The Longhorns left Boone Pickens Stadium with more than just a 49-31 loss Saturday afternoon. The Cowboys beat up the Longhorns, both on the scoreboard and physically on the field.
Texas’ two leading tailbacks — sophomore Chris Warren III and junior D’Onta Foreman — left the game early with injuries. Warren exited at halftime with a knee injury, and Foreman went down in the third quarter with an abdomen issue.
They combined for 254 of the Longhorns’ 329 rushing yards despite both leaving the matchup early. The duo took pressure off freshman quarterback Shane Buechele, accounting for 10 first downs on the ground.
“When those guys go down it’s rough,” Buechele said. “I mean, those are great running backs.”
Warren’s injury appeared to be more serious than Foreman’s. He was seen leaving the game on crutches and was not made available to the media. Head coach Charlie Strong said the extent of Warren’s injury will be evaluated this week.
“Chris, I think he got hit right around the knee area,” Strong said. “I don’t know how serious it is right now.”
Meanwhile, Foreman said he is fine and expects to play next week against Oklahoma despite missing the entire fourth quarter in Stillwater.
Foreman broke through the Cowboys’ defense on his way to a 62-yard score late in the third quarter. He was hit late in the endzone, but said he strained his abdomen during the run itself, and the late hit only added to the pain.
“I didn’t think it was that bad,” Foreman said. “I tried to go back out there on the field and when I made a move I felt it … Just gotta get some treatment and try to get ready for next week.”
Foreman averages 145.3 yards per game in the three matchups he’s played in this season. Offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert knows how much it means to have both Foreman and Warren on the turf.
“It affects you,” Gilbert said. “You lose those two guys and obviously what they’re able to do just skill wise, and you lose their execution. You just have to change and adapt and adjust.”
Should neither Warren nor Foreman see the field at the Cotton Bowl Saturday, Texas will rely on freshman running back Kyle Porter. Porter rushed seven times for 29 yards against the Cowboys in fourth quarter relief duty.
The Longhorns use the 5-foot-9, 208-pound freshman primarily as a change of pace back, who presents a different challenge to opposing defenses. Texas hopes his speed and shiftiness catches defenses off guard after having to tackle 250-pound backs.
Buechele and Porter botched a few exchanges in the fourth quarter against Oklahoma State, including a fumble that Porter eventually fell on. He rushed for 4.1 yards per carry while Foreman and Warren averaged 8.7 and 10.6, respectively.
But Buechele said that Porter is ready despite his lack of experience and that he’s capable of carrying the load of Texas’ rushing attack should he have that opportunity.
“Kyle Porter can do the exact same thing as those guys,” Buechele said. “He’s a great guy. He’s a great running back … you have to have confidence in the next guy that comes in, and we all have confidence in KP.”