Texas Longhorns QB’s career took off against BYU in 2011

Posted Friday, Sep. 06, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
More information Texas (1-0) at BYU (1-0) 6 p.m. today TV: ESPN2 Radio: KRLD/1080 AM
Texas BYU
Total off.715362
Pass off.356175
Rush off.359187
3rd down 54.5%30.4%
Pts. allowed719
Total def.346223
Pass def.242114
Rush def.104109
3rd down 27.8%20%

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It seems like a lot longer than two years ago that Texas last played BYU.

Garrett Gilbert was still the Longhorns quarterback, David Ash was still a wide-eyed freshman, and Texas was only one game removed from the 5-7 debacle in 2010.

Ash and Case McCoy took over for Gilbert with the Longhorns trailing the Cougars 13-0 in the second quarter and Texas came back to beat BYU 17-16.

“I don’t want to be here all day,” said Ash when asked about what he remembered about that victory. “I’ve come a long ways since then. All the hard times I’ve had since then has gotten me where I am now.”

Ash improved to 13-6 as a starting quarterback when he amassed a career-high 414 yards in a 56-7 win over New Mexico State last weekend. He leads the Longhorns into their first road game of the year against BYU in Provo on Saturday.

When he was a sophomore at Belton High School, he was facing Mansfield Timberview in the third game of the year. Down by eight in the fourth quarter, Ash completed a fourth-and-10 pass to the 3-yard line and was asked about what was going through his mind during that play.

“That was fourth down,” Ash recalled. “When you’re young, you don’t really understand. You just go out there and play. That’s one of the advantages of being young.”

Ash was one of close to 20 freshmen who played for Texas in 2011. The Longhorns, with 19 returning starters, are much more experienced this year.

“People say I look happier. I like better players,” coach Mack Brown said. “This team is mature. This team is fast. This team is deep. This team has an experienced quarterback. It has experienced leaders across the board. And that’s more fun to coach.”

Texas has been one of the nation’s best road teams under Brown, winning 51 of its past 59 road games and posting a 74-28 (.725) record away from home since Brown took over in 1998.

The Cougars are 38-5 (.884) at home the past seven years and beat the Longhorns 47-6 the only other time they traveled to Provo, in 1988.

“It’s going to be a cage match,” senior wide receiver Mike Davis said. “It’s different playing on the road. The fans there are going to be really into it. We’ve got to tune them out. They’re going to be excited.”

Texas will be look to get off to a faster start than it did last weekend.

Despite not scoring in the first 28 minutes against an Aggies team that allowed the fifth-most points per game in the country in 2012, the Longhorns produced a school-record 715 yards.

“That’s something that can’t happen,” junior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley said. “I don’t know if it was just first-game jitters or whatever, but the second half we came out and played really well. If we can score that first drive and get the momentum going, that will help us in the long run.”

The Cougars didn’t finish last weekend’s contest the way they wanted to, falling to Virginia 19-16 in Charlottesville. BYU’s Taysom Hill completed only 13 of 40 passes in the weather-delayed game but will be playing on his home turf Saturday.

“We haven’t seen the BYU team we’re going to see Saturday night yet,” Brown said.

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