Texas backs are unlikely to run wild
Oregon St. rushing defense ranks 28th in the country.
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.