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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Michael Penix Jr. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Penix Jr. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

Pressure factor for Michael Penix Jr.

It’s not just on offense where the clear keys to success lie in the bowl game for the Longhorns. Texas’ defense has a clear road map to victory against this high-powered Washington offense, led by All-PAC-12 senior quarterback Michael Penix Jr.

Texas needs to be able to generate pressure on Penix and limit the effectiveness of Washington’s mediocre-performing ground game if this defense wants to give the entire team a shot at a comfortable win in the Alamo Bowl.

In games where the opposing defense generated double-digit quarterback pressures on Penix, Washington posted a record of 2-2. And one of the two games the Huskies won in that situation came in a coin-flip ending against the Oregon State Beavers.

This just goes to show how important it will be for Texas to get pressure in Penix’s face in this game.

While it might sound like an easier task for the team that generated the most quarterback pressures of any Power Five team during the regular season to wreak havoc on a pocket passer such as Penix, it’s not that simple. Penix gets the ball out pretty fast and is pinpoint accurate on his throws, which is why he led the nation in passing during the regular season.

Texas’ edge rushers must come ready to play in this game to clean up the pressure that the interior defensive line could generate. Since Washington’s interior offensive line is the weakest performing in terms of effectiveness rate in pass protection, it seems like a given that Bo Davis’ unit is going to have a strong night getting after Penix.

Penix is able to hold up in the face of interior pressure, as long as the defensive ends/edge players aren’t getting home from the outside. To counter that, sophomore edge rusher Barryn Sorrell and senior Ovie Oghoufo can’t get pushed around at the line of scrimmage by Washington’s effective offensive tackles.

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Yet, I have faith in this improving defensive front to be able to drum up some pressure on Penix and the Huskies with some creative blitz packages and stunts from Pete Kwiatkowski and Gary Patterson. Giving PK a shot to face his former team and GP an entire month to scheme up different blitz packages could be lethal in the Alamo Bowl.