Throughout the season, the Longhorns have preached the need to execute in all three phases of the game in order to emerge victorious.
During their three-game win streak, they were able to do just that as the offense, defense and special teams made plays and minimized mistakes.
That changed Thursday, as all three units had their share of issues early on against TCU, giving the No. 5 Horned Frogs the momentum they needed en route to a 48-10 blowout victory. The loss was Texas’ worst home defeat since falling 66-3 to UCLA in 1997.
“It’s got to be a complete game,” head coach Charlie Strong said. “Guys have to understand they got to finish the game no matter what happens.”
The Longhorns struggled to get going on offense, going three and out on their first two drives. The first drive resulted in a 53-yard TCU punt return to set up a Horned Frogs field goal.
When the Longhorns finally moved the ball into TCU territory late in the first quarter, sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes was sacked and stripped of the ball, which was picked up and taken to the end zone to give the Horned Frogs a 13-0 lead.
Swoopes had one of the worst games of his career, as he threw four interceptions — three of which came in the second half.
“I couldn’t get a rhythm going,” Swoopes said. “I was doing things to try and get it going, but I just couldn’t find a rhythm.”
The Longhorns did finally score midway through the second quarter on a 47-yard field goal by junior kicker Nick Rose to cut the deficit to 13-3, but that’s as close as they’d get.
TCU scored its first offensive touchdown of the evening on a nine-play, 67-yard drive, set up by a 38-yard jump ball from junior quarterback Trevone Boykin to junior wide receiver Josh Doctson on third down.
The half finished with the Longhorns trailing 20-3, despite outgaining the Horned Frogs from scrimmage.
Texas’ rushing game was nonexistent on the evening, as the team ran for just 90 yards on 36 attempts — the majority of which were gained by Swoopes. Senior running back Malcolm Brown carried the ball 10 times for 29 yards while his junior counterpart, Johnathan Gray, gained zero yards on 11 carries.
TCU forced six turnovers in the contest, five of which resulted in points.
“As many turnovers as we had, you can’t win games,” Brown said.
The Longhorns’ defense held TCU to a season-low 368 yards of total offense, but allowed three fourth quarter touchdowns that effectively ended the ball game.
“I just feel bad that we gave up plays and just kept letting them score goal and goal,” junior defensive tackle Malcom Brown said. “At some point, we have to buckle down and just be like, ‘We’re not going to let them score anymore. We are going to stop them right here.’”
Senior wide receiver John Harris went over 1,000 yards on the season, with an 11-yard grab in the third quarter. Harris now has 1,015 receiving yards on the year, becoming the first Longhorn receiver since Jordan Shipley, and the sixth player in school history, to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in a season.
Freshman wide receiver Armanti Foreman scored in a second-straight game, as he took a short pass 73 yards to the end zone to cut the TCU lead to 27-10 early in the fourth quarter.