When the Oklahoma State Cowboys arrived to Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon in search of their fifth-straight win against No. 12 Texas, their weapons were anything but a secret.
Nearly everybody knew who was at the center of the conversation — sophomore running back Chuba Hubbard, the nation’s leading rusher, and junior wide receiver Tylan Wallace, the nation’s leading wide receiver.
In the week leading up to Texas’ 36-30 victory over Oklahoma State, its first home victory over the Cowboys since 2008, the Longhorns’ game plan solely depended on how they contained the Hubbard-Wallace duo.
As the scoreboard reflected, Texas’ plan worked, limiting Hubbard to 3.3 yards per carry. The stat sheet says Hubbard rushed for 121 yards, but it will also show all 37 carries it took him to pass the century mark, largely due to the dominance of Texas’ defensive line.
“The two guys that we really had to stop in Hubbard and Wallace, I thought we did an admirable job of that,” Herman said. “Hubbard had 121 yards and lost 17 yards; (it) took him 37 carries to get it.”
Hubbard was nearly unstoppable up until this point in the season. However, the Longhorns knew what he wanted to do and how to combat it.
According to Ossai, the defensive line is the foundation of the defense, meaning that everything they hope to accomplish starts with them.
The line stood up when Texas needed it most — a fourth down stop on the goal line, a blowup play on a fake field goal and a constant attack from the Oklahoma State offense. The constant barrage took more than technique to overcome. And senior defensive lineman Malcolm Roach knew that.
“There’s a reason Malcolm Roach is a captain,” Herman said. “I heard him a couple different times when there was some stoppage of play dang near begging his teammates, ‘Don’t do it for yourself. Do it for each other.’”
As a captain, Roach’s words are able to ring with a certain frequency in the locker room. He’s able to lean on experiences that precede the rest of the line and those that were shared together.
Roach used a very specific moment to get his point across. He reminded his teammates about the first scrimmage of fall camp. The offense dominated the first half, but was then shutout by the defense. Roach felt the “vibe” of the team changed in the second half Saturday and helped them fly towards the ball.
“It’s not about yourself, it’s about the guy next to you,” Roach said. “I always use the analogy … you see your mom in a fight, you’ll take off running toward that fight. So if I see my guys in something, I take off running because I just have love (for) them.”
Roach not only ran toward his teammates, but also got his teammates to run with him to finish the game. Freshman defensive lineman Keondre Coburn got pressure on Oklahoma State’s quarterback Spencer Sanders and forced an interception with less than 10 minutes left in the game, helping put the game further out of reach.
“We never had any doubt,” Roach said. “We (knew) we were going to make big plays in times we (needed) to … Against LSU, we didn’t get the outcome we wanted, so just trying not to have that feeling again … so you do anything you could do to not have that feeling.”