AUSTIN –– The Longhorns checked back into the AP Top 25 poll at No. 22 after their last-second 27-24 victory over then-No. 16 Kansas State.
As Texas head coach Tom Herman mentioned during his Monday presser, though, the Longhorns aren’t off the ropes quite yet.
Here are five takeaways from Herman’s weekly presser:
Texas safety Chris Brown cleared, but Longhorns lose Junior Angilau
Herman’s injury update included Texas offensive lineman Junior Angilau, who sprained his MCL and has been ruled out for Texas’ matchup with Iowa State Saturday. Additionally, Texas wide receiver Collin Johnson tweaked his hamstring during the game-winning drive on Saturday. According to Herman, they will “aggressively treat“ Johnson throughout the week.
To Herman’s surprise, Texas defensive back Chris Brown (fractured forearm) was cleared on Friday.
“Friday right before the game Chris Brown went to see the doctor that did his surgery and it had healed faster than he had anticipated, and cleared him right there on Friday to play with a cast on,” Herman said.
Brown wasn’t able to practice last week, which is why he didn’t see any playing time on Saturday, but he is expected to see the field soon. Texas running back Jordan Whittington and defensive back DeMarvion Overshown are both cleared as well, while linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch is still progressing.
Texas’ defense puts on much-needed performance in second half
Texas fans watched in silence as Kansas State jumped out to a 14-0 lead after back-to-back touchdowns on the Wildcats’ first two drives of the game.
Broken coverages and missed tackles appeared to plague the Longhorns once again. That clearly wasn’t the case for the next three quarters as the Wildcats were forced to rely on a kickoff return and one field goal as their only source of points.
“It’s huge, the confidence aspect of it, certainly,” Herman said. “Especially considering what Kansas State had been doing to people the last few weeks and what it looked like they would be doing to us. But we settled down, played much better on first and second down –– I thought our defensive line played really well in terms of the penetration and push they got.”
Herman added, “At the end of the day we stopped the run, kept them in second and long, third and long and we executed.”
Herman talks Keaontay Ingram’s career-high performance
Texas running back Keaontay Ingram didn’t just rush for a career-high 139 yards on Saturday, he did it against a defense that only gave up 102 rushing yards to Oklahoma two weeks ago and 61 yards to Kansas last week.
Ingram went from a 114-yard performance against Oklahoma State in September to being largely forgotten about in this year’s Red River Showdown, something Ingram and coaches attributed to a nagging knee injury.
However, Ingram showed Texas fans what he can do at close to full health by averaging 8.7 yards per carry in his 139-yard performance.
“As far as his health, if in Week 11 –– if you count training camp Week 15, Week 16 –– if there’s a running back in the country that’s healthy, you’re going to have to show him to me,” Herman said. “I think that nagging part of that knee deal has finally subsided to the point where he feels pretty fresh.”
Longhorns prepare for Iowa State QB Brock Purdy
From LSU’s Joe Burrow to Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, Texas has faced some of the best quarterbacks in the country. Things aren’t getting much easier for the Longhorns, either. The next two weeks will feature back-to-back matchups with Iowa State’s Brock Purdy and Baylor’s Charlie Brewer.
For now, Texas’ focus in on Purdy, who currently ranks sixth in the country in terms of passing yards. Purdy is also leading the Big 12 with 316.6 yards per game and 2,849 total passing yards.
“Brock Purdy, I mean this is life in the Big 12, right?” Herman said. “You go from great quarterback to great quarterback. Last year when he burst onto the scene you could see he had a lot of moxie, you could tell he could run around and make plays.”
Texas gets ready for frigid temperatures in Ames
The Longhorns are using this week’s cold front to their advantage. With the temperature in Ames expected to be in the mid-30s for kickoff on Saturday, Herman said they will practice outside on Tuesday rather than in the indoor facility to prepare for the frigid weather.
“I don’t know what you do,” Herman said. “Thankfully it’s going to be pretty chilly tomorrow for practice so our guys will practice outside. Temperature is way down the list in terms of things that you’ve gotta deal with when it comes to football. … You don’t ever alter or think of the impact of temperature. Wind? Twenty mile an hour wind, that’ll affect some of what you do. Sideways rain? That’ll affect what you do, but cold doesn’t really affect your game plan whatsoever.”