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Texas vs. TCU – Inside the Numbers

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Remember last week when we discussed how Texas had momentum and an outside shot at a Big 12 championship? My how things have changed.

Cooper Neill

I was really looking forward to this game, and the team's performance (specifically the offense, which we'll get to in a minute) was pretty crushing. Now we're back to a team limping down the stretch and wondering what our direction is. The game felt miserable, and was an awful way to send out a senior class that has battled through rough times. We'll look at some of the few positives coming out of the game before I start shamelessly grinding my axe.

1 - 8, 1: Jeremy Hills carries - yards, rushing TDs

I just wanted to give a special shout out to Jeremy Hills. Given the Texas running game problems through his first years, and the difficult depth chart in his latter years, Hills is a guy that could have mailed it in to wrap up his football career. But he redshirted his third season at Texas, continued to work, and was a valuable 3rd down back in his senior year and a strong leader in the running back room. His final carry at home scored his first career touchdown, and he broke his right leg in the process. Thanks for all your contributions at Texas, Jeremy.

48 - 217 (4.5), 2: TCU rushes - rushing yards (yards per carry), rushing TDs

7 - 10, 82 (8.2), 0 - 1: TCU completions - attempts, passing yards (yards per attempt), passing TDs - INTs

58 - 299 (5.16), 20: TCU offensive plays - total yards (yards per play), points

9 - 20, 1, 3: Texas defense tackles for loss - yards lost, sacks, quarterback hits

The TCU offensive game plan was simple: run the ball, limit Trevone Boykins' opportunities throwing the ball, and shorten the game. The 58 plays run by TCU is 14 short of their season average of over 72 plays per game. The 5.16 yards per play is .41 yards short of their season average 5.57 yards per play. And while the 4.52 yards per rush is well above the 3.93 season average, it represented solid progress over the abysmal run defense early in the season. The defense also forced 9 negative plays on 58 total plays, including a nice 3 TFL performance by sophomore DE Cedric Reed. On the aggregate, I was pleased with the defense's performance. Let's dig a little deeper.

4 - 13, 4 - 5 (2, 2): TCU 3rd down conversions - attempts, TCU red zone conversions - attempts (TDs, FGs)

The Texas defense held a bad TCU 3rd down offense to 30.77% conversions, below their season average of 35.40%. Similarly, the TCU offense, ranked 102nd in the country at scoring TDs in the red zone (at nearly 51%) was held to 40% TDs on red zone possessions, as well as a missed field goal in the second quarter. Winning football, if you ask me.

28 - 176 (6.29) vs. 30 - 103 (3.43): TCU first half vs. second total plays - total yards (yards per play)

When Texas tried to mount its second half comeback after trailing 14 - 3 at the half, the defense stepped up. After an interception on TCU's third play of the second half, the Texas defense held two drives going 10 plays for 64 yards and 8 plays for 38 yards to FGs. The final three drives for TCU? All 3 and out, totaling -1 yard. The defense did its part. What did the offense do?

33 - 86 (2.6), 1: Texas rushes - rushing yards (yards per carry), rushing TDs

21 - 38, 214 (5.6), 0 - 3: Texas completions - attempts, passing yards (yards per attempt), passing TDs - INTs

71 - 300 (4.2): Texas total plays - total yards (yards per play)

Its not hard to tell that the offensive production Texas brought on Thanksgiving was terrible. The 2.6 yards per carry, which does include lost sack yardage (3 sacks for 21 yards lost, and a forced fumble), clearly demonstrates the inability of the Texas offensive line to move the TCU front. The TCU secondary also made life difficult for the Texas passing game, holding David Ash and Case McCoy to an aggregate 5.6 yards per attempts (5.0 for Ash and 6.5 for McCoy). TCU also nullified any chance of Texas at getting a big play, with Texas' two longest run plays being Case McCoy's 13 yard scramble and a 12 yard Daje Johnson run, and the two longest passing plays being a David Ash 18 yard completion and Case McCoy 19 yard completion. Throw in the 3 INTs and fumble recovery, and TCU dominated the Texas offense.

3 - 4 (1, 2): Texas red zone conversions - attempts (TDs, FGs)

The Texas offense, which had been good in the red zone all year long, was simply dreadful against TCU. The 4 red zone possessions featured a FG after a stalled drive on its second possession, a David Ash INT on its third possession, a Mike Davis dropped pass at the goal line leading to a FG on its first drive of the second half, and the late Jeremy Hills TD run. 1 TD on 4 attempts and a turnover is your margin in the game. It was simply not good enough.

3 - 11: Texas 3rd down conversions - attempts

The Texas offense, ranked 7th nationally at converting just more than 50% of its 3rd down attempts, converted only 27% of its attempts against TCU. In the second half, when Texas attempted its comeback and the defense held TCY to 2 of 8 conversions on 3rd down? The Texas offense managed a meager 1 of 6 conversions, while chipping in a 1 of 2 attempts on 4th down. More not good enough.

15 - 47 (3.13), 1 - 5: Johnathan Gray carries - rushing yards (yards per carry), receptions - receiving yards

I love Johnathan Gray. He's a special talent, as dynamic a back as we've had in Austin in some time, and we should look to get him the ball as much as possible. But how we used him against TCU was nothing short of senseless. Of our team's 37 plays in the first half, 13 touches went to Johnathan Gray. Of the team's first 3 drives and 29 plays, 11 went to Johnathan Gray. He's a strong kid for his age, but his body isn't ready to carry that load at this level. His first 4 carries went for 8, 9, 6, and 7 (7.5 yards per carry). The next 7 carries went 1, -1, 2, 7, 0, 2, 0 (and a fumble that he recovered), and -3 (7 carries for 8 yards). He'd get a 5 yard reception, and 3 carries for 9 yards to finish the game.

Did we forget that he's a true freshman and should be on a pitch count? Did we forget about the other talented ball carriers on the roster? I'm not here to speculate about rumors, but isn't Malcolm Brown healthy? Daje Johnson couldn't get more than his 2 carries for 14 yards? Joe Bergeron only gets 5 carries? DJ Monroe can't get a touch on senior night? Marquise Goodwin can't get involved in the run game? Jeremy Hills gets one reception and one red zone carry on senior night? Our reckless use of John Gray early and complete disregard for the other talented backs on the roster is a real headscratcher.

6 (25), 1, 3 (21), 3: TCU tackles for loss (lost yardage), forced fumbles, sacks (sack yardage), quarterback hits

Do you need any more indication that the TCU defensive front owned the Texas front? For a team that hasn't given up many negative plays, the game against TCU was full of them. 6 tackles for loss resulting in 25 lost yards, including 14 yards loss on two TFLs by freshman freak Devonte Fields. David Ash was not comfortable all game long, and Case McCoy was glued in scramble mode during his snaps.