Here’s a few initial thoughts from Texas’ third blowout win of the season.
Bijan Robinson needs to be on Heisman boards. Through four games, Robinson’s produced three 100-yard games and 436 yards and four touchdowns, and that’s only on the ground. Often utilized is a receiver in Sark’s offense, he’s also grabbed eight passes for 145 yards and another two touchdowns, totaling 581 yards and six touchdowns from scrimmage. And the only reason his numbers aren’t even better is because he’s helped Texas cruise to three blowout wins, offering additional touches to Roschon Johnson and the rest of the running back room. He probably wouldn’t win it, but at this rate, Robinson absolutely deserves to be mentioned as a Heisman candidate.
Casey Thompson is QB1. At this point, it’s safe to assume he’s not just the named starter in an ongoing competition, but rather, he is Texas’ quarterback. And for good reason. As Sarkisian said, the ball just seems to move with Thompson behind center, and that proved true yet again against TTU. Save for an early third-quarter interception when he tried to make something out of nothing, Thompson led Texas to touchdowns on eight of nine drives. For those who are counting, that makes it 24 Texas scores — including 22 touchdowns — in 27 drives dating back to the Alamo Bowl. It seems Texas has its quarterback.
Xavier Worthy is quickly becoming a star. The true freshman entered the game as the Longhorns leading receiver in each of the past to games, and added to that with his first 100-yard performance. More notably, three of his five receptions went for touchdowns, including an impressive grab at the back of the end zone in which Worthy displayed great awareness and body control, and a 62-yard catch and run that saw him shed multiple tackles before running away from the defense. He’s now up to 246 yards and four touchdowns this year, and seemingly getting better each time out.
Steve Sarkisian absolutely uses his weapons. Of course, Bijan is the primary weapon, and he used him accordingly with 23 touches for 191 yards and a touchdown. Worthy, as noted, excelled on Saturday, as did Roschon Johnson, who turned his 13 carries into 64 yards and two touchdowns. Collectively, six Longhorns scored on offense — Thompson, Robinson, Worthy, Johnson, Jordan Whittington and Keilan Robinson. If the offensive line continues to improve, this offense could become deadly as the it evolves and players develop. Texas’ offense finished with nine touchdowns, 639 yards of offense — 303 passing and 336 rushing — and moved the chains on 10-of-14 third downs.
The offensive line was much improved. After an underwhelming first three weeks, which saw the Longhorns offensive line struggle to create running lanes and provide ample time in pass protection, Kyle Flood’s group put together a much more notable performance on Saturday. Thompson had plenty of time to operate on nearly every drop-back, and Bijan and the running backs enjoyed more than a few open lanes to run through. If this group is turning a corner under Flood, the Longhorns offense will be much better for it.
The secondary just might be an area of concern going forward. After hardly being tested throughout the first three weeks on the season, the Longhorns secondary got torched on Saturday, and almost singlehandedly allowed the Red Raiders to maintain a sliver of hope. BJ Foster took a poor angle and got beat for a 40-yard touchdown, and D’Shawn Jamison got beat down the sideline twice, leading to two scores of 69 and 75 yards. There were a few bright spots, such as Josh Thompson’s pick-6, but all told, sacrificing nearly 400 yards through the air is never a good thing.
Maybe the Arkansas game was an anomaly. Texas got blasted in Fayetteville, and there’s several things that went into that. But otherwise, the Longhorns have looked really good in their three other contests. The offensive line has looked improved since then, the quarterback position is resolved, the offense as a unit is on fire, and aside from the noted need to address some struggles in the secondary, the defense is swarming. It felt like the sky might have been falling that night in Fayetteville, but outside of that, Texas has absolutely looked like a team that’s going to be a factor in the Big 12 title race. We’ll know just how much of a factor they’ll be in the next two weeks.