Texas Football: 3 major concerns for the Longhorns vs. Houston

Ryan Watts, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Ryan Watts, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Quinn Ewers, Texas football
Quinn Ewers, Texas football /

Managing turnovers

Among the big issues Texas dealt with in the loss to the Sooners in Red River a couple of weeks ago was turnovers on offense. For the first time this season against the Sooners, the Longhorns turned the ball over multiple times on offense without generating a single turnover on defense.

Texas did have opportunities to generate turnovers against quarterback Dillon Gabriel and the Sooners two weeks ago, including a couple of bad snaps and turnover-worthy plays from OU’s signal-caller. But Gabriel saved one potential fumble turnover, and the Sooners escaped with a +3 turnover margin in Red River.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers did a nice job managing turnovers in the season’s first five games. He didn’t throw any picks this season until the Week 5 win at home over the No. 24 Kansas Jayhawks. And Ewers responded well after that turnover against the Jayhawks with a big second half with multiple touchdowns and no more turnovers.

Ewers needs to clean up the turnover issues against the Cougars this weekend after his first three-turnover game of the season against the Sooners in Week 6.

Ewers and the Longhorns are facing a Houston defense that has come up with some opportune turnovers this season. While the Houston defense has struggled to stop opponents from putting up a ton of yards against them this season (Cougars rank last in the Big 12 in yards allowed per game and points allowed), they’ve done a nice job generating turnovers.

Houston is tied for third in the Big 12 this season, generating 1.7 turnovers per game. The Cougars have a pair of ball-hawking defensive backs in senior nickelback Malik Fleming and junior cornerback Isaiah Hamilton, who each have three interceptions this season.

Even more impressive is Houston’s ability to win the turnover battle. According to CFB Stats, Houston ranks second in the Big 12 in turnover margin per game (1.17), only behind the Sooners. A big factor in Houston boasting a +7 turnover margin this season is the offense’s ability to take care of the football in the last few weeks.

Smith and the Houston offense were spotless regarding managing turnovers in the last three games, coming up with a clean sheet while turning their opponents over three times.

Houston’s defense won’t be able to slow down Texas’ high-powered offense, so they’ll look to give the ball back to their offense in other ways, such as generating turnovers. The turnover battle will be a key component of the Texas-Houston game this weekend.

Next. 4 reasons why Texas can dominate Houston in Week 8. dark