AUSTIN (KXAN) — Coming into the season, the Texas Longhorns defense was a big question mark considering the struggles it had last year. This season — so far — they’ve had an answer, specifically along the defensive front.

If the Longhorns want to come out of its nonconference schedule ahead, they’ll need the big boys up front to control the line of scrimmage and move UTSA’s linemen like they did Louisiana-Monroe’s and Alabama’s.

Alabama gained more than half of its net rushing yards on an 81-yard run by Jase McClellan in the first quarter. The long run went for a touchdown, but the rest of the game, Texas more than held its own against the mighty Crimson Tide and put itself in a position to win.

In a press conference Monday following the Alabama game, Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian lauded his defense’s effort, singling out several players on the defensive line.

“I thought a few guys up front really stood out,” he said, naming Moro Ojomo, Bryon Murphy and Keondre Coburn. “The fourth-down stop that we make, I know the running back trips over the center, but that comes because Coburn knocks the center back. An unbelievable effort play from Murphy on a Bryce Young scramble where he trips his foot on their sideline. You don’t see guys doing those kinds of things.”

MORE THAN THE SCORE: Stay up to date on sports stories like these, and sign up for our More than the Score sports newsletter at kxan.com/newsletters

Ojomo and Coburn, both seniors, have been mainstays on defense while Murphy and Barryn Sorrell, both sophomores, are a pair of emerging players primed to contribute. Ovie Oghoufo, another senior, registered five tackles with a sack. Vernon Broughton had two quarterback hits against Alabama and Alfred Collins also had one, along with Sorrell and T’Vondre Sweat. Coburn had three tackles, including a solo tackle, against the Crimson Tide.

Against Louisiana-Monroe, Texas held the Warhawks to 92 rushing yards and Coburn had three tackles and a sack. Sorrell had a tremendous Longhorns in his starting lineup debut with six tackles, two tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks against ULM against another mobile quarterback in the Warhawks’ Chandler Rogers.

To keep Frank Harris and the UTSA offense in check, the defensive line has to continue its stellar play.

The Longhorns and Roadrunners kick off at 7 p.m. Saturday from DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium.