Texas Longhorns Football

Texas Football: Defense Not Lights Out, but Unit Is Undeniably Clutch

Nov 9, 2013; Morgantown, WV, USA; Texas Longhorns defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat (44) records a sack and forced fumble on West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Paul Millard (14) at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Taylor GasparFeatured ColumnistNovember 10, 2013

It is still a bit shocking to hear an opposing coach refer to Texas as a physical football team in postgame interviews. That is where the Texas Longhorns defense is at this point of the season.

If someone said Texas' defense would help the Longhorns win games earlier in the season, that person would probably be put into an insane asylum—remember the 679-yard showing BYU put on Texas?

But the defensive turnaround has been one of the most attention-grabbing storylines of the Longhorns season. Saturday night was no different.

The Longhorns defense held the West Virginia Mountaineers to 19 total yards on 19 offensive plays in the first quarter in Morgantown, even without senior leader and starting defensive tackle Chris Whaley, who left the game with a left knee injury five minutes into the game. Texas held West Virginia to five yards rushing on 27 attempts in the first half. This is pretty much the same defense that was the worst statistical defense in school history in 2012.

The Longhorns defense did everything in its power to keep the team in the game against the Mountaineers. And the performance paid off with a 47-40 OT win to continue Texas' Big 12 winning streak to 6-0.

If it weren't for a couple of big plays, the Texas defense would have shown a near-perfect performance.

 

What does this game mean for the nightmare road ahead?

The road to the BCS is not an easy route for the Longhorns. Texas still has No. 12 Oklahoma State and No. 4 Baylor left on its schedule. The Longhorns offense has its hands tied without a healthy David Ash able to accurately sling the ball down the field, so the Texas defense will need to continue to dominate its opponents.

This might be crazy, but if the Texas defense can continue to play physical and force turnovers, the Longhorns may actually have a shot at a BCS bowl.

Cue the meltdown in three, two and one...

 

Follow Taylor on Twitter: @Taylor_Gaspar

 

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