It was a classic Big 12 shootout in Austin on Saturday — just not an evenly-contested one like last year’s Texas-Texas Tech showdown in Lubbock. Texas cruised to a 70-35 win off the back of a stellar offensive performance.
Here are 5 key takeaways from Texas’ 70-35 win over Texas Tech in Week 4:
Resolute offensive line makes all the difference
What was probably Texas’ biggest frailty in its first three games was probably its biggest strength on Saturday — its offensive line. With a solid foundation on the line of scrimmage, Texas put up 639 yards of total offense on the way to its 70-35 win.
Texas coach Steve Sarkisian believes the work his offensive line has put in to improve since the loss to Arkansas has started paying dividends.
“Coming out of the Arkansas game, I didn’t think we handled three-down front stuff, I didn’t think we handled some of the movement up front, and I think that we spent a point of emphasis identifying fronts,” he said after Saturday’s win. “Ultimately, the biggest thing that I think we’ve done offensively is — it’s one thing to get the assignment right, it’s another to block your man and defeat your man and to finish [the block] so that the runner can get to the second level. We’ve been demanding that for two weeks, and we’re seeing that get done.”
Casey Thompson was afforded so much time against a beleaguered Tech front, who could hardly get in the backfield. Thompson ended the game with five touchdowns on 303 yards through the air, and a rushing touchdown as well. Texas’ new starting quarterback has led Texas to a score on 24 of his last 27 drives.
Texas’ running backs also had a field day, thanks to the offensive line. Texas rushed for 336 yards on Saturday, finding the endzone four times on the ground. Bijan Robinson had another stellar performance, even without notching a rushing touchdown. Roschon Johnson thoroughly impressed yet again, as he tallied his second and third touchdowns of the season. Keilan Robinson also punched in a score for good measure.
Xavier Worthy explodes
The rookie receiver was perhaps the most explosive player on the field for Texas on Saturday, as he erupted for three touchdowns and 100 yards receiving. Worthy’s first touchdown of the day was courtesy of a 23-yard dime thrown by Thompson. His second touchdown came in the third quarter from three yards out. But the pick of the bunch was Worthy’s third, a 62-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. Worthy shrugged off one tackle, averted three Tech defenders with a single spin-move, and burst into the endzone to cap off the highlight-reel score.
Xavier Worthy REFUSED to be tackled 😤 pic.twitter.com/sMg1foMW3h— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 25, 2021
Bijan “The Problem(son)” Robinson runs wild
Bijan Robinson is simply unstoppable — especially when the rest of the Texas offense is clicking on all cylinders. The back from Arizona put up a receiving touchdown and 191 yards of total offense, with 137 of those yards coming on the ground. And Robinson doesn’t just up video game-like numbers, he passes the eye test with flying colors. His combination of speed, strength and toughness makes him nearly impossible to tackle in one-on-one situations. He consistently breaks tackles, and when he goes down hard, he pops right back up as if nothing happened.
Despite the dominant showing from the offense, Texas’ defense — particularly its secondary — left a whole lot to be desired. The Longhorns gave up 35 points against a Red Raider offense that went most of the day without its starting quarterback, and the whole day without its leading rusher.
In relief of Tyler Shough, Henry Colombi torched the Texas secondary for three 40+ yard touchdowns. The first of which, BJ Foster was scorched by Myles Price, who found the endzone for a 40-yard touchdown. Then, Colombi connected with Loic Fouonji for a 69-yarder, before finding Kaylon Grieger for a 75-yard bomb on nearly back-to-back plays. It was another Texas Tech air raid, even if the Red Raiders ended up 70-35 losers on the day.
The Fortress at DKR-Memorial Stadium
Looking past Texas’ abysmal showing away to Arkansas where they lost 40-21, Texas looks tremendous. They have now won all three games at home, and by some convincing margin. Texas has now scored a ridiculous 166 points over the course of its three home games this season, while only allowing 53, for a combined margin of victory of 113. Playing in front of its home fans in Austin, Texas has looked extremely comfortable.