Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo MESPORTS SOUTH
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SAN ANTONIO– The Texas Longhorns have had one heck of uphill journey this season but in spite of one thing that still stands strong is the team’s “Texas Fight.” The Longhorns have been tested and faced great adversity but managed to find a way to keep rolling to make it to the next mile. Their season finale was not without a test or moments of truth perhaps their biggest least anticipated test of all.
The heart of your offense lies a good bit in your QB and for the Horns, senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger has helped keep the Texas fight alive in many instances. However, Tuesday evening the Horns lost him to a shoulder injury in the second quarter of the ball game.
In an instant, the storyline of the game was no longer what Tom Herman and the Horns anticipated but like any team with the right thirst and hunger they adapted and adjusted.
Now the eyes of Texas would be upon Sophomore gunslinger Casey Thomas. After patiently waiting for his moment and observing his brothers on the field it was his time.
“We smiled. I said You’re up, kid. I told him that I believed in him and his team believed in him, to go do you. And he did,” Herman said.
Thomas passed for 170 yards and four touchdowns to elevate the No. 20 Texas Longhorns to a victory over Colorado 55-23 in the Valero Alamo Bowl Tuesday evening.
Despite, another roadblock put in their midst it was the young Longhorns that answered the call and helped their team in key ways.
“Happy to come away with a win, obviously, with a very depleted roster. I think we counted 18 guys that were on the depth chart to start the season who did not play in this game. We started seven freshmen, started three freshmen and two sophomores on the offensive line with a freshman tailback, started a freshman linebacker, freshman safety, freshman three-technique in a bowl game,” Herman said.
While I mean it’s a little premature to start saying “Texas Is Back,” quite yet they look to be building a strong and solid road back to that mantra with this young team.
One of the young Horns who had a big day for Texas was Freshman running back, Bijan Robinson. Robinson accounted for 183 yards on 10 carries with a TD for Texas. His efforts were not unnoticed being named the offensive MVP of the Alamo Bowl.
Herman on Robinson’s evolution as a running back, “Stan Drayton has done an excellent job grooming him for those moments late in the year. I’ve said it ad nauseam. I’ll repeat it again. When a true freshman comes in in the summertime, especially in the summer like we were forced to have, everybody in the country was forced to have, it’s going to take some time for the speed of the game to slow down and for him to understand different fronts, different line movements, blocking schemes, the whole nine. Just the evolution of where he was from training camp until now is night and day. I don’t think he’s hit his ceiling yet.”
On the other side of the line, the Colorado Buffaloes did not take the field without their own set of woes that have plagued this team through this unusual college football season. For Colorado, this was only their sixth game of the season due to COVID-19. As part of the Pac-12 initially, the Buffs weren’t sure if they would even see the field much less a bowl game this season when their conference. The conference had planned to cancel the season but later reversed the decision and chose to delay the start until Nov. 7.
When it was said and done the Buffs just didn’t have the reps and sync to go head to head with a young but more polished ball club like the Texas Longhorns.
For those who didn’t catch the Alamo Bowl or came late to the party here are the highlights from what drove the Horns over the Buffs in San Antone.
A 39-yard pass from Ehlinger to Joshua Moore ignited the Horns to drive for 74 yards on four plays in just 50 seconds. It would be Bijan Robinson to dive on in for an 8-yard TD in the opening quarter.
Two possessions later with 5:28 to go in the first quarter Robinson would again take it to the house on a 14-yard pass from Elhlinger to keep the Horns on top.
We can’t forget Cameron Dicker, who set an Alamo Bowl record with a 53-yarder late in the first half to give keep the Horns lead alive 17-7.
The Texas Fight remained alive a well as the game plan was about to change with Ehlinger being out of the game to start the second half.
Time to get down to business was the look in Thompson’s eyes as he immediately led Texas to a touchdown on the opening possession. He completed a 13-yard pass to Moore in just 37 seconds in the third quarter to put the Horns on top 24-10.
Thompson was far from over making sure he would get his team to the promised land. He added a 25 yard TD pass to Moore, a 23 – yarder to Robinson, and a 73 yarder to Kelvontay Dixon. Texas Thompson has arrived y’all and finished 8-10 on the evening.
Colorado may have been coming in to the Alamo city with a bit of a hot streak but the Longhorns had an answer for what they were putting out. The Buff’s only sustainable drive in the opening quarter ended with an interception when Sam Noyer threw into a group of defenders not wearing the black and gold.
The Horns were able to subdue the Buffs offense with the help of LB DeMarvious Overshown who made his second interception of the season picking off Noyer at the Colorado 11. Overshown boasted six tackles, one interception, and one fumble recovery.
A good thing for Colorado it wasn’t a complete blackout blues thanks to Jarek Broussard who rushed for 82 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries to put points on the board.
Colorado: Even though the Buffs were not as resilient in this match-up Coach Dornell has managed to get the program back on the radar with a 3-1 finish in the PAC 12. That may not seem to be much but under these circumstances, there is alot of potential talent to be developed in the “Mile High.”
Texas: Under Herman, the Horns are now undefeated in four bowl games. And have a great deal of young promising talent that just might finally bring “Texas Back.” While no one ever wants to see a kid get the stage as a result of an injury it is the nature of the game. While it is still uncertain if Ehlinger will take advantage of the new NCAA rule and remain a Longhorn after the injury sustained. Herman and the Horns can rest assured that they have a gunslinger in Casey Thompson who can more than produce for their ball club. Thompson showed he can operate well mentally and physically under pressure. His elusiveness against facing the heavy rush was a site and not to mention the boy has a pretty damn good arm.