Texas quarterback Jerrod Heard runs for a touchdown to cut the deficit to one late in the fourth quarter against California. RODOLFO GONZALEZ/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Football

Jerrod Heard leads Texas to eighth-best offensive night ever

Redshirt freshman becomes first Texas QB to throw for 300 yards, run for 100 since Colt McCoy

Posted September 20th, 2015

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Jay Norvell was practically giddy talking about Texas quarterback Jerrod Heard’s 45-yard touchdown run at the end of Saturday’s 45-44 loss to California.

“The quarterback draw was about as beautiful a play I’ve seen in a long time,” the UT play-caller said.

What came afterward wasn’t so great, though. “My heart breaks for Nick Rose, our kicker,” Norvell added.

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Rose’s missed extra-point attempt kept the Longhorns from tying things up with 1:11 remaining against the Bears. Texas’ defensive miscues will be dissected in the days leading up to the Big 12 opener against Oklahoma State.

But Saturday’s game was the best offensive showing in the Charlie Strong era. It was one of the best nights in school history, actually.

UT’s 650 yards was the eighth-best total offensive output ever. Heard’s 527 yards also shattered the total offense record set by Vince Young against Oklahoma State in 2005.

“I wouldn’t say devastating,” Heard said, when asked about the missed extra-point attempt. “I’m real proud of my team. What we showed is not what a lot of people can do. What we did tonight, it shows that we can win a lot of games.”

Texas came into the game averaging 220 yards the first two weeks. The Horns had the second-worst offense in major college football, based on that yardage total.

Assuming that number held up for an entire season, it would be the worst offensive output in the modern era of Texas football.

Hard to imagine the Longhorns staying down at the bottom of the offensive pile with Heard, though.

“The performance he had tonight, he had almost 200 yards rushing and 300 yards passing,” Norvell said. “We’re very, very excited about him. But we have to do more with our (running) backs. Our receivers have to have more production.

“(Heard) led tonight, he was productive and he never quit. We can definitely build on that.”

Texas' Daje Johnson runs up field as California's Cameron Walker gives chase after a pass reception during the first half of the NCAA game held Darrell K Royal -Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Tx., on Saturday, September 19, 2015. (RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Texas’ Daje Johnson runs up field as California’s Cameron Walker gives chase after a pass reception during the first half of the NCAA game held Darrell K Royal -Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Tx., on Saturday, September 19, 2015. (RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

For all the questions about Heard’s passing acumen, the redshirt freshmen is proving that he can throw it. Daje Johnson had five catches for 145 yards. Armanti Foreman and John Burt combined for eight catches for 135 yards.

Heard became the first Texas quarterback since Colt McCoy to throw for 300 yards and run for at least 100 more. McCoy threw for 304 yards and ran for 175 against Texas A&M on Nov. 26, 2009.

Asked why he felt so confident, Heard said, “It’s just the faith I have in my guys. I know the whole O-line is going to do the blocking and do the hard work. I have faith in those guys to let me sit in the pocket and get the ball distributed to all those good athletes I’ve got.”

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