NFL Draft News & Analysis

ND-Texas grades: Longhorns' QB rotation works to perfection

AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 04: Tyrone Swoopes #18 of the Texas Longhorns rushes for the game-winning touchdown in the second overtime against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 4, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Texas Longhorns 50, Notre Dame Fighting Irish 47 (2OT)

Here are the biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from the Texas Longhorns’ 50-47 double overtime victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Texas Longhorns

Quarterback grades: Shane Buechele, 74.4; Tyrone Swoopes, 65.8

QB rotation plays out perfectly for the Longhorns

Rarely do you see a team fall into a rhythm on offense while employing a QB rotation, but Texas did just that last night, utilizing Shane Buechele and Tyrone Swoopes to near perfection in an explosive offensive performance. The true freshman Buechele was opportunistic with some of his deep throws, frequently finding targets down the field and finishing 3-for-7 with two touchdowns on throws of 20-plus yards. As a change of pace, the Longhorns then brought Swoopes in and made use of a dynamic ground attack that saw the QB chug for 53 yards on 13 attempts. He also found the end zone three times and forced an astounding eight missed tackles in the run game, earning a rushing grade of 84.9. The blend of the two quarterbacks was very well play-called and executed against the Irish, and hopefully for Longhorns fans, it will be seen the rest of the season. Check out Buechele's passing numbers below:


Top offensive grades:

OT Connor Williams, 78.6

QB Shane Buechele, 74.4

TE Caleb Bluiett, 68.6

WR John Burt, 67.1

QB Tyrone Swoopes, 65.8

Run-blocking helps lead the Longhorns' ground attack

LT Connor Williams posted a solid run-blocking grade and a large portion of that consisted of “down-blocks.” In the simplest of forms, Williams set a defender on his track and collapsed the defender along with the edge of the defense inside, and he did this repeatedly. The power he displayed helped the run game significantly for the Longhorns. TE Caleb Bluiett also performed well in run-blocking, often times squaring up defenders and linebackers to allow the ball-carriers room to cut off of him. WR John Burt filled the stat sheet with six catches for 111 yards and 47 yards after the catch. He forced three missed tackles while piling up his yards, and his only stain on the game was a dropped pass deep down the field on a brilliant ball from Buechele.

Top defensive grades:

DT Poona Ford, 79.2

LB Malik Jefferson, 78.8

CB Holton Hill, 76.1

S DeShon Elliott, 75.1

DT Paul Boyette, 72.9

Texas finds some bright spots on defense in high-scoring affair

DT Poona Ford led the Longhorns’ defensive line in stops during the game with four. He also created havoc in the run game and provided a piece that was difficult for the Irish offensive line to handle. LB Malik Jefferson also was hard to stop in the running game, as he posted six tackles with two assists and five stops. DT Paul Boyette was yet another front-seven player who contributed against the run, as he had three tackles with three assists and two stops. The two players for the Longhorns’ secondary that posted solid grades were CB Holton Hill and S DeShon Elliott. Hill only surrendered two catches for 13 yards while still contributing three tackles and one assist. Elliott was not targeted in the game, but added two more stops from the safety position.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Quarterback grades: Deshone Kizer, 71.5; Malik Zaire, 57.1

DeShone Kizer steps up as Notre Dame's top QB option after team falls behind

DeShone Kizer separated himself in the Irish quarterback situation with his performance against the Longhorns. He threw for 203 yards and five touchdowns while also remaining a threat on the ground. Kizer had little rush pressure to deal with on the night, which will be something to watch going forward, but he helped bring the Irish back and take the lead when Texas was separating in the second half. Malik Zaire had a more modest night. He struggled in the passing game and was not able to make a splash with his legs to ignite the offense. Their play showed in the playing time as the game progressed, with Kizer running with the offense for the final two-minute drive before the half, from which point on he didn’t leave it.


Top offensive grades:

WR C.J. Sanders, 76.4

QB DeShone Kizer, 71.5

OT Mike McGlinchey, 70.7

WR Equanimeous St. Brown, 69.1

RB Josh Adams, 68.6

Very strong performances from Notre Dame's offensive supporting cast

WRs C.J. Sanders and Equanimeous St. Brown helped supply the Irish with 47 points and spark Kizer’s big night. Sanders had three catches for 55 yards and 45 yards after the catch on only four targets, as well as a touchdown. Meanwhile, Brown added two more touchdowns with five catches for 75 yards on eight targets. RB Josh Adams had some nice reads in his 11 attempts for 45 yards, as well as 23 yards after contact. LT Mike McGlichey had a clean sheet in pass protection although he did have some poor moments in run blocking. The Irish offensive line on a whole was very solid in pass protection, only surrendering a total of one sack, one hit, and two quarterback hurries throughout the game.

Top defensive grades:

NT Daniel Cage, 77.5

CB Cole Luke, 75.9

DE Isaac Roshell, 74.6

S Devin Studstill, 73.8

DE Jerry Tillery, 70.9

Irish defensive line helps keep them within striking distance

DE Isaac Roshell led the way for Notre Dame’s defense last night with one quarterback hit, one hurry and five run stops. He also had two missed tackles and still managed to grade quite well, which shows how dominant he was at moments against the run. NT Daniel Cage had limited snaps but also contributed to the run-stuffing efforts, notching two stops and firmly planting himself in the middle of the trenches, refusing to be moved. DT Jarron Jones had limited snaps but made more of an impact in the passing game, where he was able to break down some Texas pass protectors. DE Jerry Tillery had a good game with six tackles and three run stops, but his game was marred with three missed tackles. S Devin Studstill was all over the field, involved in plays totaling seven tackles, one assist, and two run stops.

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