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Inside the Numbers: Once again, the run game leads Texas

The Longhorns fed their best player and it led to success against the Horned Frogs.

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

It may not have been a lopsided affair like it was a week ago, but the Texas Longhorns coming out of Fort Worth with a win over the TCU Horned Frogs can’t be taken for granted. Once again for Texas, head coach Steve Sarkisian chose to lean into what his team does well — keeping the ball in the hands of star running back Bijan Robinson. Texas was far from perfect in the matchup, but an ugly win is still a win no matter how you slice it.

Texas: 272 net rushing yards, 5.1 ypc

This game was decided on the ground for Texas, riding the talents of the team’s best player to a win. Bijan’s big afternoon, putting up a career-high 216 yards, propelled Texas to its best rushing performance against the Horned Frogs since they joined the conference. To that point, the Longhorns had never before even eclipsed 200 yards on the ground against TCU, winning what turned into a game of attrition.

A lot of the damage came on gash plays for the Longhorns with seven runs longer than 10 yards in the contest, totaling 140 yards, or 51 percent of their total rushing yards. That includes a career-long 41-yard scramble from Casey Thompson and a 27-yard touchdown from Robinson, his fifth rush of 20 yards or longer this year.

Third downs: 6/15 (40 percent)

For the second time this year, the Longhorns were held below the 50-percent mark on third-down conversions, the other coming three weeks ago against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the lack of success on third downs is how well they were set up for success on the money down. Texas was dynamic on first downs, rushing for 207 of their 272 net rushing yards, for an average of eight yards per rush.

That often put the Longhorns in a favorable position on third downs, with a season-high six of their 15 attempts coming from four yards or closer. Texas managed to convert on just three of those attempts, averaging just 2.7 yards per attempt on third downs. Quarterback Casey Thompson was 1-4 for 11 yards trying to move the chain and was sacked twice, while the running backs managed just 3.2 yards per carry.

Red-zone conversions: Texas 5-6, TCU 5-5

The Longhorns continue to be one of the best red-zone teams in the country, with their 5-of-6 performance pushing them to 24-of-26 on the year inside the 20. Coming away empty-handed from the red zone is a quick way to get beat, so it will go a long way for the Longhorns if they continue that trend. Coming into the week there were just 11 teams that were perfect in the red zone on the year, including TCU, which stayed perfect on the year.

However, for the first time this year, Texas had to settle for a field goal within the red zone, and when it was all said and done four of their five conversions came off of the foot of Cameron Dicker. Conversely, three of TCU’s five red-zone conversions were touchdowns, giving TCU an eight-point edge in that battle.