… If it can contain TCU junior quarterback Trevone Boykin. Boykin is having a phenomenal year, and for the Longhorns to upset TCU, they must stop Boykin. Boykin has thrown for 3,021 yards and 24 touchdowns already this season. Additionally, Boykin has run for 548 yards and seven touchdowns. Boykin’s meteoric rise to prominence has been a huge reason for the Horned Frogs’ success, but if Texas can stop the Dallas native, the Longhorns will win.
… If sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes plays efficiently. The 6-foot-4, 243-pound sophomore has had his fair share of ups and downs this season. When Swoopes is performing at his best, the Longhorns look really good. Inversely, when he’s bad, Texas looks really bad. In Texas’ 28-7 thrashing of Oklahoma State, Swoopes threw for 305 yards and two touchdowns. If Swoopes can duplicate that performance against TCU’s stingy defense, Texas will have no problem downing the Horned Frogs.
… If the special-teams units don’t make mistakes. It sounds simple enough, but the Longhorns’ special teams have been horrific. During its game against Oklahoma State, Texas’ junior kicker, Nick Rose, somehow hit a career-long, 51-yard field goal and then missed a 21-yard chip shot. The Longhorns have also had trouble punting and in coverage. If Texas can be more consistent, it will be in position to win on Thanksgiving.
… If the Longhorn defense has an uncharacteristically bad night. The trend this season has been for Texas’ defense to keep it in the game. The defense has had a few lapses during the season, but it can’t afford to struggle against the Horned Frogs. TCU has a ton of offensive weapons, and if the Longhorns can’t stop them, it’ll be a long night.
… If the running game struggles. During the Longhorns’ three-game winning streak, the running game has been successful. Texas’ running backs — senior Malcolm Brown and junior Johnathan Gray — have rushed for 495 yards and seven touchdowns during the streak. If the running game isn’t present against TCU, the Longhorns will lose.
… If Swoopes can’t find his rhythm. When Swoopes struggles, it’s normally because the opponent is blitzing, and he can’t find an open man fast enough. Swoopes likes to run laterally, but when an opponent contains him, he struggles. If the Horned Frogs prevent the sophomore quarterback from finding his stride, the Longhorns will have no shot.