Somehow there’s still an outside shot of Texas making the Big 12 championship game. They don’t really deserve it, having blown the Iowa State and TCU games with ridiculous mistakes while also nearly blowing both of the Kansas games. The running theme to the season has been, “did Texas manage the game so that Sam Ehlinger was in position to win or so that the defense was in position to lose?”
That game absolutely looked like two heavily flawed teams with conference title hopes leaving everything they had on the field in pursuit of a big win. Evidently Iowa State's bad luck streak was no match for Texas' horrendous initial game plan and then end of game management.
Texas’ inherent advantage against downhill, ball control teams bore out again in their 27-24 victory over Kansas State. As skilled and multiple as the Wildcat senior OL and run game may be, Texas had them beat in the trenches with their superior DL play. K-State’s attempts to run power from multiple formations then use that to create play-action fell flat because they couldn’t control the box with their base schemes.
Texas got back on 2018 form in this one, finishing off the Wildcats at home with a last minute field goal by Cameron Dicker. Texas carefully set up the field goal to take place with time expiring by having Sam Ehlinger take some goal line slides to force timeouts from Kansas State and turn the final drive into a 13 play, 67 yard affair that drained all of the remaining 6:45 off the clock before setting up an easy Dicker game-winner with time expiring.
Chris Klieman seems to have unlocked the secret to winning with Bill Snyder’s roster. The Wildcats have a savvy QB who can run, a solid collection of blocking “ancillaries” at TE and FB, an OL comprised entirely of seniors, and just enough athleticism to take advantage of all these infrastructure pieces. Essentially it looks like one of Snyder's nine-win teams from the last decade.
Texas’ 37-27 defeat in Fort Worth to TCU was a complete catastrophe. It was the punctuation mark on what is quickly turning into a nightmare season for the Longhorns in which a wildly talented and deep roster paired with a favorable schedule and vulnerable Oklahoma has turned into a fiasco. The Longhorns have four losable games left on the schedule, including road trips to Iowa State and Baylor, with a shot at the Big 12 championship still in play.
Last year the TCU game came as the Big 12 opener and a big test of whether Tom Herman’s Longhorns were ready to take another step in realizing the latent potential of the program. Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs had delivered a number of stinging defeats to Texas over the decade since they joined the Big 12 and making a case as the No. 1 contender against Oklahoma in 2018 meant overcoming the Frogs. TCU predictably had a good plan in place for the Texas run game but were overcome by young quarterback Shawn Robinson committing something like a half dozen turnovers while Sam Ehlinger threw for 255 yards and scored three touchdowns in a 31-16 victory.