Texas's Malcolm Roach celebrates sacking UTEP quarterback Kavika Johnson during the first quarter of their game at Royal Memorial Stadium on Saturday, September 10, 2016. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN STATESMAN

Football

Those eight sacks against Iowa State places Texas among nation’s leaders

Posted October 17th, 2016

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The sack attack is back, Jack.

Texas is tied with Central Florida for No. 4 in team sacks. Both the Longhorns, who had eight sacks in Saturday’s 27-6 win over Iowa State, and Knights are averaging 3.8 sacks per game. That average is bested only by Washington (4.0), Michigan (4.0) and Alabama (3.86).

Texas’ 23 sacks have come from 13 different players; junior defensive end Naashon Hughes leads the team with 3.5 sacks.

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The Longhorns’ eight sacks Saturday night came one week after they managed only a last-minute sack of Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield.

“After the Oklahoma loss, we all went and looked at ourselves as a unit,” Hughes said. “It’s like, OK, what can we do to go help our DBs out? If that means more sacks, it’s more sacks, get more pressure, making them throw bad balls. We just had to help them out, any way we could.”

Texas has managed to get several of those sacks at critical moments of games. Thirteen of the 23 sacks have come on third downs.

“Third down, you kind of flip the switch. That’s the money down,” said defensive tackle Chris Nelson, who has accounted for 1.5 sacks. “First and second down, you want to push them back because you’re playing for run, but it can be a pass. Third down, you know it’s the money down, so we’re ready to go get it.”

Texas (3-3, 1-2) travels to Kansas State (3-3, 1-2) this week. The Wildcats have surrendered 14 sacks, and their 2.33 sacks allowed per game ranks in a five-way tie for 77th nationally.

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