MMQB: Where is Texas' run game?

September, 20, 2010
9/20/10
2:03
PM CT
That power rushing attack the Texas Longhorns talked so much about prior to the season? Anyone seen it?

In Saturday's 24-14 victory at Texas Tech, it's not as though Texas gave up on the run. The Longhorns toted it 43 times, but gained just 93 yards for a 2.2-yard-per-carry average. Of course, 15 of Texas' final 16 plays in the game were rushes as they took a 24-14 lead and then tried to milk the remainder of the fourth-quarter clock.

However, after the touchdown with about 9:30 to play in the game, Texas went three-and-out on their next three drives, forcing the defense to preserve the lead.

Foswhitt Whittaker was Texas' third starting tailback in as many games. He managed 55 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown. Tre' Newton left the game with a groin injury after his lone carry for 13 yards. Opening day starter Cody Johnson had just 35 yards on 17 carries. Johnson carried it seven times for 15 yards over the last three possessions.

"I thought it was poor on Saturday night," Brown said of the run game. "I thought we were better against Wyoming and made some progress, but I thought it was incosistent Saturday night and not happy with it. At the end of the game we were very conservative because we were going to win the game unless we turned the ball over ... so we kept field position, but you can still make first downs and we didn't do that. We felt like we were inconsistent with our running game throughout the night."

While Texas put up decent rushing numbers against Rice and Wyoming, the ground game clearly isn't taking off. And it must be a concern with No. 8 Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl (Oct. 2) and then a big one at No. 6 Nebraska (Oct. 16) coming up after this Saturday's home game against UCLA.

For Texas to make it through that gauntlet unscathed, it will have to discover a ground attack to take pressure off quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns against Tech, but also threw three picks in his first game in hostile territory.

Texas' run game ranks 65th in the nation, parking the offense 72nd overall, adding significant pressure to a defense that ranks No. 2 in the nation, giving up little more than 206 yards a game.

So what's holding the Horns' rushing attack back?

"One guy on each play," Brown said. "It's the same thing. It's just the inconsistency that you have. It's so frustrating watching film. We see four guys doing what they're supposed to do on one play and another guy doesn't get his head across or doesn't cut off or he's too high. We've just been too inconsistent. We've got to get better."

UCLA should prepare for a heavy dose of rushing. Texas must get that part of its game moving or the month of October could be downright scary.

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