Texas entered David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium with a game plan centered around running the football and running it well. When the dust settled, it was evident the Longhorns were able to accomplish their mission.
Texas rushed the ball 57 times for 427 yards and six touchdowns, with Bijan Robinson accounting for a career-high four scores and Jonathon Brooks scoring the other two rushing touchdowns. There was one touchdown through the air, the result of a quick screen from Quinn Ewers to Keilan Robinson.
The 55 points are a season high and the fourth most points scored in a game under Steve Sarkisian. Film room looks at each occasion the Longhorns found the end zone.
Q1 – 2nd and Goal – (+2)
Play: Bijan Robinson two-yard rush
Chunk gains by Roschon Johnson and Jordan Whittington put the Longhorns in position to score on their second drive of the game. Texas runs a pretty simple play, but there are some assignments missed at the start. Hayden Conner initially misses his block, but he doesn’t give up on the play. Once he sees Robinson in front of him, he does his part to push the runner into the end zone for the score.
Q1 – 1st and 10 – (+17)
Play: Bijan Robinson 17-yard rush
The number of players walled off by Gunnar Helm, Kelvin Banks, and Jake Majors on this play accounts for one third of the KU defenders on the field. Their use of Jayhawks as blocking sleds, plus Ja’Tavion Sanders’ work on the edge, gives Robinson a clear path to the pylon for his second score of the game.
Q2 – 3rd and Goal – (+15)
Play: Keilan Robinson 15-yard reception from Quinn Ewers
After a false start moved Texas back to the 15, the Longhorns were looking to catch Kansas sleeping by running a quick screen instead of looking for the end zone through the air. Motion turns Keilan Robinson into the No. 1 receiver. The Kansas defenders are well off the ball, giving Texas plenty of room to set up blocks.
Banks pushes his man clear out of the play. Sanders and Xavier Worthy block well, but watch Conner get upfield. He blocks a defender before realizing Robinson might fall short of the end zone. He delivers quite a hit to his own teammate, but the hit puts Robinson into the end zone for another score. Just after this, several of Conner’s fellow O-linemen come to celebrate with him first before finding Robinson.
Q2 – 2nd and 9 – (+25)
Play: Bijan Robinson 24-yard rush
Before assessing the scoring play, the tremendous play that set it up has to make it into this edition of film room. Whenever Sarkisian called this play, he probably didn’t think Bijan Robinson would be able to score or potentially run out the clock. But Robinson is a special player, and this run was one of his finest.
He follows his blockers on counter before cutting back toward the open field, leaving several would-be tacklers in his wake. At this point, Robinson admitted he wasn’t trying to find the sideline. Instead, he was looking for the goal line. He almost gets there, and, luckily for Texas, steps out of bounds with one second on the clock.
Instead of taking the easy three, Sarkisian looks for six points just before half to take a 31-0 lead into the locker room.
Q2 – 1st and Goal – (+1)
Play: Bijan Robinson one-yard rush
Three of the 11 players on the field for the Longhorns are defensive tackles. Keondre Coburn and Byron Murphy are in the backfield as fullbacks, while T’Vondre Sweat is in as a tight end.
To get the six points, Robinson takes to the sky and, as Majors described it on Saturday, levitates over the line of scrimmage to get into the end zone for the third time.
Q3 – 3rd and 7 – (+32)
Play: Bijan Robinson 32-yard rush
The 24-yard rush before halftime was one of Robinson’s best, but so too was the scamper for his fourth and final score of the day. Robinson dances behind the line of scrimmage and has to make moves just to get back to where the ball was snapped after Sanders is blocked into Conner’s path.
But note where the KU defenders flow. They head toward the fieldside, leaving one player in between the far hashmark and the sideline. That one player is also getting blocked by Worthy, and somehow Robinson is able to find the open area available to him.
Any of the moves Robinson uses in order to get past the Kansas defense are impressive for players of any size. For Robinson to do it at 6-foot-0 and just under 220 pounds makes him one of the best runners of the football in the college game.
This is a phenomenal rush to cap a phenomenal day.
Q4 – 2nd and Goal – (+4)
Play: Jonathon Brooks four-yard rush
Brooks gets in on the scoring action behind blocks from the first-team offensive line. Banks pushes his man out of the play, and Whittington’s route removes the corner from contention. Good contact from Conner and DJ Campbell keeps the path to the end zone clear for Brooks for the first of two scores.
Q4 – 3rd and 5 – (-30)
Play: Jonathon Brooks 70-yard rush
Campbell and Cam Williams fire off the ball to clear out two defenders on their side. Logan Parr puts a good block on the linebackers, while Brooks’ is able to run through the corner’s tackle attempt. The safety blows up Gabe Sulser instead of trying to tackle Brooks, leaving plenty of green in front of Brooks for the Longhorns’ final score of the game.
A week after struggling to get the ground game going, Texas was able to put together one of the most prolific rushing days in the Sarkisian era. Earlier in the year, Sarkisian joked about writing “pound the rock” on his playsheet. In Lawrence, it must have been in big, bold letters.