The recipe for a win against the Kansas Jayhawks has been to run the ball and Texas Longhorns head coach and playcaller Steve Sarkisian got the message after under-using the playmaker a week ago.
It was feeding Bijan that got Texas the lead, but it was the team performance in the ground game on both sides of the ball that secured the win for the Longhorns and kept them alive in the conference race.
Texas rushing: 427 total rushing yards (7.5 yards per carry), 6 rushing touchdowns
It was nearly an all-timer for the Longhorns on the ground, finishing just five yards shy of the top 20 rushing performances in school history. It also, coincidentally, marks the second time in the last two years that Texas rushed for 427 yards and six rushing touchdowns, which was the total against Rice in Week 3 of last year. If you look at conference opponents, you have to go all the way back to 2011’s 439-yard, six-touchdown game against Texas Tech for a better performance.
Texas rode Bijan early and often, but he wasn’t the only reason for the offensive success.
The starting offensive line did not allow a single negative carry and Texas overall did not until the fourth quarter. The first negative carry for the Longhorns didn’t come until Jonathan Brooks was stopped behind the line at the 12 minute mark in the fourth quarter. In spite of having two negative carries, Brooks had a great game once Robinson was pulled in the third quarter, racking up 111 yards and two scores on 11 carries in relief. That marks just the second time in school history that Texas had a 200-yard, 100-yard pair of rushers, joining Chris Gilbert and Ted Koy’s performance against Rice in 1968.
Bijan Robinson: 25 carries, 243 yards (9.7 ypc), 4 TD
After a combination of limited use and effectiveness against TCU, Bijan Robinson once again showed the country why he is arguably the best back in the country and will likely be the first back off of NFL Draft boards when the time comes.
While 36 seems like a lot, Bijan add another entry into the 200-yard club for a university that has produced many all-time greats. It’s No. 16 on the single-game performance list in school history and makes Robinson just one of eight running backs who have surpassed 200 yards more than once. It was a career day for him, both in rushing yardage and touchdowns, putting him at 1,401 yards and 16 touchdowns on the year, the No. 8 and No. 7 single-season performances.
He now sits No. 5 all-time with 3,231 yards, putting him just 97 yards behind Jamaal Charles on the career list.
Texas rush defense: 30 att, 104 yards (3.47 ypc)
It is overshadowed by the offense, but the Longhorns’ rushing defense was once again lights-out in the game, shutting down a Kansas team that was held under 200 yards just three previous times this year. It was the second-worst performance of the year from the Jayhawks’ ground game, edged out by the 56 yards in their loss to the Bears.
This marks the second time this season that Texas held a team without a rushing touchdown, the shutout against OU, and marks just the third time under defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski that Texas has accomplished the feat.
After struggling to stop the run a year ago, the Longhorns are on track for one of the best rushing defensive performances in recent memory. Even if Texas has the worst rushing defense performance in school history, topping the 733 yards against Houston in 1992, Texas will be 300 yards better than last season.
With one game left on the calendar, the Longhorns have an opportunity to create some positive momentum, and do some scoreboard watching ahead of bowl season. If the Longhorns can come away with a victory and the Jayhawks pull off the upset of in-state rival Kansas State, Texas will find its way to the conference championship and get another shot to knock off TCU.