The Texas Longhorns exercised demons of years past against TCU on Saturday, defeating the Horned Frogs 32-27 on the road to improve to 4-1 on the season.
Texas' offense, which lit up the scoreboard the past two weeks, saw its fair share of ups and downs in the win. With the passing game failing to click, Bijan Robinson was the do-it-all guy for the burnt orange.
Steve Sarkisian's group had many juicy opportunities to put the game out of reach before the final few minutes, but the lack of red zone production forced four field goals off the leg of Cameron Dicker after not attempting a field goal the past two games.
Fortunately for Texas, it was a Heisman-statement game from Robinson. The superstar running back literally carried the Horns to victory on the game's final drive to secure the victory and make everyone temporarily forget about the offense's shortcomings.
If not for securing the win, the focus might be on this critical stat: the Texas defense forced three takeaways, which the offense produced into only nine points.
Let's take a look at the offensive stats for Texas and recap how the offense did just enough to pick up the win.
QB Casey Thompson - 12 of 22 for 142 yards, one touchdown, and one pick; eight carries for 35 yards
RB Bijan Robinson - 35 carries for 216 yards and two scores; two catches for 22 yards
WR Jordan Whittington - three grabs for 79 yards and one touchdown
RB Keilan Robinson - two catches for 13 yards
WR Xavier Worthy - one catch for seven yards
392 total yards, 142 yards passing, 250 yards rushing
5 of 13 on third down, won the time of possession battle 28:25 to 27:12
READ MORE: Texas Holds On Against TCU, Wins 32-27
Look no further than the box score to get a feel for how this game went.
The Texas offense was basically the Bijan Robinson show from the first possession, with only a handful of explosive plays throughout the afternoon from other usual contributors. The sophomore set career-highs in carries and total yards on the day.
After three touchdowns in the win over Texas Tech last week, Xavier Worthy fell flat on Saturday. The true freshman had only one catch and multiple drops to his name.
Sarkisian, who has vocalized his frustration with the lack of deep ball success so far this season, came out swinging on the offense's first play. Casey Thompson unloaded a deep shot to Joshua Moore who came up inches short of hauling it in.
From that point on, the running game scheme was clearly the focus.
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Texas managed a field goal on its opening possession to cut the lead to 7-3. The inability to continue the red zone success of the past two games looked like a concern early on.
Texas' first touchdown drive of the day went for 99 yards on the next possession. With the Longhorns backed up in their own end zone, TCU got called for a key targeting penalty on third down that would have forced a punt.
Robinson took advantage six plays later and scampered past multiple Horned Frog defenders into the end zone for his first big run of the day. Texas was now on top 10-7 with just under five minutes left in the first quarter
Aside from another Robinson touchdown run a few minutes before halftime, the Texas offense looked mediocre at best despite being gifted with excellent field position following two second-quarter fumbles by the Horned Frogs.
Texas' 23-17 halftime lead certainty looked promising, but one can only wonder how that margin might have grown if the offense capitalized in the red zone.
Failure to produce in the passing game was looking to be a continuing trend as Texas went three-and-out to begin the second half. Luckily, Jordan Whittington provided the first big catch of the day, making a physical 37-yard grab in the air to put the Longhorns in the red zone.
But it was wash, rinse, repeat for Sarkisian's offense. Dicker came out for another field goal to extend the lead to 26-17.
Despite the struggles, Robinson continued to mix it up on the ground, pounding between the tackles and speeding past defenders outside on the numbers.
Now up 26-20 facing a third and nine and the passing game nonexistent, Sarkisian stuck with his superstar. Robinson made a strong run to move to chains, setting up Whittington for a 32-yard catch-and-run to the house on the next play.
With the lead now at 32-20, the offense was ready to put the nail in the coffin.
After a TCU three-and-out, three straight Robinson runs went for 17, 14, and 17 yards to set up another opportunity inside the 10.
However, the Horned Frogs stayed strong on the goal line, stopping Robinson's attempt for a third touchdown on fourth and goal. TCU and QB Max Duggan then went on an impressive 99-yard drive to cut the lead to 32-27.
Texas now had a chance to ice the game and the entire TCU defense knew who was getting the ball.
Robinson received all six carries for Texas on the final drive and sealed the win in dominating work-horse fashion. His final two runs saw him bulldozing Horned Frog defenders as he eclipsed 200 yards rushing for the first time in his collegiate career.
Robinson's dominant performance was the story, but the Longhorn's offense will need to clean up pass protection and third-down efficiency before next week's Red River Showdown with Oklahoma.
Until then, the Longhorns will celebrate a 4-1 record and the first win against TCU in Fort Worth since 2013.
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