Mandatory Credit: Photo by Eric Gay/AP/Shutterstock (13467635t) Texas linebacker Jaylan Ford (41) celebrates after he recovered an Iowa State fumble late in the second half of an NCAA college football game, in Austin, Texas Iowa St Texas Football, Austin, United States – 15 Oct 2022
No. 18 Texas (6-3) v. No. 4 TCU (9-0)
When : November 12, 2022
Gametime: 6:30 PM
What’s at Stake: Thanks to a road win last week against No.19 Kansas State, the Texas Longhorns have regained control of their own destiny in the race for the Big 12 Championship. To maintain that control Texas must defeat No. 4 TCU at DKR this Saturday. A win would be the first home victory over a top five opponent since 1999. Meanwhile, the Horned Frogs are currently in the College Football Playoff, and continuing an undefeated season is the only way to guarantee they stay there.
When the Longhorns have the ball: Consistency will be key if the Longhorns are to upset TCU. The Horned Frog defense ranks in the middle of the Big 12 pack in most categories and if quarterback Quinn Ewers is on, Texas should be able to score points.
The running game led by Bijan Robinson has produced in every game this year, and Saturday should be no exception. Robinson leads the conference with 1,129 yards rushing and just the threat of a potent running attack should create opportunities in the passing game.
Texas has also begun to showcase more weapons every week. Xavier Worthy is one of the best route runners in the Big 12. Jordan Whittington is a great blocker and has emerged as a threat. Tight end JT Sanders feeds off play action, and is dangerous after the catch. Recently Keilan Robinson has emerged as another speedy option in the passing game.
If all of these weapons are functioning in a Steve Sarkisian offense, Texas will be very difficult to stop. This is a big contest and you can bet that Sark will have a plan to scheme his players open in new and creative ways.
The biggest concern for Texas fans should be the second half struggles the offense has faced in recent weeks. The Horns only mustered 3 second half points last week against Kansas State and have been held to 10 points or less in the second half six times this season. While Texas played well enough defensively to defeat the Wildcats last week, it’s hard to believe that will be enough to defeat TCU.
When TCU has the ball: This matchup is intriguing for the Texas defense. The Longhorns have been improving on that side of the ball all season and this is the most imposing defensive unit that Texas has produced in years.
Jaylon Ford leads the Big 12 in tackles, DeMarvion Overshown is a playmaker and a leader, and transfer Ryan Watts has added toughness and ability in the secondary. Texas’ front is also stout against the run and capable of applying pressure in the passing game.
Also, Pete Kwiatkowski has implemented a scheme that accentuates the speed and athleticism of his players while presenting multiple looks to opposing offenses.
With all that said, the Horned Frog offense presents a serious challenge. TCU boasts the conference leading passer, second ranked rusher, and third ranked receiver. This balance gives the Frogs the ability to win games in multiple ways and punish defenses for any weaknesses or mistakes in scheme or execution. TCU has scored at least 34 points in every game this season.
Quarterback Max Duggan leads the conference in passing yards with 2,407 and touchdowns with 24. Duggan has only thrown two interceptions. He is a competitor that has mastered Sonny Dykes’ offense and can also make plays running.
Complimenting Duggans ability as a passer, running back Kendre Miller has rushed for at least 100 yards in four straight games. Wide receiver Quentin Johnson has made 42 catches for 650 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Key Horns to Watch: To win this game Texas will have to play a complete game. The usual suspects like Ewers, Worthy, Robinson, Ford and Overshown will have to show up, but many times games like this are won by an unsung hero that steps up and makes the key play. The Bottom Line: Make no mistake, Texas is fully capable of defeating TCU, or anyone in the nation on a given Saturday. Games like this are won on third down, in the red zone, and in the turnover department. If the Longhorns can play to their ability and win those areas they will take a major step closer to Arlington and a championship.