Texas Football: What a win over TCU would mean for the Longhorns

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

A big test is looming on the road in Fort Worth for the Texas football program this weekend against the usually stingy TCU Horned Frogs.

For the Texas football program, the Gary Patterson-coached TCU Horned Frogs were one of the biggest thorns in their side for the past eight years among all the Big 12 teams. TCU won four straight over Texas entering last year’s matchup at home at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. That eventual win for head Texas football coach Tom Herman over the Horned Frogs came in that season’s Big 12 opener.

This season saw the Texas Longhorns football program move yet another pesky Big 12 program out of the way. That Big 12 opposition the Longhorns moved out of the way to open up the conference slate this season was the struggling Oklahoma State Cowboys.

It’s weird to see that two usually strong Big 12 programs like Oklahoma State and TCU are falling down so far in the conference standings right now. Patterson and Gundy are both dealing with rough quarterback situations, which is never a good sign in the Big 12. You need a standout quarterback to thrive in the Big 12, and have needed that as a key for the past decade.

Just look at junior star quarterback Sam Ehlinger as an example of how to stay alive in the race to land a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game.

Other solid Big 12 teams this fall like the Baylor Bears and Iowa State Cyclones are doing well due to the play of their respective quarterbacks. Junior Charlie Brewer and sophomore Brock Purdy are some of the more elusive and talented quarterbacks in the Big 12 this year.

However, what will it take for the Longhorns to nab a win over the Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium this weekend in Fort Worth?

Since Texas only enters this game as around a one-point favorite just ahead of kick-off, there is clearly doubt as to whether they can stave off the upset. It took a field goal late in the game against the Kansas Jayhawks last weekend for the Longhorns to escape the friendly confines of DKR with a victory. Sophomore kicker Cameron Dicker completely saved Herman and the Longhorns against lowly Kansas.

While TCU is near the bottom of the Big 12 standings along with the Jayhawks, beating them on the road is a much different animal. Patterson is likely to come out with a surprising gameplan where the Horned Frogs look much better than they did in recent weeks.

We could also see the ever-improving freshman quarterback Max Duggan put up a tough fight against a banged up Longhorns defense. He has nine touchdowns and no interceptions on the season, so he is pretty efficient along with Ehlinger. Duggan even has less interceptions on the year than Ehlinger. But he has made more mistakes in clutch time overall.

What will be the real test for the Longhorns is controlling the pace of play and winning the turnover battle. TCU is going to try and completely wear down the Longhorns in this game and do their best to stay in it until the dying minutes on the fourth quarter. Anticipate a strong outing from this speedy TCU defense.

Next. Doubt can fuel Texas vs. TCU. dark

Ehlinger and the Longhorns are going to need to put up points if they want to knock off TCU. With the way the defense is allowing points of late, this would be a big confidence boost to hold back what can be a productive TCU offense led by a freshman quarterback. That would be the biggest meaning to takeaway for the Longhorns if they come out with the win is bouncing back from the scare of nearly losing to and allowing 48 points to the Jayhawks last week.