The Texas Longhorns (8-1, 5-1 Big 12) head to Cowtown this week for the final time as members of the Big 12 Conference to face the TCU Horned Frogs (4-5, 2-4 Big 12) at Amon Carter Stadium. The Longhorns still hold hopes of playing for a Big 12 title after winning three straight following their lone loss to Oklahoma. If they win out, they will have that opportunity. Sonny Dykes’ Horned Frogs played for a national championship last season, but this year is a different story. TCU currently sits in 9th place in the Big 12 Standings, has a losing overall record and is in jeopardy of missing a bowl game. This weekend’s game is high stakes and is just as big for TCU as it is for Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns.
Since joining the Big 12 in 2012 TCU has experienced tremendous success against Texas. The Frogs have won eight of the eleven matchups, including last year’s contest in Austin. With Quinn Ewers likely still out this week, Maalik Murphy would get his first road start at quarterback. A night game on the road is a dicey situation for any young quarterback, and Texas will need a smart performance from Murphy if the ‘Horns intend on winning Saturday.
On the flip, TCU starts a young quarterback in Josh Hoover. He will face a tough Texas defensive front that doesn’t make many mistakes. The Frogs however are lethal through the air, averaging almost 300 yards passing per game (ranking 16th nationally). The Longhorn secondary is vulnerable, as the Texas defense gives up 240 passing yards per game.
Texas is favored by 9.5 points, but are the Longhorns on upset alert in a hostile environment on the road?
The HornSports Staff shares their thoughts and score predictions on Saturday’s Texas vs. TCU game in Fort Worth.
Jameson McCausland (7-2)
Amon G. Carter stadium has been a house of horrors for Texas since the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12 over a decade ago. The Longhorns will visit Fort Worth for the final time Saturday evening in a game that features a lot of quarterback question marks. Sonny Dykes made it sound like Josh Hoover will get the start for TCU as Chandler Morris continues to recover from injury, but the situation is a bit more murky for Texas. Steve Sarkisian listed Quinn Ewers as day to day on Monday, which is an upgrade over the week to week status Ewers carried the previous 2 weeks.
Maalik Murphy did not inspire a lot of confidence in his last start, and if Texas is forced to rely on him again in his first road start things could get dicey. The Horned Frogs are a shell of the team who made an improbable national championship appearance last year, but they still possess some talent on the offensive side of the football to potentially make this a game.
Despite some shaky moments the last 3 weeks, Texas has continued to find ways to get it done. So I’ll take the Longhorns in another close one on Saturday.
Score Prediction: Texas 31, TCU 27
Aaron Carrara (8-1)
With Quinn Ewers likely to be on the sidelines for this game the Texas offense will need to exploit the TCU rush defense and gobble clock while gobbling turf. The run game is the strength of Sarkisian’s offense right now and he must utilize it effectively in Fort Worth to have success. Murphy is a young quarterback and is still learning the speed of the game and how to manage the offense. On the road, at night, if he tries too hard to make plays it will come back to bite Texas. Sonny Dykes knows the run will be coming from Brooks, Baxter and company, but can they stop it? TCU gives up 148 yards on the ground each game and I think the Longhorns get far more than that en route to a win in which they cover the 9.5 point spread as favorites.
Score Prediction: Texas 38, TCU 27
Ryan Swantkowski (8-1)
It feels as if every game from here on out for the ‘Horns is a trap game, especially them all being night games. TCU recently has looked quite bad, while Texas keeps finding ways to win with their star QB still sidelined. Quinn Ewers is healthier now, though, so it will be interesting to see if he suits up for Saturday, but I believe that Maalik Murphy will get one more start to get Ewers back to 100%. Regardless of this, I think Texas avoids the “narrative” of trap games in Fort Worth on Saturday, and takes care of business through and through.
Score Prediction: Texas 34, TCU 20
Todd Glawson (6-3)
With a vomiting bug going around the Glawson household, this one has to be short and sweet. There has been talk this week that Quinn Ewers could be ready to roll for Saturday at Amon G. Carter, but I’ll make this prediction with Maalik Murphy getting the start at QB. It’s easy to say this will be a dogfight because TCU gets up for Texas, it’s a night game in Fort Worth and they’ve had the Longhorns’ number in recent years, but I believe this team appreciates the bigger picture of what’s in front of them along with a desire to avenge last season’s disastrous performance in Austin. Avoid turnovers and the silly mistakes that allow for huge momentum swings that were seen in the Houston and K-State games, and the burnt orange should emerge victorious and maybe even in comfortable fashion.
Score Prediction: Texas 31, TCU 20
Devon Messinger (7-2)
Is this the week that Quinn Ewers returns for the Longhorns? We will have to wait and see to find out. Either way, Steve Sarkisian is going to have to see less turnovers from the quarterback position. If Ewers or Murphy can stay away from the turnover column, both the Longhorns offense and the Longhorns defense – a group that was often put in a poor position last weekend against Kansas State, will greatly benefit.
On the other side of things, TCU has also suffered through some inconsistent quarterback play as Josh Hoover has been filling in for a, then injured, Chandler Morris. While both teams possess a multitude of question marks, the Horned Frogs are not in a position to be able to win games while trying to have these answered. As a result, if the Longhorns defense can elevate their game against TCU, specifically in the backend, the team should be able to take care of business on the road without any major problems.
Score Prediction: Texas 37, TCU 20
Marc Henry (6-2)
In the upcoming Big 12 matchup between the University of Texas and Texas Christian University (TCU), the stakes are high as the Longhorns continue to seek a Big 12 title.
One of the key storylines heading into the game is the status of Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers. His potential availability remains uncertain, and if he’s unable to play, Maalik Murphy is expected to step in once again. Murphy’s performance will be crucial, as he needs to limit turnovers, especially after his mistakes in a game against Kansas State that nearly resulted in an upset.
To support Murphy and the Longhorns’ offensive efforts, they need to rely on their running game, led by Jonathan Brooks, and a solid offensive line that aims to control the line of scrimmage. Additionally, Texas should exploit the TCU defense up the middle by getting JT Sanders more involved in the game plan.
Defensively, Texas had an uncharacteristic performance against Kansas State, giving up several big plays. To counter TCU’s offensive threats, they will need to focus on pressuring TCU quarterback Josh Hoover, limiting big chunk plays, and forcing TCU into three-and-outs. Additionally, a key priority will be to stop TCU’s running back, Emanuel Bailey, who has been highly effective this season with 908 rushing yards at an impressive 5.5 yards per carry.
The Texas vs. TCU matchup is poised to be a critical game in the Big 12, with Texas aiming to secure the conference title. The outcome of the game will likely hinge on Maalik Murphy’s performance, the Longhorns’ offensive strategy, and their ability to tighten up their defense to limit TCU’s explosive plays.
Score Prediction: Texas 38, TCU 21
Dylan DeRaud (7-2)
All eyes are on Fort Worth this week as TCU looks to play spoiler and give Texas the best SEC sendoff they can by pulling off the upset. The Horned Frogs have passed well this season, ranking #2 in the Big 12 in passing yards and #3 in total offense. However, their running attack ranks in the bottom half of the conference, and their defense is allowing 24.3 points per game. Another struggle for TCU has been redshirt freshman QB Josh Hoover limiting turnovers. Currently, Hoover has thrown 7 interceptions this season and has thrown a pick in every game he has started.
For Texas, their game plan will include controlling the clock, pounding the rock with Jonathan Brooks and CJ Baxter, and not turning the ball over. With Quinn Ewers starting the game still in doubt, Maalik Murphy will have to improve on throwing the ball away and not giving it to the opponent. Kansas State, an opponent Texas beat, dominated TCU 41-3 by rushing for 343 yards. Watch for Texas to come into this game playing physically on both sides and leaning on Brooks and Baxter to have big games.
Score Prediction: Texas 31, TCU 17
Mitch Lovell (7-2)
No matter if it’s Quinn Ewers or Maalik Murphy starting at quarterback for the Longhorns, TCU will have a long day with Texas’ offense. The Longhorns’ offensive line looked much better last week against Kansas State and that dominance will continue in Fort Worth. TCU is worse than Texas in the red zone ranking 128th in red zone TD%. Look for Texas to eye some style points on the road for the CFP committee after being placed behind Oregon again this week.
Score Prediction: Texas 38, TCU 17