After a rough opening weekend on the road, the Cougars return home to the friendly confines of LaVell Edwards stadium this Saturday, to take the 15th ranked University of Texas. The Longhorns are coming to Provo after a resounding 56-7 victory over the New Mexico State Aggies.
This is the fourth meeting between the Longhorns and the Cougars, with BYU holding a two games to one series lead. The two teams last met in September of 2011 when Texas escaped with a 17-16 victory in Austin.
The University of Texas is coached by Mack Brown, who is in his 16th season at the helm. Brown has won 151 games at Texas which places him second all-time behind only Darrell Royal.
The Longhorns are led by quarterback David Ash, who is going into his third season as the starter. After throwing two early interceptions last week against the Aggies, Ash found his rhythm. He completed 20 of his 28 passes for 343 yards and four touchdowns. Although not considered much of a dual threat, Ash contributed mightily in the running game as well. He carried the ball eight times for 91 yards, including a 55 touchdown run midway through the third quarter.
Along with Ash, the Longhorns return a ton of talent, including 19 starters from a very good team in 2012. Texas finished with a 9-4 record last season, including a 31-27 victory over the Oregon State Beavers in the Valero Alamo bowl.
The Longhorn offense returns ten players who were at least part time starters, including all five offensive lineman. In fact, the returning linemen have a combined 129 college starts under their belts.
Texas also returns their leading three running backs from a year ago. They have combined for 20 starts over the last two seasons.
Johnathan Gray led Texas in rushing last season with 701 yards and looks to duplicate that feat again. His opening week output of 28 yards on the ground wasn't indicative of how skilled Gray is. Also returning in the Texas backfield is Joe Bergeron who amassed more than 500 yards on the ground while leading the Longhorns last season with 16 touchdowns. The third piece of the extremely deep Texas backfield is Malcolm Brown. Brown has rushed for more than 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns while donning the burnt orange. Even though he struggled in the run game with only three carries for three yards against the Aggies, Brown still made an impact with three receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown. If last week is any indication, the Longhorns appear to have added a fourth piece to the running back puzzle. Redshirt freshman Jalen Overstreet tallied just nine carries against the New Mexico State but finished with 92 yards and two touchdowns.
The Longhorns also return their top two receivers from a year ago as both Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley are back. Davis is a senior who has started 28 games. In his three plus seasons in Austin, Davis has 154 receptions for 2,089 yards and 11 touchdowns including 57 grabs for 939 yards and seven scores a season ago. Not to be outdone, Shipley has caught 108 passes for 1,384 yards and nine touchdowns in his two plus seasons. Shipley led the Longhorns last season with 59 receptions which went for 737 yards and six scores.
The defense returns just about everyone as well including three of the nation's finest in corner backs Carrington Byndon and Quandre Diggs as well as defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat.
Jeffcoat missed the last seven games of last season but returned with a bang against the Aggies by registering seven tackles including one for a loss.
Diggs was named to numerous preseason watch lists and for good reason. He led Texas last season with four interceptions and seven pass break ups. Byndon, who was named to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list, which is given to the nation's best defensive back, recorded six pass break ups and tallied three interceptions a season ago. He has started 27 games for the Longhorns and will look to be a disruptive force this weekend in Provo.