After three straight blowouts against the TCU Horned Frogs, the Texas Longhorns played hard and avoided another embarrassing performance, but didn’t play particularly well in a 24-7 loss in Amon-Carter Stadium on Saturday.
Within 20 minutes, the game was mostly decided against a defense that was impenetrable for a depleted Longhorns offense.
Facing a minuscule margin for error, Texas made too many self-inflicted mistakes to recover — the first drive by TCU featured two personal foul penalties. And two defensive linemen nearly broke up a fourth-down play, but Horned Frogs wide receiver KaVontae Turpin completed a pass to running back Sewo Olonilua to the 1-yard line on a trick play. Former Texas commit Kyle Hicks scored on the next play.
Allowing a conversion by quarterback Kenny Hill scrambling on a 3rd and 17 deep in TCU territory and another third-down conversion helped lead to another Horned Frogs score to stretch the lead to 10-0.
On the following drive by the home team, Hill found holes in the Texas defense for about the only time on the evening and Hicks converted with a 14-yard touchdown run before throwing his horns down after the score.
In the past, the Longhorns would have given up facing a 17-0 deficit.
Instead, quarterback Shane Buechele hit sophomore wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey and then fellow sophomore Collin Johnson for a 33-yard touchdown. However, a missed field goal from 47 yards that didn’t even reach the goal post wasted the previous drive for the ‘Horns.
The next drive ended when Buechele was sacked on an attempted fourth-down conversion beyond the effective field goal range of struggled kicker Josh Rowland. Buechele was pressured all evening and was unable to escape it as the offensive line struggled without starting center Zach Shackelford. Likewise, there was no running room against one of the nation’s best defenses in that area.
Even when Buechele had some time, the wide receivers struggled to create separation as offensive coordinator Tim Beck declined to scheme to attack TCU deficiencies exposed against previous opponents like lining up three wide receivers to the boundary or targeting tall wide receivers on back-shoulder throws.
The second half didn’t feature much action offensively for either team until the Horned Frogs broke through and iced the game in the fourth quarter. A 3rd-and-8 conversion on a throw from Hill to tiny wide receiver Desmon White was crucial early, then the running game closed it out. Former Texas target Darius Anderson closed it out with a 31-yard run.
There’s not much new to say here — the defense was game and largely played well enough to win other than a couple of mistakes and penalties and the inability to create turnovers.
Last week against Iowa State, TCU beat itself. On Saturday, Texas didn’t do enough to avoid self-inflicted mistakes to put itself in a position to win.
Given all the injuries on offense, the revolving quarterbacks, and the completely inept field-goal kicking game, this result was hardly surprising.