Texas can win the battle for the hidden yards
Special teams isn’t often a huge consideration when we look at the matchup on paper for the Longhorns in Big 12 play each week. But there is a decided edge the Longhorns have against the Horned Frogs on special teams.
Texas has one of the best punters in the Big 12 this season in senior Stanford transfer Ryan Sanborn. The super senior punter was a spectacular find in the transfer portal by special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Jeff Banks during the offseason.
Sanborn does a great job flipping field position for the Longhorns and pinning opponents deep. He has the highest percentage of punts downed inside the 10-yard line in Big 12 play this season.
And for what it’s worth, TCU has been mediocre to bad at flipping field position this season, ranking 10th in the Big 12 in net yards per punt (42.1).
The real decided edge, though, for the Longhorns regarding the battle for “hidden yards” will be in the field goal kicking game and with penalties. Texas ranks third in the Big 12 in field-goal conversion percentage (78 percent), while TCU ranks near the bottom of the conference and 118th in the FBS (56.3 percent).
TCU kicker Griffin Kell has been partially hampered by the number of long field goal attempts Dykes has gone for beyond 50 yards this season. He’s just one-for-five on field goal attempts of 50+ yards. But he hasn’t been great between 30-49 yards in Big 12 play either.
Texas kicker Bert Auburn, meanwhile, has nailed four of five field goal attempts from over 40 yards in the last three weeks.
Lastly, TCU has suffered from a lack of discipline this season. The Frogs are one of two teams in the Big 12 this season that have been flagged at least five times in 8+ games. TCU had at least 50 penalty yards in over half of its games this season.
And whatever way Texas fans feel about the Big 12 ref crews this season, Sark’s squad has been disciplined. Texas had 40 or fewer penalty yards in 67 percent of its games.