Rarely has the first play of a game been so discussed.
The Texas Longhorns handily defeated the Iowa State Cyclones 33-7 Saturday on a spectacular performance by quarterback David Ash and solid effort by the Longhorn defense, but the biggest story of the day came from Texas's first play from scrimmage. In honor of legendary Texas head coach Darrell K Royal, who died earlier this week, Texas lined up in Royal's wishbone formation. The crowd might have expected a dive play, but as Burnt Orange Nation says, it got something completely different.
Mack Brown announced earlier in the week that his team would honor the late Darrell K. Royal by lining up in the wishbone for the first offensive play. Instead of running the triple option, co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin instead dialed up a double pass from wide receiver Jaxon Shipley back to quarterback David Ash, who hit tight end Greg Daniels down the field for a play that electrified the crowd in the stadium named after the legendary Texas coach.
Longhorns quarterback David Ash threw for 364 yards on the afternoon, including a near-perfect first half where he completed 15 of 16 pass attempts for 245 yards against the Cyclone secondary. Ash, who had been benched in the previous week's near-loss to Kansas, showed no ill-effects of that performance.
Burnt Orange Nation also touted the Longhorn defense, which held the Cyclone offense in check.
If the last several games were baby steps for the Longhorns defensively, the performance against the Cyclones would seem to represent a big step forward. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz once again kept away from early-down twists and was able to dial up pressure against Iowa State quarterback Steele Jantz with a variety of blitzes in passing situations, harrying him into a 15-for-29 performance that included two interceptions on balls that were overthrown because of pressure in his face.
Against the run, Texas wasn't quite dominant giving up 4.6 yards per carry, but didn't give up a run of longer than 14 yards, receiving a strong performance from true freshman Peter Jinkens, who filled in ably for Kendall Thompson, who suffered the concussion last week against Texas Tech.
Texas is not in action next week, and will next play Nov. 22 against TCU.