How the Texas Longhorns graded out in their win over TCU
How Texas graded out in Saturday's 32-27 win at TCU:
They can't all be Rice and Texas Tech defenses. Casey Thompson (12 of 22 for 142 yards, one touchdown and one interception) had a perfunctory passing day but did some things as a runner, including a very nice 41-yard scramble in the first half. He looked off on his deeper throws, never made the connection with Xavier Worthy — though he certainly tried, including an overthrow in the end zone and a bad-decision throw into triple coverage that resulted in an interception.
Go figure: Thompson's third-quarter interception halted his impressive run of scoring drives, which had reached 29 of the last 33 going back to the second half of the Alamo Bowl.
So far: Louisiana A-, Arkansas D, Rice A, Texas Tech A, TCU C. Semester average: B
Running backs: A
Another big game from Bijan Robinson — his finest yet as a Longhorn. The plan clearly was to lean on him, and he looked more than game. Remember this summer when we fretted over whether Steve Sarkisian would give him 20 touches a game? Robinson finished with 37, including 35 carries for 216 yards and two touchdowns. And he placed the team on his back in the fourth quarter, powering the critical final drive to run out the clock. The sophomore is clearly the best running back right now in the Big 12. Maybe the country, too?
Go figure: Did you see this stat from Longhorn Network? After their first 14 games, Robinson has 1,355 rushing yards, averaging 7.1 yards per carry and has 15 total touchdowns, which compares favorably to Earl Campbell (1,145 yards, 5.6 ypc and 7 TDs) and Cedric Benson (1,470 yards, 4.8 ypc and 17 TDs).
So far: Louisiana B-, Arkansas F, Rice A+, Texas Tech A, TCU A. Semester average: B
Wide receivers: D
Ah, the ups and downs of being a freshman: Xavier Worthy went from 100 yards, three touchdowns and Big 12 newcomer of the week honors to five targets, three drops and only one catch for seven yards in Fort Worth. He went from X-factor to non-factor, but Texas will need him against Oklahoma. Jordan Whittington had three catches for 79 yards and made two big grabs — a beautiful high-pointed 37-yarder and a fourth-quarter touchdown. But in terms of receivers' production, he was just about it.
Go figure: Seven of Thompson's 12 completions went to receivers, five to running backs.
So far: Louisiana A-; Arkansas F; Rice B, Texas Tech A-, TCU D. Semester average: C
Tight ends: F
If the tight ends played like gangbusters as blockers on the game tape, then maybe this grade rises. But as it is, tight ends were shut out in the passing game. Jared Wiley was on the good and bad end of two plays: his false start on third-and-1 at TCU's 5-yard line forced Texas to settle for a field goal, and his one target resulted in a pass interference call for a first down.
Go figure: Only one target went to a tight end.
So far: Louisiana C-, Arkansas F, Rice B-, Texas Tech C, TCU F. Semester average: D
Offensive line: C
You don't get a 200-yard rusher without doing something right up front, but this was an overall rough day for the offensive line. Denzel Okafor left with an injury in the first quarter, forcing the Longhorns to shuffle things. Right tackle Derek Kerstetter, who started off strong against defensive end/sack artist Ochaun Mathis, slid over to Okafor's right guard spot, and Junior Angilau took over at right tackle. Left tackle Christian Jones was beaten twice on spin moves, and gave up a sack on third down to force a punt on the first drive of the second half. Thompson was sacked twice.
Go figure: Okafor was one of three game-day captains, along with Robinson and defensive tackle Keondre Coburn.
So far: Louisiana B-, Arkansas F, Rice B, Texas Tech A-, TCU C. Semester average: C+
Defensive line: B-
Ovie Oghoufo, Coburn and Moro Ojomo get most of the attention on the defensive line, but T'Vondre Sweat had a strong game and Byron Murphy II, a freshman, made one big play, a third-and-2 stop to force a punt late in the first half. Sweat tipped a Max Duggan pass on third down to force a punt early in the fourth quarter. TCU running back Zach Evans got his yards (113) and scored once, but never took over.
Go figure: Sweat and Jacoby Jones combined for nine tackles.
So far: Louisiana C, Arkansas D-, Rice B-, Texas Tech C+, TCU B-. Semester average: C
Per usual, DeMarvion Overshown led the team in tackles and Luke Brockermeyer was second. But Brockermeyer ran the gamut of highs and lows. He gave up Evans' 12-yard touchdown to open the game when he couldn't wrap him up high and Evans got out of the tackle, and on two occasions the 5-11, 212-pound running back took Brockermeyer out on blocks. But Brockermeyer clearly was playing through pain, as his right arm appeared to bother him throughout the game.
Go figure: Overshown had 10 tackles, his second double-digit game this season.
So far: Louisiana B, Arkansas C, Rice B, Texas Tech B, TCU B-. Semester average: B-
Josh Thompson was ruled out a couple of hours before kickoff, which created more opportunities for Anthony Cook and Dariun Dunn. Cook was one of the top players in the game; his third-quarter blitz blindsided Duggan, who fumbled the ball. Cook then scooped it up for the turnover, one of three turnovers the Horned Frogs committed. Cook was third on the team in tackles. B.J. Foster was active as well and D'Shawn Jamison's fumble recovery set Texas up at TCU's 23-yard line.
Go figure: Cook finished with eight tackles (six solo), two tackles for loss, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
So far: Louisiana B-, Arkansas B+, Rice B, Texas Tech C-, TCU C+. Semester average: B-
Special teams: A-
The good news: Cameron Dicker was perfect on all four field goal attempts. The bad news: Texas had to settle for four Dicker field goals — from 38, 38, 26 and 28 yards. Things started badly on JD Spielman's 87-yard kickoff return to open the game, but overlooked on the play was the effort of Texas backup running back Keilan Robinson, who chased Spielman for about 55 yards to make the touchdown-saving tackle. He has shined all season on special teams. Jamison had a pair of 38-yard kickoff returns, though one was erased by a personal foul penalty.
Go figure: Dicker's four field goals were a career high and one off a UT single-game record.
So far: Louisiana B-, Arkansas F, Rice A, Texas Tech C, TCU A-. Semester average: C+