Writer: Lucas Garza
The Texas Longhorns defeat the Missouri Tigers 33-16 to win the Academy Sports and Outdoors Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium in Houston Texas. Texas punter, Michael Dickson, was named MVP of the game after placed 8/11 punts inside the 10 yard line. The game was entirely dominated by Texas because they won the field position battle. The majority of the Longhorns’ drives started near midfield, while Mizzou’s possessions started close to their own endzones. If Texas had a dominant offense, the game would have been a blowout, but Texas had to punt multiple times from good field positions.
Texas was without many players who stood out in the regular season because of suspensions, injuries, transfers, and players not wanting to get hurt before the draft. Michael Dickson, who already declared for the draft and will forgo his senior season, still played in the bowl game and clearly had the time of his life. His draft stock only went up, and so could have the stocks of the players who sat out if they would have played. DeShon Elliott would have looked great with the rest of his defense the way they played, and so would have Holton Hill, if we would have been allowed to play (he had been suspended).
There were many sceptics who questioned how well Texas would play without so many of their top players, but it was clear that Tom Herman and his coaching staff had the team well-prepared for the bowl game. The players had the next man up mentality, and it clearly showed that they were ready and excited to play in the game. The defense was much more outstanding than the offense, led by Poona Ford, Gary Johnson, and Davante Davis. Mizzou was unable to throw the ball over the midfield as they had been during the second half of their season.
The Longhorns’ offense struggled as they had all season. Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger alternated at the quarterback position at the beginning of the game, until Buechele suffered a minor injury that kept Ehlinger in the game for the its remainder. Armanti Foreman saw a lot of playing time as Lil’Jordan Humphrey was suspended, and Collin Johnson had his best receiving game since the game against Southern California. Danny Young led the way at running back for most of the game, and had a couple big receptions as well. The Texas sideline was electric after Texas scored its final touchdown of the game with Sam EHlinger blocking for Armanti Foreman. Tom Herman joined in on the fun of mocking Mizzou’s backpack celebration.
Texas finished with a winning record for the first time since 2013, Mack Brown’s final season. The Texas fanbase seems to feel that the program is moving in the right direction, but they are also hoping for a new Offensive Coordinator. Texas currently has one of the top recruiting classes in the country, but that means nothing if the coaches cannot do their job. The Longhorn’s should have a big NFL Draft class this year, and will hopefully have more for years to come.