The defensive struggles for the Texas Longhorns continued on Saturday, once again drawing much of the attention, but the offense didn’t do them many favors, turning the ball over four times on the Texas side of the field. On that same note, when the Texas defense did force TCU to turn the ball over, the offense was unable to capitalize on those turnovers.
Zero points off of turnovers
For the second time this year, the Longhorns forced two turnovers and came away empty-handed. However, unlike the OU game where Texas punted both times, the possessions following turnovers were downright disastrous for the Texas offense.
After TCU quarterback Max Duggan threw his first interception of the year, Sam Ehlinger gave the ball right back to TCU on the Texas 20-yard line. TCU turned that interception into three points. Three series later, TCU gave the ball up again via fumble, but Texas came away empty yet again as Cameron Dicker missed from 26 yards out, just his third miss of the season.
TCU, on the other hand, turned three Sam Ehlinger interceptions into 13 points, with the fourth interception ending the game for the Longhorns.
On the season, Texas is still plus three in turnover margin, but after six turnovers in the last two weeks they are dead even during conference play. Of those six turnovers, Texas has given up 27 points for an average of 4.33 points per turnover, with 36 yards as the longest field the defense has been given to work with.
4/5 red zone scoring — two TDs, 2-3 FGs
The Longhorns are actually one of the top schools in the country when it comes to scoring in the red zone, their 90.91% conversion rating is good enough for No. 25 in the country. However, the Big 12 is collectively one of the best in the country, with that mark only good enough to tie for sixth of ten schools in the conference, so every trip matters.
Heading into the last three games, if the Longhorns made it to the red zone you could almost guarantee they would turn that into a touchdown — Texas was 16 of 18 in the red zone and all 16 of those successful trips ended in touchdowns.
The Longhorns were perfect against Oklahoma and Kansas, but ended two of their 10 red zone trips with field goals rather than touchdowns. Against TCU, Texas was again an admirable 4-5 inside the red zone, but came away with field goals rather than touchdowns twice. Add to that rare miss from Cameron Dicker, Texas left 11 points on the board in the red zone in a 10-point loss.
Max Duggan: 10.1 yards per attempt
TCU quarterback Max Duggan had a field day against the Texas Longhorns, putting up 345 yards and three touchdowns — just 21 yards shy of what Heisman hopeful Jalen Hurts did three weeks ago against the Texas defense. However Duggan had one of the most efficient games a quarterback has had against the Texas defense all year.
The freshman averaged 10.1 yards per attempt in the win, becoming the second quarterback with double-digit yards per attempt against Texas after Joe Burrow went for 12.1 in the season. In fact, he’s just the third quarterback to accomplish that feat in the last two seasons, with Kyler Murray doing it twice a year ago in addition to Hurts this year.
So now the Longhorns hope the extra week, and extra help, get the defense back to where players, coaches and fans thought it would be at the start of the year. On the other side of the bye, Texas has to take on Kansas State, who are fresh off of a win over Oklahoma, before traveling to Iowa State and Baylor. If the Longhorns manage to win out, they will need some help, but could still find their way into the Big 12 Championship.