Mike Davis is starting to live up to his "Magic" nickname for the Texas Longhorns.
The junior had another big game for UT in Saturday's 31-22 win at Texas Tech, with four catches for a career-high 165 yards and two touchdowns. His 75-yard score in the second quarter was the longest catch of his career.
Davis has been the go-to receiver for Texas (7-2, 4-2 Big 12) in the fourth quarter and scored from 25-yards to seal the win against the Red Raiders. It was just the latest in a string of big plays by Davis with the game on the line. He had a 39-yard grab against Kansas to set up the game-winning score and avoid the upset. Against Oklahoma State, Davis had a 32-yard grab in the final minute to set up the go-ahead touchdown that kept UT unbeaten.
With three games of at least 100 receiving yards this year, Davis has matched his total from the previous two seasons. He attributes much of that success to demanding the ball from quarterback David Ash.
"Last year I really wasn't into it and more demanding like I am now," Davis said. "So everything has changed since last year."
Davis and Ash have developed a stronger chemistry this season as opposed to 2011, when Texas struggled to throw the ball down the field. Davis is averaging 19.05 yards per catch, which ranks sixth in the FBS and first in the Big 12 among players with at least 25 receptions. He's had six catches of at least 44 yards, with three of those grabs resulting in touchdowns.
"In practice, we keep hitting those deep routes over and over until we get the timing down," Davis said. "It's paying off."
Davis leads Texas with 38 catches for 724 yards and six touchdowns. Over his last four games, he has 19 catches for 461 yards and three touchdowns.
"In this conference there's a lot of good receivers and you just never know what receiver is going to have a big week. But I put myself in the mix as one of the best ones in the conference," Davis said.
As a whole, the Longhorns' receivers have been much improved through nine games this year. Texas is averaging 251.7 passing yards per game, compared to 189.9 a season ago. While Ash has made strides as a passer, he's had more help from his receivers.
"They're getting open, they know their assignments and they're playing harder," Ash said. "I think there's just a lot more playmaking ability as far as the deep ball. All I have to do is give somebody a chance and there's a good shot they will make a play for me."
But Davis and his fellow receivers have made an impact in more than just the passing game. They dedicated themselves to becoming better blockers in the offseason, and have helped UT average 189.4 rushing yards per game.
"They're the best blocking group we've had downfield," coach Mack Brown said. "I'm really, really pleased with our receivers."
By Austin Laymance/Special to the Star-Telegram