Game Recap: Texas vs TCU 2018 - NinosCorner™ Sports | Efficient Sports Analytics...Successful, Relevant Data

Monday, September 24, 2018

Game Recap: Texas vs TCU 2018

Game Recap:  Texas vs TCU
by B.R. Battle
Photo by Nick Wagner (American-Statesman)
After lackluster defensive performances from Texas in their first 2 games, I had no idea how this Longhorn team would make it past their first 4 games with anything better than a 1-3 record.  I wanted to be wrong about my assertion, but deep down inside, I "thought" I knew I was right about this team's defensive identity.  Boy was I wrong about these kids and Todd Orlando's ability to gameplan throughout this season.

We all know what Orlando's defense was able to accomplish last year; however, like many Texas Defensive Coordinator regimes of the past, there have been drastic 2nd year decreases in defensive productivity.  You can't blame Texas fans for being skeptical on what this defense could accomplish.  Let's be real, they lost Malik Jefferson, Holton Hill, Deshon Elliott, and Poona Ford to NFL rosters in this past year's draft and free agency.  However, to be skeptical would mean that the fans thought this was, simply put, not a good team overall and lacking depth at key positions.  After these outstanding and convincing last 2 weeks of wins over USC and TCU, the Longhorn faithful fans are beginning to believe what I now know is true...this Texas team is good and has enough depth to still maintain the foundation Todd Orlando set last year for this defense.  If we lose some guys to the problem.  We'll just replace them with players of equal or greater talent and keep this Orange Train moving forward.  This task is easier said than done, but Texas has accomplished just that.   Players such as Gary Johnson, Chris Nelson, Charles Omenihu, Brandon Jones, Caden Sterns, and Kris Boyd have emerged as guys that will more than likely be playing on Sundays...and they continue to impress week-by-week.

Enough of my individual thoughts on the game, let's dig into some analysis.  Coming into the showdown between Texas and TCU, the Horned Frogs were averaging 42 points and 468 total offensive yards per game.  The Longhorns were able to hold the TCU offense to just 16 points, while allowing only 367 yards (101 yards less than their previous per game average).  How was this defense able to pull of this feat?  Well, the Longhorn defense did this by posting a BattleStat Number for Defense (BSN-DEF) well above the average NCAA BSN-DEF score of 45 points.  Texas posted a 67 point BSN-DEF.  They only allowed 1 Touchdown, recorded 5 tackles for loss, and forced 4 turnovers.  This was a highly efficient defensive performance.  The TCU offense clearly had no answer for the packages Orlando sent their way.  Although Texas had no sacks in the game, they were constantly in the TCU backfield, wrecking havoc on TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson.
On the contrary, TCU finished below the NCAA BSN-DEF average, totaling a 43 point composite score.  Although they recorded 3 sacks, they forced no turnovers and allowed the Texas offense to score 4 TDs.  For a defensive minded coach, as Patterson is, this is unacceptable, especially considering TCU's success against the Longhorns over the past 4 years.   For as fast as Ohio State said TCU was from their previous week's encounter, I came away from Saturday's game thinking that Texas was not at all deficient of players of equal to or greater than TCU's team speed.
TCU's offense was no better than their defense.  With an average NCAA BattleStat Offense (BSN-OFF) number being 40 points, TCU tallied a 37 point BSN-OFF.  The Horned Frogs offense turned the ball over 4 times and allowed the Texas defensive line to live in the backfield for a large portion of the game.  In fact, TCU lost this game in the 3rd quarter, where their offense posted a horrid 17 point BSN-OFF...mostly due to 3 turnovers.  Texas was able to capitalize on the turnovers and create scoring opportunities for the Longhorn offense.
Speaking of the Longhorn offense, sophomore quarterback, Sam Ehlinger, played the kind of game that Longhorn fans feel they can win with.  He was very efficient...posting a 55% passing Success Rates.  Additionally, Texas was able to effectively run the football and establish an offensive identity of balance between the run and pass game.  When it comes to the run game, Texas was able to lean heavily on it during the 4th quarter, aiding in the Longhorn offense posting a 71 point BSN-OFF during that period.  Between Tre Watson and Sam Ehlinger, Texas was able to have a couple of successful run plays that set up the eventual touchdown pass from Ehlinger to Lil'Jordan Humphrey...essentially sealing the win for the Longhorns.  Texas posted an overall 45 point BSN-OFF...5 points higher than the NCAA average, and good enough for this team to compete week-in and week-out in conference play.  To continually win games against quality opponents, such as TCU, the Longhorns are going to have to increase this number to help alleviate some of the pressure off of the Texas defense.  However, for this week, we'll take the Longhorn's  win and 45 point composite score.
Over the past 3 weeks, we've seen the increased maturation of Sam Ehlinger.  He's taken great care of the ball...throwing no interceptions during this time period.  He's also made plays when it counts.  The 2 touchdown passes he threw to Collin Johnson and Lil'Jordan Humphrey are great examples of this.  Following a holding penalty that pushed the Longhorns to a 1st and 20 play at the TCU 31 yard-line, I reverted back to my battered fan thoughts from last season when 1st and 20 meant this team was not going to be successful on this series.  Ehlinger quieted the doubts of Texas fans by zipping a 31 yard pass to Johnson for a touchdown.  When Texas was sitting at 3 and 7 in the 4th quarter, Ehlinger again completed another pass for a touchdown...this time to Humphrey for 38 yards.

Longhorn fans...enjoy this win because you deserve it.  Next week will be another true dog fight.  Texas has not beaten Kansas State in Manhattan since Colt was the quarterback...let that sink in for a minute.  But no worries on my end because I'm sipping on some Burnt Orange Kool-Aid as we speak. Hook Em!

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