Coming off of a brutal loss to cross-town rival SMU, TCU football is looking to regroup by doing the one thing that has been consistent for the Frogs since joining the Big 12: beat Texas.
Since 2012, TCU has gone 7-2 against the Longhorns, and despite the two teams seeing rather opposite outcomes in their games last weekend, the Frogs should give UT all that they can handle.
Last season, TCU beat UT 33-31 after linebacker Garrett Wallow forced a fumble from running back Keaontay Ingram on the goal line, which led to a game-ending safety.
Here’s a look at what TCU can expect from the Longhorns on Saturday:
UT climbed as high as No. 15 before a loss to Arkansas in week two sent the Longhorns out of the AP Top 25. The Longhorns were down 33-7 when head coach Steve Sarkisian decided to bench quarterback Hudson Card for Casey Thompson, who has started since.
Sarkisian said Thompson has done a better job down the field, and the switch at quarterback led to an offensive explosion last week against Texas Tech, as the Longhorns scored 70 points and totaled 639 yards of offense. Thompson threw for 303 yards with five touchdowns, and his one interception was on one of two drives the Longhorns didn’t score. The other was a turnover on downs with 48 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Despite Thompson’s performance, the Longhorn offense continues to revolve around running back Bijan Robinson, who leads the team in rushing yards (436) and is third in receiving (145 yards). Robinson, a former five-star recruit from Tucson, Arizona, is one of the best running backs in the country as a sophomore — with seven total touchdowns and zero fumbles lost to his name.
Both the TCU and UT defenses have been exposed on the ground this season, as each has given up over 300 yards rushing in a game. Both teams also have a five-star in the backfield, so expect both Robinson and TCU running back Zach Evans to carry the rock early and often, especially if the ball is wet.
Production from the wide receiver position has been limited for UT. Just two receivers outpace Robinson in yards and only one has more receiving touchdowns. Freshman Xavier Worthy has led the team in receiving yards in three straight games, but the Longhorns average almost 270 rushing yards per game — 50 yards higher than its passing yards average.
“Obviously we gave up a lot of rushing yards to SMU last week and UT has a really good running back,” said TCU safety T.J. Carter, who hadn’t played the position before transferring to TCU from Memphis as a cornerback. “[Stopping the run] has been a big emphasis this week – the most physical team is going to win.”
The UT defense is ranked No. 99 in the country in terms of rushing yards allowed per game, just two spots higher than TCU. Similar to the Horned Frogs’ performance against SMU, the Longhorns gave up 333 rushing yards to Arkansas.
“We’re not naive to the elephant in the room that we’re 2-7 against TCU in the last nine years,” said Sarkisian. “We’re also not going to buy the lie that we’re going to get the same TCU team that played SMU on Saturday.”
Sarkisian said he’s never coached a team that didn’t have to punt in two straight weeks, but neither Texas Tech nor Rice feature a defense as talented as the Horned Frogs. In five of TCU’s seven wins in the last nine years, UT was held to 14 or fewer points.
TCU and UT kickoff at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2, on ABC.