Here are five key matchups in the Texas-TCU game to keep your eye on Saturday:
1. TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson vs. Brandon Jones
Going back to his high school days, TCU sophomore Shawn Robinson was once the quarterback who replaced Jerrod Heard at Denton Guyer. He recorded 79 total touchdowns there before transferring to DeSoto, where Robinson won a state title. Robinson became the first true freshman to start for TCU head coach Gary Patterson in 2017. His ascendancy has continued this year. Robinson had a career-high 315 total yards against Ohio State. Jones, meanwhile, has a team-high 19 tackles this season and made a huge fourth-down stop at the goal line against USC. If Robinson gets out in the open field, Jones will be there to greet him.
2. KaVontae Turpin vs. Texas’ defensive backs
Technically, Turpin is listed as the backup to Jaelan Austin on the Horned Frogs’ depth chart. But he warrants special attention on Saturday. Who can forget his sensational performance in 2015 in Fort Worth? Turpin caught six passes for 138 yards and scored four touchdowns. He also threw a 20-yard pass against Texas last season. If the senior is anywhere on that Royal-Memorial Stadium field, cornerbacks Kris Boyd and Davante Davis best have him locked down. Watch out for Turpin on special teams, too. He’s got five career special teams touchdowns.
3. TCU defensive end Ben Banogu vs. Samuel Cosmi
Banogu was the Big 12’s preseason defensive player of the year. Over the last two seasons, he’s forced three fumbles off quarterback sacks. Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger has a propensity to fumble, so it’s something to watch on Saturday. Banogu is the team’s active sacks leader with 9.5 in his career. Cosmi, a redshirt freshman, will make his third career start at right tackle. He’ll have some help from right guard Derek Kerstetter, but Kerstetter will have his own hands full with TCU’s Corey Bethley. This is a matchup that Cosmi must win if the Horns are to be successful.
4. Lil’Jordan Humphrey vs. TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney
It’s become apparent the last few weeks that if Ehlinger can just get Humphrey the football, something special might happen. Look at last week’s setup on second-and-10 from the USC 48. Ehlinger tried to throw a pass to Humphrey heading toward the boundary. But the ball got tipped just enough that Humphrey had to spin back to his left. He caught the pass, spun completely away from the defender and raced 48 yards for the score. Humphrey has 275 receiving yards and counting. Gladney is the Frogs’ most experienced corner. But look for Texas to get Humphrey into personnel mismatches.
5. TCU coach Gary Patterson vs. Texas’ diminished stature
Before 2012, Texas held a 61-20-1 record in this all-time series. As TCU’s athletic director, Chris Del Conte drove to Austin and gave a forceful presentation to then-UT athletic director DeLoss Dodds about why the Frogs belonged in the Big 12. The gambit worked. Patterson has followed that up with a dominating 5-1 record against Texas over the last six years. The last four games haven’t even been close. The 2015 game was over in the first quarter. Patterson can say all he wants about how the Texas game is “just like all the others.” OK, sure. His teams seem to play otherwise. Tom Herman can’t get Texas going anywhere if he can’t get past TCU.
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.