It was a tough test last Saturday night for the Longhorns and even though they had some mistakes, they still came out on top and beat the Red Raiders 24-14. This week, they will face the 1-3 UCLA Bruins at home in Austin. The Bruins got their first win of the season last Saturday after defeating the Houston Cougars 31-13.
This isn’t going to be easy game by any means for the Longhorns who started out the season struggling a little bit on offense before finally putting things together on both sides of the ball against the Red Raiders. Hopefully, they will be able to put it all together in this game and come out on top.
When Texas has the Ball
Against Texas Tech, the Longhorns played a pretty sloppy game. Quarterback Garrett Gilbert threw for two scores and had 277 yards through the air but he also had three interceptions. In all, the Longhorns offense turned the ball over a total of four times. Hopefully they won’t do that against the Bruins this Saturday.
Gilbert regressed a little bit in terms of his performance during the Texas Tech game but he should be able to handle what the Bruins throw at him in this game.
Overall, the Bruins have been allowing opponents to rush for an average of 210 yards per game on the ground and 155 yards per game through the air. It would appear as if the Bruins do have a pretty strong passing defense so the Longhorns may want to open things up on the ground.
Their leading rusher, Fozzy Whitaker (31, 168, 2 TD) is poised to have a big game and if the Longhorns can get him going early and often in order to control the ball and the clock then things should work out well for them. It’s going to be important that they establish their running game.
The Longhorns passing game isn’t as bad as some people feel that it is. So far this season, Gilbert has passed a total of 95 times with 47 completions and 621 yards. He has thrown for 621 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Granted, Gilbert still has some learning to do but he’s made progress in each game and with some help from his receivers, he will continue to progress against the Bruins.
Speaking of receivers, the leading receiver for the Longhorns so far this season (in yards) is James Kirkendoll (9, 159, 0 TD) and Mike Davis (in touchdowns) (13, 149, 2 TD) and while they might not have big numbers like some other wide receivers at this point in the season, they are effective pass catchers and are pretty reliable. Look for them to have a decent game against the Bruins this Saturday.
When the Bruins have the Ball
The Bruins offense is led by quarterback Kevin Prince. Prince has attempted 55 passes with 24 completions and four interceptions and one touchdown. He has also passed for 258 yards.
It doesn’t sound like Prince could be that much of a threat to a passing defense that has allowed 488 yards total so far this season. As long as the defense can keep from making big mistakes, they should be able to keep UCLA’s passing offense contained.
Curtis Brown leads the Longhorns with three interceptions and is one of the best in the country at his position. The Bruins may not want to throw the ball his way that much during the game but he will find a way to make plays for sure.
The Bruins leading rusher this season is Jonathan Frankline (50, 291, 3 TD). Franklin has been averaging a solid 5.8 yards per carry average. The Texas defense is allowing an outstanding 44 yards per game so the Bruins will find it difficult to run on the Longhorns.
The Bruins' leading wide receiver is Nelson Rosario (10, 100, 0 TD) and the Longhorns will put their best cornerback on him in order to keep him from catching too many passes. The Bruins don’t have that strong of a passing game so the Longhorns shouldn’t have any trouble defending against it.
The Longhorns defense definitely tips the scales in Texas’ favor for this game. Keep in mind, this game is also in Austin so the home crowd will help the Longhorns keep the Bruins confused.
Texas’ defense will be too much for the Bruins to handle. As we have seen in the Longhorns first three games this defense can step it up when they have to and win games when the offense is struggling. If they have to do it this week, there should be no problem.
The offense will continue to improve and should be able to have a good game against the Bruins this Saturday. Watch Gilbert continue to develop as the running game helps to take some of the pressure off of him in this game.
The Longhorns are playing at home and have the kind of defense that the Bruins will simply not be able to stop them and Texas should be able to almost easily win this game. The only thing that might cost them this game would be a lot of turnovers or some untimely injuries. Look for the Longhorns to move to 4-0 after this game.
Texas 35, UCLA 10