After eating a hearty Thanksgiving meal, I went to DKR and saw the biggest turkeys of the holiday season.
The Texas Longhorns took the field on senior night unprepared mentally for a hungrier, more aggressive TCU team that clearly wanted to win more than UT did.
"I thought they tried really hard, just didn't play well on offense," said UT head coach Mack Brown.
Here are five thoughts from the game.
TURNOVERS, NOT JUST FOR DESSERT ANYMORE
On paper, the Longhorns were a better team, but turnovers proved to be the equalizer on Thursday.
Brown said you're going to get beat when you turn the ball over four times. I disagree, to an extent.
You can overcome four turnovers, depending on the situation and how you take advantage when the opposition gives you the ball.
"Four turnovers will kill you, and that’s what it did to us," said freshman running back Johnathan Gray.
TCU scored 14 points off Texas turnovers while the Longhorns managed only a field goal after an Adrian Phillips third quarter interception.
This is harder to understand looking back. Coming into the game, UT had the fewest turnovers in the Big 12 while TCU lead the league in the category.
David Ash's two interceptions took place in the red zone while his fumble gave TCU the ball on the Texas 16.
"You can blame it on turnovers and you can blame it on not finishing in the red zone" said UT junior guard Mason Walters. "We’ve got to finish drives."
ASH VS. MCCOY, AGAIN
For the second time this season David Ash had an off game. This brought in backup junior Case McCoy and the question as to who should be the starting signal caller next week when the Longhorns hit the road to take on Kansas State.
Ash was responsible for the first three turnovers of the game, but I’ll give him a break on the first interception.
TCU was in man coverage and Mike Davis was open, he just threw the ball behind Davis so it was an easy play for Jason Verrett to intercept.
“Coaches felt like, and I agreed with them, that we were going to have to do some one-minute offense in the second half and he'd done that more than Case,” Brown said.
Although McCoy led the Longhorns on their only touchdown scoring drive of the game, he made a big mistake by throwing a jump ball up on UT”s final offensive play of the game.
Sam Carter came down with that pass the clinched the game for TCU.
“The ball slipped and floated up in the air,” McCoy said about the play. “We didn’t take care of the ball when we needed to, and we’ve talked about it all year.”
Ash was better, even though the final drive similarities between last season’s Thanksgiving game against Texas A&M and this season’s TCU contest were there.
McCoy took over in College Station with 1:42 on the clock and needing to drive Texas into field goal range. He took over needing a touchdown with 1:44 remaining on Thursday.
Ash finished the game going 10-for-21 for 104 yards and two interceptions. McCoy meanwhile completed 11-of-17 for 110 yards and an interception.
McCoy’s high risk, high rewards style of play makes him good in come from behind situations, but had he been in longer, I doubt the Longhorns would be within seven points of the Horned Frogs.
Although Ash did everything to win the starting job and should be the incumbent next year, I don’t see him as being the game changer that Vince Young or Colt McCoy were.
Ash is a nice player, but if UT wants to get into the BCS and contend for a playoff spot in the next couple of years, it may be time to look elsewhere.
What will happen to Little McCoy? Is Jalen Overstreet going to have a shot to compete for the starting spot? What about current clipboard holder Connor Brewer?
For the answers to these questions and more, tune in to the next episode of As the QB World Turns…..Only on the Longhorn Network (Which most of the state doesn’t get so I have no way of knowing if this is a real show).
WHY SO GRAY
Texas found a rhythm early on pounding the Horned Frogs with Gray. The problem was, TCU adjusted and UT had no answer.
“They’ve always been a good run defense, and that is something that we knew and have got to do a better job against,” said Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin. |
The Horned Frogs did what their 7th ranked run defense is supposed to do, make teams one-dimensional.
Unfortunately, Ash and McCoy couldn’t beat them through the air.
“We obviously didn’t need to run the ball,” said Gray. “We needed to pass to get in the end zone quicker. That’s what we were doing.”
Gray gained 30 yards on his first four carries and had 32 yards on seven attempts in the opening quarter.
Once TCU put nine players in the box, Gray was ineffective. The freshman from Aledo finished the day with 51 yards on 15 carries.
Texas rushed for only 86 yards as a team.
LACK OF SENIOR MOMENTS
Thursday’s game marked the final home game for the UT Class of 2013.
The performances of Marquis Goodwin, D.J. Monroe and Kenny Vaccaro weren’t enough to earn Texas the win.
“I mean, it hurts, but I don’t think we ever gave up,” said Vaccaro about losing in his final home game. “I am proud of the guys for fighting, fighting for me, the seniors, and just fighting for our team.”
Vaccaro led the team with 10 total tackles and Goodwin managed one catch for 18 yards.
D.J. Monroe, who spent most of his career on the sidelines instead of on the field, returned a kickoff 21 yards.
Manny Diaz’s defensive unit may have gotten off to a rough start this season, but after an Oct. 20 win against Baylor, the team address much of their fundamental problems that plagued the Longhorns for the first two months of the season.
Lost in the letdown was a pretty good game against a fairly one-dimensional offense.
The Horned Frogs mustered less than 300 yards of total offense and had only 15 first downs.
UT held TCU to only six points in the second half, but it was mistakes that decided the game.
Texas’ affinity for turning the ball over in the red zone and TCU’s ability to make them pay was responsible for an 11-point swing.
TCU scored 14 points on the first three Texas turnovers of the game while the Longhorns managed only a field goal on Phillips' interception.
Opponents scored 35 points per game against Texas through the first seven games of the season. That total has dropped to 16 in the last four games.