The recent match between the Texas Longhorns and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish served as the ultimate test for coach Charlie Strong's career with the University of Texas at Austin. Thankfully, after forcing the game into double overtime, Strong and the Longhorns were able to pull an upset win over their long-time rivals.
This year marks Strong's third NCAA Division I Football season with Texas. Coming off from two losing seasons, including an embarrassing 38-3 loss against the Fighting Irish last year, Strong certainly felt very nervous as he entered the recent game, according to the Associated Press.
He knows that if his team loses again this year, all of the blame will fall on him. Aside from that, the Longhorns will most likely release him from the university's football program due to his failure to lead the team.
"It's big," he said. "We're at home... We need it within our program to play well. I expect us to go play well."
Thankfully, things went well for Strong and his players as the Longhorns were able to secure a 50-47 win over the Fighting Irish. Interestingly, both the Longhorns and Fighting Irish employed similar strategies during the game. But eventually, Texas emerged as the better team.
As noted by Bleacher Report, Strong's skill to be flexible coach when it comes to changing up his offensive lineup served as one of his main arsenals in defeating Notre Dame.
He started off Sunday night's game with rookie quarterback Shane Buechele. But, as the team got closer to the end zone, he would pull away Buechele to bring in Tyrone Swoopes.
Like Strong, Brian Kelly of Notre Dame also switched between quarterbacks during the game. According to Sports Illustrated, the Fighting Irish first started with DeShone Kizer, who was able to a touchdown during the team's first possession. After this, however, Kelly decided to bring in Malik Zaire, who went three-and-out. This clearly gave the Longhorns the leeway to gain momentum with its offensive line.
Although the game on Sunday night may have alleviated the pressure the university is putting on Strong, the coach still has a long way to go before the season ends.