It’s halftime at the Alamodome, and Texas — a 7-point underdog in tonight’s Alamo Bowl — is shutting out No. 11 Utah, 10-0.
The good news?
The Longhorns are controlling this game on a night when they shouldn’t be. Texas is playing this Alamo Bowl without either of its coordinators. Leading tackler Brandon Jones is out. It’s the final game of a mostly disappointing season that has seen them go from 10-4 and a Sugar Bowl win back down to 7-5 and the Alamo, where Texas ended its 2012 and 2013 seasons. But the defense is controlling things, the offense is mixing it up with long passes, runs and even a couple of option runs. Even when things don’t break Texas’ way, things are breaking Texas’ way. Example? The Horns, leading 10-0, opted to go for it on fourth-and-2 over an easy field goal in the second quarter. The Utes broke up a pass at the goal line, but reviews showed that defensive back Javelin Guidry actually had intercepted it; originally, it appeared the ball had touched the ground.
So, the Utes were awarded possession anyway, as the play was a fourth down. But they had to start off at their own 1-yard line.
OK, the bad news?
The Utes are a second-half team. Utah has outscored teams 208-78 in the second half this season.
Scoring — so far
First quarter: Texas 3, Utah 0
Texas: Cameron Dicker 29-yard field goal (10:26)
Second quarter: Texas 10, Utah 0 (halftime)
Texas: Collin Johnson 5-yard pass from Sam Ehlinger (Dicker kick, 13:24)
Rewind: First half
- Collin Johnson needed all of one play to make an impact. Sam Ehlinger found him wide open for a 34-yard pass right down the middle of the field on the very first play of the game. It sparked the opening-drive field goal.
- Johnson also scored the first touchdown of the night.
- Texas opened this game in aggressive mode. The Horns won the opening coin toss and wanted the ball to start the game. There was the big pass on the first play, followed by a mix of runs and a first-drive score. And the Horns stuffed the Utes on their first drive, Keondre Coburn forcing a three-and-out punt with a 4-yard tackle for loss on third-and-2.
- Texas held Utah to only 40 total yards in the first quarter. The Utes were 0-for-2 on third-down conversions.
- Ehlinger has already been sacked twice. Both came in the first quarter.
- No Brandon Jones tonight. And Jalen Green was shaken up in the second quarter.
D’Shawn Jamison broke off a 71-yard punt return early in the second quarter; it set up the Longhorns’ first touchdown. … Big hits so far: Deep snapper Justin Mader, LB Joseph Ossai. … Chris Adimora preserved the shutout by breaking up a pass on third-and-long at the end of the half. Had it been completed, Utah would have had one, maybe two shots the end zone before settling for a field goal.
Utah will get the ball to start the second half.
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