Texas vs.  TCU score, takeaways: No. 4 Horned Frogs stifle No. 18 Longhorns, clinch spot in Big 12 title game

Texas vs. TCU score, takeaways: No. 4 Horned Frogs stifle No. 18 Longhorns, clinch spot in Big 12 title game

No. 4 TCU used a strong defensive performance to push past No. 18 Texas 17-10 to reach 10 wins for the first time since 2017 and clinch a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 3. The matchup between the two offensive powerhouses surprisingly turned into a defensive battle, but in the end, TCU remains in the thick of the College Football Playoff conversation.

Texas posted 11 tackles for loss in the first half to keep TCU behind the chains, but running back Kendre Miller took over the game in the second half while overshadowing his more ballyhooed contemporary, Bijan Robinson. Miller broke off a 75-yard touchdown run for the game’s first touchdown and cleared 130 yards rushing. Robinson was held to just 29 yards, snapping a streak of seven straight 100-yard performances.

Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers completed just 17 of 39 passes for 171 yards and an interception in another poor effort following his breakout performance against Oklahoma in October. The Longhorns, astonishingly, have not scored an offensive touchdown in the second half since their win over Iowa State on Oct. 15. Texas tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders caught seven passes for 61 yards and Jordan Whittington posted 78 yards, but neither got into the end zone.

TCU moves to 10-0 and has earned the chance to play for a conference title in coach Sonny Dykes’ first season. The Horned Frogs have regular-season games remaining against Baylor and Iowa State before making their first Big 12 Championship Game appearance since 2017.

Frogs step up on defense

TCU has been criticized for winning shootouts, but the defense took center stage in a big way against the Longhorns. The Horned Frogs picked off Ewers and held Robinson to 29 yards after the All-American running back post 614 yards rushing in his previous four games.

Horned Frogs linebacker Johnny Hodges flew around the field with 11 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss. Four other defenders posted a tackle for loss, and defensive end Dylan Horton came away with a sack. It was a total team effort as the Frogs once again went on a strong second-half run to choke out their opponent.

Passing game woes for Horns

While TCU did a good job of making Ewers uncomfortable, Texas’ passing game also collapsed on its own. Ewers missed his first seven passes and whiffed on six of his final seven attempts. When Ewers was on target, Texas had several drops or uncontested passes. Xavier Worthy specifically was targeted 12 times and came up with just four catches.

The Longhorns receiving game was heavily hyped coming into the season with Ewers behind center, but the receivers have underperformed. With only two regular-season games remaining, no receiver has cleared 600 yards. Sanders has proven to be a major weapon, but no other receivers has been able to consistently create mismatches.

TCU’s playoff case

TCU has consistently overpowered teams with its offense, but the Horned Frogs flipped the script with an attack focused on rushing and defense. With any luck, TCU hopes that the College Football Playoff selection committee will notice its ability to win in different ways. For example: Though star receiver Quentin Johnston did have a touchdown catch and 66 yards receiving, he was not the focal point of the evening.

Winning so dominantly against one of college football’s most explosive offenses should earn TCU some much-needed street cred as the committee goes into its final deliberations. With the victory, TCU now has strong wins against No. 18 Texas, No. 19 Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and a number of other potential bowl teams. Each involved overcoming a different kind of adversity — yet, the Frogs are still undefeated.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *