Texas vs. Oregon State: Postgame Grades from Longhorns Win in 2012 Alamo Bowl

Jonathan McDanalContributor IIIDecember 29, 2012

Texas vs. Oregon State: Postgame Grades from Longhorns Win in 2012 Alamo Bowl

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    Texas has defeated Oregon State in the 2012 Valero Alamo Bowl after coming back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win 31-27.

    The Longhorns had a rough battle with the Beavers, who were led by quarterback Cody Vaz and standout freshman running back Storm Woods. Texas came through in the fourth quarter with huge plays on both offense and defense to score the win.

    Click through the slideshow for the postgame grades from Texas' win over the Beavers in the final game of the 2012 season.

    *All stats not from memory are from ESPN.com

Quarterback

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    Overall Grade: B-

    David Ash started the game badly, and finished the entire first half 7-of-13 for 53 yards. Ash looked inept with the ball, but we will cover the major reason why that was in a later slide.

    Ash had no help from anyone around him. The offensive line didn't protect him, the wide receivers dropped passes and the running backs had no room to run due to the offensive line.

    In the second half, the storyline completely changed. Ash stepped up and made great throws from the moment Texas took the field. Since he had performed badly in the first half, the offense was caught off-guard by his skill.

    It took them until the fourth quarter to really find their rhythm with him. After that, Ash led back-to-back drives that put the Longhorns on top for good. He extended drives with his feet, found receivers both in and out of tight coverage.

    David Ash: 21-of-33 for 241 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also had seven rushes for 22 yards and one touchdown.

Running Backs

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    Overall Grade: C+

    The grade for the running backs is based on their effectiveness throughout the game. They might as well not have existed for most of the game, which would earn them a “D” or an “F.” The offensive line killed the ground game. The tailbacks weren't that bad, but they had nowhere to go.

    Since they had nowhere to go, and they still came up five- and seven-yard runs on occasion that extended drives, they earn a solid “C.” The “A+” running back would find a way to gain major yardage anyway, but “A+” tailbacks are rare.

    Le'Veon Bell, Mark Ingram and Montee Ball are just a few of the tailbacks that had/have “A+” potential. Texas has talented backs, but they need more time to develop into truly lethal ball-carriers.

    Johnathan Gray: seven carries for 18 yards with a long of five. He also had two receptions for 27 yards and one touchdown.

    D.J. Monroe: three carries for nine yards with a long of seven.

Wide Receivers

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    Overall Grade: B+

    The receivers in burnt orange had issues actually catching passes early in the game. The first two Texas drives were squashed quickly by missed opportunities. As the game wore on, Texas looked like it was simply going to get demolished by Oregon State.

    Then came Marquise Goodwin. He perfectly played a double-reverse and turned on his Olympic speed to tag Oregon State for a 64-yard touchdown run. That made him the team's leading rusher for the Alamo Bowl. After Goodwin's run, the Longhorns started to believe that they really could win the game.

    After much adversity, the Longhorns did just that. With the rhythm firmly established in the fourth quarter, Goodwin and Jaxon Shipley teamed up to gouge Oregon State for all the yards they wanted.

    While Shipley didn't score any touchdowns, he was integral in almost every score of the game. (He caught at least one pass on three out of Texas' four touchdown drives.)

    Jaxon Shipley: eight receptions for 88 yards with a long of 20.

    Marquise Goodwin: four receptions for 68 yards and one touchdown. He also had one carry for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Tight Ends

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    Overall Grade: A-

    D.J. Grant was the only tight end that caught a pass. He hauled in a five-yard reception for Texas on the Longhorns' first touchdown drive. The tight ends played well for almost the entire game.

    They missed some key blocks in protection, but it was nearly invisible due to the fact that there was already an Oregon State defensive lineman plastered all over David Ash by the time the Beavers got to him from the edge.

    While the tight ends could have done better, their mistakes rarely cost Texas much if anything at all. They definitely kept true to their assignments in the second half, and it showed. Ash was only sacked once in the second half. As the offensive line improved protection, the tight ends didn't allow the blitz in off the edges.

Offensive Line

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    Overall Grade: C-

    The offensive line had a terrible game. David Ash had no time to throw the ball for the majority of the game and the running backs had nowhere to go. If you take Marquise Goodwin's 64-yard touchdown run out of the equation, Texas only had 53rushing yards through the entire game.

    The linemen got owned by Oregon State's defensive line for three straight quarters. In fact, Goodwin's 64-yard run was near the sideline, nowhere near the offensive line. That means they can't even take much credit for that one.

    The line stood up in the second half and gave Ash time to throw, which led to the Texas victory, so that boosted their grade a good bit. However, you can't just ignore the fact that Texas took a 10-point deficit into the fourth quarter.

    The offensive line had one thing that Oregon State didn't have was endurance. Texas endured to the fourth quarter and kept the game in reach of the offense, and the physicality of the line provided Ash with enough protection to win the game through the air and with his feet.

Defensive Line

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    Overall Grade: A+

    The defensive line has one job to do: own the line of scrimmage. If the line belongs to the defense, there is no run game from the enemy. Also, the linebackers are free to work their way around the line and get to the quarterback. This was yet another aspect of the Texas team that had two entirely different performances in the first and second halves.

    Cody Vaz was sacked/tackled for loss for -81 yards to bring the Oregon State rushing total down to 103 yards. Those sacks were almost exclusively made by linemen. Out of the 10 sacks that Texas registered against the Beavers, the defensive line came up with seven of them.

    Alex Okafor: 4.5 sacks, one forced fumble.

    Reggie Wilson: one sack.

    Desmond Jackson: one sack.

    Cedric Reed: 0.5 sack and one recovered fumble.

Linebackers

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    Overall Grade: B-

    While the linebackers did a decent job of shutting down Oregon State, there were instances where they allowed short passes to be completed with regularity. The breakdowns didn't last long, but they were there and allowed Oregon State to get some big plays that extended into the secondary.

    The linebackers made up for this quite well by hitting the backfield strongly when called upon. The linebackers didn't necessarily have the numbers of the defensive linemen, but they did have the other three sacks and an interception.

    Kendall Thompson: two sacks.

    Tevin Jackson: one sack.

    Peter Jinkens: one interception.

    The linebackers did a great job of holding Oregon State's rushing attack to fewer than 200 yards, but they were completely owned by Storm Woods. Woods ran over Texas for 122 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Arizona is the only other team to allow him to rack up over 100 yards.

Defensive Backs

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    Overall Grade: C

    The Texas secondary played like the rest of the Texas defense: inconsistently. Quandre Diggs pulled down a major interception in the third quarter that set up a Texas touchdown, and he broke up two other passes through the game. Oregon State didn't make its living off the secondary. There were only a handful of plays that went for over 15 yards, but the were all passes.

    The secondary had some issues covering the Beavers, and it bit them in the butt a lot. While the linebackers were in the backfield disrupting the plays, the corners and safeties were trusted to hold off the passing attack. What happened was Oregon State grasping a 10-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

    The saving grace for the secondary is that the Longhorns offense was the reason that they almost lost the game. Allowing 27 points is not a stellar performance on the part of the defense, but there were clearly many missed opportunities to take over the game before the second half kicked off.

Special Teams

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    Overall Grade: A-

    The special-teams unit did a great job in every quarter after the first. In the first quarter, the kicker sent a field goal sailing right into the waiting arms of Oregon State. The Beavers promptly returned the kick 38 yards to put the Beavers out in front. The Beavers would not give up that lead until late in the fourth quarter.

    The kickoffs were fine, and the longest return was from the end zone to the 26. Since a touchback comes out to the 25, it actually wasn't that bad. The punter had a wonderful performance, and his stats will show that.

    Alex King: five punts for 227 yards. One was downed inside the 20.

    Special teams can win or lose a game, and this unit only had one hiccup in the first quarter. Everything else it did was for the good of the team.

Coaching

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    Overall Grade: C-

    The coaches on the Texas side of the ball behaved badly. The Longhorns did win the game, but it seemed that it was in spite of the coaching as opposed to because of the coaching. During the first three quarters, the offensive coordinator called the same style of plays even though they were not working at all.

    After he switched over to a development plan, things went much more smoothly. He gave David Ash plenty of room to make throws, but the calls were for shorter passes. This built confidence in the quarterback, and he began to throw more accurately. Ash began to make better decisions with the football, even extending drives with his feet at times.

    The issue with handing the coordinator a good grade is that it looked a lot like Ash got frustrated with the play-calling and started improvising. Fans may have just witnessed the birth of a successful quarterback in spite of his offensive coordinator. Of course, the boss will always get the credit for developing him.

    The defensive coordinator was in charge of a squad that ran up 10 sacks and generally knew exactly how to be where it needed to be. This same unit was grossly mismatched throughout the game, and that led to Oregon State touchdowns and field goals all the way up until the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter, Oregon State was more tired than Texas, and the Longhorns dominated the Beavers to steal the win.

    The major problem with the defensive coordinator was that the defense simply looked like it was less worn-out than the opponent. You can't give credit to the sideline boss for athletic endurance on the field. You can give credit to the strength and conditioning coach, though.

    With all the issues on the sideline, there is one man that stands out as the reason Texas almost lost to Oregon State: Mack Brown. This guy brings in huge recruiting class after huge recruiting class, plus he had 15 extra practices to prepare his team for the Alamo Bowl.

    Brown is not an idiot, he just makes decisions as if he can't see what's happening on the field. Either that, or he stands there watching while his coordinators fail to adjust. Either way, he needs to get a motivational speech ready for his staff.