AUSTIN (KXAN) — No. 7 Texas withstood a furious TCU rally in the fourth quarter to hang on for a 29-26 win Saturday in Fort Worth.
Leading 26-6 going into the fourth quarter, the Longhorns nearly let another big lead slip away. A huge 35-yard reception by Adonai Mitchell on third-and-12 with 1:58 left in the game gave Texas a first down and iced the game. Mitchell made a tremendous adjustment on the Quinn Ewers pass that was a bit underthrown and to Mitchell’s outside shoulder. Mitchell was essentially on his back when he made the grab, and with only one timeout left, TCU couldn’t stop the Longhorns from running out the clock.
“This was just another way our guys found a way to win,” Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “We played really good football for three quarters, but we couldn’t convert a third down in the fourth quarter and they were scoring quick.”
TCU outscored Texas 20-3 in the fourth quarter with touchdowns from Emani Bailey, JP Richardson and Savion Williams. Bailey, who had been kept relatively quiet by a stout Texas run defense, scored on a 17-yard run with 10:53 left to open the door for a rally. Richarson juggled a 3-yard catch on the goal line but hauled it in with 5:51 left for a score and Williams caught a 14-yard scoring grab with 3:28 left to cut Texas’ lead to 29-26.
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The Texas defense made big plays early in the game to keep TCU out of the end zone for the first three quarters. With 2:50 left in the third quarter, TCU elected to go for a touchdown on fourth-and-2 but Josh Hoover launched a pass out of the back of the end zone. That was the first time the Horned Frogs reached the Longhorns’ red zone and Texas once again flexed its red zone strength.
A wild sequence in the first quarter helped erase an Ewers interception and get Texas the ball back. Ewers put way too much air underneath a pass and underthrew it, allowing Millard Bradford to intercept the pass. During the return, Texas wide receiver Jordan Whittington chased Bradford down and knocked the ball loose. Worthy jumped on the ball and Texas got a new set of downs to conclude the two-turnover play.
In his first game back from a shoulder injury that kept him out two weeks, Ewers completed 22 of 33 passes for 317 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Running back Jonathon Brooks rushed for 104 yards on 21 carries with two touchdowns, but left the game early in the fourth quarter with an injury. On Sunday, the team updated that Brooks tore his right ACL on the play and will be out for the rest of the season. CJ Baxter rushed for 61 yards on 18 carries.
“It sure feels good to be 9-1 and get a conference win on the road against a good team,” Sarkisian said. “They took us all the way to the end.”
Xavier Worthy caught 10 passes for 137 yards and Bert Auburn made three field goals, including one for 49 yards to tie a career-long. For TCU, Savion Williams hauled in 11 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown.
Texas (9-1, 6-1 Big 12 Conference) takes on Iowa State next week on the road.
Final: Texas 29, TCU 26. The Longhorns hang on for dear life amidst a furious TCU comeback bid and keep Big 12 title hopes alive.
1:58 4Q: Adonai Mitchell makes the play of the game with a 35-yard reception adjusting back to the ball that was a bit underthrown and to his outside. Mitchell was on his back and caught it. It’s a first down on a third-and-12 play and that might be enough to ice the game.
3:28 4Q: TOUCHDOWN TCU: Savion Williams continues to have a tremendous game for the Horned Frogs and hauls in a 14-yard TD. PAT good. TCU has outscored Texas 20-3 in the fourth quarter. 3 plays, 36 yards, 0:35. Longhorns 29, Horned Frogs 26
4:03 4Q: Texas has to punt, and Sanborn’s kick is not that great and JP Richardson gets a good return. Then, Savion Red gets hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at the end of the return to give the Horned Frogs the ball at the Texas 36-yard line. Things are getting interesting.
5:51 4Q: TOUCHDOWN TCU: JP Richardson juggles a pass near the goal line but hauls it in for a 3-yard score on fourth-and-goal. 2-point conversion is no good. 9 plays, 75 yards, 3:02. Longhorns 29, Horned Frogs 19
7:50 4Q: TCU tight end Jared Wiley gets loose for a 46-yard catch down the sideline down to the Texas 17-yard line. The Horned Frogs aren’t going away easily
8:53 4Q: FIELD GOAL TEXAS: Auburn connects from 49 yards, tying a career-long, to extend the Texas lead. 10 plays, 44 yards, 5:09. Longhorns 29, Horned Frogs 13
10:31 4Q: After a 7-yard run, Jonathon Brooks goes down and stays down. Training staff is on the field attending to him. The run pushed him over 100 yards for the game.
14:02 4Q: TOUCHDOWN TCU: Emani Bailey scores from 17 yards out to get the Horned Frogs a little closer early in the 4Q. PAT good. 6 plays, 74 yards, 2:00. Longhorns 26, Horned Frogs 13
End 3Q: Texas 26, TCU 6. TCU has the ball at the Texas 30 with a second-and-7 play to start the 4Q.
0:19 3Q: TCU’s Savion Williams turns a short reception into a huge play, hurdling a Texas defender on his way to a 42-yard gain down to the Longhorns’ 33-yard line
2:50 3Q: TCU goes for it on fourth-and-2 and Hoover throws it out of the end zone. The Texas red zone defense comes through again and forces a turnover on down. Longhorns take over on their own 2-yard line.
5:25 3Q: TCU gets into the red zone for the first time in the game after the Horned Frogs convert a third down play.
8:29 3Q: Texas loses yards on a wide receiver screen on third-and-1 and has to punt it away. TCU takes over on its own 36-yard line
10:50 3Q: Trill Carter gets a strip sack on third down but TCU falls on the fumble and ends up punting the next play. Texas takes over on its own 10-yard line
15:00 3Q: Will Stone kicks the second-half kickoff through the end zone and TCU will take over at the 25-yard line to start the 3Q
Halftime: Texas 26, TCU 6. The Longhorns keep TCU out of the end zone and allow just 19 rushing yards in the first half and 110 total yards. TCU ran just 25 plays in the first half to Texas’ 45.
0:12 2Q: TOUCHDOWN TEXAS: Jonathon Brooks busts a 22-yard run and dives over the pylon for a touchdown, turning the interception into 7 points. PAT good. 5 plays, 43 yards, 0:39. Longhorns 26, Horned Frogs 6
0:51 2Q: Terrance Brooks steps in front of a Josh Hoover pass and picks him off. Longhorns take over on the TCU 43-yard line and can tack on more points before the half ends
1:01 2Q: TOUCHDOWN TEXAS: Adonai Mitchell hauls in a 6-yard pass from Ewers for his ninth TD reception of the season. PAT no good after Sanborn was unable to get the snap down for Auburn to kick it. 13 plays, 85 yards, 4:54. Longhorns 19, Horned Frogs 6
8:32 2Q: FIELD GOAL TEXAS: Texas settles for a 32-yard field goal by Auburn after Christian Jones got hit with a false start penalty on fourth-and-1 from the TCU 9-yard line. 9 plays, 43 yards, 5:03. Longhorns 13, Horned Frogs 6
13:04 2Q: What looked like a 57-yard touchdown by Xavier Worthy only goes for 19 yards because Worthy’s toe was out of bounds after he made the catch and turned upfield. Really good eyes by the referees to see that.
13:35 2Q: Oh boy, that was a bad punt by Jordy Sandy. It goes off the side of his foot for 22 yards and out of bounds at the Texas 45-yard line
14:50 2Q: FIELD GOAL TEXAS: Bert Auburn boots a 30-yard kick through and Texas tacks on to its lead. 6 plays, 52 yards, 2:32. Longhorns 10, Horned Frogs 6
End 1Q: Texas 7, TCU 6. The Longhorns have the ball with third-and-9 from the TCU 12-yard line to start the 2Q
1:36 1Q: Ewers then drops one in the bucket for a 45-yard pass to Xavier Worthy to get the ball to the TCU 13-yard line. What a turn of events.
2:22 1Q: A wild sequence as Ewers puts way too much air under a pass and underthrows his receiver. Millard Bradford gets under the ball and picks it off for TCU, but during the return, he takes a hit and fumbles the ball and Texas jumps on it. Texas regains possession on its own 36-yard line. Whoa.
4:35 1Q: FIELD GOAL TCU: Kell hammers a 56-yard kick to get the Frogs within a point. Holy moley, what a kick! Longhorns 7, Horned Frogs 6
6:53 1Q: TOUCHDOWN TEXAS: Brooks finishes off the drive with a 2-yard plunge into the end zone. PAT good. 2 plays, 75 yards, 0:48. Longhorns 7, Horned Frogs 3
7:10 1Q: A screen pass to Jonathon Brooks ends up a 73-yard gain down to the 2-yard line on the first play of the drive following the TCU field goal.
7:41 1Q: FIELD GOAL TCU: Griffin Kell knocks a 41-yard kick through the uprights and the Horned Frogs take an early lead. 7 plays, 29 yards, 2:42. Horned Frogs 3, Longhorns 0
10:23 1Q: Texas brings in the wildcat package with Savion Red taking the snap, and on fourth-and-1, the Horned Frogs stuff Red and they’ll take over on their own 48-yard line
12:49 1Q: TCU has to punt it away after four plays and the Longhorns get it back on their own 29-yard line
13:19 1Q: Texas defensive back Michael Taaffe was on the wrong end of a vicious blind side and stayed down for a while but was able to jog off the field on his own.
13:50 1Q: Not the best start for the Longhorns offense as they go 3-and-out and Ryan Sanborn has to punt it away.
15:00 1Q: Texas will receive the opening kick and Quinn Ewers will get on the field for the first time in two weeks.