The Longhorns came in as the underdog, a position which they have historically fared well in. Utah was favored by seven. Texas had finished their regular season 7-5, and had fired both coordinators. The unranked Longhorns played like a Top 15 team as Texas dominated #11 Utah in Alamo Bowl. Utah Head Coach Kyle Whittingham had a record of 11-2 in bowl games. It was his worst bowl loss in 23 years.
The Texas offense played a decisive game against the number three defense in the county. The Longhorns had 438 yards of total offense. They had 180 more offensive yards than Utah in four fewer plays. They dominated in passing yards (207 versus 128) and rushing yards (231 versus 128). The Longhorns took a departure from their usual course of screen passes and chunk yardage. Top running back Keaontay Ingram had 108 yards including a 49 yard touchdown run. Top receiver Devin DuVernay had 92 receiving yards including a 40 yard reception from quarterback Sam Ehlinger. D’Shawn Jamison shined on special teams with a 71 yard punt return and another for 25 yards.
The Texas defense overpowered the Utes’ offense. Utah did not even make it into Texas territory until the end of the second quarter. This was in spite of safety Brandon Jones and cornerback Chris Brown out with injuries. The star of the night on defense was Joseph Ossai. The sophomore recorded nine tackles, three sacks, and six tackles for loss. Ta’quon Graham and Malcolm Roach also had sacks on the Utes’ quarterback Tyler Huntley. Utah’s best running back Zack Moss only had 57 rushing yards, and their top receiver Brant Kuithe had only 30 receiving yards.
A decisive bowl victory over a #11 team in the Alamo Bowl and an 8-5 finish will add a positive momentum to Texas’ off-season. A #9 2020 recruiting class and new coordinators (Mike Yurcich on offense and Chris Ash on defense) will give the Longhorns hope for a successful 2020 season. Did the team finally hit their stride or did they play more freely without the constraints of coordinators? It is yet to be determined if and when Texas is back.