Texas Football: 4 reasons why UT can handily defeat UW in CFP semifinal

T'Vondre Sweat, Texas football
T'Vondre Sweat, Texas football / Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman /
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CJ Baxter Jr., Texas football
CJ Baxter Jr., Texas football / Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman /

Texas can set the tone on the ground on offense

Texas's offense holds most matchup advantages on paper when compared to the Washington defense. The offensive line is bigger and has been a higher-ranked unit on run and pass plays this season than Washington's defensive line.

Meanwhile, Texas boasts a productive ground game and a passing attack that has caught fire late this season.

Texas should find opportunities to methodically move the chains on offense in this game against Washington while also hitting the occasional explosive play. Sark and the Longhorns can set the tone on offense with a methodical ground game that takes advantage of the lack of size and effectiveness of the Washington interior defensive line.

Per College Football Data, Washington ranks 129th of 133 FBS teams in rushing play success rate allowed on defense and 132nd in defense line yards this season. To put it simply, this Washington run defense has been severely lacking consistency for most of the season while playing mostly average rushing attacks in the PAC-12.

Get true freshman running back CJ Baxter Jr. and sophomore Jaydon Blue going early, and Texas can control the time of possession battle and keep that explosive Washington offense on the sidelines. Baxter has been efficient for the Texas offense, totaling over 50 yards and averaging at least five yards per touch in each of the last three games.

Baxter contributed to the ground game and receiving games for the Longhorns in the win over Oklahoma State in the Big 12 title game on Dec. 2. He tallied over 70 total yards and one touchdown in the Big 12 title game.

Blue has also come on strong as he's gotten a bigger workload out of the backfield in the absence of redshirt sophomore running back Jonathon Brooks due to the season-ending knee injury he suffered last month vs. TCU.

Blue had the first 100-rushing yard game of his collegiate career in the regular season finale win over Texas Tech on Black Friday while averaging double-digit yards per carry.

Texas should be able to keep the offensive attack balanced while keeping the Washington defense on the field for long stretches by effectively running the ball early with Baxter and Blue. Texas can also work redshirt senior running back Keilan Robinson and sophomore Savion Red into the offense gameplan in different ways given their dynamic skill sets at the position.