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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Maryland

There was some good, but mostly bad and worse to glean from the Longhorns loss to the Terrapins on Saturday

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Photo via: Tommy Gilligan, USA TODAY Sports

Following a 34-29 loss to Maryland, it’s time to take a look back at the good, the bad and the ugly from a wild afternoon at FedEx field:

The Good

The Freshmen

It was a good debut for several freshmen who were seeing their first action at the collegiate level. Caden Sterns started at safety and finished the afternoon with 4 tackles. BJ Foster played major snaps and showed he wasn’t afraid to defend the run. After Devante Davis exited the game with a neck injury, redshirt freshman Kobe Boyce entered in his place. Boyce played adequately in pass support and made no mistakes defending the run.

On the offensive side of the ball, Texas received a huge spark from Keaontay Ingram. The freshman out of Carthage flashed the same ability that made him the top running back recruit in the state a season ago. Ingram finished the game with 6 carries for 37 yards and a touchdown. There’s no reason he shouldn’t be seeing at least 15 touches every game. Redshirt freshman Sam Cosmi took over at right tackle a couple series into the game and played well, minus a few plays where he got beat on the edge.

Pass Protection

The addition of Calvin Anderson and Herb Hand have already helped a unit that struggled to keep the quarterback upright in 2017. Sam Ehlinger was sacked only once on the afternoon, but the offensive line unit as a whole looked improved in pass protection. All 5 linemen did a much better job of picking up blitzes and all 3 running backs showed a willingness to take on blitzing linebackers one on one. If Texas can develop an offensive identity, it will go a long way in taking advantage of the type of offensive line play that was absent a year ago.

Devin Duvernay

Major props to Devin Duvernay, who had a disappointing 2017 season. The junior hauled in the first touchdown of the season on beautiful 39-yard diving catch. Duvernay is somebody who benefit greatly from improved pass protection, which allowed Texas to push the ball down the field more.

The bad

Missed Opportunities

Everyone remembers Jashaun Jacob’s second touchdown, a 65-yarder after BJ Foster and Devante Davis ran into each other, but the play before Kris Boyd dropped one of the easiest interceptions he will have in his career. Saturday’s loss was full of missed opportunities where Texas had a chance to turn the tide of the game and run away with it.

Following the weather delay, Texas trailed 31-29 and received the ensuing kickoff. The next 4 drives went like this: punt, interception, fumble and interception. The Longhorns had 4 opportunities to drive down the field and take the lead, and couldn’t take advantage. Unfortunately, missed opportunities seem to be a theme for Texas over the past 2 years. The Longhorns have been unable to make the big play when it’s needed most.

Late Turnovers, Again

Sam Ehlinger had moments where he looked to be an improved version of his 2017 self. He stood in the pocket, stepped up and delivered nice balls. But when the game mattered most, Ehlinger threw two costly interceptions —squashing any hopes of a comeback victory. Ehlinger’s explanation for his second interception centered around the fact that he didn’t want to throw the ball away and face a 4th and 10. While it was an understandable explanation, Ehlinger didn’t need to abandon the pocket when he did. Maryland was rushing 2, spying 1 and dropping 8 into coverage. The sophomore still needs to learn when not to escape the pocket and take a shot downfield. It comes with experience, but learning experiences are not something Texas can afford to have this year.

The ugly

The End Result

There’s no way around it — this was a very bad loss for Texas. All the momentum gained from the bowl win to end 2017 is erased and now Texas is forced take a long look in the mirror. The Longhorns will be underdogs in 3 of their next 4 games and have a very real chance of being 1-4 heading into the Red River Showdown in Dallas. The worst possible scenario played out for Texas, and now the Longhorns face an uphill battle to reach the 8 or 9 win mark, which is what many expected in year 2 under Tom Herman.

Offensive Identity

Texas experienced some individual improvements on offense, but the unit as a whole still lacks an identity, which leads to inconsistency. The offensive staff had a tough time deciding what was working and sticking to it. The one drive Texas went up-tempo, they practically walked into the end zone, then never went up-tempo again. For the Longhorns to be successful in the Big 12, they must figure who they want to be on offense. They found success in a variety of areas, but ability to put together complete gameplans with sustained success could be the difference between another 6 win season or 7-8 victories.

Penalties

Texas was one of the most penalized teams in the country a season ago and 2018 appears to be trending in the same direction. The Longhorns were penalized 10 times for 102 yards, including an equipment violation by Collin Johnson on Texas’ first offensive play from scrimmage. The Longhorns are not at a point where they can overcome boneheaded penalties and expect to win games. There were 2 roughing the passer penalties that were textbook calls. Gary Johnson was ejected for targeting after lowering his head on a sliding Kasim Hill on a play that was already getting called back for a holding penalty that would have put Maryland in a 3rd and 20 situation.

Jameson McCausland is originally from Frisco, Texas, where he grew up a Longhorn fan. His two favorite sports are football and baseball, both of which he covers for HornSports. He enjoys spending time with family and friends in his spare time. Jameson is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

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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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Game Preview: Texas Longhorns vs. TCU Horned Frogs

Can the Longhorns get past the pesty Horned Frogs?

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Photo via: Brendan Maloney, USA TODAY Sports Images

Since joining the Big 12, the TCU Horned Frogs hold a 5-1 record against the Texas Longhorns, including four straight wins.  On Saturday Big 12 play begins for both schools, and the Longhorns look to beat head coach Gary Patterson’s team for the first time in Austin since 2007.   The Longhorns are riding the momentum of a resounding win against USC last week, while TCU lost to 4th-ranked Ohio State 40-28.  Texas hasn’t lost five in a row to TCU since the 1930’s and they will have a challenge at hand with the nation’s 40th ranked offense.

What:  Texas Longhorns (2-1, 0-0 Big 12) vs. TCU Horned Frogs (2-1, 0-0 Big-12)
When:  Saturday, September 21, 2018
Time:  3:30 PM CST
Venue:  Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium
Location: Austin, TX
Television: FOX

The Coaches

TCU Horned Frogs

Head Coach:  Gary Patterson
Head Coaching Experience: 18th year as a head coach
Years as Head Coach at TCU:  18
Career Record:  162-58
Career Record at USC:  162-58

TEXAS LONGHORNS

Head Coach:  Tom Herman
Head Coaching Experience: 4th year as a head coach
Years as Head Coach at Texas:  2
Career Record:  31-11
Career Record at Texas:  9-7

Can Texas Break the Curse of the Frogs?

While Texas owns the all-time series record (62-25) against TCU, Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs have dominated the Longhorns since joining the Big 12.  Last year Patterson beat Herman in Fort Worth to the tune of 24-7.  And in the last four losses to the Horned Frogs, the Longhorns have been held to 10 points or less. Attribute those numbers to Gary Patterson’s sound defensive philosophy, which is no different this year. Texas will have to score points and play sound defense if they are going to break the recent purple curse.

Can Ehlinger and the Offense get Cranking?

Sam Ehlinger has made strides from game-to-game this season, and Texas needs the sophmore to continue his winning ways.  He has thrown for 723 yards and six touchdowns with two interceptions this season, and rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns.  Ehlinger’s ability to run is something the Longhorns need to take advantage of in order to throw off a tenacious TCU defense that allows only 317 yards of offense per game.  Texas head coach Tom Herman is aware of the challenge Gary Patterson’s defense poses to his team on Saturday.

“So we’ve got our work cut out for us on both sides of the football. TCU has speed everywhere. Their skilled guys on offense are fast in terms of wide receivers and running backs, a running back with a 94-yard it was against Ohio State, who has a lot of speed on defense themselves. And obviously on defense, even their front and fast and athletic. They played well. They came up a bit short, but it’s as fast of a defense as I’ve seen in a long time.”

The Texas rushing offense managed just 9 yards on the ground in last year’s loss to the Horned Frogs, something that must change on Saturday to give the Longhorns a chance.  The Longhorns have several weapons at receiver that have the potential to impact the outcome of this game. Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Collin Johnson are two of Texas’ top play-makers and will be integrated into the offensive strategy in heavy doses.  Johnson, a 6’6, 220 pound junior, has 13 receptions for 175 yards and a touchdown this season. Humphrey, also a junior, leads the team with 17 receptions for 275 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught a 47-yard touchdown pass in last week’s win against USC.

Texas Injuries

Brennan Eagles – WR

Tom Herman listed the freshman Eagles as doubtful for Saturday’s game against TCU with an injury to his hamstring.  Eagles has played in all three games for the Longhorns this season and has one reception for 35 yards on the season.

Keaontay Ingram – RB

Ingram missed the USC game while still nursing a knee injury sustained in the Tulsa game.  The true freshman was upgraded from questionable to “available” to play during the TCU game.  Ingram is averaging 6.3 yards per carry and has 101 yards on 16 carries this season.

Zach Shackleford – C 

Shackelford missed the Tulsa game due to injury and was still experiencing pain in his foot.  He is doubtful for Saturday’s contest against TCU.

DeMarvion Overshown – LB

Overshown’s knee is still nagging him and will miss the TCU game and possibly the Kansas State game.

Malcolm Roach – LB

Roach had surgery on a fractured foot on Wednesday and will be out six to eight weeks.

What’s at Stake?

The Longhorns are 14-8 (.636) all-time in their first home Big 12 game. Texas hasn’t won three consecutive games since 2014 and with a win today, would carry a 3-1 record into Manhattan, Kansas next week against another team that historically has given them fits.  Texas beat USC last week, but fans are still uncertain as to whether that indicates that Texas is on the rise, or if the Trojans are simply overrated this season.  Saturday’s game against TCU will provide an honest assessment of this team’s capacity on both sides of the ball.

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Staff Predictions: TCU vs. Texas

Can the Tom Herman break the TCU curse on Saturday and secure a key victory?

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Photo via: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports

The Longhorns look to keep the momentum going as Gary Patterson and TCU come to town. Can Tom Herman break the curse and get a win against Patterson? Our staff weighs in.

Daniel Seahorn (1-2)

This team proved me wrong last week by picking up the win over USC, but this week’s game against TCU brings a much stiffer test. It’s no secret that Gary Patterson and the Horned Frogs have had Texas’ number for several years running and that alone makes it tough for me to pick Texas. I know I said it last week, but Texas will have to find a way to beat TCU this week before I can confidently pick them in this matchup going forward.

Prediction: TCU: 35, Texas 21

Jameson McCausland (2-1)

Until I see it actually happen, I can’t pick Texas to beat TCU. Gary Patterson has a strong dislike for Texas, and his players have physically whipped the Longhorns the past 4 years. The last time Texas scored more than 10 points against the Horned Frogs was in 2013 with Case McCoy at the helm.

Texas has made strides, but TCU’s offense is built to exploit some of the issues the Longhorns defense has shown early in the season. It’s hard to see the Texas offense being able to match TCU score-for-score.

Prediction: TCU 27, Texas 17

Aaron Carrara (2-1)

Texas showed out last week in their dismantling of USC, and all eyes are on the Longhorns this week in their matchup against TCU. TCU has an explosive offense, a nasty defense and team speed on both sides of the ball.  The Longhorns have a quarterback that has shown improvement from game to game, a running back corps that is improving and a defense that held USC to -5 rushing yards last week.

The Texas defense must be able to contain TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson and his array of offensive weapons, because while Texas has the capacity to put up points, it can’t match TCU in scoring. TCU is 5-1 vs. Texas since joining the Big 12 and Gary Patterson will employ a barrage of blitzes in his 4-2-5 defense on Saturday night to try and notch Big 12 win #6 against the Longhorns.  In the end I don’t think Texas can keep up with TCU and loses a close one to drop back to .500.

Prediction:  TCU 42, Texas 38

Harrison Wier (1-2)

Texas’ win against USC was impressive last weekend, but I believe it spoke more about the Trojans than it did the Longhorns. The real test comes tomorrow at 3:30. Texas has the home field advantage with an anticipated crowd. TCU comes to town with a typically loaded Gary Patterson team.

Although Texas has improved, I don’t see them pulling this one out. TCU has a stellar defense that presents the ability to give Texas QB Sam Ehlinger fits. If Texas stands a chance, they’ll have to effectively run the ball — which I don’t see happening. Mix that in with Shawn Robinson’s ability to exploit the Texas defense and this game just seems too far out of reach. Texas is improving, but not enough to get over the hump that’s TCU.

Prediction: TCU 38, Texas 21

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