Texas vs. Rice: Our five pregame questions facing the Longhorns — answered
How did the offense look with Thompson?
Efficient. Perfectly efficient.
This one was Classic Casey: he played two quarters and change, his personal stats were good (15-of-18 for 164 yards, 2 TDs and one interception) but his production was great, leading Texas to touchdowns on seven of his eight drives, which wasn't a shocker since he'd led scoring drives on nine of his previous 10 chances dating back to the Alamo Bowl. The running backs stole the show against Rice, but it was Thompson leading the way — literally, on one memorable play when he not only served as lead blocker on a 27-yard run by Roschon Johnson, waving the running back his way.
Did a receiver break out?
Yes: Xavier Worthy.
The freshman was Thompson's go-to pass-catcher, securing seven of his eight targets for 88 yards and a touchdown. Worthy, who had minimal chances the first two games, was clearly Texas' alpha wideout against Rice (Joshua Moore and Jordan Whittington head had one catch each). It was Whittington who starred in the win over Louisiana, no receiver did much in the loss to Arkansas, and Worthy was the top guy against the Owls.
Did Texas look better vs. the run?
It was hard to go anywhere but up, of course. The Longhorns were run over in Fayetteville, giving up 333 rushing yards to the Razorbacks. Rice rushed for 156 yards and averaged 4.9 yards a carry, but two carries went for 54 yards. The Owls' top rusher finished with 52 yards. Against Arkansas, six Razorbacks had runs of 19 or more yards. Against Rice, only two did.
Did Texas use its offensive depth?
It was a 58-0 shutout, so the Longhorns had the luxury of playing their reserves. The offensive line featured backups Hayden Conner, Logan Parr and Andrej Karic in the second half. Reserve running backs Keilan Robinson, Jonathon Brooks and Gabe Watson combined for 22 carries. Kai Money caught a pass and there was even a J'Tavion Sanders sighting.
Did the Horns avoid the drama?
This was the most drama we got: Texas committed its first turnover of the season when an Owls lineman broke through on a bull rush and altered Thompson's downfield shot, resulting in an interception. But the Owls missed their field goal try and the shutout was on. There was a different kind of drama at the very end, as we wondered whether the driving Owls would ruin the shutout in the final minute. They got close, getting inside the red zone, but couldn't finish the drive.