The week 11 slate of games wasn’t at the same level as the previous weeks, but the Texas vs. TCU match up was littered with future NFL studs, so this got my vote for a deep dive.
The game was very un-Big XII like with both defenses really showing up and slowing down each other’s potent offense.
It wasn’t until late in the third quarter that the first touchdown was scored, and only one more offensive one was scored in the rest of the game.
Texas Christian thoroughly deserved their 17-10 victory, and they march on unbeaten still and have a realistic shot at getting into the college football playoff.
We’ll start the round up with those happy Horned Frogs…
The rumour before the game was that star wide receiver Quentin Johnston may miss the game because of an injury, but he ended playing about two thirds of the snaps in the end.
He certainly didn’t look at full speed out there, but even a 75% fit Johnston is a weapon, and he ended up making the biggest play of the game. He took advantage of a coverage bust to get behind the Texas safeties, and catch a deep ball uncontested in the end zone.
This essentially put TCU out of sight.
He was pretty well marshalled otherwise, though certainly some of that was him not being at full speed. After a very slow start to the season Johnston had really begun to ramp up the production in recent weeks, so hopefully this knock doesn’t slow him down and he can finish the season strong.
Because of his physical traits he will certainly have many NFL scouts as fans, and in an uncertain wide receiver class, he has every chance of being WR1 on some teams’ boards come April.
There wasn’t a lot to get excited about offensively for TCU, but I thought left tackle Brandon Coleman looked good out there, albeit after a pretty shaky first quarter. He gave up a sack early on and looked confused as Texas dialled up quite a few different pressures, but once he settled down he controlled the edges nicely. Coleman also helped carve out some decent running lanes, particularly in the second half.
He is a big man (6’6 325lbs) but plays with light feet and strong hands and is having himself a very nice season. He is still only a Junior, so he will probably go back to school, but he is getting some attention right now with the season he, and this whole offensive line in general, are having.
Most of the talk about running backs pre game would have been centered around the star on the other team, but TCU’s running back Kendre Miller stole the show from his more famous counterpart in the game.
He is a bigger back at 6’0 220lbs, but he certainly isn’t slow, as he showed by breaking a run off tackle, and out-running a couple of Texas defensive backs down the sideline for the long touchdown above.
This was his highlight play, but perhaps more impressive was the way he made every available yard, from every rush attempt, leaving no yards on the field.
He is tough, quick and has decent hands, so he is a nice complete back with plenty of tread left on his tyres. If he comes out early he has a chance to be a top 100 player. However, when we consider that the upcoming draft has a decent RB class he may go back to school and try to be a top five back in next year’s group.
Defensively, the Horned Frogs were excellent throughout this game, really slowing down one of the most exciting offenses in college football. There were quite a few stand-out performances, but I’ll highlight a couple of guys who really stepped up and made the plays when called upon.
I’ll admit that I’d never heard of Linebacker Johnny Hodges before this season, but the Navy transfer is having an excellent season and has impressed me every time I’ve watched TCU.
He was one of the main reasons that the usually dominant Texas running game could never get going. He flew around the field filling run lanes and chasing down plays, and ended up having 11 tackles, with 1.5 for a loss. He has the size and speed you look for, and at the very least you’ll get a special teams demon, but with the chance of becoming much more with time.
I’ve been a big fan of Cornerback Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson for the last couple of years now.
He is one of those guys who just makes highlight plays week in, week out, but will be knocked down draft boards because of his size. Being only 5’9 185lbs is a problem for most, but Hodges-Tomlinson plays like a much bigger corner with his physical style of play.
That can get him into trouble at times, as he tends to get a bit grabby against bigger receivers, but he loves the challenge of being the underdog, and you can’t help but be impressed with how he plays.
He was excellent in this game, going up against top quality receivers and only giving 1 reception on 8 targets.
He had this great deep ball interception, running in stride with the receiver down the middle of field and making the play on the underthrown ball. He also showed his aggressiveness at the catch point, batting away a ball intended for Texas’s 6’4 tight end on the sideline.
I really hope NFL teams overlook his size issues, as his style of play is so infectious that you can’t help but root for this guy.
This Texas offense has been exciting this season, but they came crashing down to earth here as the Horned Frogs had an excellent game plan to slow them down, and they executed it perfectly.
Quarterback Quinn Ewers has been the main reason that Texas fans are getting excited about their team again, but this game will be one he’ll want to forget.
He never got into any kind of rhythm at all, and missed on quite a few deep balls, and a certain touchdown on a wheel route that he never saw. He is still very young and there will be growing pains in games like this one, but there’s no doubting the talent he has. As long as we don’t see too many more games like this one, he’ll still have a chance to be a top five pick next year.
The star of this whole Longhorn team though is Running Back Bijan Robinson. No other team has stopped Robinson like TCU did, they held him to a two year low of 29 yards on 12 carries, without a catch too.
The whole offense struggled so this isn’t all on Robinson, but he’ll have the NFL scouts asking him what happened here when they talk to him next, and he’ll need some good answers for them
This game won’t affect his stock too much though, as he has so much good tape out there already, and I’m still certain he’ll be a first round pick in April.
The one bright spark for me on offense was Wide Receiver Jordan Whittington. He looked like the only weapon out there hauling in 6 catches for 78 yards.
Whittington has some nice after the catch ability and reminds me a bit of Deebo Samuel with the way he can break tackles. That said, he has nowhere near the production that Samuel had in college but the skill set is similar, and another year in this system will only boost his draft stock.
For three quarters the Texas defense played lights out, but they just ran out of puff in the end, which was hardly surprising given how much time they were on the field in the second half.
The two big senior Defensive Tackles Keondre Coburn and T’Vondre Sweat both had nice games, especially against the run. These two are very similar in size and the way they play, both excellent run defenders who can flash a pass rush move as well at times.
Coburn is the more highly rated right now and a probable day two pick, whilst I think Sweat may end up as an early day three type.
I had mixed feelings when I studied Linebacker DeMarvion Overshown in the summer. From what I’ve seen this season he has become a lot more consistent, and the position looks a lot more natural to him too now. He was always around the ball and finished with a team high 11 tackles in this game.
If he tests OK, he should be a day two player, but there is a fear that he might not test well, and if that happens you’ll be looking at a mid round guy.
For me the star of the game was Texas Nickel Jahdae Barron.
He has been impressive every time I’ve put on Texas, but in this game he was on a different level. He was so quick to diagnose throws into the flat, flying up the field beating blockers and making the tackle.
Barron showed he can also match receivers down the field, staying in phase nicely and taking away targets. He topped his day off with a scoop and score after a botched exchange in the backfield, picking up the ball in stride and running away from pursuit. He has decent size and physicality, and if he stays in school he could easily be spoken about in the same way Alabama’s Brian Branch is being talked about now.
Follow Keith on Twitter @lordlucken