FORT WORTH, Texas — Since so many burnt-orange backers tried to bury Texas after back-to-back losses to BYU and Mississippi in September, the Longhorns have taken on all comers.
Saturday night Texas doubled up on the fun, walloping both TCU and Mother Nature.
Texas won its fourth consecutive game by rolling over the Horned Frogs 30-7 in front of 48,212 rain-soaked fans at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
It wasn’t just TCU that Texas (5-2, 4-0 in Big 12) had to outlast either. A lightning delay that included periods of torrential rain forced both teams off the field for more than three hours.
What the 3 hour, 6 minute delay didn’t do though was put a damper on a Texas team that was even more dominant after the lengthy delay that it was before it. That shows how far the Longhorns have come since their Sept. 7 40-21 loss to BYU. That game was delayed nearly two hours at the start and Texas struggled from the get go.
Texas, which joins Baylor as the only teams unbeaten in Big 12 play, made sure that wasn’t the case Saturday night and Sunday morning.
“Something big for us was handling that rain delay because we haven’t done that before,” said senior quarterback Case McCoy, who was 9 of 19 for 228 yards and a touchdown. “For the most part, it’s just showing that team is maturing. Every day, every game we’re going uphill right now.”
Texas, which led 17-7 before the delay stopped the game with 6:08 remaining in the second quarter, kept the momentum after the break and never led the Frogs (3-5, 1-4) get into any kind of rhythm.
The Longhorns didn’t make many adjustments during the break. Instead the focused on keeping the players off their feet, getting them some food and waiting until they knew the game was going to start before going back on the field. That was a lesson they learned from the BYU game.
“They’ve all had a goal and dream to play on Sunday and now they’ve done that,” Brown joked after the game which ended well after midnight. “We handled the three hour delay much better than the two-hour delay out at Brigham Young because we have experience. We were so much more organized and aware of the things we needed this time.”
Texas, which is 4-0 in Big 12 play for the first time since 2009, was able to beat a TCU team which came into the game ranked 19th nationally in total defense with the big play.
Texas had all the momentum going its way before the delay, leading 17-7 after McCoy hit a streaking Marcus Johnson for a 65-yard scoring play with 9:48 remaining in the second quarter.
The delay did nothing to slow that either. Once play resumed, the Longhorns added a field goal on the last play of the first half on a drive that was kept alive by a 44-yard play from McCoy to Mike Davis.
A three-minute halftime did nothing to change the flow of the game. A 43-yard pass play from McCoy to Johnson shortened the field for Texas in the third quarter and Malcolm Brown made it a 27-7 game with a 3-yard run at the 9:20 mark of the third quarter.
TCU turned the ball over three times and Texas converted the three miscues into 17 points.
TCU (3-5, 1-4) didn’t get the lift it was looking for by the return of senior quarterback Casey Pachall. Pachall, who hadn’t played for TCU since breaking his left arm in a Sept. 7 game, came on for an ineffective Trevone Boykin but looked rusty. He missed open receivers and had a key interception with the Frogs trailing 10-7 early in the second quarter.
TCU’s lone touchdown came on a trick play as Pachall threw back to Cameron Echols-Luper, who threw a 38-yard pass to a wide open LaDarius Brown with 1:24 remaining in the first quarter.
Unfortunately for most in the stands for the second-biggest crowd in Amon G. Carter Stadium, that was one of the few bright spots for the Frogs.
“That wasn’t what we expected coming out here,” said Pachall, who was 13 for 34 for 139 yards and an interception. “What nobody expected. But you’ve got to live with what happened and now the only thing we can do is move on to next week.”
The ‘Horns are moving on to next week too. But unlike the Frogs, they are moving on with Big 12 title and BCS hopes intact after their doubleheader win Saturday and Sunday.
That doesn’t mean anything has changed in Austin though despite the four-game winning streak.
“The message to the team is beat Kansas,” said Brown, whose team hosts the Jayhawks next weekend. “That’s it. Let’s be 5-0 in the league. We’re a team that needs to get better and play to a standard. We’ve got a chance here to continue to improve.”