If Texas has any shot of upsetting No. 13 Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl on Saturday, the Longhorns must run the ball early and often.
Texas' quarterback situation has been in flux down the stretch, with head coach Mack Brown benching former starter David Ash in favor of Case McCoy, then switching back to Ash this week before Saturday's game against Oregon State.
But it has less to do with the Longhorns' situation under center and more to do with the Beavers' pass defense this season.
Oregon State, led by senior cornerback Jordan Poyer, has allowed 6.1 yards per pass attempt this season, tied for 18th in the nation (via CFBStats.com). On top of that, the Beavers have notched 19 interceptions (including seven picks by Poyer), tied for seventh in the FBS.
On the flip side, in the losses to Stanford and Oregon, the Beavers allowed 4.2 yards per carry and 6.7 yards per carry, respectively. That includes seven combined touchdowns on the ground.
Using a collection of players, the Longhorns have averaged 4.66 yards per carry this season, tied for 44th in the country. That's not great, but it's not bad either. In their last two wins against Iowa State and Texas Tech, they racked up a combined 385 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
Ash has had some big games this season, so it may be tempting for Brown to let the sophomore do his thing on Saturday. But that's exactly what the Beavers want Texas to do.
The Longhorns would be much better served focusing on the run. Not only does it play away from Oregon State's strength on defense, it also could use up more time on the clock, which is important because the Texas defense is allowing 29.4 points per game this season (73rd in the nation). That includes ceding 42 points to Kansas State to close out the regular season.
Oregon State has a better team than Texas this season, but the Longhorns have a much better chance of upsetting the Beavers in the Alamo Bowl by pounding the rock.
What are your thoughts?