Texas Football: 4 takeaways from Longhorns’ fickle win over Rice

Quinn Ewers, Texas football
Quinn Ewers, Texas football /
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Texas football
Texas football /

Texas’ defense will be the strength of the team this year

Hands down, the biggest positive takeaway from this game for the Longhorns was the defense’s play. Texas’ run defense was absolutely menacing against a helpless Rice offensive front. Pete Kwiatkowski and the Longhorns allowed the fewest total rushing yards for an opponent in the last half-decade for this defense, with just 27 on 25 attempts.

And if not for that long late drive from Daniels and the Owls, Rice would’ve amassed single-digit rushing yards in this game.

Texas stuffed roughly 90 percent of Rice’s rushing attempts, largely thanks to the disruptiveness up front from standouts like senior defensive tackle T’Vondre Sweat and junior nose tackle Byron Murphy II. We also have to give some recognition to redshirt senior will linebacker David Gbenda, who had nearly a half-dozen run stops on the day.

Moreover, Texas’ pass defense was also on point in this game. Texas allowed fewer than 150 passing yards and managed two interceptions. Senior linebacker Jaylan Ford got off to a strong start on his quest to receive Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors with a first-half pick.

Ford now has a whopping five interceptions in the last eight games.

Sophomore nickel Austin Jordan also got his first career interception in the first half of this game.

All in all, one of the most impressive parts of this game for the Longhorns was how PK flexed his depth up and down the defense. Texas had double-digit players that racked up at least a tackle for loss assist. Five different interior defensive linemen had at least one quarterback pressure in this game.

Texas’ defense made plays left and right, showing how it could be the best defensive unit in the Big 12 this season.