It’s halftime at NRG Stadium. Texas is leading Missouri in the Texas Bowl, 21-7.
The Longhorns are 2 1/2-point underdogs tonight.
Both teams are making their first bowl appearance since 2014. With all that’s working against the Longhorns — key starters Connor Williams, DeShon Elliott, Holton Hill and Malik Jefferson out; down to two running backs and only one tight end; and Missouri quarterback Drew Lock leading the country in touchdown passes — it’s Texas that’s making the majority of plays both offensively and defensively. The ball is literally bouncing the Longhorns’ way.
Missouri has won six straight games after a 1-5 start to the season. This is the first time the Tigers have trailed at halftime in eight games.
And Lock has yet to throw a touchdown.
What’s happened so far
1. Even without Elliott, even without Jefferson and even without Hill, the defense is coming up with big plays. Anthony Wheeler, starting for Jefferson, returned a fumble for a touchdown. Breckyn Hager, wearing the late Tommy Nobis’ revered No. 60 tonight, has a fumble recovery and a sack. P.J. Locke III, starting for Elliott, forced the fumble that Wheeler returned. Davante Davis forced another.
2. Daniel Young, the freshman running back from Spring, is having a nice night. He’s averaging 6.2 yards per carry, has broken off three nice runs and scored the first touchdown of the night on a 22-yard catch out of the backfield.
3. High points for the Horns so far?
Another impressive game for defensive coordinator Todd Orlando, who’s plugged holes left and right and has Texas playing another strong defensive game.
Another strong performance by Michael Dickson, the Ray Guy Award winner who’s playing his final game as a Longhorn. The eye-popping yards on his punts aren’t there — he’s averaging 38.9 yards on seven kicks — but he continues to make a difference in terms of starting field position. Six of his punts have been downed inside the 20, which has forced Mizzou into these starting field positions: the 11, 16 and 5.
Buechele is 6 of 14 for 55 yards and a touchdown. Sam Ehlinger is 3 of 3 for 62 yards and a touchdown.
The Longhorns have not committed a turnover. Missouri has two.
Texas: Daniel Young 22-yard pass from Shane Buechele (Joshua Rowland kick), 13:28
Texas: John Burt 7-yard pass from Sam Ehlinger (Rowland kick), 3:58
Missouri: Ish Witter 4-yard touchdown run (Tucker McCann kick), 12:10
Texas: Anthony Wheeler 38-yard fumble return (Rowland kick), 7:47
Texas has had nine drives — six quarterbacked by Buechele, three by Ehlinger. Here’s how those drives have played out:
Buechele: 5 plays, 75 yards, 1:32 (TOUCHDOWN)
Buechele: 5 plays, 14 yards, 1:37 (PUNT)
Ehlinger: 3 plays, 3 yards, 1:53 (PUNT)
Ehlinger: 4 plays, 55 yards, 1:19 (TOUCHDOWN)
Buechele: 3 plays, 3 yards, 1:20 (PUNT)
Buechele: 3 plays, minus-3 yards, 1:24 (PUNT)
Buechele: 5 plays, 20 yards, 2:24 (PUNT)
Buechel: 4 plays, 20 yards, 1:29 (PUNT)
Ehlinger: 3 plays, minus-8 yards, 2:15 (PUNT)
Missouri, which won the opening coin toss, will get the ball to start the second half.
News on Bevo Beat is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of Hookem.com is included with an Austin American-Statesman subscription in addition to Statesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe today at statesman.com/subscribe.