Mandatory Credit: Photo by Mario Cantu/CSM/Shutterstock (13398678j) Texas Longhorns Head Coach Steve Sarkisian in action during the NCAA Football game between UTSA at Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, TX NCAA Football UTSA vs Texas, Austin, USA – 17 Sep 2022
All year, the youth and inexperience of the Texas offense have been a concern. For the vast majority of the season, that issue has seemed to be overblown. However, this past Saturday, that inexperience was front and center in the Horns’ 17-10 loss to No. 4 TCU.
Amidst an electric atmosphere and accompanied by a huge performance by the Texas defense, the Longhorn offense simply could not get started.
Much of the blame for the subpar offensive performance has fallen on redshirt freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers. Ewers has dealt with accuracy issues in recent weeks, but the fault does not stop with the quarterback. Head coach Steve Sarkisian said the Longhorn offense “had one of those nights where if it wasn’t one guy, it was another guy. If it wasn’t that guy, it was the one next to him—we all took our turns where we couldn’t get out of our own way.” While this kind of performance is not acceptable, it seems that with the amount of inexperience present on the Texas offense, it might have been due.
The bright spot in the loss to the Horned Frogs was the Texas defense. Going into the matchup, the TCU offense had scored at least 34 points in every game. Saturday, they were held to 17. Max Duggan was held to 124 yards passing, and Texas recorded five sacks and 14 tackles for loss. The only time the Longhorns found the endzone was on a scoop and score by Jahdae Barron in the fourth quarter.
Sarkisian said that Texas must make that type of effort on defense the norm and not the exception. “I think that’s what good teams do,” he said. “You start to find your calling card on either side of the ball. I think they’ve got a lot of confidence to build off of.”
If the Texas defense can make this the new standard, when the offense puts all the pieces together, Texas will truly be back.
Around the Big 12
No. 15 Kansas State defeated Baylor 31-3. The Wildcats have established themselves as the second-best team in the Big 12 after posting convincing wins over Oklahoma State and now Baylor. Will Howard came off the bench and threw three touchdown passes to lead the Kansas State offense to another strong showing. Kansas State will look to close in on a berth in the Big 12 Championship game with a win against West Virginia this week, while Baylor will take on No. 4 TCU.
West Virginia defeated Oklahoma for the first time since joining the Big 12 in 2012. The Mountaineers followed backup quarterback Garrett Greene to a 23-20 victory. Greene posted two rushing touchdowns and a third through the air in relief of starter JT Daniels. The loss drops the Sooners to 5-5 on the season. Oklahoma will have to recover from the defeat quickly as they face rival Oklahoma State this week.
Oklahoma State ended a two-game slide this week, defeating Iowa State 20-14. An injured Spencer Sanders stepped in for Gunnar Gundy and rallied the Cowboys past the Cyclones with a fourth-quarter touchdown pass. Once again, Iowa State loses a one-score game, a theme in the program under Matt Campbell. Oklahoma State will hope to keep their Big 12 Championship hopes alive as they face Oklahoma in Bedlam this week as Iowa State hosts Texas Tech.
Texas Tech posted their best win of the season, defeating a resurgent Kansas team 43-28. A strong running game powered the Red Raiders as four different players scored rushing touchdowns. Kansas closed the gap to 27-21 at halftime, but a defensive touchdown proved to be decisive. Kansas will host Texas this week, while Tech travels to Iowa State.