Big 12 Report: After a strong finish No. 20 Texas reflects on improvements

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Eric Gay/AP/Shutterstock (13400651w) Texas running back Bijan Robinson (5) runs against UTSA during an NCAA college football game, in Austin, Texas UTSA Texas Football, Austin, United States – 18 Sep 2022

Big 12 Report: After a strong finish No. 20 Texas reflects on improvements

The Texas Longhorns finished the season on a strong note with a 38-27 win over Baylor. With an 8-4 record improvement is easy to see, but head coach Steve Sarkisian is proud of more than meets the eye on the stat sheet. “We obviously made progress as a program.” he said, “I think that it’s easy to quantify the season with victories and losses; clearly 8-4 is a heck of a lot better than 5-7. But I think the style of play is really starting to come to fruition. I think we’re playing a physical brand of football. I think our effort, the way the guys play on all three phases is pretty evident.”

Sarkisian credited his defensive staff and players for their role in the Horn’s improvement for the year. “Proud of our defensive coaches, and proud of our players.” Sarkisian told reporters,  “It’s not easy when you have to sit around all offseason and hear about how poor you are, how not-good you are, or ‘you’re the weak link’, or whatever people wanna say.”  According to Sarkisian the defensive players and coaches took the criticism to heart and made the necessary improvements to take what was a weakness in the 5-7 ;campaign of 2021 and make it a strength this year. “A year ago, this game might have went a different direction,” he said “If we hadn’t been playing the style and defense that we’re starting to play now. Ultimately we got that critical turnover that we were looking for.”

Another cause for celebration in Austin is the season that running back Bijan Robinson put together. The redshirt junior finished the season with 1,580 yards and 18 touchdowns on 258 carries.  He currently ranks 4th all time among Longhorn rushers with 3,410 yards.  Robinson probably deserves a trip to New York as a Heisman finalist, but he should end the year with at least some hardware; he was announced as a Doak Walker Award finalist this week.

In the last rankings of the regular season Texas has climbed to No. 20 in the College Football Playoff rankings and they are awaiting official word on a bowl destination.

Around the Big 12

No. 3 TCU completed a perfect season and kept its hold of a College Football Playoff spot with a resounding 62-14 win over Iowa State.  Quarterback Max Duggan finished with 212 passing yards and 3 touchdowns, to lead the Horned Frog attack that jumped out to a 24 point first quarter lead and never looked back.  TCU will take on No. 10 Kansas State this week in the Big 12 Championship Game.

No. 10 Kansas State clinched a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game to take on No. 3 TCU with a 47-27 win over Kansas. The victory also relegated No. 20 Texas to third place in the conference. The Wildcats utilized a balanced performance to achieve the win, rushing for 230 yards and passing for 213. 

Texas Tech defeated Oklahoma 51-28 in overtime to improve to 7-5 in head coach Joey McGuire’s first season in Lubbock. The Red Raiders stormed back from a 24-6 second quarter deficit and then forced overtime with a 43 yard field goal by Trey Woff who also won the game with a kick in overtime. The Sooners fall to 6-6 but are bowl eligible.

West Virginia ended the season on a high note defeating Oklahoma State 24-19. The Mountaineers were paced by redshirt freshman running back Jaylen Anderson who recorded touchdown runs of 54 and 57 yards to provide the winning margin. The Cowboys finish the regular season at 7-5 and await a bowl matchup.

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