It happened first in the game against KU. The Wildcats entered halftime leading only 21-14 as the nation stood in disbelief as to how the Jayhawks managed to keep the game so close. Turnovers and great play quickly put the game out of reach in the second half, but the first was more than forgettable. The Jug kept warning that teams able to successfully run spread offenses and draw K-State’s defenders to the sidelines were destined to gut the Wildcats up the middle. And that’s exactly what happened in Waco.
Looking at Baylor’s team statistics, no single player caught more than five passes or earned more than 90 yards. Baylor has one of the top three wide receivers in the nation in Terrance Williams, but didn’t particularly target Williams that night. Of the players recording a reception, their number of catches totaled 5, 5, 4, 2, 2, 2. That’s a lot of wealth spread across the field. Once the field was spread out, Lance Seastrunk jutted the team with 185 yards rushing on 19 carries. Glasco Martin got in on the action as well, producing 113 yards on 19 carries. A lot of things went wrong in that game and the offense has no excuse for only recording 24 points. The defensive line should never allow 342 total rushing yards, regardless of what their teammates are doing behind them. Still, that’s the game plan that befuddled Kansas State.
When Oklahoma State put up 30 points on K-State on November 3, a similar story emerged. Eight different players recorded a catch, and seven had over ten yards receiving. While the Wildcats still recorded a comfortable 14 point win, this was the only other game in which a team broke the 30 point barrier against K-State. Same game plan, just better execution by the Wildcats in this one.
So can the Longhorns do the same thing? There’s no doubt that Texas puts two good wide receivers on the field. Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley have combined for almost 100 receptions and 12 touchdowns. However, there’s a noticeable drop-off after these two. The third leading receiving is actually running back Marquise Goodwin. The way Texas recruits, they should be stacked at this position. When they trot out four-receiver sets, only two pieces of the package should concern the secondary.
Compounding problems for Texas is they’ll be relying on backup Case McCoy, who flashes tremendous talent amid hunks of poor decision-making. The team has accumulated 60 percent of its yards this season through the air, but primarily via vertical passing attack. Its yet to show the ability to spread the field vertically and horizontally. And that’s the reason Texas stands little chance of pulling off the upset tonight.