The Texas defense has made plays when it counted this season, and ranks
in the top half of the FBS in a number of categories. The Longhorns are
a top-50 team defensively on fourth down (.421), blocked kicks (2),
passes intercepted (12), rushing defense (139.8) and turnovers gained (19).
The UT defense has gone as its leaders have gone this season. Senior defensive
back Brandon Jones, senior defensive lineman Malcolm Roach and sophomore
linebacker Joseph Ossai have been the units most present faces throughout 2019.
Jones has been a force for the Texas defense so far in 2019. He has racked up
a team-high 86 tackles tackles (7.2 pg), including 4.5 for a loss, broken up four
passes, picked off two passes, forced one fumble and recovered one. He is one
of six team captains elected by their teammates for the 2019 season, and is also
a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of
the Year Award in 2019. The senior led a UT defense that held a potent Oklahoma
State offense to just three TDs on 14 possessions, forcing field goals on two drives
that ended inside the Texas 10-yard line. Against OSU, Jones led a secondary that
limited 2018 Biletnikoff Award finalist Tylan Wallace to just five catches for 83
yards. The Horns held Wallace to just two catches for 17 yards in the second half.
Wallace had 10 catches for 298 yards and four TDs in his previous two games.
Jones, who had 70 tackles and earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors a
season ago, is the first Longhorn to log at least 70 tackles in consecutive seasons
since Steve Edmond did so from 2012-14. He posted a career-high 12 tackles
(11 solo) during Texas’ 49-24 win over Texas Tech in his last game at Darrell K
Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
Roach, another of the six team captains elected by their teammates for the
2019 season, has been routinely praised by head coach Tom Herman in recent
weeks for his leadership within the locker room. This season, Roach has logged
36 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and one quarterback hurry. He
also blocked a PAT against Kansas, which was recovered and returned by D’Shawn
Jamison for a defensive two-point conversion in the fourth quarter of a 50-48
win. In his final game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Roach racked up
four tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack. His two TFLs led the team against
Texas Tech. Roach’s pressure off the edge kept Texas Tech’s rushing attack in
check, as the Red Raiders managed just 71 yards
on the ground against the Longhorns.
In his best outing of the season, Roach notched
five total tackles, four TFLs, and his first sack of the
season at TCU. He is the second Longhorn to record
four TFLs in a game during Tom Herman’s tenure as
head coach (4.0 - Gary Johnson vs. USC, 2018).
Ossai, meanwhile, has amassed 81 tackles, including
56 solo stops, and leads the team with nine quarterback
hurries this year. He also has notched 7.5
tackles for loss, two sacks, intercepted two passes,
forced a fumble and blocked a kick. Ossai has recorded
eight-plus tackles on six occasions in his career. The
first was an eight-tackle performance in the 2019
Allstate Sugar Bowl vs. No. 5 Georgia last season.
He is the sixth Longhorn in the last 20 seasons to
record make at least eight tackles on seven-or-more
occasions in a season.
Texas also fields a number of other prominent
performers in DBs Caden Sterns, Chris Brown and
DeMarvion Overshown, as well as DL Keondre
Coburn, among others.
36 DECEMBER 31, 2019 / OFFICIAL GAME PROGRAM