No. 9 Texas jumps from the frying pan into the fire on Saturday when it hosts dangerous and talented TCU in a Big 12 Conference dustup in Austin, Texas.
The Longhorns are 13-point favorites in the game, but the Big 12 is a dog-eat-dog world, with the only thing certain being the uncertainty in each game. The Horned Frogs have defeated Texas in five of the past six years, including a 37-27 win over the Longhorns last season in Fort Worth.
The Longhorns (2-0, 1-0 Big 12) slogged through a mostly ragged second half before rallying to beat Texas Tech 63-56 on the road last week. Texas fell behind by 15 points late in the fourth quarter but scored two touchdowns and a two-point conversion late in regulation to tie the game and won with a touchdown, and a defensive stand, in overtime.
Texas coach Tom Herman said Monday that the Longhorns were “glad to get out of Lubbock with a win,” especially after allowing Texas Tech to rack up 447 yards of offense and missing scores of tackles.
“Our players on defense, they’re embarrassed,” Herman said. “We know we can play better. I think (defensive coordinator) Chris (Ash) is well aware of the challenges, also well aware of how poorly we played at times in that game against Texas Tech. There’s nobody more committed to making it better than him.”
Through two games, the Longhorns have amassed 122 points, 55 first downs, 1,165 yards of total offense and scored 16 offensive touchdowns. Texas ranks as the national leader in scoring offense, averaging 61.0 points per game.
All that will mean nothing on Saturday — the Horned Frogs can go toe-to-toe with Texas. Since beginning Big 12 play in 2012, TCU is 6-2 against Texas, including a 3-1 record in Austin.
“We’ve got a ton of respect for coach Patterson and his ability to adjust his defense,” Herman said. “It gets frustrating sometimes because Gary, to his credit, doesn’t do a whole lot. What he does is he has his players play really, really hard, puts them in great position, and they’re extremely fundamentally sound.”
TCU (0-1, 0-1) fell at home to Iowa State, 37-34, last Saturday. The Horned Frogs’ Big 12 opener was also their season opener, as TCU’s non-conference matchup against SMU was postponed in early September.
“We don’t make excuses,” Patterson said. “Obviously, we would have been better on both sides of the ball (with a game under our belts) because you know what you have. (Against Iowa State) we didn’t have it and we had to play better. If we don’t change some of the things we do, the result is not going to be any better.”
Big plays were the culprit in TCU’s loss as the Horned Frogs surrendered five plays of 32 yards or more, three of which were scoring plays. The other two helped orchestrate scoring drives.
“We got to play better as a defense,” TCU linebacker Garret Wallow said. “It really came down to five plays, and those five plays really hurt us. It’s been frustrating. As a team we have been through a lot, and we overcame a lot. We want to win.”
Texas holds a 63-26-1 advantage over TCU in the all-time series between the schools. That includes a 34-14-1 record when the teams meet in Austin. The Longhorns defeated TCU, 31-16, in 2018, the last time the two teams faced off at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
–Field Level Media