Texas hosts No. 17 TCU in key early Big 12 matchup
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Yes, Texas’ victory over Southern California last week was scintillating and a long time coming as an assumed first step toward the Longhorns regaining some of their clout in college football. But everyone associated with the program wants more, and standing in the way of that happening is this week’s battle with No. 17 TCU.
Texas coach Tom Herman and his staff and team have already put the win over USC in the rearview mirror and turned their attention to the large truck driving directly toward them.
The Horned Frogs (2-1) head to Austin, Texas, for Saturday afternoon’s Big 12 season-opening dust-up at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium after a 40-28 loss to No. 4 Ohio State last week at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
TCU will be looking to continue its recent success against Texas.
Herman said the focus now is to make sure the Longhorns aren’t strutting too much or reveling in the back-slaps and acclaim of the Texas fan base in lieu of properly preparing for TCU.
“We told our guys that the only peoples’ opinions who should matter when it comes to the game of football are the people in our room — your teammates and your coaches,” Herman said. “(We were) basically pleading with them, pleading with the leaders to school the young guys up.
“In this family you can be bombarded with outside messages that have no impact on our preparation for TCU. So, it was a big point of the emphasis throughout the day yesterday, making sure that the opinions of the people in that locker room and in those coaches’ offices are the only ones that we worry about.”
Texas has lost to TCU the past four seasons by an average of 30 points and had not scored more than 10 points in any of those games. Since Mack Brown left as Texas coach after the 2013 season, the Longhorns have beaten every Big 12 team at least once … except the Horned Frogs.
Three big plays separated TCU from beating Ohio State last week, but the Horned Frogs don’t have time to lament about what could have been. Like Texas, they have turned the page and are deep in preparations for the resurgent Longhorns (2-1).
TCU went toe-to-toe with Ohio State, but two turnovers, both of which resulted in touchdowns for the Buckeyes, and having a TD called back because of a forward lateral doomed the Horned Frogs’ chances.
Quarterback Shawn Robinson posted career highs in completions (24), attempts (40), passing yards (308) and total offense (315) in the loss to Ohio State.
TCU coach Gary Patterson helped salve the wound from the loss by saying if he had to choose one game to win — Ohio State or Texas — he’d take beating the Longhorns.
“If you gave me a choice of who you need to beat, it’s conference play,” Patterson said Monday. “You’d want to win the Texas game. Whether that permeated with them, we’ll find out. But that’s the thing you have to understand — to get to the playoffs you’ve got to win your conference, or get to be one of those final two teams (in the Big 12 title game). It starts this week.”
TCU, which dropped from 15th to 17th in this week’s AP polls after the loss to Ohio State, has taken five of the past six games from Texas.
Patterson said there’s a natural rivalry between TCU and Texas because of recruiting battles and the fact that the Horned Frogs’ players grow up watching Longhorns’ games.
“Outside of that, it’s the next ballgame,” Patterson said. “I don’t know if I can explain it except that I worry more about what I can do to make sure TCU is good, not worry about Texas or Iowa State or Oklahoma or Oklahoma State or whoever else we’re playing. The biggest thing is just making sure I can control TCU.”