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Monday, September 12

 

Wiggin's Take: Winners and Losers

The impact of this win cannot be understated. This is bigger than huge. Mack Brown had lost eight straight games against top 10 opponents and was uncomfortably carrying the burden of not being able to win the big game. Win the big game is just what the Horns accomplished on Saturday night in front of 105,00+ and a national TV audience. The Ohio State defense smirked earlier in the week about not allowing Vince Young to leave the Horseshoe a Heisman candidate. Mission accomplished for two of the four quarters, but mission thoroughly failed when it counted most, the 4th quarter. We all watched the game but here are my winners, losers, and head scratchers.

Winners
Gene Chizik and the Texas Defense: Our defense was once again most impressive holding OSU to just 225 of total offense and only one touchdown. Turnovers and poor kick coverage allowed excellent scoring opportunities all night long for OSU. But the defense held tough and forced five field goals and just a single touchdown. If OSU punches just two of their opportunities in early for six, the game would have played out very differently. VY threw the game winning TD pass, but the Texas defense won the game.

Vince Young: Is there a better competitor in college football? I don’t think so. He has started to make the impossible seem routine. Think at Kansas. Think Michigan. Think Ohio State. And what was even more impressive was how he dominated: with his arm. I have questioned his throwing ability in this forum before but was never happier to be proven wrong. Ohio State allowed our ground game to get churning and quickly fell into a 10-0 hole. Tressel and company then made a fatal decision to make VY win with his arm. It almost worked. After the first quarter it appeared all three OSU linebackers were simply playing Young. OSU game up with two interceptions and a fumble recovery and appeared to have the game in hand. That is when Superman showed up. Young was nearly perfect on the final drive. He found Charles twice in the flat for big gains and then threw a perfect ball to Sweed for the game winner.

Billy Pittman: Who? Pittman was certainly the best receiver on the Texas squad on Saturday night. Pittman had five catches for 130 yards. That is 50 yards more than Ginn and Holmes had combined for OSU. Pittman helped keep drives alive for Texas and was a consistently open target for Young. Maybe we don’t have a void at wide out after all.

David Pino: A week after the Texas kicking game looking like something from a junior high team, Pino came up huge. He connected successfully on kicks of 42, 37, and 25 yards. He was also perfect in two extra point attempts. I think we found a kicker.

OSU Linebackers: All three are simply awesome, especially AJ Hawk. They remarkably lived up to all their hype as well. Hawk had an interception, nearly a second, a fumble recovery, a sack, multiple QB pressures and at least ten tackles. All three LBs were all over the field limiting our run game and nearly winning the game for OSU. I will be shocked if Hawk or Carpenter is not named as the best LB in the country at the season’s end.

Losers:
Selvin Young: S. Young had 11 yards on five carries and a costly fumble. Early reports say another ankle injury limited his playing time. I say Mack has lost all confidence in Selvin, injured or not, who continually puts the ball on the ground. Look for Jamal Charles to start the rest of the season.

David Thomas: I thought the only think David caught all night was the on side kick. I was wrong. Thomas did have one catch for nine yards. Young under threw an open Thomas once over the middle and hit him in the hands at least twice. Thank God for Pittman, Charles, and Sweed. Please come back to the passing attack David Thomas.

Kickoff and Punt Coverage: Do we not practice this? For the third straight game we were burned badly on special teams coverage. McGee punted ok but was forced to punt the ball out of bounds for fear of what might happen. Holmes averaged 41 yards per kickoff return and Ginn 27 with a long of 46 yards. That is pathetic and embarrassing. We must do better.

Head Scratchers:
OSU QB Rotation: Why was Justin Zwick in the game after his two opening series? OSU failed to move the ball on either of his series going three and out on the first. Troy Smith came in gave our defense new looks and new threats. OSU scored a TD on his first series. I didn’t think we would see Zwick again until mop up duty against San Diego St. But for some reason, Coach Tressel kept going back to him, and he failed to produce. For once in a big game, we were the ones making quality coaching decisions.

Vince Young: He is fabulous and idiotic on back to back plays. He makes perfect zone reads on his running plays. Then he runs with ball held out like he is caring something contagious. He zips a perfect TD pass to Pittman or floats another perfect one to Sweed. Then, he flings the ball toward the OSU defense while being sacked and wrapped up. He was practically on the ground when he threw his first INT. His decision making is amazing or negatively game changing just depending on the play. VY has grown up and become a much better passer. Now he needs to learn that is ok to throw the ball out of bounds or take a small loss while holding firmly on to the football.

Overall, this was an unbelievable win. We game out hot, then cooled, then made the plays when it mattered most. Hats off to Mack Brown and the entire UT coaching staff for having the Horns ready to play and ready to win. I don’t want to look too far ahead, but this was enormous. Next up, Rice: Take Dead Aim.
--AW--

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