Texas running back Keaontay Ingram, left, dives into the end zone for a touchdown in front of Oklahoma State defensive end Tyler Lacy (89) in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

BEVO BEAT Football

How’s this for a trick? Defense is keeping Texas in it at Stillwater; OSU leads at halftime, 24-20

Posted October 31st, 2020

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It’s halftime at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater. Sixth-ranked Oklahoma State — the lone remaining unbeaten team in the Big 12 — is leading Texas, 24-20.

The Cowboys have produced twice as many yards as Texas. But three turnovers have led to 13 Texas points.

This win-or-else game for the Longhorns (3-2, 2-2) pits their top-ranked offense in the Big 12 against the conference’s top-ranked defense. So far, it’s been the Texas defense that has made some big plays and the Texas offense that’s struggling on third downs, has been unable to sustain long drives and hasn’t yet gotten Sam Ehlinger going. Meanwhile, redshirt freshman Spencer Sanders is looking like that next solid Oklahoma State quarterback, though he has erred thrice.

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Chuba Hubbard, who led the country in rushing last year, and Tylan Wallace, the 2018 Biletnikoff Award finalist who had a monster game against Texas two years ago, have had their moments, but neither are dominating the maligned Longhorns rush defense and secondary.

Joshua Moore, maybe Texas’ most dangerous receiver, hasn’t had a reception and has been targeted just once.

 

Scoring — so far

1st quarter: Oklahoma State 14, Texas 7

OSU: Tylan Wallace 11-yard pass from Spencer Sanders (Alex Hale kick, 10:23)

Texas: Keaontay Ingram 1-yard run (Cameron Dicker kick, 8:31)

OSU: Landon Wolf 5-yard pass from Sanders (Hale kick, 1:36)

 

2nd quarter: Halftime — Oklahoma State 24, Texas 20

Texas: Brennan Eagles 41-yard pass from Sam Ehlinger (Dicker kick, 13:20)

Texas: Dicker 20-yard field goal (10:56)

OSU: Chuba Hubbard 5-yard catch from Sanders (Hale kick, 8:15)

OSU: Hale 31-yard field goal (1:49)

Texas: Dicker 40-yard field goal (:03)

 

Rewind: First half

1. In today’s battle of the quarterbacks, OSU’s Sanders won the first half both statistically and game-wise.

Sanders is 14 of 20 for 232 yards and three touchdowns. He’s made two costly mistakes (a fumbled handoff, an interception and a second fumble) but also has thrown for three scores and is making plays with his legs; his 35-yard scramble in the second quarter is the second-longest run against Texas this season. That’s supposed to be Ehlinger’s role, but so far he’s been mostly bottled up (8 of 15 for 100 yards and a TD, and four runs for minus-5 yards).

2. Bijan Robinson got the start for the second straight week. His first two carries: a 4-yard loss on the first play of the game, followed by a 24-yard burst full of spins, jukes and a broken tackle on the second play. The freshman is leading the team with 47 yards on seven carries.

3. Joseph Ossai, bad shoulder and all, is playing. He has notched his second and third sacks of the season in the first quarter and also knocked the ball loose from Sanders on his third one. Ta’Quon Graham scooped it up and produced maybe Texas’ best run of the day, a weaving 33-yard return to OSU’s 20.

4. Jacoby Jones has also had a big half. He recovered the Hubbard fumble at OSU’s 15, which set up UT’s first score. He also has a sack.

5. The back end of the defense is making plays, too. Jalen Green picked off a Sanders pass in the second quarter and returned it 41 yards all the way to OSU’s 8-yard line. He was shaken up on the Cowboys’ next drive, though.

6. Brennan Eagles’ 41-yard touchdown catch was the third-longest scoring play of the season so far for the Longhorns.

7. The Horns are only 1 of 7 on third downs, which have been an issue all season. The turnovers are saving the Horns. The average third-down yardage needed has been 6 yards:

Third-and-8: An Ehlinger scramble for 3 yards. Punted.

Third-and-4: Incomplete to Jake Smith.

Third-and-1: A Derek Kerstetter fumble on the snap. Two-yard loss. Punted.

Third-and-6: The 41-yard touchdown to Eagles.

Third-and-goal from the 4: A 1-yard pass to Cade Brewer. Field goal.

Third-and-3: Incomplete; Ehlinger had to throw it away.

Third-and-16: A completion to Smith, but for only 10 yards. Punted.

On the other side of the third-down fence, three UT penalties on third down have extended OSU drives.

8. Texas’ drives: 1st quarter — punt, punt, TD, punt. 2nd quarter — TD, FG, punt, punt, FG

OSU’s drives: 1st quarter — TD, fumble, punt, TD. 2nd quarter — interception, TD, FG, fumble

Oklahoma State will get the ball to start the second half.

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