Tech’s defense makes a play when UT’s offense makes a puzzling decision
There was no question who the most talented player in this game was, Texas running back Bijan Robinson. Though Tech held him in check (relatively speaking that is) by limiting him to 103 yards, he still averaged 6.4 yards per carry.
So when the Longhorns faced a 4th-and-2 at the Tech 33 on UT’s first possession of the second half, it made no sense for anyone but Robinson to get the ball. However, Texas took the ball out of their best player’s hands and it would backfire on them.
What’s more, Texas actually ran a play out of the wildcat formation with running back Roschon Johnson taking the snap from center and trying to pick up the yards on his own. In fact, on the play, Robinson was relegated to the role of lead blocker rather than ball carrier.
This was a case of Texas coach Steve Sarkisian getting too cute. He should have just lined up in a power formation with Robinson dotting the “I” formation and run some power football at the Red Raiders. Had he done that, it is likely that Tech would have had a difficult time making this play.
Yet, by running a slow-developing play that saw Johnson first fake the handoff to Robinson, it gave Tech defensive lineman Tony Bradford an opportunity to knife into the backfield and stop Johnson for no gain.
This was a huge moment in the game as it came one drive after Tech was stymied on 4th down at their own 40. Thus, Texas had a golden opportunity to pick up points needing only one first down to get into reasonable field goal range. But they couldn’t get any first downs on the drive and were instead unable to build upon their 24-14 lead.