On Saturday, the Longhorns will host the Oklahoma State Cowboys in one of the nation's few top twenty-five ranked matchups. However, besides the highly anticipated conference matchup, all eyes will be focused on what's happening in the the stands this weekend.
In today's article, I discuss some of the visitors that are expected to attend this weekend's game versus Oklahoma State. Also, I will list all of Texas's most recent offers since my last update.
To begin, we start with a familiar name, that being 2023 five-star quarterback Arch Manning, the nephew of Peyton & Eli and grandson of Archie. Despite receiving plenty of attention because of the family name, Arch can also sling the rock. Currently, the 247Sports Composite has listed Arch as the nation's top-prospect in the 2023 recruiting class.
It appears that head coach Steve Sarkisian and quarterbacks coach AJ Milwee have made a great impression on Arch, as well as his high school coach Nelson Stewart. Furthermore, Saturday's visit to Austin will provide Manning with the Texas game day experience and will allow him to connect with several other Texas targets.
While the Longhorns coaching staff has gotten off to a promising start with Manning, they will be competing with schools such as Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Ole Miss. In fact, Arch has already been able to visit Alabama and Georgia this fall.
In 2021, the Longhorns were able to add three-star quarterback Charles Wright and, in 2022, Texas is expected to add four-star quarterback Maalik Murphy.
On Thursday, 2022 four-star safety Mikal Harrison-Pilot announced that he will also be in attendance for Saturday's game. The native of Temple, TX was able to visit the Forty Acres in June and could potentially join the 2022 recruiting class's secondary of Bryan Allen Jr., Austin Jordan and Ronald Lewis.
Similar to Harrison-Pilot, 2022 five-star safety Jacoby Matthews also plans to visit the Longhorns this weekend. Matthews is currently the 27th-ranked player in the nation's 2022 recruiting class per the 247Sports Composite. Matthews is a Louisiana native and, like many blue-chip Louisiana natives, is being heavily recruited by LSU. Nonetheless, it should be considered a big win for the Longhorns to get Matthews on campus for Saturday's experience.
Joining the party, 2022 four-star athlete Larry Turner-Gooden announced via Twitter that he will be traveling to Austin for the game. Luckily for Texas, Turner-Gooden is friends with current Texas pledge Maalik Murphy, who may help to sway the former Arizona State commit to Texas.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of this weekend's visitors, however it should serve as an indicator of how much talent will be in the stands on Saturday.
Jaydon Chatman - Three-star Offensive Lineman - Harker Heights
Caleb Downs - Four-star Safety- Mill Creek
Ryan Niblett - Athlete - Aldine Eisenhower
Leviticus Su'a - Four-star Linebacker - Mater Dei
Derrick McFall - Running Back - Tyler High
Dylan Raiola - Four-star Quarterback - Burleson
Colin Simmons - Four-star Linebacker - Duncanville
Zina Umeozulu - Four-star EDGE - Allen
Texas will not have a lot of time to lick their wounds from last Saturday as they prepare to welcome a talented Oklahoma State team to Austin. Mike Gundy's squad is coming off a bye week and currently sits at 5-0 on the season. The winner of Saturday's matchup will be in strong position for a spot in the Big 12 title game in December. Let's take a look at what to expect from a talented Oklahoma State team:
Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace have moved on to the NFL, but talent remains on the Oklahoma State offense. Spencer Sanders is in his 3rd year as the starter at quarterback and still posses one of the best arms in the Big 12. Sanders has thrown for 781 yards in 4 games (he missed the season opener) and 5 touchdowns. One of the biggest question marks for Sanders since he's become the starting QB has been his decision making, and that question has lingered into this year. He is only completing 58% of his passes on the season and has the tendency to turn the ball over in critical moments. He tossed 3 interceptions against Baylor two weeks ago and has struggled at times when he's forced off his primary read.
At running back, Utah State transfer Jaylen Warren has been a godsend for a position room that has been hampered by injuries. LD Brown figured to carry a heavy load for the Cowboys offense this year, but he was injured early in the year and Warren has taken over. In the past 3 games, Warren has averaged 32 carries and has collected 4 touchdowns. Mike Gundy made a comment earlier this week that he did not want to get into a shootout with Texas, so expect Warren to be featured on Saturday.
Tay Martin has taken over the number 1 WR role left behind by Wallace. Martin has 21 receptions on the season for 317 yards and a pair of TD's. Martin stands at 6'3 and posses the ability to win one on one battles. Brennan Presley is the only other receiver with double digit receptions on the season with 12.
The Oklahoma State offensive line has had up and down performances throughout the season. Guard Josh Sills has been the most steady performer but the rest of the unit has been inconsistent. Both starting tackles are redshirt sophomores and can be shaky in pass protection at times.
Oklahoma State might have the best defense in the Big 12. The Cowboys have a ton of multi-year starters who can make plays. It all starts with middle linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez, who has 54 tackles on the season and is all over the field. He does an excellent job of finding the ball and is very tough to block at the second level. Fellow linebacker Devin Harper is active as well and has notched 29 tackles.
On the backend, Kolby Harvell-Peel is one of the best safeties in the league and is joined by fellow senior Tanner McCalister. Corners Christian Holmes and Jarrick Bernard-Converse are experienced players who are fairly sound in the passing game. This is going to be a much better secondary than the Longhorns faced in the Cotton Bowl a week ago, but the Longhorns might be able to find more success on the ground than they did against the Sooners.
Along the defensive line, Oklahoma State really misses defensive end Trace Ford, who tore his ACL in early September. In his place, defensive coordinator has utilized freshman Collin Oliver. The Cowboys are averaging over 3 sacks a game, which puts him in the top 20 in the country, but much of the production came against Missouri State and Tulsa (7 sacks combined).
This is going to be a much better secondary than the Longhorns faced in the Cotton Bowl a week ago, but the Longhorns should be able to find more success on the ground than they did against the Sooners.
Oklahoma State is going to make Texas prove they can stop the run. The Longhorns have given up at least 300 yards rushing twice already this season and the Cowboys have shown a commitment to running the ball. Mike Gundy would have no issues with Spencer Sanders only throwing 20 passes and leaving Austin with a victory.
For Texas offensively, they will have to protect much better than they did in the second half against Oklahoma State. It appears Kyle Flood and Steve Sarkisian and making several tweaks along the offensive line. If Texas continues to struggle up front, Oklahoma State has the athletes to give the Longhorns offense a lot of trouble.
Texas QB Casey Thompson did what many didn't think he was capable of - torching a defense with the deep ball and leading the offense to monumental production. Everyone knew he could be a game manager with Bijan Robinson leading the way, but he took over as the #1 option offensively against the Sooners. This was Thompson's biggest test yet and he responded in a big way, finishing with 5 touchdowns and 388 yards passing. That’s about as good as it gets for a quarterback in any game, let alone in a Texas-Oklahoma rivalry game. The offense sputtered in the second half, but there you cannot blame the loss on the offense. If 48 points isn’t enough to win a football game, then there are larger issues at-hand. Texas blew a three touchdown lead, but there is no question that they have found their answer at quarterback.
The lack of pass rush continues to be something that stands out each week. After Lincoln Riley benched Spencer Rattler, the Longhorns had a chance to bury Oklahoma when freshman Caleb Williams entered the game. The Texas pass rush couldn’t find consistency and Williams made them pay. I wish there was a better answer for how to improve the pass rush, but I noticed that Alfred Collins seems to be more disruptive than his counterparts. I’m not sure why he isn’t starting on the defensive line, but he needs to be on the field more so than not
The ugly is pretty simple for me this week - it’s the rushing defense or lack thereof. Even when Texas had complete control of the game the rushing defense was an issue. Overall Oklahoma ran for over 300 yards and over 8 yards per carry. That’s simply inexcusable and it’s following a bad pattern of Texas struggling against the run. We saw this in Fayetteville earlier in the season and it may have been even worse in Dallas given the circumstances. If Texas doesn’t learn how to stop the run and control their gaps, it will take 40+ points to win just about every game the rest of the way. Oklahoma State has been a very good rushing team and Texas will be tested again this Saturday at home. It was a very disappointing loss for Texas, but the big picture is that Steve Sarkisian looks to have the offensive side of things figured out.
This weekend, like the Longhorns, I also travelled to Dallas for a big football game. On Friday, I covered a top-five ranked matchup in No. 4 Longview versus No. 3 Highland Park. Headlining a talented Longview Lobos team, I was excited to see 2023 five-star wide receiver Jalen Hale in action against a talented Scots secondary.
Entering Friday's game, both Highland Park and Longview had one loss apiece, losing to top-five ranked teams in Southlake Carroll and Denton Ryan respectively. However, both teams have legitimate hopes of winning a state title at the Class 5A Division I level.
While I was excited to watch some offensive focused football, it turns out that I was in store for a defensive slugfest. Early on, it was apparent that the Scots would not let Jalen Hale beat them down the field. To achieve this, the Scots defense made sure to assign multiple defenders to shadow Hale on the outside. However, despite the heavy attention, Hale was still able to finish the game with a couple of catches, albeit they were limited to short gains thanks to a swarming defense.
For Highland Park, I was looking forward to watching 2023 quarterback Brennan Storer sling the rock. Other than a third quarter pick-six off of a throw in the flats, Storer was in control of the game and hit his mark when he needed to, passing for two touchdown passes. According to 247Sports, Storer has received four collegiate offers from schools such as Kansas and Texas State.
Defensively, led by 2022 three-star EDGE Jack Curtis, the Highland Park defense did a fantastic job of quelling any signs of life from the Lobos. Furthermore, Curtis forced a Longview fumble which was recovered and taken to the house to give the Scots a 14-3 third quarter lead. Curtis, who stands in at 6'3", has received 12 offers from schools such as Arizona and Hawaii.
However, despite a solid effort from the entire Scots team, the real killer for Longview was penalties. Seemingly, it appeared that the Lobos were penalized on every drive for extracurricular activity. These penalties extended several drives for the Scots offensively, and allowed them to milk the clock and win the battle of field position.
Eventually, Highland Park was able to win a key district game over Longview, 21-16.
This weekend was the first time that I was able to cover one of Hale's games. Personally, I am impressed by Hale's mixture of size and speed, as he stands in at a respectable 6'2" and ran a 22.68 200-meter dash earlier in the year. Currently, the sole 247Sports Crystal Ball that has been placed for Hale is in favor of the Oklahoma Sooners. However, the Longhorns invited the junior wideout to Saturday's Red River Showdown, which he was able to attend.
I still believe that Hale's recruitment is open and it will be very entertaining to see where he will end up at the college level. Hopefully, I will get to see Hale and the Lobos once again later in the season.
Speaking of Jack Curtis, the senior edge rusher was able to visit Texas's game against Rice several weeks ago. I always mention a prospect who could see his recruiting stock rise and Curtis is one of them. Against Longview, Curtis was causing havoc all night and certainly contributed to Highland Park's big win.
Lastly, I will also be interested to see how Highland Park's quarterback, Brennan Storer, will perform for the Scots in the playoffs. The Scots have a rich history of quarterback play when it matters most, and Storer will be tasked with defeating some of the juggernauts that will loom in the 5AD1 classification.
478 miles (Total)
It was a wild day at the Cotton Bowl. Let's jump right into some quick thoughts and takeaways:
Texas was the better team for about 3 quarters, but the Longhorns faltered in the 4th quarter and that was the difference in the game. There is a lot of finger pointing that can go around, but the bottom line is Texas allowed 662 yards total yards, including 339 yards via the ground. You are not winning many football games giving up those numbers. The Longhorn defense collapsed in the second half and could not contain Kennedy Brooks, who ran for 217 yards.
Pete Kwiatkowski and the Texas defensive coaching staff appeared to have a solid gameplan in place for Spencer Rattler and the Oklahoma offense, but once Lincoln Riley chose to make a quarterback switch it was all downhill for Texas. Caleb Williams brought a different dimension to the offense with his legs and the Longhorns were never able to adjust.
All around, it was not a good performance for Texas defensively. The blame can go to the players or the play caller, but the bottom line is it was ugly. The number of missed tackles had to have been close to 20. The defensive line seemed poised for a big day early, but after Williams entered the game they were a complete non-factor.
Switching to offense, Texas did enough to win the game. Yes, the Longhorns went through a scoring drought in the second half, but if you would have told me before the game that Casey Thompson would throw for close to 400 yards and 5 touchdowns, I would have said Texas won the game by double digits. Steve Sarkisian had some excellent play calls early in the first half to get the Texas offense going, and credit to Casey Thompson for connecting on several deep shots.
The Longhorns' offensive line spent much of the second half on roller skates. Both tackles struggled mightily and the run game disappeared at a point in the game when Texas would have been happy to hand the ball to their Heisman caliber RB.
Speaking of BIjan Robinson, he finished the game with 20 carries for 137 yards. The damage could have been far worse, but Alex Grinch decided in the second half that he was bringing extra men nearly every play. Robinson had what could have been a Heisman moment on a beautiful 50 yards run the second quarter that was nearly a touchdown, but is performance will be a side note considering how the rest of the game unfolded.
Xaiver Worthy bounced back from a rough game in Fort Worth to haul in 9 receptions for 261 yards and 2 TD's. Worthy is a special WR and stepped up in a big way for Texas. Joshua Moore also had a good game with 4 catches for 70 yards and a pair of TD's. Overall, it was a solid day from the Longhorns WR's.
Texas had a huge special teams play early when they blocked an Oklahoma punt, but the lasting special teams play in people's minds will be Worthy running out a kickoff deep in the endzone which resulted in a fumble. Texas was not generating any momentum in the kickoff return game and Worthy has to know to take a knee in that situation if the kick is into the endzone.
This is going to be a tough pill to swallow for Texas. The Longhorns could easily be 3-0 in conference play and be in the driver's seat in the Big 12. Instead, they now have to turn their attention to a huge game against Oklahoma State next Saturday. If Texas is able to pull out a win, they should feel fairly confident heading into a bye week. A loss would be a huge blow to their hopes of making the Big 12 championship game.
On Saturday, things were all sunshine & rainbows for the Longhorns entering halftime with a 38-20 lead. However, this year's Red River Showdown was a tale of two halves for the Longhorns, who surrendered 35 points in the second half. Included in Oklahoma's second half offensive barrage was a game-winning 33-yard rush by redshirt junior running back Kennedy Brooks. This touchdown rush by Brooks gave the Sooners a 55-48 lead with just three seconds left in regulation, and solidified the final score of the rivalry's highest-scoring game ever.
Prior to the start of the third quarter, Texas quarterback Casey Thompson threw for 244 yards and 4 touchdowns, and Bijan Robinson had over 100 yards from scrimmage with a touchdown rush. However, besides Thompson's 31-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Worthy, which tied the game at 48 with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter, the Longhorns did not have much to celebrate.
On the other hand, for Oklahoma, freshman quarterback Caleb Williams was tasked with leading the Sooners after preseason Heisman favorite Spencer Rattler was benched following a fumble late in the second quarter. Once he was given the keys to the Sooners offense, Williams looked like a seasoned quarterback under center. In fact, Williams ultimately amassed 211 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, in addition to a big 66-yard touchdown rush. It was apparent that the freshman quarterback provided the Sooners with a spark, delivering blow after blow to a Texas defense that was incapable of responding.
Furthermore, the Longhorns defense struggled to contain Oklahoma's running game as Kennedy Brooks rushed for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Sooners would finish Saturday's game with a total of 339 rushing yards. Meanwhile, despite a hot start on offense, Texas's running game cooled off in the second half, totaling only 27 rushing yards during the final two quarters. Along with the rushing game, Texas's offensive line struggled to keep Casey Thompson upright in the second half as he faced a countless number of quarterback pressures.
Despite the team's second half struggles, freshman receiver Xavier Worthy was able to account for 261 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. Unfortunately for Worthy, he also had a costly fumble on a kick return which helped give the Sooners the momentum in the fourth quarter. But, when his number was dialed up later in the game, Worthy made some tough catches to keep the team in the game.
The positives for Texas on defense all came in the first half, such as when defensive back B.J. Foster intercepted a Spencer Rattler pass and linebacker Ben Davis forced a Rattler fumble. However, as previously mentioned, the defense lacked any sort of punch following the insertion of Caleb Williams.
Quite simply, the Sooners made the plays that they needed to make in order to keep themselves in the game and, ultimately, pulled off the 21-point comeback victory, now their largest ever come-from-behind victory against the Longhorns. Also worth noting, Oklahoma's 55 points are the most that they have scored in a game since their 76-0 victory over Western Carolina four weeks ago.
Next Saturday, the Longhorns will host Oklahoma State team at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, the kick off time is still to be determined.
Notable Texas Statistics:
Casey Thompson - 344 passing yards & 5 touchdowns
Xavier Worthy - 261 receiving yards & 2 touchdowns
Bijan Robinson - 127 rushing yards & 1 touchdown
Luke Brockermeyer - 12 total tackles
B.J. Foster - 8 total tackles & 1 interception
The Texas Longhorns (4-1, 2-0) and Oklahoma Sooners (5-0, 2-0) meet for the 117th time on Saturday, with both teams having their eyes set on a Big 12 Championship and more. Texas is hoping to avoid a fourth-straight loss to Lincoln Riley's program, and head coach Steve Sarkisian looks to become the first head coach at Texas to win five of his first six games since Fred Akers went 6-0 in 1977.
The stakes are always high at Fair Park when these two teams play one another, but Saturday's game is a barometer for understanding where each of these programs truly is after facing early season struggles. To make the stakes even higher, ESPN's College Game Day will be setting up shop in Dallas for the big game.
Texas beat a ranked opponent to start the season, but was demolished by Arkansas in Week 2. Since then Casey Thompson has taken the reins as the starting quarterback and never looked back. Thompson has led the Longhorns back into the Top-25 and three straight wins, including last weekend's 32-27 road win over TCU.
The Sooners maintain a perfect record after winning in Manhattan last week, but have won all of their games except one (Western Carolina, Week 2) by a touchdown or less.
What: #21 Texas Longhorns (4-1, 2-0 Big 12) vs #6 Oklahoma Sooners (5-0, 2-0 Big 12)
Venue: Cotton Bowl
Location: Dallas, Texas
When: Saturday, October 2nd, 2021
Time: 11:00 a.m. (CST)
On the Call: Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Holly Rowe
All-Time Series: Texas leads, 62-49-5
Last Meeting: Oklahoma defeated Texas 53-45 (10/10/2020 Dallas, TX)
Depth Chart: Texas vs Oklahoma
Game Notes: Sooners & 'Horns
Scouting Report: Oklahoma Sooners
Staff Predictions: Texas vs. Oklahoma
Four Keys to the a Red River Rivalry Win for the Longhorns
The Texas Longhorns have lost three straight to the Oklahoma Sooners and fifteen of the last twenty-two games. To be blunt, the Sooners have owned the Longhorns for the last two decades.
Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian said in his media availability on Thursday that his team had their best practice of the season on Tuesday, and the Longhorns will need to carry that momentum into Saturday's performance at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
While these games, this game in particular, can be challenging for players because of the heated nature of the rivalry, Sarkisian says the team has done a good job in preparation on both the physical and mental side. Sarkisian wants his team to enjoy the rivalry and the breadth of what the game is, but doesn't want them to get carried away with it.
"I think the key for us is to play with emotion but not emotional."
Saturday's game will be the 117th meeting between the Sooners and the Longhorns with the Longhorns holding an all-time advantage of 927-379-33.
Saturday's contest will be the 3rd straight 11:00 am kickoff for the Longhorns. Texas is undefeated in day games this season.
The higher-ranked team in the AP Top 25 has won 18 of the last 29 matchups. Oklahoma is ranked 6th while the Longhorns are ranked at no. 21.
ESPN's College GameDay will set up shop at the Cotton Bowl, the first time they have been to the Texas-OU game since 2018
Texas has won the turnover battle in six of the last seven meetings with OU. The team that wins the turnover battle between Texas and OU is 13-6 since the year 2000. The Longhorns must translate turnovers into points if they want to win in Dallas.
The last eight games between these two teams have been decided by eight points or less.
When asked which three things are keys to Texas winning on Saturday, Sarkisian said; winning at the line of scrimmage, limiting and creating explosive plays, and not turning the ball over/ creating turnovers.
Texas is healthy. Sark reported no injuries sustained at TCU that will prohibit anyone from playing.
The Longhorns have the 5th best rushing offense in the country, led by Heisman Trophy candidate Bijan Robinson. The Longhorns amass an average of 265.8 rushing yards per game.
Oklahoma ranks 7th nationally in rushing defense giving up just 79.4 yards per game.
The Sooners are favored in this game by 3.5 points.
STEVE SARKISIAN TALKS OKLAHOMA
LINCOLN RILEY DISCUSSES TEXAS
The Texas Longhorns (4-1, 2-0) snapped a two game losing streak to TCU last weekend, defeating Gary Patterson and the Horned Frogs 32-27 in Fort Worth. Oklahoma (5-0, 2-0) went on the road and beat Kansas State 37-31 to stay undefeated in and out of conference play.
The Sooners have won three straight and seven of the last ten games against the Longhorns.
The 117th matchup between these programs takes place on Saturday at 11:00 am at the Cotton Bowl with the winner taking the Big 12 driver's seat into the second half of the season.
The HornSports Staff weighs with their predictions on the outcome of the game.
Jameson McCausland (4-1)
For a team that is 5-0, Oklahoma has faced a lot of criticism in recent weeks and most of it is justified. The Sooners have struggled to run the ball this year, which normally is the bread and butter of a Lincoln Riley offense. The Oklahoma offensive line has a lot of questions entering Saturday's matchup in both run blocking and pass protection.
For Texas, the big storyline will be Casey Thompson making first career Texas-OU start. Thompson looked very good against Rice and Texas Tech, but struggled last week against TCU and has now thrown an interception in 3 straight games. We know Steve Sarkisian will find a way to get Bijan Robinson his touches, but a big factor in this game will be the ability of Thompson to push the ball down the field to the Texas receivers.
If you would have asked me to pick this game before the season or even after the Arkansas game, I would have taken Oklahoma by double digits. I like what Texas has shown over the last 3 weeks on both sides of the ball, but the Sooners appeared to figure some things out offensively last week and will have the best pass rusher on the field in Nic Bonitto. I think that is the difference in the game.
Score Prediction: Oklahoma 31, Texas 28
Devon Messinger (4-1)
Against TCU, the Longhorns won the turnover battle quite handily. On Saturday, the Longhorns will once again need to tap into this magic against Oklahoma.
Everyone knows about the talent of Oklahoma redshirt sophomore quarterback Spencer Rattler. While Rattler has had a relatively slow start to the year, the Oklahoma offense started to click once again in their game versus K-State. As a result, besides Bijan Robinson needing to have a big game for Texas, the key for the Longhorns will be their ability to pressure Rattler into making poor decisions. Additionally, Longhorns quarterback Casey Thompson will need to keep a clean sheet and keep Oklahoma's defense honest against the passing game.
Texas's game against Oklahoma will certainly be a litmus test for both teams. Moreover, this year's Red River Showdown could have a tremendous impact on Sarkisian's football program, both on the field and off.
Score Prediction: Texas 34, Oklahoma 31
Tristan Larsen (4-1)
Oklahoma has been holding on to their 5-0 record by the skin of their teeth. Now, they match up with Texas in a game that should serve as their toughest test at this point in the season.
Spencer Rattler, by many a first round selection, has been slightly disappointing this season, but so has the Oklahoma offensive line. Texas has had a new burst of energy since Casey Thompson became the starter a few weeks ago. Nonetheless the battle will be Bijan Robinson verse the Oklahoma defensive front. The Sooners are just one of 15 teams in the nation that are holding opponents to under 100 yards a game on the ground. They haven’t faced someone remotely close to the caliber of player that Robinson is though. Conventional wisdom would make you to think to choose Texas to win this one. Oklahoma has been struggling, winning multiple games by one possession. The Sooners however seem like the team that will just find a way to keep surviving. No matter how ugly they look in some weeks they just keep surviving. Robinson will keep Texas in it, but Texas’ inability to get to Rattler will be their downfall.
Score Prediction: Oklahoma 31, Texas 28
Mitch Lovell (4-1)
The latest edition of the RRS will be tight from start to finish. At the end of the day I think Lincoln Riley will have his offense looking better than it has all season, and prove to be just too much for the Longhorns.
Score Prediction: Oklahoma 31, Texas 28
Aaron Carrara (4-1)
The Sooners are a better team than their on-field performances indicate through five games. Texas is.... well, we're still unsure if Texas is a Big 12 contender or lower tier bowl team? What we do know is the Longhorns have their quarterback in Casey Thompson and a legit Heisman candidate in Bijan Robinson. I would feel much better about picking Texas in this one if the passing game was clicking, but I'm taking the Longhorns anyways. Oklahoma hasn't shown they can put together a complete game, and the Longhorns take advantage of that and win by a Cameron Dicker field goal.
Score Prediction: Texas 34, Oklahoma 31
Throw out the records for both teams headed into the Cotton Bowl. Texas feels like the more prepared team at this point, and I expect Casey Thompson and the Longhorn WRs to have a bounce back game after their struggles in Fort Worth, especially if OU keys on Bijan Robinson. Sark grabs tons of momentum for the remainder of the season this Saturday in Dallas.
Score Prediction: Texas 35, Oklahoma 30
The Longhorns and Sooners will square off at 11:00 am on Saturday at the Cotton Bowl for the 117th time in history. The Sooners are ranked in the Top 10 but have struggled in several games this season. Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian rolls into his first Red River Rivalry with a 3-game winning streak and a Heisman candidate running back.
Here are four things to keep an eye on that could help Texas leave Dallas with the Golden Hat.
1. Can the Longhorns OL hold their own?
Oklahoma’s best unit on their team may very well be their defensive line. This will also likely be the toughest line Texas will face all season on the defensive side of the ball. Yes, even better than the Razorbacks' that dominated Texas for sixty minutes. Oklahoma linebacker Nick Bonnito vs left tackle Christian Jones will serve as a key matchup that could determine who wins in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday. Bonnito has a lethal combination of speed and power and Jones has struggled in pass blocking at times this year. This is a matchup in which Steve Sarkisian must give Jones some additional help in the form of a running back or tight end to chip Bonnito. The Longhorns have gotten significantly better play from their offensive line since leaving Fayetteville but this will be a major test.
2. Will Sark have his team ready for his first rumble with the Sooners?
While Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian has coached and played in big rivalry games, this one is just a little different. Saturday's game takes place at a neutral site, and brings a blend of road and home atmosphere into one raucous stadium. In few games can you feel the momentum shift like this one, and Texas must start fast which has been a problem for the Longhorns in past years. Sark is a great offensive mind and he will likely lay all the chips on the table and hold nothing back to try and win this one.
3. Oklahoma will test the Longhorn DB’s... how will they react?
The Texas secondary hasn’t been tested too often this season and when they have been it hasn’t gone particularly well. Texas Tech attacked the corners downfield and had great success in doing so. I was surprised that Gary Patterson and TCU didn’t do the same last week in Fort Worth, especially without starter Josh Thompson. You can bet that Lincoln Riley will test the secondary over and over on Saturday. If they hold their own it could be a long day for an Oklahoma offense that has struggled at times this year. The Sooners haven't had their typical explosive offense but they still have talent in their wide receiver room. Tight end Austin Stogner can present issues in coverage as well and it will be a task for the Longhorns to slow him down as well.
4. Can the Longhorns DL wreck havoc on Oklahoma’s OL?
Oklahoma is known for having elite offensive lineman year after year but this season they look vulnerable. This is an area where Texas should be able to beat Oklahoma in the trenches. Texas has been rotating several defensive linemen in every game to keep players fresh to maximize reps. Spencer Rattler hasn’t lived up to expectations so far this year, largely in part due to the Oklahoma line being subpar. As we saw last year in Dallas when Rattler was benched, if you get to him early he can be rattled. When that happens, bad throws turn into interceptions. Getting pressure will be pivotal in this game for the Longhorns.
Texas improved to 2-0 in Big 12 play last Saturday after securing a big win in Fort Worth against TCU, but all focus has now shifted to the Red River Rivalry and the 117th meeting between Texas and Oklahoma.
The Sooners enter the game with a 5-0 record but have had some unexpected scares to open the season, including close wins over Tulane, Nebraska and West Virginia.
What has caused some head scratching performances from Lincoln Riley's team and what can Texas expect on Saturday afternoon? Let's dive in:
Expectations were sky high for sophomore QB Spencer Rattler after a really good freshman campaign. Rattler entered the season has the favorite for the Heisman trophy and it was widely thought he would be the first QB off the board in the 2022 NFL draft. So what has gone wrong for the Oklahoma QB? Rattler's decision making has taken a step back this year. He is pushing the ball down the field into very tight windows and as a result, Riley is choosing to not call as many downfield shots as previous years. Rattler did have his best game of the season a week ago against Kansas State, completing 22 of 25 passes for 243 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but still tossed an ill-advised interception where he underthrew a WR along the sideline.
Another underlying issue is the Oklahoma offensive line, which is giving Rattler very little protection compared to what we are used to seeing from Bill Bedenbaugh's unit. Despite having 4 senior starters up front, the Sooners have allowed 9 sacks on the season, including 6 the last two games against West Virginia and Kansas State.
The Oklahoma running game has also not been as explosive as in years past. The Sooners only have two scholarship running backs on the roster, Tennessee transfer Eric Gray and Kennedy Brooks. Both are averaging over 5.0 yards a carry, but as a team the Sooners are only averaging 155 rushing yards per game, which ranks 75th in the country.
Oklahoma does have plenty of weapons to get the ball to when the passing game is clicking. Marvin Mims leads the team with 264 receiving yards on 14 catches but has yet to find the endzone so far this year. Arkansas transfer Mike Woods and true freshman Mario Williams are tied for the team tied in receptions with 20. Riley also loves to utilize TE Austin Stogner and FB/TE Jeremiah Hall in the passing game. Stogner had a good game against the Longhorns a year ago (6 catches for 56 yards and a TD).
Alex Grinch has a done a really good job of turning around the Oklahoma defense compared to where they were just 3 years ago. This is the most talented defensive unit the Sooners have had in quite a while, and it all starts up front with the defensive line. The Longhorns offensive line will face their toughest test of the season going against Nic Bonitto and Isaiah Thomas coming off the edge. With Denzel Okafor out for the season with a knee injury, Kyle Flood will be counting on Andrej Karic to hold his own while making his first career start at RT.
On the backend, Oklahoma has one of the best safety duos in the conference in Pat Fields and Delarrin Turner-Yell, who missed last weeks game but is expected to return on Saturday. Freshman Billy Bowman, who was committed to Texas for over a year before flipping to Oklahoma, starts at nickel and has flashed a ton of a potential.
Overall, Alex Grinch is going to lean heavily on his defensive line to slow down the Texas running game and put the Longhorns into 3rd and long situations where he is able to turn up the heat with the pass rush. Grinch is very aggressive so do not expect Oklahoma to sit on their heels and let the game come to them.
Oklahoma has a few more holes than people would have thought heading into the season, but they are still a top 10 team in the county and should be favored on paper. The biggest question mark is going to be if Texas is able to move the ball through the air offensively. Alex Grinch is going to dedicate almost all of his resources to stopping Bijan Robinson, so the Longhorns will need to connect on some big plays through the air which is something they were not able to do in Fort Worth.
Defensively for Texas, the play of Spencer Rattler is a true wildcard. He appeared to settle into a groove last week against Kansas State but is still prone to costly turnovers. If the Longhorns are able to slow down the Oklahoma rushing attack and force Rattler to beat them down the field with a shaky offensive line, then Texas has a really good chance of emerging victorious.
The Texas Longhorns' recruiting class for 2022, already ranked 5th in the country according to the 247Sports Team Rankings, is filled with 14 four-star commits. Not only did Sarkisian and company add a 15th, but they added quite possibly the best one yet on Wednesday.
Texas, say hello to Brenen Thompson.
Thompson is a four-star wide receiver out of Spearman, Texas playing for the Spearman Lynx. The 5’10 wideout is a speedster, who most recruits and analysts alike agree will be electric at the next level. Per the 247Sports Composite, he’s the 14th ranked player in the state of Texas and the 11th ranked player at his position in the nation. Per those same rankings, Thompson is the highest-ranked recruit Texas has landed in its 2022 class. Coach Sarkisian has struck again.
Thompson joins Armani Winfield as the lone other wide receiver commit in the class. After beefing up the defensive line, it’s clear what direction Sarkisian and company are heading in to fill out the rest of the class.
The speedy wide receiver this year had made visits to Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, and Oregon along with Texas. He held offers from Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, and Oklahoma among others. At the end of the day, Thompson is staying home.
Earlier this year, Thompson was clocked at running a 10.38 and a 21.27 in the 100 and 200-meter dash respectively. His 21.27 was good enough to win the Class 3A 200-meter state championship. Thus, Thompson, despite being injured, has been dubbed as one of the fastest athletes in this class. He’s now Sarkisian’s newest weapon at Texas for years to come.
Name: Brenen Thompson
Position: Wide Recevier
High School: Spearman
City, State: Spearman, Texas
Three Best Traits
Pure Speed - If it wasn’t clear from the text above, lining up Thompson out wide and saying hike is like firing a bullet out of a gun. Thompson uses his acceleration to get off the line and embarrass opposing defensive backs from the get-go. Even if a defensive back manages to stay with him through his first move, good luck trying to keep Thompson maintained in man coverage any longer than that. From a sheer athlete perspective, he is near one of a kind.
Diversity - At Spearman, Thompson lined up all over the field. He took snaps at wide receiver, running back, and cornerback. Needless to say, he did it all for the Lynx. He’s ultimately just a fun weapon for Sarkisian to utilize in a variety of ways. Just give Thompson the ball in open space and watch for great things to happen.
Athleticism - While most everyone who earns a Division-I scholarship can list athleticism as a strength, Thompson’s athleticism puts him in the top 1% of the top 1%. He’s a guy who’s so fast and so naturally gifted you have to game plan for him if you’re an opposing defensive coordinator. The list of guys who can do the things that Thompson can do on the football field is very, very small.
Areas for Improvement
Experience at the Highest Level - Spearman, being 3A, is a small school. Thus, he didn’t have too much competition at the 3A level. Now, this criticism does go both ways as it’s equally as impressive seeing what he does with such little help around him. Still, one has to wonder if the lack of competition could delay his progress at the next level.
True WR Ability - In High School Thompson was used as an offensive weapon and has many good qualities for a wide receiver. But since he played so much elsewhere on the field he didn’t have time to focus as much on route running and ball skills. There’s no doubt however that this is something Sarkisian’s staff can work on with Thompson as soon as he enters the Forty Acres.
Ultimately, this is a giant win for the Longhorns. Thompson should very quickly become a household name in the Sarkisian offense. The stacked class that is the Longhorns' 2022 Class just got even more stacked. Despite the loss of Quinn Ewers and others, Sarkisian and this staff have gone above and beyond to ensure this is one of the better Texas recruiting classes in recent memory.
Texas’ 2022 class is about to take the next step. It was already top-five, but with Thompson’s commitment it could rise to as high as number two in the nation ahead of SEC powerhouses such as Alabama and Georgia. Of the 22 total commits Thompson is just the seventh on offense for Texas. He joins fellow four-star running backs, Jaydon Blue and Jamarion Miller along with his future quarterback Maalik Murphy. Rounding out the offense is the aforementioned Winfield along with multiple interior linemen, Cole Hutson and Conner Robertson. The future of Texas football is looking glaringly bright, and when they make the move to the SEC, they’ll have the weapons to compete.
After visiting the University of Texas two weekends in a row, Harold Perkins was a player that I wanted to see in action. So, on Thursday, I travelled to Cypress, TX to see what the 2022 five-star linebacker could do against Cypress Lakes.
Additionally, on Friday, I covered Stony Point's district matchup against Cedar Ridge to watch 2023 running back Cameron Cook, who has recently received an offer from Southern California.
Despite being projected as a star linebacker at the collegiate level, Perkins is Cypress Park's main weapon on offense. In fact, Perkins, who plays on both sides of the ball, currently leads the team in rushing with 627 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.
Entering Thursday's game, Cy Park had a 4-0 record and was off to a hot start to their season. In contrast, the Cy Lakes Spartans have stumbled out of the gate - with an uninspiring 0-4 record. However, after watching the Spartans line up against Cy Park, it is apparent that their roster has some aptitude for football.
Unfortunately for Cy Lakes, Perkins was a man on a mission for the Tigers, rushing for 162 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 7 carries. Also, funny enough, it seemed like Cy Park's coaching staff tried their best to keep Perkins on the sidelines to get him some rest. However, after the Tigers offense would find itself in a third-and-long, or even fourth-and-long situation, Perkins was subbed back in on mop-up duty.
For example, at one point in the first quarter, Cy Park found themselves in a fourth-and-seven situation in opponent's territory. Out of both field goal & punt range, Cy Park opted to instead dial up a run play for Perkins who took it to the house - giving the Tigers a 14-0 lead.
It is not difficult to see why Perkins is so highly touted, thanks to his jaw-dropping athleticism that he makes look easy. And, while he had a relatively quiet night on defense, thanks to Cy Lakes avoiding his side of the field, Perkins was still able to tally a sack.
When the final whistle blew, Cy Park advanced to 5-0 with a 56-0 win over Cy Lakes.
Like Thursday's game, I was excited to watch two teams that I had never covered before in Stony Point and Cedar Ridge. So far this season, Cedar Ridge has been a team to beat in the 25-6A district, along with Vandegrift. Meanwhile, Stony Point has gotten off to a shaky start to their season and would face a big challenge against the Raiders.
For Stony Point, the passing game quickly became obsolete against a dynamic Raiders defense. Cedar Ridge's pass rush was simply too dominant, forcing a countless number of sacks and quarterback pressures. Additionally, Raiders senior Jackson Donohoe was able to make a nice diving interception grab in the second quarter.
As a result, the offense had to rely on senior Jaden Leonard and junior Cameron Cook to run the ball against a stacked box. Both Leonard and Cook showed flashes of success running the football, however in the end the Raiders defense did not allow many big plays.
When presented with a decent running lanes, Cook was able to piece together sizable runs. However, Cook did have a second half fumble, which he was able to bounce back from as he had his longest rush of the game afterwards.
For Cedar Ridge, junior quarterback Aidan Liston had an impressive outing, throwing for three touchdown passes. Liston was delivering an accurate ball all night and had no problem hitting receivers in stride.
Senior receivers Matthew Brooks and Taye Jackson both look like solid receiving threats. Brooks showcased his big 6'3" frame on a couple of catches while Jackson showcased his speed on a deep-pass by Liston that resulted in a touchdown.
Lastly, on offense, junior running back Karlos Jackson II was bouncing off of defenders and was taking advantage of sound offensive line play by Cedar Ridge. Furthermore, Jackson was involved in the scoring action as he rushed for a first quarter touchdown.
Ultimately, the Raiders were able to win in style, 34-0.
I imagine that there are several players on Texas's recruiting big board that would be viewed as home run additions, one of them having to be Harold Perkins. While Texas is very much in the race for Perkins, evident by his back-to-back trips to the Forty Acres, they have some work to do to land him. In fact, Perkins currently has two 247Sports crystal ball predictions in favor of Texas A&M. But, I believe that it is still too early to guess where he will end up. Moreover, Perkins will not be making his commitment until January at the Under Armour All-American game.
Switching topics, I enjoyed watching the Stony Point versus Cedar Ridge game. The Raiders have a lot of talent and have the ability to upset a team or two in the playoffs. For Stony Point, I liked what I saw from Cameron Cook but I will have to see him again in the future. It is clear that the junior running back has some talent but it is difficult to be showcased when going against a dominant Raiders squad. But, whenever USC is one of the first schools to offer a Texas kid, your ears should perk up.
You can’t discuss this game without mentioning the elite performance from Bijan Robinson. The sophmore had 216 yards on 35 carries and if he wasn’t in the Heisman conversation before, he certainly is now. Steve Sarkisian's game plan was something Tom Herman's never included - feeding Robinson the ball as many times as it takes to win. With 3rd & 6 and the game on the line, Sarkisian told Bijan to win the game and he did just that. One of the things that makes Robinson so great is his balance. On Saturday he forced 15 missed tackles, which is rare from any running back.
The Longhorns' red zone offense struggled on Saturday. Cameron Dicker kicked two short field goals and Bijan Robinson was stuffed on 4th and goal in the 4th quarter. Those are three possessions where Texas struggled to finish drives. Against better teams, those shortcomings could be an issue. Winning more so than not in the red zone is a must for Texas to continue winning games. Also, Casey Thompson missed on a few deep balls and Xavier Worthy had a few missed catches that would have helped the offense stay on the field and potentially score six.
Texas had far too many penalties, especially given the Longhorns have been a fairly disciplined team so far this year. I will acknowledge that the refs Saturday weren’t even serviceable, but 9 penalties for 97 yards is inexcusable. Texas isn’t a good enough to give up nearly 100 yards in penalties and expect a successful outcome. This will be something to watch for next Saturday in Dallas. In a rivalry game like Texas - Oklahoma there will be testy moments where tempers flare, and the Longhorns must stay composed.
Let's jump straight into it as the Longhorns moved to 4-1 on the season and 2-0 in conference play.
Steve Sarkisian was the first person to admit after the game that Texas was very sloppy at times today. The Longhorns settled for field goals far too often in the red zone and struggled mightily to get the passing game going. Despite all that, Texas was able to beat a team they were 2-7 against the previous 9 years. TCU made their fair share of mistakes as well, but this certainly felt like a game Texas would have lost in previous seasons.
Bijan Robinson put the Texas offense on his back. The sophomore carried the ball 35 times for 216 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He was the best player on the field and Steve Sarkisian showed no hesitation in putting the ball in his hands with the game on the line. If Robinson continues to build on what he's done through the first 5 games of the season, he should be in New York in December.
The Texas receivers struggled today outside of Jordan Whittington. Xavier Worthy had several drops and was a non-factor for most of the afternoon and Joshua Moore was only able to catch 3 passes for 13 yards. Marcus Washington played a good amount and continues to show excellent effort as a blocker, but Texas will need more consistency from the position group moving forward to help out Casey Thompson.
Speaking of Thompson, he experienced some struggles today for the first time in his career. He completed 12 of 22 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown along with a bad interception. The interception was a bad decision to throw into triple coverage down the field to Xavier Worthy. Worthy was being held on the play and it probably should have been a flag, but Thompson simply can not make that throw. He also forced several other throws into tight windows that could have been picked off. He did rebound nicely to throw a touchdown to Whittington on a RPO early in the 4th quarter.
The Texas offensive line had an up and down day, but the biggest storyline was the injury to Denzel Okafor. Once Okafor went down, Kyle Flood opted to slide Derek Kerstetter inside to LG and insert Andrej Karic at RT. Karic had several nice blocks in the running game and appeared to play well off the bench.
Pete Kwiatkowski and the Texas defense did enough to get the job done. The Longhorns forced 2 defensive turnovers (the 3rd turnover came on special teams) and should have had another when both DeMarvion Overshown and Luke Brockermeyer had their hands on a Max Duggan pass. Kwiatkowski appeared content with getting TCU to dink and dunk their way down the field while waiting for a mistake and limiting big plays. The plan worked for the most part as the Horned Frogs were unable to push the ball down the field through the air.
The lone sack for the defense came on a strip sack from Anthony Cook on a beautifully called nickel blitz. Cook had another outstanding game and might be the best player in the Texas secondary right now.
The defensive line was asked to contain Duggan for much of the game and try to shut down the running game with Zach Evans. Duggan's longest run of the day was 10 yards. Evans had a good game (15 carries for 113 yards) and probably should have received more touches.
The one aspect the Texas defense is lacking right now is consistent pass rush from their edge players. It is not likely something that is going to change over the course of the season, so the coaching staff is going to have to make do and lean on their interior defensive line to try to get to the quarterback.
Outside of Bijan Robinson, the MVP for the game should go to Cameron Dicker. The senior was 4/4 on field goals and also averaged 46.5 yards on his two punts. Dicker had been inconsistent to start the year, but Texas needed him to come through today and he delivered.
FORT WORTH, TX -- Bijan Robinson rushed for 216 yards and two touchdowns, and Cameron Dicker's four field goals powered the Longhorns (4-1, 2-0) to a 32-27 victory over TCU (2-2, 0-1) at Amon G. Carter Stadium. The win was the first against the Horned Frogs in three seasons, and the first in Fort Worth since 2013.
Texas tallied 414 total yards of offense in a hard-fought victory, with 239 of those yards coming courtesy of Robinson. Texas quarterback Casey Thompson threw for 142 yards and a touchdown and one interception.
TCU turned the ball over three times and the Longhorns managed just nine points off of those turnovers. TCU tried to give the game away, but Texas couldn't close the door, allowing Gary Patterson's team to hang around until late in the game.
When the game clock expired however, Texas had done enough to improve its overall record to 4-1 and 2-0 in Big 12 play.
Offensive lineman Denzel Okafor was carter off the field early on after suffering an injury and being replaced by Andrej Karic.
The Longhorns will face Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas next Saturday at 11:00 am.
TCU's JD Spielman took the opening kickoff 87 yards setting up Zach Evans' 12-yard touchdown run to account for the first points of the game and a 7-0 lead for the Horned Frogs.
On their first offensive possession, the Longhorns drove the ball to the TCU 5-yard line but tight end Jared Wiley was flagged for a false start. Dylan Horton then sacked Casey Thompson for a 10-yard loss, allowing Cameron Dicker to make good on a 38-yard field goal.
After a stop and a solid TCU punt, the Longhorns began the next drive at their own 1-yard line. Texas went three-and-out but after review, TJ Carter was flagged for targeting on Jordan Whittington. The penalty gave Texas a fresh set of downs. Casey Thompson had a 41-yard rush on the 99-yard drive, which was capped with Bijan Robinson's 4-yard touchdown run to give the Longhorns a 10-7 lead.
Derius Davis' fumble at the Texas 40-yard line on TCU's ensuing possession was recovered by D'Shawn Jamison. Texas was forced to settle for another Cameron Dicker field goal after failing to convert on third down.
JD Spielman gave the Horned Frogs a 14-13 lead on an 11-yard touchdown reception as the first quarter came to a close.
The Longhorns punted for the first time in 10 quarters on the opening possession of the second quarter, but the punt was muffed by Derius Davis, and the Longhorns recovered at the TCU 9-yard line.
Texas once again was forced to settle for a Dicker field goal, giving the Longhorns a 16-14 advantage with 13:22 remaining in the second quarter.
TCU answered with a field goal of their own, a 25-yarder from Griffin Kell to regain the lead at 17-16.
Good field position and a couple of defensive penalties helped Texas on the next possession, which ended with Bijan Robinson's second touchdown run of the game (4-yards).
Texas took a 23-17 lead into the locker room at halftime.
After a Longhorn punt to open the second half, TCU quarterback Max Duggan fumbled after being sacked by Texas DB Anthony Cook. Cook recovered the fumble at the Texas 49-yard line but Texas was penalized for an unsportsmanlike conduct. Three plays later Casey Thompson hit Jordan Whittington for a 31-yard strike. The Longhorns had to settle for Cameron Dicker's fourth field goal of the day, this time from 28 yards, to extend the Texas lead to 26-17.
Griffin Kell's 36-yard field goal capped a 7 play, 56-yard ensuing TCU drive leaving Texas clinging to a 26-20 lead.
The scoring continued for Texas to start the fourth quarter, with Jordan Whittington hauling in a Casey Thompson pass for 32 yards and a touchdown. The Longhorns attempted a two point conversion but weren't successful and held on to a 32-20 lead.
Texas was stopped on a 4th & goal at the TCU 1-yard line on their next possession. Max Duggan then engineered a 99-yard TCU drive that was capped by Kendre Miller's 3-yard touchdown run. The Horned Frogs cut the Texas lead to 32-27.
Bijan Robinson's two first downs on the final drive of the game were enough to run the clock out after TCU used its remaining timeouts.
The Texas Longhorns (3-1, 1-0) head to Cowtown this week to face the TCU Horned Frogs (2-1, 0-0), a team that has had their number more times than not over the last decade. Gary Patterson is nothing short of masterful in his pre-Texas game preparation, and the Longhorns should expect to see a Horned Frog team that is ready to play on Saturday.
A win sets the Longhorns up with a perfect conference record and Big 12 title aspirations as they head into the Red River Shootout next week. A loss derails the momentum established since the loss in Fayetteville and makes the preseason goal of a conference championship much more difficult to achieve. The Big 12 is up for grabs and Texas needs a win against TCU in order to stake their claim.
What: Texas Longhorns (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) vs TCU Horned Frogs (2-1, 0-0 Big 12)
Venue: Amon G. Carter Stadium
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
When: Saturday, October 2nd, 2021
Time: 11:00 a.m. (CST)
On the Call: Dave Pasch, Dusty Dvoracek, Tom Luginbill
All-Time Series: Texas leads, 63-27-1
Last Meeting: TCU defeated Texas 31-33 (10/3/2020 Austin, TX)
Depth Chart: Texas vs TCU
Frog Notes: TCU hasn't been kind to Texas
Scouting Report: TCU Horned Frogs
Staff Predictions: Texas vs. TCU
Four Keys to the Longhorns Winning in Fort Worth on Saturday
The Longhorns are tired of losing to the Horned Frogs, but are they ready to do something about it? Texas hasn't won in Fort Worth since 2013 and have an abysmal record against TCU head coach Gary Patterson. Casey Thompson is firing on all cylinders, but can he lead the Longhorns on the road to their third straight win? The HornSports staff gives their thoughts on the outcome of the Texas vs. TCU game in Fort Worth.
Jameson McCausland (3-1)
It's hard to ignore what Gary Patterson has done to Texas the last 9 years. TCU is 7-2 against Texas, including a 3-1 record when the game is played in Fort Worth. Coaches and personnel have changed over the last decade, but the results have mostly stayed the same. The Horned Frogs lost last week to SMU, but I fully expect Patterson to have his team ready to play on Saturday.
If TCU is able to return 3 defensive starters who missed the SMU game due to injury, this game will get very interesting. The Mustangs ran for 350 yards and while Texas has a strong running game, it is a safe bet to assume that Patterson will have his run defense ready to go.
Another wildcard in this game is the weather. Conditions could be nasty in Fort Worth Saturday morning which could throw a wrench in the game plan for both teams. The weather combined with the early kickoff should limit any home field advantage TCU may have, which is good news for Texas.
Despite all the history pointing towards TCU winning this game, I believe Texas secures a huge road win.
Score Prediction: Texas 28, TCU 24
As far as predictions go, this one is a major case of heart vs. head. Although one could argue this is the first true test for the Casey Thompson-led offense, it’s still difficult to ignore the incredible efficiency we’ve witnessed in the last two weeks. However, there’s the giant Horny Toad sitting in the corner of the room with Texas losing seven of the last nine match-ups. This is THE game for Gary Patterson and his troops. He will do everything in his power to make Sark adjust on the fly by attempting to take away weapons like Xavier Worthy (three defensive starters will be back for TCU), while eating clock and patiently setting up Max Duggan to expose the big play tendencies of the Longhorn defense. I’m going to ride the Casey Thompson train until proven otherwise, but I think it will be a white-knuckled Saturday in Fort Worth. If the 70% chance of rain comes to fruition, your guess is as good as mine.
Score Prediction: Texas 38, TCU 27
Devon Messinger (3-1)
Coming off of a loss to SMU, the Horned Frogs, led by Longhorn killer Max Duggan, will look to bounce back with a win over Texas. Furthermore, last weekend, sophomore running back Zach Evans rushed for 113 yards and could present some challenges for Texas on defense.
Casey Thompson will be the X-Factor for the Longhorns in this game as he will need to take care of the ball against a TCU defense that is turnover-happy. Additionally, Thompson will have to be able to convert on third downs to put the Longhorns in a position of success. However, the Horned Frogs defense has been rather lackluster this year and Bijan Robinson should have plenty of opportunities to take control of the game early.
Score Prediction: Texas 34, TCU 20
Aaron Carrara (3-1)
I've been burned on this game so many times the easy prediction would be to take TCU. Patterson's dominance over Texas is well-documented, but at some point the tables will inevitably turn. I think Saturday is that point. Steve Sarkisian has a firm handle on what the capacity of his team is and he will develop a game plan to match. Texas doesn't get caught looking this year and the 'Horns improve to 2-0 in Big 12 play with the Sooners looming.
Score Prediction: Texas 42, TCU 34
Tristan Larsen (3-1)
Texas is firing on all cylinders after decimating the Red Raiders last weekend. Bijan Robinson continues his ascend towards the best running back in football, while the chemistry between Casey Thompson, Jordan Whittington, and Xavier Worthy is something coaches have to be pleased with thus far. TCU meanwhile, even outside of the SMU loss, has more than enough offensive firepower to match Texas drive for drive. Quarterback Max Duggan has looked good while former 5-star RB Zach Evans looks comparable to Robinson. This game will be an offensive showcase that will come down to which defense can make a stop first. Expect both teams to put up 30 plus points as this should be a close one till the end. TCU has owned this rivalry as of late winning seven of the last nine overall. I have faith that Steve Sarkisian and his staff will come more prepared than previous coaching staffs, leading Texas to a close and hard fought victory.
Score Prediction: Texas 36, TCU 31
Mitch Lovell (3-1)
Following two games in which Texas didn’t punt, TCU will have their hands full containing an explosive Texas offense. With the efficiency Casey Thompson has operated with since taking over at quarterback, it’s hard to bet against him. With that being said, TCU has certainly found ways to consistently win against Texas and Gary Patterson will have his team ready like always.
Score Prediction: Texas 38, TCU 28
TCU head coach Gary Patterson's success against the Texas Longhorns is well-known. And equally, especially in Austin, Texas' lack of success against the Horned Frogs is common knowledge. The Longhorns are 2-7 against TCU over the last nine seasons, and haven’t won in Fort Worth since Mack Brown’s final season with Texas in 2013. Throughout those nine seasons, the Frogs are 2-7 leading up to the matchup against the Longhorns. Saturday's game is TCU's Super Bowl and Steve Sarkisian understands that.
Here are four things I will be keeping an eye on in Saturdays matchup in Cowtown.
1. How will the Texas Offensive Line Hold Up?
Last week was the best performance we’ve seen from Kyle Flood's unit this season. They helped facilitate a 70 point offensive performance and didn’t allow a single QB pressure. TCU Defensive lineman Khari Coleman is expected to return from injury and that will be an X-factor on Saturday. Coleman is regarded as Patterson's best on the line and he could cause fits for Casey Thompson if the Texas front five struggle.
2. How Will The Longhorns' Secondary Respond?
Last week Texas gave up four passes of 40 yards or longer. Texas Tech was the first real test for the Texas secondary and they undoubtedly failed that test. Quentin Johnson and company will test the secondary once again Saturday. The former Texas commit will be looking to make his mark in front of the 'Horns.
3. Can TCU Contain the Texas Offense?
Texas has scored 128 points in the last two games. TCU’s defense didn’t look good in their 42-34 loss to SMU at home last week. The Horned Frogs missed 20 tackles against the ponies and if that happens again it, will be a long day for TCU. Bijan Robinson and Xavier Worthy are difficult to contain in general, but if you have tackling issues each can turn what should be short yardage plays into big gains.
4. Can Sark Win On The Headset?
The Texas roster consistently dons more talent than TCU each year. What TCU doesn't have on the roster they make up for in coaching. The Horned Frogs have been better prepared and better coached in the last decade. Steve Sarkisian has an opportunity to eliminate the TCU ghost of the past that constantly has haunted the Longhorns. The Longhorns have the better team and there is no reason they shouldn't leave Fort Worth 2-0 in conference play as the head to the State Fair the following weekend.
The weather forecast for kickoff includes thunderstorms, rain and a temperature in the low 70's. If conditions get too messy, Sarkisian will rely on the mobility of his quarterback and the power and speed of his running backs. It could be a ground & pound type of day at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
Before Texas Christian University joined the Big 12 Conference in 2012, the Texas Longhorns didn't blink twice when talking about the Horned Frogs the week before the two teams played one other.
And they had good reason not to.
Texas had won 28 of 30 from TCU, dating all the way back to 1967.
Since making the jump from the Mountain West to the Big 12 with a short in-name-only stay in the Big East in between, Gary Patterson's Horned Frogs have been downright cruel to the Longhorns.
In the nine games played since 2012, TCU is 7-2 against Texas and has only lost once to them in Fort Worth (2013).
Gary Patterson has the Longhorns' number, and the numbers don't lie.
Patterson ranks first nationally (past and present) among head coaches in winning percentage against the Texas Longhorns (.700) - minimum of 6 games played.
Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian isn't blind to his team's past struggles against the Frogs either.
"We're not naive to the elephant in the room that we're 2-7 against TCU the last 9 years."
Despite the Longhorns' thrashing of Texas Tech last weekend and TCU losing at home on a Hail Mary to SMU, Sarkisian isn't taking Patterson or the Frogs lightly.
"We're also not going to buy the lie that we're going to play the same TCU that just played SMU on Saturday. We're going to get a little different animal."
Saturday's game at Amon G. Carter Stadium will be the fourth straight home game for the Horned Frogs and will give the Longhorns an opportunity to get the monkey off their backs.
Kickoff will take place at 11:00 AM and the game will be televised on ABC.
Texas and TCU will meet for the 92nd time on Saturday. The Longhorns own a 63-27-1 record all-time against the Horned Frogs and are 27-12 against TCU in Fort Worth.
Texas lost to TCU 33-31 last season (Austin, TX).
TCU had a 5-game winning streak prior to losing to SMU last weekend.
Gary Patterson's 7 wins against Texas are second among all head coaches since 1996. He only trails Bob Stoops who has 11.
TCU has a two-game win streak and a three-game win streak in Fort Worth against the Longhorns.
The Horned Frogs are 46-19 in regular season games following a loss under Gary Patterson.
In six of the last nine odd-numbered years TCU has won at least eleven games.
TCU running back Zach Evans is averaging 7.8 yards per carry, which is No. 1 nationally among active players with a minimum of 95 attempts. Evans has also rushed for 100+ yards in four of the last five games.
Texas running back Bijan Robinson has rushed for 100+ yards in six of his last eight games. The Longhorns are 6-0 in these games.