Scenarios: vs. No. 10 TCU

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Texas wins if

Before its game against Baylor, Texas had gone five straight games without a single running back gaining 50 yards rushing. 

On Saturday, however, two backs were able to do so. Freshmen Daniel Young and Toneil Carter combined for 22 carries for 130 yards and two touchdowns as well as three catches for 30 yards.

As great as the young backs’ numbers looked, they may have been a bit inflated. Both touchdowns went for 28 or more yards and came during the fourth quarter, when the Longhorns already had the lead. Still, the explosiveness the pair showed last weekend has provided a newfound hope for the rest of the unit.

Texas wins this game if it can keep up the same level of production throughout this Saturday’s contest against No. 10 TCU. The last time the Longhorns played a ranked team, they were only able to muster up 42 rushing yards against then-No. 10 Oklahoma State — in overtime.

Last week’s win over the Bears proved head coach Tom Herman is capable of riding the hot hand in a committee approach. He has been reluctant to do so for most of the season, typically splitting carries evenly between Carter, junior Chris Warren III and sophomore Kyle Porter.

Moving forward, Herman is likely to distribute touches in a similar manner. If Carter and Young can stabilize the Longhorns’ run game, Texas should have a much easier time scoring against No. 10 TCU.

Texas loses if

The Longhorn defense allowed just 10 points in regulation against Oklahoma State, a team that had the best offense in the nation when the teams met during Week 8. It was the lowest total for the Cowboys since Nov. 15, 2014 when they lost at home to Texas, 28-7.

The Longhorns held Oklahoma State’s star senior quarterback Mason Rudolph to 282 yards and without a touchdown on 25-of-38 passing attempts and knocked him back 14 yards on seven carries. Texas’ ability to neutralize the Cowboys’ best offensive weapon helped the burnt orange offense keep pace.

Texas loses this game if it is unable to do the same against the Horned Frogs. 

Senior quarterback Kenny Hill had arguably his worst game of the season against the Cyclones last week. Iowa State intercepted Hill twice and kept him out of the end zone as he threw for just 125 yards.

The Longhorns have one of the best ball-hawking defenses in the country. The secondary is headed by junior defensive back Deshon Elliott, who leads the nation with six interceptions this year.

Hill is due for a rebound game. The Longhorns will lose if they’re unable to make big plays to keep that from happening.