Five questions facing Texas on Friday against Texas Tech:
1. Can Texas keep Texas Tech away from Sam Ehlinger?
Texas has allowed a Big 12-high 32 sacks, and the Longhorns have shut out just one opposing pass rush. (LSU, Oklahoma and Baylor all recorded at least five sacks against Texas). Two players — Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray and Baylor lineman James Lynch — have even been named the conference’s defensive player of the week after playing Texas. Led by defensive lineman Eli Howard (4.5 sacks), Texas Tech ranks sixth in the Big 12 with 23 sacks.
2. Will Sam Ehlinger feast on the Texas Tech secondary?
Since it is allowing 304.2 yards per game, Texas ranks ahead of only Houston (304.9), Arizona (306.7), UCLA (318.1) and New Mexico (335.0) in passing defense. On Saturday, Ehlinger will look to become the third quarterback to put up a 400-yard performance against the Red Raiders. Ehlinger recorded the sixth 400-yard game in UT history on Sept. 7 and hit 399 yards against Kansas, but he has failed to exceed 275 yards in five of his last seven games.
3. How much closer does Devin Duvernay get to Jordan Shipley?
Duvernay leads the NCAA in both receptions per game (8.8) and receptions (97). On Friday, he will likely become only the third Longhorn with 100 catches in a single season. But where will Duvernay stand in relation to Shipley at the end of the day? In 2009, Shipley caught a school-record 116 passes. Shipley, though, had 14 games to work with. Since Texas isn’t going to the Big 12 title game, Duvernay will only have more two games to make history.
4. Who starts at cornerback for the Longhorns?
Expect to see D’Shawn Jamison whenever the Texas defense makes its first appearance. But who will be UT’s other starting cornerback? Anthony Cook, who has started seven games, won’t play this week with an injured knee. Jalen Green, who has started six times, was labeled as questionable by Tom Herman because of a sprained ankle. If Green can’t go or if he’s limited, that could open up more playing time for a veteran like Kobe Boyce or newcomer Kenyatta Watson.
5. Which Longhorn will have a memorable Senior Day?
Friday will mark UT’s final game at Royal-Memorial Stadium until South Florida comes to town in 2020. Seventeen Longhorns will be honored on senior day. A few of this week’s honorees likely won’t see the field and receiver Collin Johnson is injured. But some of those outgoing seniors — Duvernay, defensive end Malcolm Roach, center Zach Shackelford and safety Brandon Jones — are established starters who are looking to go out with a bang.