Recap: Texas vs Maryland 2018 - NinosCorner Sports | Efficient Sports Analytics...Successful, Relevant Data

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Recap: Texas vs Maryland 2018

Recap:  Texas vs Maryland
by B.R. Battle
Photo by American-Statesman
What if I told you that for 25 Maryland passing attempts, Maryland would have completed 13 of them for only 102 yards.  What if I also told you that Texas would hold Doak Walker pre-season award candidate, Ty Johnson, to only 30 yards on 11 carries.  You would probably expect a Texas win over Maryland.  Well, in the words of Lee Corso..."Not so fast my friend!"

The Texas defense held it's own throughout the game, except for 4 major pass plays that I excluded from above, and 1 major rushing play.  Those plays resulted in 120 yards passing for 2 TDs and another 45 yards rushing for an additional 2 TDs.  Even with those mishaps, the Longhorn defense was able to compile a 61% Defense Success Rating (DSR), mostly due to their dominant 2nd half performance.  The Texas defense was able to succeed against the Maryland offense for the majority of the game; however, just as with last year's game against the Terps, Texas gave up way too many explosive plays.  The Texas defense allowed 10 explosive plays, which is double the amount for successful teams.
Maryland's defense was also a really efficient unit in Saturday's contest against the Longhorns.  They posted a 52% DSR, forcing 4 defensive explosive plays with 1 sack, 2 interceptions, and a recovered fumble.  Their defense was really good against the pass, evident with the 2 INTs; however, I feel as though Texas let Maryland off the hook in respects to the run game.  Texas began to run the ball really well behind Senior running back, Tre Watson, and Freshmen running back, Keaontay Ingram.  For some reason, even with a lead, the Longhorns abandoned the running game and played right into the Maryland defense's hands.  Kudos to the Terps for taking advantage of the situation they were given.
In regards to the offenses, Maryland was actually not that effective of an offense in this game. I feel as though their ineffectiveness was by design.  Maryland baited Texas with short, intermediate passes.  Additionally, the Maryland running game was non-existent against the Texas defense.  However, those inefficient intermediate plays softened up the backend and allowed Maryland the opportunity to go deep...and when they did go deep, they were really efficient.  Nearly half of Maryland's completed passes were explosive plays, meaning they were plays that resulted in 15 yards or more.  In fact, Maryland averaged 28 yards per explosive play.
This Texas offense was frustrating to watch.  What they did well was run the ball.  They had a near 49% Offense Success Rating (OSR) as a result from running the ball.  Ehlinger had a 38% OSR in regards to passing the ball.  Keep in mind that the NCAA average OSR is 40%.  The Texas offense was more dynamic with the emergence of their running game.  Kudos to the Texas Offensive Line for that.  This unit went from horrid last year to a unit that gave Ehlinger plenty of time yesterday to assess plays.  I was amazed at the pocket Ehlinger had to work with.  Herb Hand (Texas O-line coach) was a great hire this past summer.  The Texas offense must do better in the 1st and 4th quarters to start winning these close games.  They posted an abysmal 8% OSR in the first quarter and committed 3 turnovers in the fourth quarter.  Beginning and ending games like this will ensure you continue to lose close games in this fashion.
After rewatching the game this morning, a few things stand out to me as a Longhorn graduate and fan.  Sam Ehlinger is the starting quarterback at Texas over Shane Buechele because he can accomplish plays with his legs that Buechele cannot.  Ehlinger looked hesitant to run on a few instances throughout the game; however, when he did run, he was highly effective...to the tune of a 60% OSR (see above).  Ehlinger's hesitant running nature cannot happen if Texas is going to continue to ask him to start throughout the season.  Another key take away from the game was that Junior Safety, Brandon Jones is a baller.  The kid was all over the field yesterday...including his use on special teams.  One more thing to mention is the improved offensive line play of the Longhorns.  Great work Herb Hand.

As far as Maryland, what a way to rally and beat the Longhorns two straight seasons while being double digit underdogs in both games.  This team has a lot of fight in them and it showed.  Nothing but respect for that team and their fans.  They were a classy bunch of folks yesterday at the game.

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