Texas backs are un­likely to run wild

Ore­gon St. rush­ing de­fense ranks 28th in the coun­try.

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS - RI­CARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

Part 3 of a col­lab­o­ra­tion by the Amer­i­canS­tates­man and The Ore­go­nian, break­ing down po­si­tion-by-po­si­tion matchups in ad­vance of the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29.

To­day’s matchup: Texas’ run­ning backs vs. Ore­gon State’s lineback­ers.

Texas: Johnathan Gray (683 yards, 4.8 yards per carry) and Mal­colm Brown (316 yards, 5.5 yards per carry) will get the bulk of car­ries. Gray stepped up and be­came Texas’ No. 1 run­ner when Brown missed five games with a sprained an­kle. Joe Berg­eron is the short-yardage back, with 16 touch­downs, while D.J. Mon­roe and Daje John­son have home run speed. Since Texas has a new play-caller in Ma­jor Applewhite, we’re not quite sure what the Alamo Bowl game plan will be. Still, Applewhite used to coach the run­ning backs, so if there’s any­one on the staff who knows what the tail­backs do best, it’s him.

Ore­gon State: The Beavers’ run de­fense is dra­mat­i­cally im­proved from last year, when just about ev­ery run­ning back who faced Ore­gon State had a ca­reer day. The Beavers stuffed po­tent run­ning at­tacks like Wis­con­sin’s early this sea­son, but couldn’t do much to stop ath­letic teams like Ore­gon, which ran for 430 yards. Ju­nior line­backer Michael Doc­tor (6-2, 223) and se­nior Feti Unga (6-2, 248) are con­sis-

Texas’ Johnathan Gray (cen­ter), with 683 yards and a 4.8 per-carry av­er­age, has be­come the Longhorns’ top run­ning back. Gray and Mal­colm Brown fig­ure to get most of the car­ries against Ore­gon State in the Alamo Bowl.

Co-of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Ma­jor Applewhite (top) will be call­ing plays for the first time since Bryan Harsin left for Arkansas State.

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