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TCU defense delivers big-time performance against Texas

Several Horned Frogs contributed to a stout effort during the 17-10 win over the Longhorns on Saturday.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 12 TCU at Texas Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The TCU offense has made plenty of noise this season, scoring 38 or more points in eight of the team’s first nine games while sitting near the top of the Big 12 Conference standings in rushing yards per game and total yards per game. Max Duggan’s play under center has also garnered national attention and Heisman consideration, with the senior signal caller totaling 28 touchdowns and only two turnovers during TCU’s 9-0 start to the 2022 campaign.

But on an evening where over 104,000 fans at DKR Memorial Stadium in Austin watched the No. 18 ranked Texas Longhorns shut down the TCU offense throughout most of the night, it was the Horned Frog defense that delivered undoubtedly its strongest performance of the year. Several TCU defenders stood out as the Horned Frogs held a Texas offense featuring five-star quarterback Quinn Ewers and future NFL running back Bijan Robinson to zero offensive touchdowns in a 17-10 win to remain unbeaten at 10-0 and No. 4 in the nation.

One week removed from rumbling for 209 yards and a touchdown in a Texas win over Kansas State, Robinson was a nonfactor against the Horned Frogs, mustering only 29 yards on 12 carries while Roschon Johnson was also shut down, finishing with 14 yards on five carries. It was only the second time this season that Robinson was held without a rushing touchdown and the first time since Sept. 10 against Alabama that Robinson had under 100 yards on the ground. Robinson’s 29 yards and 2.4 yards per carry were both season lows.

Despite beginning the game without linebacker and leading sacker Dee Winters, who left during the second half against Texas Tech due to a targeting foul, TCU’s linebacking corps and the rest of the front six answered the call. Navy transfer Johnny Hodges turned in arguably his best performance in a Horned Frog uniform, totaling 11 tackles and earning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors. TCU finished with six tackles for loss against the Longhorns, with Hodges compiling 1.5 while defensive linemen Tymon Mitchell and Dylan Horton as well as linebacker Shad Banks each had one. Mitchell and Horton also delivered sacks for the Horned Frogs, who saw 33 of their 47 tackles come from the front six.

While the Horned Frog defense frustrated the Longhorn rushing attack, TCU’s secondary mystified Ewers, who completed only 43.6 percent of his passes (17-for-39) with one interception. It was the first time since exiting against Alabama with a shoulder injury that Ewers went without a touchdown pass during a single game. Cornerback Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson snagged an interception for the second week in a row, leading the secondary with three passes defensed while safety Bud Clark had two and two players including safety Namdi Obiazor and cornerback Josh Newton both added one.

TCU successfully contained wide receiver Xavier Worthy, who was held to his lowest yardage since Oct. 8. Worthy was also held without a touchdown reception for the first time since Sept. 18 against UTSA. Texas ended the evening with only 199 total yards, its lowest total of the season and its lowest total since the team’s 2015 loss to Notre Dame. The Longhorns were unable to extend drives, finishing 1-for-13 on third downs and 1-for-4 on fourth downs in the loss. On a night where the Horned Frog offense recorded season-worsts in both points (17) and yards (283), TCU saw its defense make a statement as the Horned Frogs continue to fight for national respect as one of the best teams in college football.