4 reasons why Texas football could dominate TCU

Gary Patterson, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Gary Patterson, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Bijan Robinson, Texas Football
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The highly-anticipated matchup between No. 18 ranked Texas football and the undefeated No. 4 ranked TCU Horned Frogs in Week 11 is just a couple of days away. This game can go a long way to determining what teams will square off in the Big 12 Championship Game next month.

At the moment, though, it looks like TCU is essentially one win away from being a lock for the Big 12 Championship Game, with three remaining during the month of November.

TCU comes into this game with a record of 9-0 (6-0 Big 12) after defeating the Texas Tech Red Raiders at home at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth on Nov. 5 by the final score of 34-24. New head coach Sonny Dykes and the Horned Frogs are having a truly magical season thus far.

But Texas could pose one of the most significant tests of the season so far for TCU. Texas is playing well lately, outside of the second half a few weeks ago in the loss on the road to the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Texas has won four of its last five games, including last week’s big contest against the Kansas State Wildcats on the road in Manhattan.

That win over Kansas State moved Texas’ record on the season to 6-3 (4-2 Big 12).

Despite TCU coming into this one with an undefeated record, Texas is still the favorite by a touchdown. Texas will try to use the edge provided to them by the home-field advantage at DKR to get this win over TCU on Nov. 12.

How Texas football could dominate Gary Patterson’s former team, TCU, in Week 11

Here’s a look at four reasons why the Longhorns could dominate the Horned Frogs in Austin in Week 11.

Quinn Ewers is playing his best football at home so far this season

The last few games since returning from the clavicle sprain for redshirt freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers provided a mixed back of results for the Texas offense.

For instance, in the loss to Oklahoma State, Ewers had the worst performance of his career thus far. But in the win over Kansas State last weekend, Ewers had his best road performance of the season, taking care of the football and making the necessary throws to get Texas over the hump.

Prior to the last two road games, Ewers was playing pretty well all things considered coming back from the shoulder injury. He wasn’t great in the win over the Iowa State Cyclones on Oct. 15, but he didn’t make any big mistakes and drove Texas down the field for what wound up being the game-winning score and his third passing touchdown of the game.

And Ewers was absolutely dominant, tossing four touchdowns and nearly 300 passing yards, in the win on Oct. 8 over the Oklahoma Sooners.

If we get the version of Ewers that showed up against Kansas State last weekend or that looked pretty good against Iowa State and Oklahoma, Texas should be in a good spot to get the win.

Moreover, another critical factor in this game will be the ability of Ewers to stay composed and manage turnovers. TCU has an experienced secondary, which namely features senior cornerback Trevius Hodges-Tomlinson, senior transfer corner Josh Newton, and senior transfer safety Mark Perry.

This experienced TCU secondary is adept at picking off opposing quarterbacks, as they are tied for 20th in the FBS, forcing a little over one interception per game.

TCU’s secondary will try and confuse Ewers by throwing different looks at him in a way that might remind some Texas fans of the Iowa State defense. Both the Frogs and Cyclones play 3-3-5 defensive schemes that look similar in the back five.

Yet, despite TCU’s experience in the back end of the defense, and the turnovers they’ve been able to force so far this season, I do believe there are ways for Ewers to get the edge in this game.

We already talked about how well Ewers is playing at home this season. It seems like he is able to stay more composed as the game progresses when he’s playing at the friendly confines of DKR compared to on the road against some of the better Big 12 competition, which makes sense for a freshman quarterback.

Ewers should also have a lot of clean pockets in passing plays this weekend, which is another reason why I believe Ewers should be able to have a successful game against TCU. The Frog defense isn’t generating much pressure on the quarterback this season. According to Football Outsiders, TCU ranks 71st in the FBS in sack rate (6.1 percent) and 103rd in standard down sack rate (3.2).

That standard down sack rate is an important figure since the gameplan for Sark and the Longhorns is probably going to be to chew up some yards by setting the tone on the ground on early down plays. If Texas can pick up four or five yards with the likes of star junior running back Bijan Robinson and senior Roschon Johnson on first and second downs, that will set up shorter third-down plays for the offense.

Texas putting Ewers in a spot where he can have easier throws to get in a rhythm, especially on third down, that will go a long way to getting him settled in. And if Texas can get Ewers in a rhythm early on in the passing game, that will open up the play-action to beat TCU over the top.

TCU ranks 84th in the FBS in passing plays allowed of at least 40 yards, and 116th by allowing 18 plays of at least 30 yards. There will be chances for Ewers to beat this defense over the top.

All in all, there are multiple ways that Ewers can beat this TCU defense this weekend. A lot will rely on Texas getting the ground game going on early downs to set up third and manageable situations for Ewers.