Herman put trust in Texas defense on big goal-line stand
By JIM VERTUNO
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Texas coach Tom Herman had a tough choice to make.
Trailing Southern California 14-13, he could leave the Trojans on the Longhorns' 1-yard line or push them back 5 yards because of a penalty, which would give them an extra down at a pivotal moment in the game.
In his ear was defensive coordinator Todd Orlando, pleading with him to trust his defense to keep the Trojans out of the end zone.
"Coach, we got this. We got this. We'll stop `em," Orlando told Herman.
Herman chose 4th-and-1. And he won, both the moment and the game and maybe a whole lot more. Texas (2-1) responded with a goal-line stand that completely swung momentum and launched the Longhorns to a 37-14 win, a critical victory in Herman's second year in Austin.
"Our players did not disappoint us," Herman said Monday.
Texas turned away the Trojans when Brandon Jones, who had given up a big pass play a few minutes earlier, beat USC running back Stephen Carr to the edge and shoved him out of bounds. After scoring touchdowns on their first two drives, the Trojans were shut out the rest of the way.
"We weren't going to let them run the ball in," Texas defensive end Charles Omenihu said after the game. "We said we were going to bow up, bite our mouthpiece down and get nasty in there."
Herman emphasized the moment and the trust the coaching staff had in the players when they met Sunday.
"It was neat to see the looks in their eyes," Herman said. "The light bulb went (on). That's not to say that some great epiphany is going to carry us into the wild blue yonder, but it was a step in the building of our program in terms of proving again that we believe in them and we trust them, and they can trust us."
The goal-line stand ignited a defense that struggled early against USC freshman quarterback J.T. Daniels. The unit buckled down to hold the Trojans to minus-5 yards rushing, which turned linebackers loose to chase Daniels around the backfield.
The defense faces a different challenge this week in the all-around team speed of No. 17 TCU in the Big 12 opener for both teams The Horned Frogs have beaten Texas handily the last four years, but are coming off a 40-28 loss to No. 4 Ohio State. TCU lead the Buckeyes in the third quarter but gave up two touchdowns off turnovers and had a punt blocked.
Darius Anderson scored two touchdowns. His 93-yard TD was the longest play from scrimmage against the Buckeyes in Ohio State history.
Herman noted how fast Anderson and the Horned Frogs can get to the end zone and from sideline to sideline.
"TCU has speed everywhere," Herman said. "It's as fast of a defense as I've seen in a long time."
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Updated September 17, 2018