The Texas Longhorns take the field against Notre Dame at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Sunday September 4, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Texas returns to AP poll for the first time since 2013

Posted September 6th, 2016

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On Monday, Texas wide receiver John Burt was asked where the Longhorns should find themselves in the national polls this week. Texas entered the season unranked, and Burt was meeting with the media just hours after Sunday night’s 50-47 double-overtime win over 10th-ranked Notre Dame.

“That’s not for me to decide,” Burt offered.

Those who have been tasked with deciding, though, have spoken. Texas came in at 11th in the Associated Press’ ranking of the nation’s football teams on Tuesday, making this weekend’s game against UTEP the first time that Charlie Strong has coached a ranked team at Texas. The Longhorns also checked in at No. 20 in the coaches poll.

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Texas last appeared in the AP poll in 2013. The Longhorns collected 743 points from AP voters following their three-point knockout of an Irish team that tumbled from 10th to 18th. Top-ranked Alabama received 54 of the 61 first-place votes and 1,518 points in the AP poll (the Crimson Tide also topped the coaches poll).

The Longhorns weren’t actually the highest riser this week. Wisconsin was unranked to start the season, but the Badgers climbed to the No. 10 spot vacated by Notre Dame after a season-opening win over LSU. Additionally, No. 20 Texas A&M and No. 25 Miami were ranked for the first time this fall.

Pollsters who also ranked Houston (No. 9), TCU (No. 15) and Baylor (No. 23) weren’t the only ones honoring Texas on Tuesday. The Big 12 Conference showed the Longhorns some love, too.

The conference announced Tuesday that Texas senior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes had shared its offensive player of week award with TCU quarterback Kenny Hill. Freshman quarterback Shane Buechele (newcomer of the week) and sophomore defensive tackle Chris Nelson (defensive player of the week) also were recognized as the Big 12 revealed its first batch of weekly awards.

Swoopes ran 13 times for 53 yards and three touchdowns against the Irish, and he scored the game-winning points in the second overtime. The first true freshman to start a season opener at quarterback for Texas since 1944, Buechele threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns in his debut. Nelson recorded a team-high eight tackles in the first start of his career, and 1.5 of those stops were made behind the line of scrimmage.

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