Bohls: Texas stuns TCU, latest hint the Longhorns are rising,
The best team won. How long has it been since we’ve written that about the home team on a big stage?
But it’s the unvarnished truth as Texas bested TCU and in dominating fashion. There was nothing fluky about this one.
Starving for relevance, unranked Texas staged yet another comeback victory in consecutive weeks to break the TCU stranglehold in this series, knocking off the 17th-ranked Horned Frogs 31-16 before a raucous crowd on Saturday.
Texas finally sustained something.
On the heels of a remarkable turnaround in which the Longhorns overwhelmed 22nd-ranked Southern Cal 37-14, they stuck it to the Frogs at Royal-Memorial Stadium and walked off with a gritty upset for their second straight win over a ranked opponent.
Texas hadn’t done that in consecutive weeks in 10 long years. Not since probably Mack Brown’s second best team ripped No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 11 Missouri and No. 7 Oklahoma State in three straight weeks before falling to No. 6 Texas Tech on Michael Crabtree heroics over the course of a month. That team went 12-1.
This edition may not be 12-1 good. No one’s seriously expecting Texas (3-1) to run the table, but no one should totally discount it either. After dropping that ugly season-opener to Maryland, the Longhorns have escaped Tulsa and routed both USC and TCU to signal good things ahead.
Texas is doing it with a ravenous defense that had four takeaways Saturday, has been rock-solid the last two games and has given a sputtering but effective offense time to gather itself and strike for enough points to seal the deal. For the third straight week, quarterback Sam Ehlinger was flawless without a turnover as he connected with junior receiver Collin Johnson seven times for 124 yards as one of the Big 12’s most dangerous tandems.
Texas trailed USC and then scored 34 straight points to win going away. Texas fell behind TCU 16-10 on a field goal midway through the third quarter, then roared to life with 21 unanswered points to topple a team that was in last year’s Big 12 title game.
“All that does is validate that we have taken another step,” Herman said. “We’ve got many, many, many steps to take. I really like our grit and the tenacity of this ballclub.”
We’ve all seen enough positive signs turn sour, but this victory over a potent TCU team that played Ohio State toe to toe a week ago stamps Texas as a legitimate team on the rise. It’s got stars galore in probably the league’s scariest secondary in freshman Caden Sterns — who had two interceptions Saturday — and the physical Brandon Jones as well as linebacker Gary Johnson and a defensive line led by the belly-rubbing Chris Nelson.
For a program as hungry as this blue blood franchise is, the “Eyes of Texas” sung at game’s end sounded a little more robust. There’s no guarantee the Longhorns won’t have more stumbles, but these two wins are laying the foundation for a Tom Herman team that’s breaking out.
Texas running back Tre Watson tries to break free from TCU safety Vernon Scott in Saturday’s surprising win.
TCU coach Gary Patterson argues a call during Saturday’s loss to Texas. The Horned Frogs have dropped two in a row.