No David Ash? No Problem for Texas vs. TCU

Ben KerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterOctober 21, 2013

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 12:  Case McCoy #6 of the Texas Longhorns looks for an open receiver in the first quarter against the Oklahoma Sooners at the Cotton Bowl on October 12, 2013 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The head injury suffered by Texas quarterback David Ash in September is turning into a major concern. 

On Sunday night, in a statement by Texas head athletic trainer for football Kenny Boyd, Ash was declared out for Saturday's game at TCU.

Though he continues to make progress in his recovery, Longhorn junior quarterback David Ash has been ruled out of this week's game at TCU because of lingering effects of a head injury. Ash will continue to be evaluated and monitored daily and there is no timetable on his return.

It will be his third missed game and fourth in the last five.

While the severity of Ash's injury is cause for concern, the Longhorns must continue their quest for a Big 12 championship without him. Senior Case McCoy will get another start after playing well in a 36-20 win over Oklahoma in Week 7. 

AMES, IA - OCTOBER 3:   Running back Johnathan Gray #32 of the Texas Longhorns drives the ball to the end zone for a touchdown as defensive back Deon Broomfield #26 of the Iowa State Cyclones pursues in the first half of play at Jack Trice Stadium on Octo
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A big reason why McCoy was so good against the Sooners was the Longhorns' excellent running game. Texas ran right at Oklahoma, rushing for 255 yards on 60 carries. Meanwhile, McCoy had two beautiful touchdown passes to receivers Marcus Johnson and Mike Davis, but was only able to go deep in the first place thanks to Oklahoma's effort to stop the run. 

As long as McCoy is playing, the game plan shouldn't change much. The Longhorns figure to continue to lean on their veteran offensive line and talented running backs. TCU's secondary may be the best in the country, so the matchup between McCoy's arm and solid cover guys like Horned Frogs cornerback Jason Verrett or defensive back Sam Carter is going to favor TCU just about every time. 

Besides, the Horned Frogs, who have  13 interceptions in seven games, are one of the best teams in the country at picking off the football. 

Oct 19, 2013; Stillwater, OK, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Clint Chelf (10) rushes up field against Texas Christian Horned Frogs defensive back Jason Verrett (2) during the second half at Boone Pickens Stadium. Oklahoma State won 24-10. Mandato
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

TCU's defense is also good against the run, giving up a little more than 115 yards per game. But that will be Texas' best chance to move the ball on offense. That is, unless Texas goes with a short passing game, which Oklahoma State used repeatedly with wide receiver Josh Stewart against the Frogs. 

In its own way, that's an extension of the running game. 

Texas-TCU has the makings for a low-scoring game, but even then, that should favor the Longhorns. Against Oklahoma State, TCU managed only three points off four turnovers. With poor quarterback play and no big-play threat, the Horned Frogs are averaging 16 points a game in Big 12 play. 

If Texas can keep up its improvement on defense, there's no reason that TCU should make this game a shootout. Still, TCU is a field goal favorite over the Longhorns, according to And McCoy has a theory as to why that is. 

Running the ball, playing good defense and winning field position may not be sexy—though it is very Big Ten—but it's the best chance for the Longhorns to remain undefeated in the Big 12. Then again, Texas didn't have a complicated game plan against Oklahoma and it worked it out great.


Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All stats courtesy of the NCAA and all quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval.