–RB Malcolm Brown is a difference-maker at running back … if he’s healthy. He was on pace to become the first 1,000-yard rusher for Texas since Jamal Charles before getting hurt, but if he’s able to be anywhere close to full strength for the bowl game he has the potential to dominate the game on the ground.
–K Justin Tucker has made 17 of his 20 field goal attempts this season, including the game-winner against Texas A&M. However, all three of his misses came away from home.
–Not to put too fine a point on it, but senior safety Blake Gideon was terrible in the 48-24 loss to Baylor that ended the regular season. He’s a leader on the defense and has played well at times, but he also struggles against quicker receivers and is vulnerable when trapped in man coverage. Moreover, he struggled with his tackling against the Bears. This will be his final game as a Longhorn, and it’s safe to say he’ll be looking for redemption.
–WR Marquise Goodwin was a track star before coming to rejoin the football team, and he and Jaxon Shipley are the big play threats among the wideouts. Given the struggles that the quarterbacks have had this year, anything they can contribute in the bowl game will be critical.
BOWL HISTORY: Texas is 25-22-2 in bowls, though it was home last year with a 5-7 record. Its last postseason appearance had a bit higher stakes than this one … it lost the 2009 BCS title game to Alabama 37-21. Colt McCoy was the starting quarterback in that game, while his younger brother Case may start for the Longhorns in this one.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I think the injuries to our running backs the last four games really hurt, because it’s who we became. … You can see what the Boise State, Bryan Harsin, offense is going to be like if you combine the passing (against Baylor), take away the turnovers and run like we did at midseason. We’ll have a chance to be really good, and that’s what we’ve got to do.” — Texas coach Mack Brown, following the loss to Baylor that ended the regular season.