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Game Preview: Texas Longhorns vs. TCU Horned Frogs

Can the Longhorns get past the pesty Horned Frogs?

Photo via: Brendan Maloney, USA TODAY Sports Images

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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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Aaron Carrara is the founder and publisher of HornSports and has covered University of Texas athletics since 2011. Aaron is a member of the Football Writer's Association of America and the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association and is a proud father to three boys.

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