Nobody wanted to talk about anything positive after Saturday’s 30-27 loss to Oklahoma State. But senior cornerback Duke Thomas took some solace in the fact Texas’ three freshmen corners continue to make strides.
Holton Hill, Kris Boyd and Davante Davis all found themselves center stage at various points against the Cowboys. Hill had the best moment of the three with a 41-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Boyd had seven tackles, and Davis almost had an interception but the ball grazed the turf just enough to be called incomplete.
“Like I said, we don’t have any more freshmen,” Thomas said. “You earn your playing time. You get out there and make plays. You get on the field, clearly the coaches trust you. I’m going to trust you. They did a great job.”
Texas went with its traditional starting lineup to open the game. That meant Thomas and Antwuan Davis were on the field. But OSU quarterback Mason Rudolph shredded the Longhorns through the air in the first quarter. Boyd and Davis were inserted into the game before OSU’s third drive.
In the second quarter, Boyd had an interception wiped away because of Paul Boyette’s questionable roughing the passer penalty. Replays showed that Boyette didn’t really shove Rudolph. However, Boyette led with his helmet and got Rudolph’s chin.
In today’s football environment where concussions have heightened awareness, officials are calling anything toward quarterbacks’ heads. The interception was taken way from Boyd, and OSU settled for a field goal.
The Cowboys had only 100 yards passing in the second half as Rudolph and backup J.W. Walsh combined to complete nine of 17 passes.
The other UT defender in the spotlight was defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway, who had a career day. He scooped up a Rudolph fumble and rumbled 34 yards for a touchdown. He also had six tackles and one ferocious sack where he buried Rudolph on third-and-7.
Ridgeway didn’t want to talk about his exploits, but he was energized by Texas’ three freshmen corners.
“As long as you’re bringing that juice, the energy, excitement and passion, that’s what defense is all about,” Ridgeway said. “Even the older guys, the bring that stuff. But young guys, young fresh dudes, it makes our defense better when they go through stuff like that.”
Speaking of the older guys, safety Dylan Haines plucked a ball out of the air for a nifty interception and returned it 29 yards. Fellow safety Jason Hall bounced back from a shoulder injury and nearly had an interception bounce off his shoulder pads.
The same defense that had been maligned the last three weeks allowed a respectable 395 yards, 103 on the ground.