Texas Football: 4 major concerns for Longhorns vs. Iowa State

Steve Sarkisian, Matt Campbell, Texas football
Steve Sarkisian, Matt Campbell, Texas football /
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Jonathon Brooks, Texas football
Jonathon Brooks, Texas football /

Running the ball without Jonathon Brooks

Losing Brooks for the rest of the season is a major detriment to Texas’ ground game. It is also unfortunate for Brooks, who was having a sensational season for the Longhorns. Brooks had his first 1,000-yard rushing season before suffering a torn ACL in the win over TCU last weekend.

Brooks was a major contributor to the Texas offense in the ground and passing games. This season, he ranked in the top five in rushing yards among Big 12 running backs. Brooks also led all Big 12 backs in receiving yards, with 286 yards and two touchdowns.

Among the major reasons why the loss of Brooks is so impactful is how crucial he was for the Longhorns to put opponents away in the second halves of games. He was also the most effective running back consistently by far for the Longhorns this season.

Brooks is excellent at picking up those tough yards after contact, especially in key short-yardage and red zone situations. He led all Texas skill players in third-down conversions in the second half this season, with 11. Someone else will have to step up to take those critical money-down touches for the Longhorns.

True freshman running back CJ Baxter Jr. will be looked to step up as the primary back for the Longhorns in Brooks’ absence down the stretch this season. Baxter has shown flashes this fall of becoming the five-star back and No. 1 recruit at his position in the nation in the 2023 class.

But this will be a big test for Baxter and the Longhorns, as this will be the first time he’s had to step up as the guy in the backfield.

Texas will also look to sophomore running back Jaydon Blue, redshirt senior Keilan Robinson, and sophomore Savion Red to step up in the backfield after the loss of Brooks for the season.