Texas’ offense can’t find rhythm, falls 10-17 to unbeaten TCU

Hunter Dworaczyk, Senior Sports Reporter

Facing a fourth down with a 3-17 deficit, redshirt freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers forced a throw to a covered sophomore tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders into the end zone. The pass fell incomplete, effectively ending No. 18 Texas’ hopes of victory against No. 4 TCU.

While junior defensive back Jahdae Barron’s touchdown on a fumble recovery made it interesting late in the game, the Horned Frogs milked enough of the clock to walk out of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium with a 17-10 victory Saturday.

“In the end, we didn’t play good enough to win,” Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “We lost to a good team, but this was more about us. Credit to (TCU) for hanging in there and not turning the ball over, but we didn’t play good enough to win the football game.”

From the beginning, Texas’ offense appeared out of sync. Ewers struggled to connect with receivers early, with his first six passes falling incomplete and his seventh resulting in an interception.

Ewers particularly found difficulties with deep balls against the TCU secondary. With a lack of success in shot plays, the young quarterback never managed to find a rhythm in his throws.

Ultimately, Ewers finished the game only completing 17 of his 39 passes for 171 yards.

“It was definitely a weird night,” Ewers said. “But at the end of the day, you can’t look at it like that. You got to go back on the film. It’s a good learning experience for this whole offense.”

Meanwhile, the Longhorns’ rushing attack simply could not get going against the Horned Frogs.

Thought of as arguably the strength of the team, the offensive line struggled to open many running lanes, and the running back group could not drive the offense down the field like it has done often this season. The duo of junior running back Bijan Robinson and senior running back Roschon Johnson combined for just 43 rushing yards.

Robinson finished with 29 rushing yards, his lowest total yardage in a game since his freshman season. The performance comes just a week after his dominant 209 rushing yard game against Kansas State.

“It was tough; we couldn’t move the line of scrimmage,” Sarkisian said. “There weren’t a lot of running lanes. Just didn’t generate really anything in the run game that felt comfortable for me as the play caller and for the players on the field to execute.”

While it could be comforting to point to one specific aspect of the offense to assign the blame, the unit largely failed in many aspects against TCU.

Given its defensive success against the explosive TCU offense, including 14 tackles for loss, Texas’ offensive inefficiency stood out that much more as a result. The Horned Frogs’ 17 points is the least the unbeaten team has scored all season.

Although Texas no longer controls its own destiny in terms of a conference championship appearance, it still has two more regular season games left this season. 

“We got to look forward,” Robinson said. “All we can do is look forward to getting back to practice and being able to work hard again. This one does hurt, but I can’t take it back.”