One week after getting shutout, Longhorns pile up 598 total yards in rout
Posted November 8th, 2015
Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. Texas did exactly what it was supposed to do in drumming lowly, still-winless Kansas on Saturday night, 59-20.
The 92,529 fans inside Royal-Memorial Stadium walked away happy, as did those in Vegas.
One week ago, Texas got shut out against Iowa State. Against Kansas, the Longhorns piled up 598 total yards. Optimists will be happy, but pessimists have a ready-made argument: It was only Kansas, a team that’s now 0-9 and hasn’t won a road game since 2009.
“A win’s a win at the end of the day,” defensive lineman Bryce Cottrell said. “It’s better than a loss.”
The Longhorns improved to 4-5 overall and still have flickering bowl hopes. Too bad this team can’t stay home the rest of the season. Texas is 0-3 in true road games this year and next comes a journey to West Virginia.
“One week, you don’t score anything, and tonight, it’s so explosive,” UT coach Charlie Strong said. “That’s what the players have to realize. It’s all about being consistent, and we haven’t been a consistent team.”
Yes, Texas does have a passing game, as play-caller Jay Norvell’s been trying to tell people. Quarterback Jerrod Heard came out guns blazing, aiming deep on an 84-yard touchdown pass to John Burt on UT’s first offensive play. On UT’s fourth play, Heard found Lorenzo Joe for a 37-yard completion.
Heard, who hadn’t thrown for 100 yards in his four previous games, finished with 201 yards and completed 13 of his 23 passes.
“It wasn’t really about sending a message. Well, it kind of was, I guess,” Burt said. “It was about showing everybody that we can throw the ball deep, and we’re not just about short passes or a run team.”
Norvell, who’s been calling plays since Week 2, is clearly irritated by the notion this team can’t pass. “We actually do practice that all the time,” he said. “The things we’ve been doing in practice need to carry over to the game. That’s more of a confidence thing than anything else. We just have been inconsistent in our confidence in the way we go about things.”
The Horns still have effective running backs, too. D’Onta Foreman got around the left end and raced 93 yards in what was the third-longest run in school history. He caught so much grief for getting pushed out of bounds on his 81-yard run against Oklahoma. No way that would happen again.
“I knew I had to make that play. I could not get caught on that play,” said Foreman, who finished with 157 yards on 12 carries. “In my head, I was thinking I have to score. There’s no way I can get caught twice.”
This statistic sounds crazy: Backup quarterback Tyrone Swoopes accounted for five touchdowns — four rushing and one by throwing a 40-yard pass to Armanti Foreman.
Swoopes’ 1-yard touchdown run with 11:58 left in the first half gave Texas a 24-7 lead. The Jayhawks put together a 12-play scoring drive and got within 10, leading many to wonder if this was Kansas’ night.
Heard lost the football while being corralled by D.J. Williams, and Kansas took over at the Texas 7. But a key fourth-down tackle by Jason Hall at the goal line stopped that threat. Then Kansas got back to the 7-yard line, only this time kicker Nick Bartolotta boinked a 26-yard field goal try off the right upright.
Foreman’s long run gave Texas a 31-14 lead early in the third quarter. He followed that with a 9-yard score. From that point, the rout was on.
Even the funky bounces went Texas’ way. Kirk Johnson lost a fumble after a 3-yard loss. The Jayhawks appeared to get it, but the ball bounced loose again and went straight to Swoopes, who scooped it up and ran in for a 10-yard score.
Swoopes’ three previous touchdown runs on the night came from 4, 1 and 44 yards.
“We didn’t play near as well as we wanted to last week,” Swoopes said. “We just came out with a different mindset, and we were ready to play tonight.”