Texas is ready to reassert its dominance over TCU
By Steve Habel, Senior Contributing Writer
AUSTIN, Texas — Four wins in four years by an average of 30 points per contest has a tendency to create a bit of animosity between two teams.
Especially since the one getting whipped has been Texas and the program doing the dominating is little ol’ TCU.
But Texas coach Tom Herman said no one on his team will be focusing on what’s happened in the past seasons when the Longhorns host the 17th-ranked Horned Frogs on Saturday afternoon at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in the Big 12 Conference opening game for both squads.
“The motivation of the previous four, it's inconsequential,” Herman said. “I don't think there is a guy on this team [that’s got that on his mind] – they care about this year and they care about this week and they care about going 1-0 this week and that's all the motivation they need, really.”
Holding on to Mo’
Texas (2-1) will look to build on the momentum in garnered in last week’s runaway 37-14 victory over No. 22 USC, a win Herman said helped his team set the standard for how they should play every game.
“We understand that last week doesn't matter anymore,” Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger said. “Obviously it's a great confidence boost and we proved to ourselves what we can do when we play well on all sides of the ball, but we all understand that moving forward we have to consistently play well.
“In order to be the team we want to be, we have to put big wins and stack them on top of each other.”
The Longhorns have not won three straight games since 2014, and finding a way to beat TCU will be elusive.
Frogs Leapin’ for a Rebound
The Horned Frogs (2-1) are still smarting from the mistakes it made in a 40-28 loss to No. 4 Ohio State last week in a neutral sire contest at AT&T Stadium in Arlington and want desperately to clean that taste out of their collective mouths.
TCU defensive end Ben Banogu said he and his teammates have quickly dispatched the defeat to Ohio State and have set their sights on the Longhorns, a team that’s always easy to get up for even when they’re not among the elite of college football.
“One of the things that coach preaches to us is that things are going to go good and things are going to go bad, but it’s how we react from that,” Banogu said. “For us, it’s a new week and a new opponent and we are going to make sure that we are ready for this upcoming game. We are looking forward to playing [Texas] – it’s something I am excited about.”
The Horned Frogs have speed to burn and a stable of playmakers on offense, including receiving and return threat KaVontae Turpin and running back Darius Anderson, who had the longest run in TCU history (and the longest play from scrimmage given up by Ohio State) last Saturday. Wide receiver Jalen Reagor showed his big-play potential, too, versus the Buckeyes, pacing the team with seven catches for 98 yards.
Texas’ Take on TCU
All of TCU’s weapons are triggered by quarterback Shawn Robinson, who posted career highs in completions (24), attempts (40), passing yards (308) and total offense (315) in last week’s loss to Ohio State.
“Robinson is very confident for being a young guy,” Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando explained. “He will extend plays and is very fearless when he has the football. He runs it, he’s very athletic, and he has good arm strength, too. He’s an athlete, and athletes at quarterback are hard to deal with because they can extend plays.”
Since Mack Brown left as Texas coach after the 2013 season, the Longhorns have beaten every Big 12 team at least once…except the Horned Frogs..
“It was another good week (of practice),” Herman said. “I was proud of our energy level and our focus. The guys are excited to play, excited to start conference and play another Top 25 team.”
Both teams have something to prove – the Longhorns want to show they can win on with regularity while TCU is anxious to rebound from the disappointing loss. That, aside from the Big 12 implications, will make Saturday’s game a fun one to watch.
“We want to be in contention for a conference title in the months of November and December,” Herman said. “We are not blind to the fact that it’s a conference game but it’s also the next game on our schedule and we are focused on going 1-0 this week. It’s important for us to play well because it’s an in-state game and we do recruit against them.”
Horns Healing Up
Texas freshman running back Keaontay Ingram will play on Saturday but how much is a question, Herman said. Ingram and WR John Burt (foot) both practiced on Thursday, and Herman said they’ll see how both feel in the run-up to Saturday before deciding their availability for the Horned Frogs’ game.
Herman also said OL Patrick Hudson (heat-related illness), LB/S DeMarvion Overshown (knee) and WR Brennan Eagles (hamstring) are out. C Zach Shackelford will dress but probably play in an emergency only.