead on an Ehlinger touchdown run. Oklahoma, though, quickly responded and Texas spent its last two drives – one of which reached the Sooner 31 – looking for another touchdown.

On Saturday, UT was 1-for-4 on fourth down.

New line: For the fourth straight game, UT started a different combination on its offensive line. With Jake McMillon sidelined by a hand injury, Terrell Cuney started at right guard for Texas. Cuney was the starting center last week.

Left guard Patrick Vahe is the only lineman who has started in all six of Texas’ games.

The post Texas notebook: UT backfield catches on as running game continues to stall appeared first on Hook ‘Em.

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