Texas Football: 3 reasons the Horns will dominate the high-octane Huskies

Quinn Ewers, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Quinn Ewers, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Jonathon Brooks, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Jonathon Brooks, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /

In a little more than 24 hours, head coach Steve Sarkisian and No. 20 ranked Texas football will battle first-year head coach Kalen DeBoer and the No. 12 ranked Washington Huskies in the Alamo Bowl. Texas will have a shot to extend its winning streak to three games to round out the 2022 season if it can top Washington on Dec. 29.

Meanwhile, Washington comes into the Alamo Bowl red hot, having won six straight games. Washington could really end the season on a high note if it comes out with a win this week, which would send this team into the 2023 offseason on an impressive seven-game winning streak.

Texas comes into the Alamo Bowl with a record of 8-4 (6-3 Big 12) following a 38-27 win over the Baylor Bears in the regular season finale at home on Nov. 25. Meanwhile, Washington comes into this one with a record of 10-2 (7-2 PAC-12) following a convincing 51-33 win in the Apple Cup over the Washington State Cougars on the road on Nov. 26.

Despite coming into the postseason with a six-game winning streak, Washington is still an underdog in this game. Texas is a 3.5-point favorite the day before kickoff (per FanDuel). And the ESPN Football Power Index gives Texas a 75.1 percent chance of beating Washington.

Why Quinn Ewers and Texas football could pull off a shocker and dominate Washington in the Alamo Bowl

Here’s a look at three reasons why the Longhorns could dominate the Huskies in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29.

Jonathon Brooks still presents a matchup issue for Washington

One of the most important Longhorns players in the Alamo Bowl will be redshirt freshman running back Jonathon Brooks. With star junior running back Bijan Robinson and senior running back Roschon Johnson opting out of the Alamo Bowl to prepare for the NFL Draft, the backfield will be Brooks’ for the taking this week.

Washington does have a decent run defense, ranking in the top 40 in the FBS during the regular season averaging 127 rushing yards allowed per game. This will be a decent matchup for Brooks to go up against a Washington run defense that was productive on paper during the regular season.

And while it is true that the strength of the Washington defense lies up front (especially defending the run), there are still some ways that the Longhorns could exploit some matchup advantages on the ground.

Texas should find success running the ball up the gut against the Huskies. Washington doesn’t have a single interior defensive lineman that ranks in the top half of Power Five defenders in run defense grade. And there are only two starters along the defensive front that grade out among the top half of Power Five defenders in run defense for the Huskies.

It just so happens that the spot where Brooks found the most success in the last two seasons on the ground is between the B and C-gaps. Running the inside zone and counter should find some success for Brooks in this game.

We should also mention that Washington did struggle more defending the run when facing running backs that graded out in the top half of the Power Five during the regular season. Here’s a look at Washington’s run defense for the entire regular season compared to against teams with a rusher that graded out in the top half of the Power Five.

  • Entire regular season: 127.5 YPG, 3.5 YPC, 1.1 TD
  • Against teams with top-half RBs: 170 YPG, 4.9 YPC, 1.7 TD

Getting the ground game going is a major key to success for the Longhorns in this game. When Washington allows more than 150 rushing yards this season, it holds a record of 2-2. Yet, when the Huskies allow fewer than 150 rushing yards, it is a spotless 8-0.

And the two games that the Huskies won when allowing more than 150 rushing yards, which came against the Oregon schools, were nailbiters that could’ve gone either way.