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Inside the Numbers: Texas run defense must improve quickly

The Longhorns struggled to stop the Sooners on the ground in the Cotton Bowl, exposing a potentially fatal flaw on this team..

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Texas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 21 Texas Longhorns had an opportunity to exorcise more of their demons on Saturday but couldn’t avoid the meltdown against the No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners in the Red River Showdown.

Texas run defense: 339 rushing yards (8.3 yards per carry), 4 TDs

Let’s start with the bad — the Texas run defense has now had its second abysmal performance of the year and, although the offense kept it from being a blowout, this was actually a worse performance on the ground for Texas. The 339 rushing yards is the highest rushing total allowed since giving up 398 to Baylor in 2016. It also cracks the bottom 20 for the worst rush defense performances in school history, edging out the 1956 Texas A&M Aggies for the spot.

This marks the first time since 2016 that Texas allowed two 300-yard rushing performances, against the Baylor Bears and the TCU Horned Frogs game that officially closed Charlie Strong’s time in Austin. This is also the second four-touchdown game in the same season, the first time that has happened since 2013. In the 99 games between 2013 and 2020 there were just five such games.

Casey Thompson: 20/34, 388, 5 TDs

Casey Thompson came to play in the biggest game of the season and rewarded the decision to name him the starer by turning in on of the best games in recent history. He became just the fifth Texas quarterback to throw five touchdowns in a game, joining Colt McCoy, Sam Ehlinger, Chris Sims and James Brown on that illustrious list. He also becomes the third player to hit that mark multiple times after his five-touchdown performance against Texas Tech, joining Ehlinger and McCoy.

However, he accomplished something none of the others have — he did it against the Sooners.

After fully taking over the starting job in Week 3, Thompson has officially reached the 1,000-yard mark with 1,095 yards at the halfway mark for the year. This puts him on pace for 2,190 yards in the season, which would crack the top 25 seasons by a quarterback at Texas.

Xavier Worthy: 9 receptions, 261 yards, 2 TDs

Xavier Worthy put the whole college football world on notice, looking like not only the best receiver on the team, but someone who could grow into the best receiver in the country by the end of his career. His 261 yards is the most by any receiver in the Red River Showdown and is the second-highest single-game performance in school history. He trails just Jordan Shipley’s 2009 performance against UCF, which was also the last time a receiver hit 200 yards.

He is also in the middle of rewriting the freshman records for Texas, eclipsing BJ Johnson’s 187 yards game against Texas A&M 21 years ago for the highest single-game total in school history. With his second 100-yard game under his belt, he is now tied for the freshman record for games with 100 receiving yards at two.