Four Takeaways: Bijan’s monster performance lifts Longhorns over Horned Frogs

Riley Glenn

The Longhorns have notoriously struggled with Gary Patterson and the Horned Frogs since TCU joined the Big 12 in 2012. Coming off their first Big 12 win of the season over Texas Tech, the Longhorns headed to Fort Worth with a chance for revenge after a heartbreaking 33-31 loss in Austin last season. A monster performance from sophomore running back Bijan Robinson guided the Longhorns to a 32-27 victory and gave Steve Sarkisian his first signature win. 

Bijan’s career day 

The story of the Longhorns’ victory Saturday started and ended with Bijan Robinson’s performance. Robinson ran for 216 yards and two scores on a whopping 35 carries, while also catching two passes for 22 yards. While his numbers were impressive, they don’t fully illustrate the level of impact Robinson had on the Longhorns’ offensive success. The Longhorns struggled to ignite their offense, and the Horned Frogs defense capitalized on that, forcing Robinson to consistently face seven and eight man boxes. Despite this, Robinson averaged six yards per carry while forcing missed tackle after missed tackle. The game defining play was on the Longhorns’ final drive, when they faced a third-and-6. TCU had one timeout left, so a first down essentially would allow the Longhorns to run out the clock. Bijan took the carry, made two defenders miss and willed his way across the sticks for the first down. A lot of things didn’t go according to plan for the Longhorns, but Robinson made sure Texas left Fort Worth with a victory. 

Missed opportunities and self-inflicted wounds

The Longhorns’ lack of success in the red zone was a key factor to the close game. Through the run game, Texas was very effective at moving the ball down field. However, once they entered deep into TCU territory, they were unable to take advantage. The Longhorns were in the red zone six times, leading to four field goals from senior kicker Cameron Dicker, a rushing touchdown by Bijan Robinson and a turnover on downs. The lack of efficiency allowed TCU to have a stake in the game. 

Despite this lack of efficiency in the red zone, the offense still produced 32 points, showcasing just how prolific they can be moving forward. The Longhorns also accumulated 97 yards of penalties, several of which were in key third-down spots, and junior quarterback Casey Thompson forced a pass in triple coverage to freshman receiver Xavier Worthy when the Longhorns had a chance to extend the lead before half. The Longhorns had many self-inflicted wounds throughout the game which allowed the Horned Frogs to hang around. 

Bend, but don’t break

The ball was moved effectively by TCU throughout the game, especially on the ground. Zach Evans, a sophomore TCU running back, had 113 yards on 15 carries, and found the end zone once. However, the Longhorns defense forced three fumbles which helped swing momentum in favor of the Longhorns. Whenever Texas needed a stop or a turnover, the defense executed. This has been a consistent theme for the Longhorns this season, as they have won the turnover battle in four of their first five games. 

Overcoming Adversity

The Longhorns have not dealt with much adversity so far this season except against Arkansas, where they did not respond well. The Longhorns faced a lot of challenges against TCU, but the way they responded showed a lot of growth from earlier in the season. The first play of the game was a very long return deep into Texas territory. Texas, unable to move the ball through the air,  almost accumulated 100 yards of penalties. The Longhorns had a chance to end the game but got stopped on two consecutive runs from TCU’s 1-yard line. The Longhorns still figured out a way to get a conference victory over a tough opponent whom they have struggled with in the past despite the lack of quality play. Saturday’s win demonstrated the toughness and resilience the Longhorns possess.