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November 11, 2013

Tough decisions on this week's Hot 11

HOT 11

A handful of guys could make a legitimate case for this week's top spot, but we're giving the nod to Edmond. His plays to end the game are the freshest on the mind, after all.

Edmond takes a ton of flack from fans when he makes a mistake, but the big fella is playing some pretty good football of late. Against West Virginia, Edmond turned in a team-high 12 tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage. He was credited with two QB hurries, but it was his plays on the last two snaps of the game that really stood out.

Edmond made a terrific play to get his hand on a pass on third-and-goal in overtime, and his juggling interception on a fourth-down pass ended the game.

No player on offense was bigger than Shipley down the stretch.

He finished the game with 7 catches for 82 yards and 1 incredible touchdown catch midway through the fourth quarter that gave Texas a brief lead.

Four of his catches came in the fourth quarter, all on third or fourth down. And all four either resulted in a first down or a touchdown.

Shipley's Mr. Reliable when Case McCoy needs someone to make a play to move the chains. Even when WVU knew the ball would be coming his way, it didn't have an answer.

Take your pick of just about any of the Longhorns' defensive linemen, and they deserve to be on this list.

Jackson gets the top billing of the group thanks to his incredible effort in relief of Chris Whaley. Jackson finished the night with 8 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and 1 forced fumble on a crushing blow that knocked WVU starting QB Clint Trickett out of the game.

It was by far the best game Jackson has played in h is career, and Texas is going to need a few more efforts just like it moving forward as he's suddenly a starter beside Malcom Brown.

A pretty strong argument can be made that Reed is playing the best football of anyone on the Texas roster.

He was once again dominant last week, recording 7 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 QB hurry, 1 forced fumble and 2 fumble recoveries. Reed is suddenly playing like an all-American and though he'll likely stay in Austin and benefit from another year in the weight room, he could be positioning himself for a tough decision at the end of the year.

The other part of arguably the nation's best DE tandem, Jeffcoat was his usual stellar self on Saturday night. But in this game, he dominated from start to finish, something that hasn't always been the case this year.

Jeffcoat finished the night with 7 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery and 2 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

The senior seems to get better every single week and he's really elevated his draft stock over the last two months. The Longhorns need a strong end to the season from Jeffcoat if they are to achieve their goals of winning the Big 12. He'll play a key role in this week's game.

It started off pretty ugly for McCoy, but his work in the second half was terrific.

Midway through the third quarter, McCoy had completed less than half of his 22 attempts and he'd thrown for less than 100 yards. McCoy shook off the slow start to finish with 283 yards passing and 3 TDs, and his work down the stretch was fantastic.

The senior never seems to get rattled and Texas very well might have lost the game if you were to take away any one of several big throws, including a fourth-down conversion to Shipley and a huge third-down pass to Marcus Johnson.

Phillips' biggest play was his third-quarter interception that he returned 14 yards down to the WVU 7, setting up a Longhorn field goal that cut WVU's lead to three points. But he was active all night.

Phillips finished the night with 11 tackles and 1 tackle for loss. He's gone from a player that was ridiculed for his tackling efforts in 2012 to a player who is always around the ball. Phillips ranks third on the team in tackles, behind only Steve Edmond and Cedric Reed.

Hopkins' presence was huge and Texas would have been in a real bind if not for his versatility.

With right tackle Kennedy Estelle out, the Longhorn coaches were faced with the prospect of having to throw true freshman Kent Perkins to the wolves. Instead, the coaches decided to move Hopkins out to tackle and give Sedrick Flowers the snaps at left guard.

Hopkins is out of position at tackle but he played well enough to help the Texas offense heat up in the third and fourth quarters.

You had to know that Texas was hoping to get Davis free for a big gainer or two against a bad West Virginia pass defense, and the Longhorns did just that at just the right time.

Down by 10 in the third quarter, Davis got behind the WVU secondary for a 49-yard TD grab, cutting the Mountaineers' lead to three points and giving UT some much-needed momentum.

That play was huge, but Davis' third-down grab for 29 yards on a play in which he was absolutely drilled was actually far more impressive. Texas went on to score on that drive to take the lead.

Byndom at times had his hands full with WVU receiver Kevin White, was looked awfully good, but he came up big in spots for the Texas defense.

Byndom's final stat line of 8 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 pass break-up and 1 sack is impressive enough, but when you factor in that his TFL came on a key 3rd-and-1 stop late in the fourth quarter, he may deserve to be ranked even higher.

Fera earned Big 12 special teams co-player of the week for his efforts.

Fera hit all four of his field goal attempts, including a 24-yarder with 13 seconds left in regulation to send Texas' game at West Virginia into overtime. He also connected on field goals of 37, 25, and 29 yards, and made all five of his PAT attempts to register 17 points on the night. The senior also averaged 42.8 yards on six punts, placing three of those inside West Virginia's 20-yard line.

Fera has made 11 straight field goals and 15-of-16 on the year, with his .938 field goal percentage ranking third in the FBS (minimum 10 attempts).


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