The Texas Longhorns are on a wild ride right now, and coming off a shocking win over the Oklahoma Sooners Saturday, it seems the adventure will only get crazier.
The Longhorns offense—specifically their run game—came alive against the Sooners' No. 13-ranked defense, and behind a couple of 120-plus yard performances from running backs Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray, Texas may have found itself an identity moving forward.
Injuries have plagued the Texas offense, and it has taken multiple guys to rise to the occasion and come up with big plays at crucial moments.
First, it was David Ash and Mike Davis. Then, Gray took center stage. Now, with Brown emerging with his first 100-yard performance of the season, the junior tailback could become a lynchpin in an offense with plenty of firepower.
Comparing the Numbers
Player A is Brown and Player B is Gray. Gray has been quicker to put up similar numbers, but there is no runaway difference between the two that makes one a better option than the other.
Brown has proven to be more effective in the passing game, evidenced by a 109-yard receiving performance in Texas' season opener.
The Texas offense features a bus-load of playmakers, many of which have handled the driving responsibilities. Gray has had his moments, and he will continue to shine.
But with Brown's strong performance against the Sooners, the junior has established himself as a viable power runner up the middle. He got some help with some fantastic outings from the interior linemen, but he will play just as big a role as Gray in Texas' offensive output.
More to Come
The Texas offense looks to be turning a corner physically, and that could mean much more to come from Brown, whose playing weight is about 20 pounds more than Gray's.
Brown has failed to stay off the injury report in each of his first two seasons in Austin, but seemingly healthy, he is very much poised for stringing together a couple of good performances—and what better timing.
As a freshman, Brown averaged 17.2 carries per game. His 23 carries against the Sooners was the first time he received double-digit looks out of the backfield. With Gray having gotten the brunt of the looks throughout the first handful of games, it could be Brown's turn to showcase his talent.
All About Rhythm
In Brown's career at Texas, the Longhorns are 10-2 when he carries the ball at least 13 times. Texas is also 6-1 when Brown posts more than 100 yards from scrimmage.
Given Brown's limited touches leading up to the Oklahoma game, if the junior begins seeing more and more looks, the Texas offense may be that much more fruitful.
The Bottom Line
The Longhorns have their weapons on offense. That has never changed.
But as they enter the meat of the 2013 season, it is time for the Longhorns to steady themselves for a hearty, late-season run at a Big 12 title. That means Texas' best players will have to have their moments.
For now, it is Brown's turn to show his stuff.