One purple kryptonite down, one to go. The Texas Longhorns (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) scored 21 unanswered points in the second to defeat the TCU Horned Frogs (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) and end the disastrous four-year losing streak. Now, the Longhorns will travel to Manhattan, where they haven’t been victorious since 2002, to face the Kansas State Wildcats (2-2, 0-1 Big 12).
True freshman safety Caden Sterns made two HUGE plays to help Texas start conference play on the right note. His performance earned him well-deserved national recognition from Pro Football Focus, naming him to their National Team of the Week. NFL draft scout Matt Miller called him “his favorite football player” on Twitter. Sterns was also named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week on Monday morning.
Just the third true freshman in school history with two INT in a game. @lil_STERNS2 is your Big 12 Newcomer of the Week. #ThisIsTexas #HookEm pic.twitter.com/JgXHGYOUZJ— Texas Football (@TexasFootball) September 24, 2018
With the new NCAA redshirt rule, which allows players to play up to four games without burning a redshirt, expect the Longhorns to utilize different freshmen safeties for each game. To keep track of the new redshirt rule, the number of games that each player has appeared in will be listed next to their position. This will be updated game-by-game.
Brennan Eagles missed the TCU game with a hamstring injury.
Safety/linebacker DeMarvion Overshown (knee), running back Keaontay Ingram (hip), and Eagles are all on track to practice this week and should be ready to play come Saturday against Kansas State.
S Caden Sterns (4): Caden Sterns’ level of play is years ahead of his age right now. The true freshman safety looks like a veteran out there patrolling the back-end coverage. Sterns snatched two interceptions and had five total tackles against TCU.
His first interception came against a well-designed trick play from Sonny Cumbie. KaVontae Turpin had Jalen Reagor streaking down the sideline for a touchdown until Sterns came out of nowhere and made a leaping play on the ball. He showed some elite closing speed and range on this play to save a touchdown.
well that backfired. pic.twitter.com/v4JF8Ro5gy— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 22, 2018
One defensive play after Texas scored to take a 17-16 lead, Sterns disguised in coverage and jumped the route for his second interception. He returned it to the three-yard line and Ehlinger walked in for a touchdown on the next play. Watch closely as Sterns jukes Jalen Reagor out of his shoes during the return, looking like a running back with the ball.
Does Texas beat TCU without freshman safety Caden Sterns? First INT saved a TD, and this one swung momentum entirely in the Horns favor. #HookEm pic.twitter.com/Zhfcm29U4d— Cody Daniel (@CodyDanielSBN) September 23, 2018
Season Stats: 15 tackles (9 solo) - 0.5 TFL - 3 INTs - Blocked FG - PD
RB Keaontay Ingram (3): After suffering an MCL strain against Tulsa and sitting out last week versus USC, Ingram was ready to go against TCU. He left Saturday’s game with a different injury, this time he sustained a hip pointer. It was noticeably visible that Ingram was battling with a slight injury throughout the game.
Despite the injury, the freshman running back ran for 38 yards on eight carries. While trailing 16-10 early in the second half, he got the offense rolling following a three-and-out drive. The second drive of the second half started backed up inside the 5-yard line with fourth straight run plays from Ingram. He managed to attain two first downs and 26 yards out of these carries. Texas may not have scored on this drive but it got the offense back into rhythm at the most crucial time.
Season Stats: 24 carries for 139 yards (5.8 YPC) - 2 TDs, 5 receptions for 12 yards
WR Joshua Moore (4): The offense incorporated Moore into the game with some bubble screens to the outside. He caught two passes for 9 yards.
Season Stats: 5 receptions for 43 yards (8.6 YPC) - TD
WR/KR/PR D’Shawn Jamison (4): Jamison was only involved on kick returns this week. He managed to gain just 34 yards on two returns. Jamison made a freshman mistake on his second return by taking the ball out deep in the end zone, which led to a 10-yard return. A holding penalty made it half the distance to the goal line, so that didn’t help the cause either.
Season Stats: 1 reception for -1 yard, 2 carries for -6 yards, 7 kick returns for 152 yards (21.7 YPR), 1 punt return for -6 yards
LB Joseph Ossai (4): Considering how well the starting linebackers played, it wasn’t much that surprising to not see Ossai take on a bit of bigger role. However, one more injury or a dominating win should increase his playing time.
Season Stats: 1 tackle
CB Anthony Cook (4): Similar to Ossai’s position, Cook’s role won’t increase unless there’s an injury ahead of him. A big reason for that is because Davante Davis has emerged as the true opposite side cornerback.
Season Stats: 2 tackles
S B.J. Foster (4): Foster was forced to sit out the first half due to that garbage targeting call last week. Although he didn’t crack the stat sheet Saturday, his presence was felt as he’s a key body to have on the field.
Season Stats: 3 tackles - INT - FF
K Cameron Dicker (4): Dicker’s first Big 12 game didn’t go so well. He missed both field goal attempts from over 40 yards (42, 43). In a closer game, those misses could have been costly, but the team picked him up. Dicker did hit a 34-yard field goal and all four extra point attempts. There will be better days ahead for the kicker.
Season Stats: 4-for-6 FGs (66.7%), 15-for-15 XPs (100%)
P Ryan Bujcevski (4): Bujcevski’s best game to date came at the right time. Even though he only averaged 39.6 yards on five punts, he punted exactly how he needed to against KaVontae Turpin. TCU refused to bring the heat, which helped give Bujcevski time to get perfect hang time on his punts. It’ll be interesting to see him punt in situations where they come after the blocked punt.
Season Stats: 22 punts for 838 yards (37.6 yards per punt) - 5 downed inside-the-20
Other true freshman who appeared in games this season:
CB Jalen Green (1)