As great as the win against USC felt, Texas must turn its attention to the next big test on the schedule: TCU. The Horned Frogs, Texas’ first Big 12 opponent of the year, are coming off of a 40-28 loss to No. 4 Ohio State at AT&T Stadium. They need a win to avoid going 2–2 to start the season. As for Texas, a win over TCU would legitimize the preseason hype that surrounded the Longhorns. In order to do that, several things need to happen.
Here are your keys to the game:
Pick up the slack on defense
The Longhorns will be down several players at the start of the game this weekend. Junior linebacker Malcolm Roach, suffered a broken foot during Texas’ win over USC and will be out for 6–8 weeks, and freshman safety B.J. Foster, who is suspended for the first half after a targeting call against the Trojans, will both be out.
TCU is traditionally a high-scoring offense, and this season is no different. The Horned Frogs have averaged nearly 42 points per game. Additionally, TCU has fared well against the Longhorns over the past several meetings, winning the last four games by at least two touchdowns. The last Texas victory between the two teams came in 2013, the final year of the Mack Brown era.
If the Longhorns want to stand a chance and win a game over a ranked opponent two weeks in a row for the first time under head coach Tom Herman, the defense will have to step up and make up the difference for playmakers missing time. Turnovers, tackles for loss and three-and-outs are going to be key for a Texas victory.
Continue to feed Lil’Jordan Humphrey
In a season where many people predicted junior wide receiver Collin Johnson as the team’s biggest mismatch due to talent and size, fellow junior wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey has emerged as the most dangerous weapon in the Longhorn offense.
In three games thus far, Humphrey has caught at least four passes for at least 82 yards in each contest. He scored touchdowns in against Tulsa and USC and had arguably the most impressive offensive play of the game in last week’s game, spinning out of a tackle before finding his way to the end zone.
If Texas is to have a healthy air attack against a speedy TCU defense, they will not only need to get all of their weapons involved, but also make sure the biggest surprise of the offense gets the ball early and often.
Don’t lose energy after USC
Let’s face it — the USC game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium was the biggest home game since Texas’ win over Notre Dame in 2016. The fans set a school record in attendance with 103,507, which will be hard to follow up. As for the team, they will have to do everything in their power to avoid a letdown or hangover from last week.
After the month-long buildup for the USC game, it can be challenging to bring that level of intensity for the next game. If this happens to Texas, a win against TCU is unlikely.
An upset is possible for the Longhorns, and if that happens, Texas will be right back on the national radar, most likely being ranked for the second time this season.