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Burnt Ends – 02/5/17

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The point on a brisket is typically the fattiest cut. Pitmasters often trim the point (and select edges) off a brisket and return those pieces to the smoker.

Are burnt ends tough, chewy worthless cuts of meat, or are they heavenly bites of smoky goodness? It depends on who you ask…

Rather than discard the trimmings and fat, we choose to savor all the information that flows through the site. So, sit down and help yourself to some burnt ends.

This is a free site, so anyone can read this report. If you share it with someone, please take time to attribute the information to HornSports.


Remaining Texas Targets and Confidence Levels

Keondre Coburn

D: Coburn sent folks into a panic over the weekend when it was reported he would be in Austin for an unofficial visit then never showed up. Coburn proceeded to send fans into a bigger panic by removing Texas related stuff from his profile. Miami thinks they have a shot at the flip, but we’re not buying it. If a flip is going to occur, it is going to be A&M or TCU, who have been deemed bigger threats for some time now. To our knowledge he didn’t trip to either campus after not making it to Austin. Unless Coburn took a stealth visit somewhere this month, I am putting my money on him sticking with Texas on Wednesday

Confidence:  8

Keaontay Ingram

D: Ingram made a quiet visit to College Station recently with some of his teammates, but it doesn’t seem like it moved the needle at all in his recruitment. I still fully expect him to sign with Texas on Wednesday.

Confidence: 9

Vernon Jackson

D: Texas had a pulse going into the weekend as Jackson took his final visit to A&M and coming out of the trip it sounds like Texas is still alive and kicking. There is buzz that Texas is the leader when it comes to in-state options and with Jackson considering staying close to home, the Longhorns could potentially pull off an upset here. Stay tuned.

Confidence: 6

Andrew Parker

D: Coming into the weekend, I felt optimistic about Texas’ chances of flipping the Arkansas commit from NOLA, and it seems that visit to Austin went over well with him and his mother. The Arkansas side of things doesn’t seem confident they can hold onto him heading into the dead period. I think Texas is trending in the right direction here.

Update: Sources have indicated Parker could announce sooner rather than later, and Texas looks good. Consider the confidence boosted to a 9.

Confidence: 7

Tommy Bush

When Bush announced he was taking his final official visit to Baylor over the weekend I figured there was nothing left to see here in regards to Texas. Then Bush and his family decided to make a stop in Austin on their way home to San Antonio today. I don’t know if Texas is going to pull it off, but they are alive and kicking with a chance to still sign the four star pass catcher heading into the dead period.

Confidence: 4

Lawrence Keys

Texas made a solid push with Keys in the final month of the cycle, but I’m afraid it was too little too late. Notre Dame is still viewed as the leader here as we head into the final stretch and I think the Irish will be able to hold off Texas.

Confidence: 3

Jaylen Waddle

This one is a bummer any way you slice it given Texas’ need for a dynamic slot receiver. The word going around is he is bound for Tuscaloosa.

Confidence: 0

Christian Jones

Did he make it to campus or did he not? Jones has been radio silent the entire weekend, but I have a hard time believing he didn’t make the two hour trip up the road to see his childhood dream school on the final weekend before NSD. If he indeed made the trip like some think, then I like Texas’ chances here. Otherwise, not so much.

Confidence: 8 if he made the trip, 3 if he didn’t.

Calvin Anderson

Probably the most important recruit Texas is after right now since he is an instant starter a huge need position. After taking an official to Michigan, Anderson reported that Texas and Michigan were out in front with other schools behind them. Anderson was in Austin this weekend to see his family and made his way to campus to take in the basketball game against Oklahoma and go some face time with the staff. I already liked where Texas stood after his official and I like it even more when he is able to make impromptu follow up visits like this.

Confidence: 8

Mailbag

This is a friendly reminder to submit your questions for the mailbag every week, available until Sunday at 5:00 p.m. You may submit a question by posting on the HornSports.com mailbag thread or by emailing us at hsmailbag@gmail.com.

 

Q: Will Texas hoops make the tourney? How far will they advance?

A: As it stands right now, Texas should make the NCAA tournament. They have several quality wins and should reach at least the 8 win mark in conference play, which will be good enough to punch their ticket to the Big Dance.

It’s hard to envision the Longhorns receiving anything higher than a 7 or 8 seed with their body of work, which means a potential second round matchup against an elite team. They have shown all year they can play with anyone in the country, but it would be a tall task having to beat a team like Purdue or Michigan State. Right now, I see Texas getting their first NCAA tournament win since 2014, but ultimately failing to make it out of the first weekend.

Q: What are the weak positions in-state for 2019?

A: The weakest position in-state is probably LB. After Marcel Brooks, the state does not have much talent at the position. Don’t be surprised to see Texas reach into other states here, similar to what they did with Ayodele Adeoye in this class. Other than that, DT isn’t as abundant as one would like past DeMarvin Leal, but there are options there.

Q: Will Tom Herman be the play-caller next season?

A: This is a tricky one to answer. Tom Herman was heavily involved in play calling during the Longhorns bowl win over Missouri. Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck is still on staff and Herman has added Herb Hand, who was given the co-coordinator title. If there is no more shuffling among assistant coaches, we expect Tom Herman to take on a larger role in play calling, similar to the bowl game. It is not likely that Herman would come out directly and name himself the play caller, but all plays would go through him and he would have a play sheet at his disposal to make calls.

Q: How do you think Jimbo Fisher’s recruiting will go next year?

A: Jimbo Fisher is off to a really good start in the 2019 class. He has gained commitments from Brian Williams, Kam Brown and Bobby Wolfe in the past 8 days, and has put the Aggies in good position for several other highly rated recruits. The 2018 class should be relatively small for A&M, allowing them to take a big number in 2019. Fisher is a great recruiter and has several assistants who are known for their recruiting ability. A&M should end up with a good class if the early signs are any indication. How good remains to be seen, because the state of Texas is deep at certain positions and not everyone can go to the same school. It will be an interesting battle between Tom Herman and Fisher once focus fully shifts to the 2019 class.

Q: Who is the No. 1 target for the 2019 class?

A: Texas needs to load up in the trenches. This is no secret. The No. 1 player in the state right now is OT Kenyon Green, and Texas is prioritizing him as such. Green is easily the top must-have target on the Longhorns board, and they are in a good position early on. On the other side of the ball, DT DeMarvin Leal is a must-have. If Texas can keep Keondre Coburn in the fold, that’ll be 2 high-end DT prospects in two straight signing classes – something the Longhorns have failed to do for the past half decade.

 

Note on Reggie Hemphill-Mapps

Although there have been rumors that Hemphill-Mapps would end up staying with the football program after all, that does not appear to be the case. Mapps is not participating in team activities right now and is actively weighing his options. That does not mean he will not ultimately decide to stay with the football program, but at this point, it seems unlikely. We will continue to monitor the situation and update you with any new information we receive.

PWO’s Deserve Love, Too

In every recruiting class, recruits are defined by stars. Major programs such as The University of Texas focus on 4 and 5-star players, with some higher end 3-stars joining the mix. But what about high school players that love the game just as much and work just as hard, but don’t get the same attention major prospects do? Major programs have uses for these types of players, and Texas took advantage. Stars may define some prospects, but heart and a sheer will to succeed define the class of 2018 PWO’s at The University of Texas.

Matt Frost

As a junior in high school, Frost had to overcome multiple obstacles. As an offensive lineman at only 200 pounds, it was difficult to see any playing time on the field. This led Frost to work harder than he ever had before. “Because I played for one of the premier programs in California, I rode the bench most of my junior season. This led me to hopping the fence to the football field every weekend of the offseason to push sleds. I spent countless hours in the weight room and managed to get up to around 260 pounds by the start of the season. I’m comfortable with the grind. I embrace it.” You can’t teach determination and work ethic, and Frost has both of those. With other opportunities at high-end DII schools and several Ivy Leagues, one would think the choice to come to Texas would be difficult. Not for Frost. “I grew up watching Texas football and have gone to a game nearly every year since I was 6-years-old. I’m excited to prove myself at the program I have idolized since I was 5.” At Texas, Frost will be apart of the School of Undergraduate Studies, where he plans to transfer into the Cockrell School of Engineering. If there’s one thing that Frost’s story can demonstrate, it’s that hard work pays off. “It feels good to know that all the hard work my family and friends have put in and the work I put into both football and school has paid off.”

P.S. for all of you Longhorn trivia fans out there: Matt’s full name is Matt Wilson Frost. The Wilson comes from his great grandfather, Wilson Homer “Bull” Elkins, who played football for the Longhorns in the 30s and is recognized in the Texas Sports Hall of Honor.

Jarrett Smith  

Smith is the perfect example of a deserving athlete that is passed up by most major programs due to one measurable – height. At 5-foot-5, Smith is not your ideal running back. He doesn’t play like an average running back, either. For Smith, being overlooked only adds fuel to his fire. “It only makes me want to prove myself even more, work harder each and every day and just get better one day at a time. Hopefully one day, people will start to notice what kind of football I am, without even paying attention to my height.” Smith was in a similar situation to Matt Frost, but was majorly considering playing for an Ivy League school like Princeton or Cornell. What made him pick Texas? “Texas had the best of both worlds for me. It had the successful football program that I wanted to be a part of and contribute to, and it has the best collegiate academics I could possibly dream of. It has one of the best chemical engineering programs in the nation and one of the best finance programs in the nation. I also chose Texas because it was closer to home. I didn’t want to be far away from my family and friends, yet still be able to get a good education. Texas made me feel welcomed, and made me feel like I was apart of the family before I was even admitted into the college.” A large part of what made Smith feel like he was part of the Texas family was running backs coach Stan Drayton. “I think of coach Drayton as a role model. He has believed in me ever since he met me, and I respect that, because a lot of programs have overlooked me because of my height. I feel like coach Drayton can relate to me and I just have the utmost respect for him.” Texas fans should keep an eye out for Jarrett Smith in the future. Don’t be surprised to see him on the field sooner rather than later.

Justin Mader

As the No. 2 long snapper in the country, Mader’s recruitment has been anything but ordinary. For long snappers, the recruiting process is a little different, even if only being offered roster spots as a PWO. “The process has definitely been unlike anything else. Especially at my position, where a lot of times I’m recruiting the schools more than they recruit me.” Even though other schools like Army and Air Force are recruiting Mader hard, Tom Herman and Craig Naivar have done a good job recruiting Mader. “They have been up front with their situation since the spring, and Coach Naivar has visited me at my high school multiple times. I really appreciate their honesty how they have made me feel wanted.” If there’s one thing to learn about this recruitment, it’s that Tom Herman will leave no stone unturned. If Mader sides with Texas, Herman will have completed the special teams trifecta for the 2018 class – kicker, punter, and long snapper. Mader is set to visit Air Force on February 8.

Texas Baseball Prepares for 2018 Season

In their first year under David Pierce, the Texas baseball program fell one win short of a super regional berth. Expectations remain high for the 2018 season despite losing 5 starters and 2/3rds of the weekend rotation from the 2017 squad. Here are some baseball nuggets to chew on as the team prepares for the season opener against Louisiana Lafayette:

  • Two new players who will play key roles on the 2018 squad are infielder Masen Hibbeler and outfielder Duke Ellis. Hibbeler makes his way to Austin after 2 years at Odessa Junior College, where he hit .493 with 10 home runs as a senior in 2017. Those around the program rave about Hibbeler’s bat and ability to make consistent hard contact, as evidenced by his 15:22 strikeout to walk ratio in 144 at bats last season. When Hibbeler announced his commitment to Texas over the summer, I talked to an opposing pitcher who faced him last season, and he point blank said, “He was the best hitter we faced all year.” Ellis spent last season at Panola Junior College, and figures to slide into to the CF vacancy left by the departure of Zane Gurwitz. The sophomore hit .415 with 21 stolen bases in his lone season at the JUCO ranks.
  • As far as the rest of the outfield, Tate Shaw and Austin Todd seem to be the favorites to take over starting roles in LF and RF, respectively. An outfield of Shaw-Ellis-Todd would give Texas one of the most athletic outfields they’ve had in years. Todd was said to have had a great fall and is a guy who will be counted on as a run producer.
  • One of the storylines to watch as the 2018 season begins is the health and role of LHP Josh Sawyer. After battling injuries the past few seasons, Sawyer is fully healthy and figures to be major bullpen piece this season. In 2016, Sawyer was up to 96 with his fastball coming out of the bullpen. This past fall, that type of velocity was on display and there is a growing sense of confidence that Sawyer is in store for a big 2018 season. A healthy season from the left-hander would be a huge boost for the bullpen.

Harrison is a proud alumnus of The University of Texas at Austin and a second-year law student at Texas Tech University School of Law, where he plans to get a J.D./M.S. in Sports Management. He hales from Baytown, TX, but will always consider Austin home. In his spare time Harrison enjoys hunting, sports and any activity pertaining to his dog.

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Commitment Spotlight: Tyler Owens

Texas has landed a commitment from highly coveted safety Tyler Owens. What does he bring to Todd Orlando’s defense?

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Following the “Stars at Night” camp in July, Texas extended several offers to prospects who impressed the coaches throughout the evening. One of those offers went to 2019 Plano East safety Tyler Owens, who won the fastest man competition. The Longhorns quickly became the front runner in his recruitment, and the intriguing prospect ultimately chose to shut down his recruitment and pledge to Texas.

Owens joins a secondary class that already has commitments from Mayfield (CA) S Chris Adimora, Grayson (GA) CB Kenyatta Watson II and Alvin CB Marques Caldwell. The 6’2, 202 pounder currently ranks as the 44th best safety in the country and the 631st player overall, according to the 247sports composite rankings. Owens chose the Longhorns over offers from 14 other schools, including Baylor, Houston, Nebraska and UCLA.

Player Information

Name: Tyler Owns
Position: S
High School: Plano East
City & State: Plano, Texas

Measurables

Height: 6’2
Weight:  202
40-yard time: 4.48
Shuttle: 3.29
Vertical: N/A

Statistics

No stats available.

Film

Tyler Owens Junior Season

Pros:

  • Very reliable tackler. Wraps up and takes good angles to the ball carrier. Good technique.
  • Has a knack for squaring ball carriers up and laying some pretty solid hits.
  • While his straight line speed isn’t as noticeable as it may be when he is in shorts, Owens definitely shows the ability to stick his foot in the ground and get downhill quickly.
  • Shows a good football IQ. Diagnoses plays well and knows where to be on the field.
  • Very good special teams player. Uses his speed to get down the field on kickoffs and always seems to find the ball.
  • Played very good competition. Had highlights against 6A state champion Highland Park and plays in the same district as state powerhouse Allen.

Cons:

  • Needs to continue to develop his ball skills. Shows the ability to defend the pass, but will need to work on getting his head around and finding the ball.
  • Positional fit. Owens best fit could be at linebacker after he spends a season or two in a college strength and conditioning program.
  • Tests extremely well, but you don’t see those athletic traits translating much to his tape.
  • Seems a little stiff on tape, so that will be something to take monitor when his senior tape comes out. Could factor in to where he projects long-term.

Summary

When you turn on the film for Owens, the first thing to stick out is how projectable he is. He could easily add weight and spin down to linebacker, which wouldn’t be bad at all considering his reliability as a tackler and how well he defends the run. It is easy to see why Todd Orlando and Craig Naivar like Owens. He has a nose for the football and his athleticism will allow him to be utilized in multiple ways. 2018 signee DeMarvion Overshown had a similar build to Owens coming out of Arp (6’3, 200 pounds), and there are definitely some similarities in the way the two  play.

If Owens sticks at safety, he will need to continue to work on defending the pass. His speed helps him tremendously when tracking down the ball in the air, but there will be a learning curve as he adjusts to the passing game at the college level. Owens possesses great athleticism, as seen by his testing numbers, but it is a bit concerning that you don’t see that explosiveness and twitch on tape much. Is he a combine warrior or does he just need more time in the incubator to unlock his potential? It will be interesting to see what the senior film beholds because it could be a solid indicator for what his development curve is.

Final Verdict

After hearing how Owens performed in the camp setting and watching his film, there should not be any doubts about whether he is a take for Texas. The loaded 2018 defensive back class should allow almost all the 2019 signees in the secondary to be eased into action. Owens has a very high ceiling, and the Texas coaching staff feels confident they can tap into his potential.

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: TCU

The Longhorns had many positives and some negatives to analyze after a big win over TCU on Saturday

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Photo via: Bethany Hocker, USA TODAY Sports

For the second straight week, Texas physically outplayed a ranked opponent. The Longhorns opened Big 12 play with a 31-16 win over TCU. Similar to last week, the win featured a lot of good and not a lot of bad, but let’s take a look at some takeaways from an impressive victory over the Horned Frogs:

The Good

The Secondary

Entering Saturday’s contest, there were a lot of questions about how the Texas secondary would hold up against a TCU passing attack that featured several talented playmakers. The Longhorns defensive backs ended up surrendering only 197 passing yards to Shawn Robinson, and came away with two interceptions. Kris Boyd, Brandon Jones, Caden Sterns and Devante Davis all had big moments. Sterns in particular continues to shine as a freshman, recording both interceptions and playing well in run support. Boyd and Davis each had a few plays they would like to forget, but the duo played well overall.

Collin Johnson

It is no secret that Collin Johnson has the skill set to take over games at the receiver position, but #9 turned in one of his most memorable performances in a Texas uniform. Johnson recorded his 3rd 100+ yard game in his career, finishing the night with 7 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown. In addition to his big game catching the ball, Johnson also had a huge block to help spring Lil’Jordan Humphrey’s  game-clinching 38-yard touchdown reception in the 4th quarter.

Johnson’s talent has never been in question, but Saturday’s performance proves that the junior can be a matchup nightmare and has what it takes to be Sam Ehlinger’s #1 receiver.

Turnover-Free Sam

For the third consecutive game, Sam Ehlinger played a turnover-free game. Don’t look now, but the sophomore has now thrown 8 touchdown passes compared to just 2 interceptions. Tom Herman commented after the game that a lot of Ehlinger’s progress is due to the offensive staff calling plays he is comfortable with and not asking him to do too much. There may not be a play that describes Ehlinger’s development more than his touchdown pass to Humphrey, where Ehlinger stood in the pocket, thought about bailing, but took a few steps back before finding Humphrey over the middle of the field.

The Bad

Slow Start

In 3 of the 4 games for the Longhorns this season, their opponent has scored on their first possession. Yesterday, the Horned Frogs drove down the field with relative ease before having to settle for 46-yard field goal by Jonathan Song. Although the sample size is still relatively small, the Texas defense needs to do a better job of settling down early in games and not letting their opponents draw first blood.

Short Yardage Situations

Facing a 4th and 1 in the second quarter, Texas did something that I haven’t seen since 2016: playing under center. The result? A pitch play on the short side of the field to Daniel Young that resulted in the loss of a yard. In real time, I agreed with the decision to go for it, but the play call and personnel that matched it were very questionable. It didn’t end up hurting Texas in the long run, but the offensive coaching staff needs to do a better job of sticking with what makes sense.

The Ugly

Special Teams

A week after nailing all 3 of his field goal attempts, Cameron Dicker came back down to Earth by making only 1 of 3 field goals, missing very badly on his final attempt. Ryan Bujcevski averaged 39 yards on 5 punt attempts, but it is obvious that Tom Herman does not have a ton of confidence in his punter. Herman chose not to re-kick following an offsides penalty on a punt, likely because he didn’t want to risk a possible block or a shank from the freshman. D’Shawn Jamison made a mistake on during a kickoff return, bringing out a kick that went 3 yards into the endzone, resulting in a short return and a holding penalty, forcing Texas to start a drive at their own 5.

Special teams mistakes have not cost Texas a game to this point in the year, but if the Longhorns plan on competing for a Big 12 title, they must make corrections. 

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Texas drops #17 TCU 31-16

Tom Herman got his first signature win over Gary Patterson and TCU on Saturday

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Photo: Bethany Hocker, USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Longhorns entered Saturday’s game looking to put an end to a nasty trend of losing to TCU — a team they have historically had their way with.  Recent history has proven this task difficult, with TCU winning five of six since joining the Big 12, including four straight against the Longhorns. As a Big 12 member, TCU has a perfect 3-0 record in Austin. On Saturday afternoon, the Longhorns emphatically ended the losing streak to Gary Patterson and TCU in front of 95,124 fans, proving they are a legitimate contender for the Big 12 Championship this season.

TCU began on offense after Texas won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. The Horned Frogs worked quickly behind quarterback Shawn Robinson, marching 46 yards on 8 plays. The drive was capped with a 46-yard field goal by Jonathan Song which gave TCU an early 3-0 lead over Texas.

Texas failed to answer Songs’s field goal on their first offensive possession, with freshman kicker Cameron Dicker missing his first field goal of the season on a 42-yard attempt.

The Longhorns would make up for it on their next possession, with quarterback Sam Ehlinger engineering a 65-yard scoring drive which was capped off by a five yard touchdown run by Tre Watson. Texas led TCU 7-3 at the 4:09 mark of the quarter, their first lead over the Horned Frogs in four years.

After two rushing plays on the next possession, Robinson would complete a 50-yard pass to Jalen Reagor, setting TCU up for a first and goal at the Texas 4 yard line.  The Texas defense held steady, forcing the Frogs to settle for a 23-yard field goal, Jonathan Song’s second of the day.

The Longhorns maintained a 7-6 lead after one quarter was in the books.

Cameron Dicker’s 34-yard field goal represented the first points of the second quarter, extending Texas’ lead to 10-6 over TCU.

TCU would take a 13-10 lead into the locker room at the half, on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Robinson to Jalen Reagor.

Texas started the third quarter on offense but quickly went three-and-out.  On the next possession Robinson was intercepted by Brandon Jones, but the Longhorns would fail to capitalize.

Song extended the TCU lead to 16-10 at the 8:44 mark, making good on his 3rd field goal of the night, this time from 29 yards out.

Texas regained its lead with less than a minute left in the quarter after Sam Ehlinger found a stretched-out Collin Johnson in the end zone for the score. Texas led TCU 17-16.

On TCU’s next possession, Caden Sterns intercepted Shawn Robinson for the second time on the evening and returned it for a touchdown. After review by the officials, Sterns stepped out of bounds at the TCU 2 yard line.  Sam Ehlinger finished the short drive by taking the first down snap and running it in untouched for a touchdown.

Headed to the fourth quarter, Texas held a 24-16 lead over the Horned Frogs.

The fourth quarter belonged all to the Longhorns, who scored a lone touchdown courtesy of Sam Ehlinger to Lil’Jordan Humphrey, and played solid defense en route to a 31-16 win.

Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns in the win and rushed for one touchdown. Collin Johnson led the Longhorns with 124 yards receiving and one touchdown. The Texas offense totaled 367 yards of total offense compared to TCU’s 372.

Cade Sterns and Brandon Jones each had interceptions against TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson, who threw for 197 yards in the loss.

The Longhorns improve to 3-1 overall and are riding a three-game win streak, something they haven’t accomplished since the 2014 season.  Additionally, Texas defeated it’s second consecutive ranked opponent in two weeks.

While the win over TCU was important, Tom Herman knows he has a lot of work ahead if his team wishes to leave the Manhattan with a win next Saturday:

“We’re going to celebrate it, enjoy it, and we’re going to wake up tomorrow knowing we got to go on the road for the first time in a month against a Kansas State team that’s always, always tough to handle and especially when they’re playing at home. That is a tough, tough place to play. ”

Texas will travel to Manhattan, Kansas to take on the Kansas State Wildcats next Saturday at 2:30 PM.

INJURIES

  • True freshman running back Keaontay Ingram returned to the field against TCU after missing the USC game with a knee injury. Ingram left the game in the first half after suffering a hip pointer. In his postgame presser, Herman said he doesn’t expect Ingram’s injury to be anything long-term.
  • Defensive back Jarmarquis Durst sustained a severe shoulder sprain.
  • Offensive lineman Calvin Anderson played through some knee issues in the game and will be evaluated on Sunday.

GAME NOTES

  • Texas improved to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the Big 12 Conference with the win
  • The Longhorns are now 3-1 for the first time since 2012
  • Saturday’s win marks the first time UT has beaten Top 25 teams in consecutive weeks since 2008
  • The Texas defense forced four turnovers in the win
  • Collin Johnson’s 100-yard receiving performance marked the second straight season, and seventh time in school history, that a Longhorn receiver has eclipsed the century mark against TCU.
  • Sam Ehlinger has 2,893 career passing yards, surpassing his high school coach Todd Dodge’s career passing mark for 15th all-time in school history.  Ehlinger also becomes the first Longhorn QB since Colt McCoy in 2008 with at least one passing and one rushing TD in three consecutive games.

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Seahorn’s Five Thoughts: TCU

Texas finally ends the Horned Frogs curse

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Photo via: Bethany Hocker, USA TODAY Sports

That’s two weeks in a row this team has proved me wrong. Maybe I should just keep  picking against them each week. This was a better opponent this week and a much more meaningful game in the grand scheme of things, and this team answered the bell in a big way.

Getting the Purple Monkey (Frog) Off Their Back

TCU has had Texas’ number for several years now and it’s been no secret, especially given how Gary Patterson and his staff have been beating that drum in the ears of recruits. Over the recent years, Texas has been out coached, out schemed, out hustled, and just about anything else you can think of in its matchups with TCU. It seemed like anything that could go wrong would, and things would get ugly quick. That changed today in Austin.

Big hat tip to Todd Orlando and his defense as they found a way to limit the explosive TCU offense to less than 20 points and force Shawn Robinson to turn the ball over several times, including one that led to an offensive touchdown. Orlando’s bunch kept the game tight even with the offense struggling at times, but they got the ball back in their hands and gave them extra opportunities. That leads me to my next point.

Winning the Turnover Battle

Texas didn’t just win the turnover battle today — they dominated it. The Texas safety tandem of Brandon Jones and Caden Sterns combined for all four defensive turnovers today and Sterns almost scored his first collegiate touchdown, but stepped out before he could. We knew going in that Robinson was prone to turning the ball over and he did it three times, with each being very key to swinging the momentum and contributing to what ended up being the final score. Speaking of Sterns, if people didn’t know who he was before today, they probably do now. That kid is a future All-American and a three year player. Enjoy him in Austin while you can.

On the other side of the ball, Sam Ehlinger and the Texas offense took care of the ball and didn’t turn it over to a defense that knows how to force errors. While the offense may have had struggles today, they did not give TCU extra opportunities via the turnover.

Playmakers at WR Come Up Big

It’s impossible to tell the story of this win today without mentioning Collin Johnson and LIl’Jordan Humphrey. The dynamic duo combined for 11 catches for 204 yards and two HUGE touchdowns that gave Texas the lead, and put away the Frogs down the home stretch. Plain and simple, these two came up huge despite having all kinds of coverages rolled their way, and when Ehlinger needed a big play, he went their way. Humphrey and Johnson continue to impress early on and are looking like one of the top receiver duos in the Big 12.

Learning to Finish

Remember how I said previously that this team needs to learn how to finish off quality opponents? Don’t look now, but in back-to-back weeks this Texas team has not only beat a ranked opponent, but has delivered knockout blows and made the teams wave the white flag. Gary Patterson opted to punt with time left on the clock and his team down on the scoreboard. He (and his team) tapped out. They said NO MÁS. With the way TCU has been treating Texas lately, I didn’t think I’d see that with my own eyes any time soon. This team is getting better each week and they have a chance to get another monkey off their back next week in Manhattan. Just a different shade of purple.

Building Momentum

Winning last week against USC was huge for recruiting and confidence. This week’s win over TCU is the USC win multipled ten times. This was a win over a conference and in-state rival who has built their brand off of dominating Texas over the past few years, and now you take the shine off that pitch and have a chance to change the momentum. If recruits and opponents weren’t paying attention after last week — they certainly are now. Texas isn’t back, but they are certainly getting better. They should be favored over a struggling Kansas State team next week, but it’s the venue that should frighten everyone. They have a chance to win in Manhattan and put together a 3-game winning streak heading into Dallas. That would make an already big game even bigger.

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