Reflecting on Bijan Robinson’s historic career thus far

Riley Glenn, Sports Reporter

Two minutes and 53 seconds remained in Texas’ battle against the TCU Horned Frogs and the Longhorns held a 32-27 lead. Texas faced a third-and-6, where a stop would allow TCU to get the ball back and potentially take the lead. Head coach Steve Sarkisian dialed up his go-to play call all afternoon, handing the ball off to sophomore running back Bijan Robinson. He took a carry to the left and immediately evaded two defenders, before barreling through another two and reaching over for the first down.

His herculean effort allowed the Longhorns to run out the clock and leave Fort Worth with a victory for the first time since 2013 last Saturday.

As Texas approaches its biggest game of the season, the Texan reflected upon Robinson’s historic rise through 14 career games.

Robinson’s recruitment and freshman campaign

Robinson was a highly touted recruit out of Tucson, Arizona. The running back had interest from many top programs, including Ohio State, UCLA, USC and Michigan. He ended up signing with the Longhorns on Aug. 2, 2019 with high expectations following quickly. However, his playing time was limited early in the season since Robinson shared a backfield with junior running back Keaontay Ingram and sophomore Roschon Johnson. There were flashes of brilliance from Robinson throughout his freshman campaign, but his average of only 9.6 rushing attempts per game limited how effective he could be.

Ending his freshman year on a high note

Robinson was unleashed toward the end of season against Kansas State and Colorado, where he accumulated 443 yards of offense and six touchdowns on 24 touches. Even though his numbers were impressive, the way he played was what made him truly special. His ability to move in space and maintain balance while defenders attempt to tackle him is extraordinarily rare for a 6-foot, 214-pound running back. Robinson’s finesse combined with his vision, receiving ability and consistent effort make it easy to see why he is on pace with historic Longhorn running backs like Ricky Williams and Jamaal Charles, both of which averaged less yards per carry as freshmen than Robinson.

Bijan’s electric sophomore start

Robinson started out his 2021campaign looking strong as ever. Through five games, he is No. 1 in the Big 12 in rushing yards, No. 2 in rushing touchdowns and No. 1 in yards from scrimmage. Robinson is currently on pace to rush for 1,564 yards, which would be more than what both Charles and Williams rushed for as sophomores.

Robinson is coming off arguably the best game of his career, where he rushed for 216 yards on 35 carries against the TCU Horned Frogs. The 35 carries were a career high, with every single one being critical to the Longhorns leaving Fort Worth with a victory. The TCU game displayed every aspect of what makes Robinson so special.

Red River showdown

The Longhorns face their biggest challenge of the year thus far as they head to Dallas to face their biggest rival, the undefeated No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners. Saturday’s game is a massive opportunity for Sarkisian to prove that he has the program headed in the right direction. If Texas wants to pull off the upset, the Longhorns are going to need Robinson to play up to his standard. In the single loss Texas suffered this season against Arkansas, Robinson rushed for a season low 69 yards on 19 attempts. Robinson’s ability to force defenses to adjust allows for the passing game to open up for junior quarterback Casey Thompson and the receiving weapons.

A big performance against Oklahoma could further build upon Robinson’s legacy as one of the best backs to play at the University of Texas.