Texas passing game better than predicted

BY foxsports • September 20, 2012

The Longhorns should enjoy this, because it may never happen again.

This team is King Tut's tomb. It is the hope diamond. It is a public appearance by David Letterman. Nicky Minaj in earth tones. A can of Surge.

This is the rarest of all specimens, a Texas football team that nobody knows is good enough to win the national championship.

This never happens.

Oh, Texas has rebuilding years. Sure. Last year was one. Nobody thought Texas was good enough to win the national championship last year, because Texas was not good enough to win the national championship last year. The quarterbacks were too young, the offense too choppy, the big plays too few and far between.

That was supposed to be the case again this season. Mack Brown chose David Ash as his starting quarterback with all the haste and zeal of the food line at Luby's. Do I want the green Jello or the banana pudding… how bout a little of both?

And then Ash was fairly pedestrian through two weeks. His numbers were fine. Good completion percentage, no interceptions, good on third down. But there was something missing, and Brown knew it.

"One of the things we've been talking about offensively is, we're in a scoring league," he said. "Good defenses give up a lot of points in this league. Just about every team in this league can score and score in a hurry."

Brown is trying to move the Longhorns toward a more methodical, running-and-defense-and-don't-turn-it-over kind of team. Something more like Alabama than Oklahoma. He thinks that's the way to win a national title, and it is no coincidence that the last time the Longhorns played for one, it was Alabama that beat them.

So that Brown quote is a little paradoxical. To win a national championship, you need to stop people, but to win a Big 12 championship, you need to outscore them.

Well, Texas has a national championship-caliber defense. And it has a national-championship caliber running game. That'll get you ranked 12th, as the Longhorns are. And being ranked 12th is a good way to stay just outside everyone's mind. It's just outside the periphery of the national title picture, and what a treat that is.
I don't want to get too carried away, but did you see that Texas game last week?

I'd say I'm about to bore you with statistics, except that these statistics are spectacular. These statistics are like Blue Man Group performing between songs at a Deadmau5 concert. Against Ole Miss: 326 passing yards, 350 rushing yards, 13 possessions, one punt, no turnovers.

On the road against an SEC opponent.

Yes, that opponent was Ole Miss, which is now 2-1 with wins over Central Arkansas and UTEP. This was not like smacking around LSU or Alabama, or even Florida or Georgia. That's not the point, here.

The point here is that explosive offensive ability was the one thing supposedly holding back the Longhorns, and last Saturday the Longhorns exploded. They scored on plays of 69, 48 and 55 yards. Ash averaged 17.2 yards per completion.

Texas had not scored 60 points in a game since 2009, when it played for the national title, and its offense has not dominated a major-conference defense like that since 2008, when it scored 52 against Arkansas and 56 against Missouri. UT played in the Fiesta Bowl that year.

Ole Miss does not have a good defense, but offensive outbursts like that don't just happen. Mediocre offenses don't do that. When new information presents itself, we have to adjust to it, and the new information is that Ash and the UT passing game are better than you think. Which means so is Texas. Which means the Texas Longhorns are good enough to win the national championship, but nobody knows it.

And how often can you say that?

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