‘Big Boy Football’: Bijan Robinson bullies his way to monster performance, lifts Texas past TCU

Nathan Han

Forget about the questionable officiating. Forget about the lifeless Texas passing attack and forget about an all-too-close TCU comeback scare at the end of the game.

Instead, let’s just appreciate the greatness that is Bijan Robinson.

The sophomore running back poured in a true workhorse performance to carry the Longhorns to a 32-27 win over the Horned Frogs on Saturday.

After a whole year of fans and media wondering why Robinson wasn’t getting more touches in his freshman campaign, he carried the ball a whopping 35 times. Thirty-five. 

“I’ve never carried it 35 times before,” Robinson said.

Head coach Steve Sarkisian said Robinson was exhausted at the end of the game. But despite the workload, Robinson wasn’t lacking for efficiency averaging 6.2 yards per carry for a career-high 216-yard performance of which Texas would need every single yard. Not to mention, he added what is now a routine two touchdowns to his Madden-esque stat line.

No. 5 created something out of nothing on play after play, taking advantage of the holes created by a depleted offensive line and making room where there was none; the big men up front couldn’t get it done.

“(He) epitomized our football team, our grit,” Sarkisian said. “We leaned on No. 5 and found a way to get a win on the road.”

On Texas’s first touchdown of the game, Robinson effortlessly glided in for a 27-yard touchdown after making two TCU defenders look silly while diving for his ankles. 

 

And on the Longhorns’ last drive of the game, Robinson met a group of Horned Frog linemen 3 yards short of the first down and just bullied his way into the first down. 

“The last one was the most important one to get one more first down to seal the win,” Sarkisian said.

It was a tense moment that symbolized everything the running back did for Texas on Saturday — willing his way past the opponent when he seemingly should’ve been stopped and squeezing just enough out of his 6-foot, 214-pound frame to get Texas past TCU.

“Bijan was tired. But he dug deep and he just pushed through it,” quarterback Casey Thompson said. “And I think we did a really good job of just playing big boy football at the end.”

The redshirt junior quarterback had his worst passing game of his short collegiate career on the road in Fort Worth, completing 12 of 22 passes for 142 yards. But he leaned on his running back early and often and engineered a crucial winning drive partially with his own legs to put Texas up by two scores in the second half.

Up 20-26 with 3:45 left in the third quarter, TCU stacked the box with a bevy of defenders and dared the Longhorns to pass. Instead, Thompson scrambled for a first down then got another on a quarterback sneak.

At the crucial point of the drive and the whole afternoon, a third-and-9 play at the TCU 41-yard line, Sarkisian elected to go with his star: Bijan.

“He’s earned our trust,” Sarkisian said. “Quite frankly, that was why I went for it on the goal line. Part of it was I believed in him and I believed in our guys up front. Part of it was a little bit of sending a message to our team: ‘I believe in them.’”

Sarkisian dialed up a simple run to the right for Robinson, who got exactly nine yards to extend the drive and give Thompson another play, which the quarterback used to deliver the ball to sophomore wide receiver Jordan Whittington for a 32-yard catch-and-run touchdown on a slant.

Those six points turned out to be all Texas needed to squeak out of Fort Worth with a victory, a crucial hump that previous Texas teams couldn’t hurdle.

In August, Sarkisian said his plan was for Robinson to average 20 carries a game. The head coach and offensive play caller stayed consistent with the plan his first four games — giving Robinson 20, 19, 13 and 18 handoffs.

Then on Saturday, he dialed Robinson’s number when the team needed him most.

Bijan delivered.

“Whatever it takes to win,” Robinson said. “Doesn’t matter what it is — I’m just going to keep grinding.”