Texas' inability to contain Trevone Boykin cost the Longhorns their third loss of the 2012 season. This time around, they have the formula to stifle the mobile TCU quarterback en route to a 4-0 Big 12 record.
Said blueprint comes from Texas' most recent win over Oklahoma, in which the defense used a soft coverage and consistent pressure to harass Blake Bell into his worst game of the season. Sure tackling also paid major dividends.
Boykin's line of 82 passing yards and 77 rushing yards does not look like a shredding, but the redshirt freshman was far too comfortable in last year's Thanksgiving matchup. He was never sacked in completing all but two of his passes, and only tackled for a loss once on his 11 carries.
For a quarterback that completed just 57 percent of his passes and threw 10 picks on the year, the 'Horns were far too easy on Boykin.
This season, the Longhorns get Boykin after their bye. Right before their week off, they learned firsthand how to handle limited, yet athletic quarterbacks like the one they face Saturday.
Prior to their bye, Texas stopped Blake Bell and the Sooners cold doing two things. The first being that they kept the speedy Oklahoma receivers in front of them, forcing the big passer to hold the ball and move through his progressions.
Second, Texas also got considerable pressure on Bell, sacking him four times and hurrying him an impressive 12 times. This was effective because defensive coordinator Greg Robinson did it almost exclusively with four guys, allowing rest of the defense to help on the back end.
Aside from forcing Bell into his first two interceptions of 2013, this strategy also contributed to a career-worst minus-27 rushing yards. The latter was the result of Texas having an extra linebacker on the field, something it figures to do against Boykin, as well.
If this game plan can work against Bell, it will certainly work against Boykin. The sophomore has only thrown for more than 200 yards once this season, while throwing seven picks over his last five games. Over his last eight Big 12 starts, Boykin has posted a subpar 5-to-10 touchdown-to-interception ratio, according to ESPN's Max Olson.
By forcing Boykin to sit back and read the defense, Texas can get pressure and force him into some mistakes. After that it is all about finishing tackles, which could be an issue if Dalton Santos and Adrian Phillips sit out with injuries.
…2 players sidelined vs. OU, S Adrian Phillips (stinger) & LB Dalton Santos (elbow), will continue to be evaluated in practice this week...— MBTexasFootball (@MBTexasFootball) October 21, 2013
Even if either player sits, forcing Boykin to beat the Longhorns with his arm will eventually lead to turnovers. He simply lacks the accuracy and pocket presence to pick apart a secondary that actually covers well.
From there, it is the offense's job to capitalize and keep this team undefeated in the Big 12.