The Texas Longhorns hosted the BYU Cougars on Saturday in Week 9 of the college football season. Texas entered the game fresh off of a tight game against Houston while BYU took down Texas Tech comfortably in their last outing.
Despite BYU building some momentum over the last few weeks, Saturday’s matchup was all Longhorns. Texas had some lapses in their game with Maalik Murphy under center, but with one of the best rushing attacks and defenses in the nation, they took care of business in their 35-6 win over BYU. Here are three thoughts on the game.
MAALIK MURPHY LOOKED LIKE A FRESHMAN
Freshman quarterback Maalik Murphy took the field under center for the Longhorns in his first game of college football action on Saturday and it showed. While Murphy had some decent throws to Ja’Tavion Sanders and Adonai Mitchell in the contest, his lowlights were harder to ignore. Murphy threw his first career pick on a bad read under pressure in the first half, throwing the ball directly into the body of a BYU defender. The second mistake of the day came in the shape of a bad fumble in the red zone where Murphy faced immediate pressure and gave the football back to Kedon Slovis and the Cougars.
The California native went 16-25 for 170 yards, two scores and a pick. Maalik Murphy is a freshman with one game of experience under his belt and will continue to get better, but there was definitely a noticeable difference between his play and that of Quinn Ewers in previous weeks.
DEFENSE FIGHTS, OFFENSE NOT SO MUCH
BYU’s defense did their part. They held the seventh-ranked team in the country to 28 points regardless of who’s under center. The Cougars’ defense looked ferocious on Saturday forcing two big turnovers from Texas and stopping the Longhorns with back-to-back goal-line stands. Kalani Sitake was over the moon excited to see his defense show up but unfortunately for BYU fans, the offense did not.
Senior quarterback Kedon Slovis struggled against Texas going 25-40 for 197 yards and two interceptions. Texas deserves credit for slowing down BYU and keeping them out of the endzone on three trips to the red zone, but the unit was severely outmatched from the jump. The group held the Cougars to just 292 yards on the day and less than 200 through the air. On top of that, the Longhorns kept Sitake’s group to just 3/14 on third down which is the main stat that basically sums up Saturday’s game. Texas’ defense is legit, but BYU didn’t do themselves any favors whatsoever.
Looking ahead is dangerous in college football, but after watching both Kansas State and Texas cruise to big wins in Week 9, fans can finally start daydreaming about the contest.
Kansas State has seemingly rediscovered its identity with a combination of quarterbacks in Will Howard and Avery Johnson and should provide the toughest task for the Longhorns this season outside of Oklahoma.
The Week 10 matchup between Texas and Kansas State should go a long way in helping to determine which two squads will take the field in Arlington. Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns will have to face a fired-up Wildcat defense that hasn’t given up a touchdown in nine quarters of action.
It’s time for fans to start getting their popcorn ready.