3 for 3: The good, the bad and the future in Texas Football

Margaret Wirick, Sports Reporter

Texas’ game against TCU  on Saturday was a gritty battle, but the Longhorns came out on top, winning 32-27. Texas  also earned the No. 21 spot in the AP Top 25 heading into the Red River Showdown.

The Good

Texas’ defense forced three turnovers and maintained its intensity throughout the game. Senior defensive back D’Shawn Jamison recovered a fumble in the first quarter, and fellow senior defensive back Anthony Cook forced a fumble on TCU’s first possession in the second half. Unlike against Texas Tech, the Longhorns remained focused on the task at hand for the entire second half.

It’s difficult not to write about Bijan Robinson after each game, but the sophomore running back had his best game of the season. Robinson  ran for 216 yards on 35 rush attempts, bringing his total to 652 rushing yards on the year. The offensive star has the second most rushing yards in the country and was named the Big 12 Player of the Week for the second time this season.

Cameron Dicker, a longtime fan favorite, had an impressive showing. The senior kicker was named the Big 12 Co-Special Teams Player of the Week for kicking a perfect game that included four field goals and two extra points, scoring 14 points for the Longhorns.

The Bad

Texas struggled on third down attempts, only managing to convert 50% of the time. Dicker was brought out four times when the Texas offense could not convert in TCU territory on third down. The other failed third down attempts resulted in two punts and a turnover when Texas could not manage to move the chains on fourth down.

“Clearly, we got some really good field position in the game,” head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “Probably the best field position we’ve had all year in any game and we just didn’t capitalize.”

On offense, the Texas passing game continued to struggle. In every game except Rice this season, the Longhorns opponents have out-thrown them. The Casey Thompson-Xavier Worthy connection was spotty at best. Thompson made a questionable call throwing deep to a tripled-covered Worthy at the end of the first half that ended up getting easily picked off. Of the five attempted passes from Thompson, Worthy only caught one for seven yards.

“I think the passing game was just a little out of sync for whatever the reason is,” Sarkisian said. “At the end of the day, … we got to keep taking our shots.”

The Longhorns got pushed around on all fronts by the Horned Frogs. The TCU defense forced two quarterback hurries, notched two sacks and snagged an interception. The Frogs totaled 23 yards in tackles for loss and knocked down two of Texas’ passing attempts. TCU also forced a fumble but the Longhorns scrambled to recover. While Texas put up a solid front on defense, the Longhorns allowed TCU a 100% score conversion in the red zone.

The Future

The most anticipated game of the season will take place at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas this Saturday. No. 21 Texas and No. 6 Oklahoma will meet in the iconic Red River Showdown. Since 2000, the Longhorns have only beaten the Sooners seven times.

The Sooners are 5-0 in the 2021 season so far, beating West Virginia and Kansas State in conference matches the past two weeks. Despite the team’s record, Oklahoma fans have been unhappy recently, booing their own quarterback Spencer Rattler when the offense has faltered.

The heated rivalry game will be a tough match and will require a greater intensity from the Longhorns. Texas’ rush offense is No. 5 in the nation, but the Sooners rush defense also ranks at No. 7. Fans put a lot of stock into who wins in Dallas, but Sarkisian said this is just an opportunity to see where the Longhorns are at this point in the season.

“This is a good football team, a talented roster and good coaches,” Sarkisian said. “And we’re going to find out. We’re going to see where we’re at.”