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Texas 34, Alabama 24: Celebrate the Win!

The #11 Texas Longhorns won their first road trip of the season in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, defeating the #3 Alabama Crimson Tide 34-24.  The win improved head coach Steve Sarkisian's record to 2-0 on the season, and served as the program's biggest win in a number of years.
Texas QB Quinn Ewers threw for 349 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
The Longhorns dealt Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide their first loss at home since the 2019 season and their first non-conference loss in 44 games.
Remember this historic win by purchasing a post-game t-shirt by clicking on the link below!
#HookEm Horns!

Game Day in Tuscaloosa: #11 Texas Longhorns vs. #3 Alabama Crimson Tide

The last time the Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0, 0-0) lost a game at Bryant-Denny Stadium was in 2019.  Since then, all Nick Saban's team has done is reel off 21 straight wins at home.  The Tide are also riding a 43 game win streak against non-conference opponents.  
Yeah, it goes without saying that the Texas Longhorns (1-0, 0-0) have a tall task ahead in a big road game...  
Both teams won their season opening games by large margins as expected. The Longhorns handled the Rice Owls to the tune of 37-10 while the Crimson Tide sent Middle Tennessee State packing with a 56-7 loss.  Saturday is now here and so is arguably the biggest non conference matchup of the season.  This is the Longhorns' second ever trip to Tuscaloosa, with the first visit taking place over a century ago (1902).

Alabama returns five starters on offense and six starters on defense. Starting quarterback Jalen Milroe (redshirt sophomore) finished last week's win over Middle Tennessee State with 194 yards passing and three touchdowns.  Milroe, a dual-threat behind center, also led the Crimson Tide in rushing with 64 yards and two touchdowns.
Texas sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns against the Owls last weekend and added a rushing touchdown.  Ewers has now thrown 146 consecutive passes without an INT which is the fourth longest streak in Texas Football history.  He will need more of that against Alabama in order to pull off the upset win.
While there are many storylines in this game (Saban vs. Sarkisian, Ewers vs. Milroe, etc...) this game will be won by the team that limits mistakes and takes advantage of opportunities.  The Crimson Tide are favored by a touchdown by the Vegas oddsmakers, but Steve Sarkisian likes his team's preparation and focus for this matchup against a Goliath of an opponent that narrowly won last year's game in Austin by a touchdown.
A win for the Longhorns would be program-changing and could be the catalyst the Longhorns need to make a run at the College Football Playoffs this season.  Another loss to the Crimson Tide and Texas and Sarkisian will be back to square one, in search of a signature win with more unanswered questions for the program.
What:  #11 Texas Longhorns vs. #3 Alabama Crimson Tide
When: Saturday, September 9, 2023
Time: 6:00 PM
Location:  Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Venue:  Bryant-Denny Stadium
Spread: Alabama -7
All Time-Record:  Texas leads Alabama 7-2-1
Last Meeting:  Alabama defeated Texas 20-19 (9/10/2022 - Austin, TX) Relevant Information:
Discuss the Texas vs. Alabama Game HERE with other Texas Longhorns fans

How to Watch, Listen, Stream #11 Texas vs. #3 Alabama

Texas Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian yells orders at players during the game against Alabama at Royal Memorial Stadium on Sep. 10, 2022. Photo: Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK
ESPN's College Game Day will be on-hand in Tuscaloosa as the #11 Texas Longhorns face the #3 Alabama Crimson Tide in a prime time matchup that will be nationally televised.  The Crimson Tide got the better of the Longhorns last season in Austin, thanks to a field goal from kicker Will Reichard that propelled Alabama to a 20-19 win.  Steve Sarkisian and Texas look to even the score this year on the road with a more experienced team on both sides of the ball.  Both teams started their seasons 1-0 last week with Texas defeating the Rice Owls 37-10 and Alabama beating Middle Tennessee State 56-7.

Here's how to watch the game, which takes place at 6:00 PM at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
What:  #11 Texas Longhorns vs. #3 Alabama Crimson Tide
When: Saturday, September 9, 2023
Time: 6:00 PM
Location:  Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Venue:  Bryant-Denny Stadium
Spread: Alabama -7
All Time-Record:  Texas leads Alabama 7-2-1
Last Meeting:  Alabama defeated Texas 20-19 (9/10/2022 - Austin, TX) TV/STREAMING
This game will be a national broadcast on ESPN or via the WatchESPN App and the game will be called by Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Holly Rowe.
LiveStream on The Varsity Network by Clicking Here
Listen on the Longhorn Radio Network (iHeart Radio, KVET-AM 1300 The Zone)
Live Stats can be found at the following link - http://www.sidearmstats.com/alabama/football/

Scouting Report: Alabama

(Photo: USA TODAY Sports Images)
The rematch has arrived. One year after squeaking out a 20-19 win in Austin, Alabama is set to host the Longhorns this Saturday in one of the biggest regular season matchups in college football this year. Nick Saban's squad checks in at #3 in the latest AP Poll and boasts one of the best defenses in the country along with an offense led by a new quarterback.
Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young is now a member of the Carolina Panthers. After a contested QB battle during fall camp, former Texas commit Jalen Milroe was given the starting nod and turned in a good performance week one against Middle Tennessee State (13 for 18, 194 yards and 3 passing TD's while also adding 48 rushing yards and a pair of TD's on the ground). The threat of Milroe's legs is something that will be heavily talked about leading up to kickoff. His 6'2, 220 pound frame allows him to absorb hits and be a consistent factor in the run game. While Young was known as more of a scrambler, Milroe's number will be called on designed runs far more frequently.
RB Jahmyr Gibbs, who had a great game in Austin in 2022, is also now in the NFL and will be replaced by a committee approach. Texas native Jase McClellan, who busted a 80-yard TD in last year's matchup, led Alabama RB's in carries week 1 with 10. Senior Roydell Williams and sophomore Jamarion Miller (another former Texas commit) will also see action along with a talented freshman duo (Justice Haynes and Richard Young). The Alabama receivers had an up and down performance in Austin last season, but much of the talent returns as they search for more consistency. Jermaine Burton and Isaiah Bond are the two main receivers to watch. Junior college transfer Malik Benson and sophomore Kobe Prentice will see action as well.
The Alabama offensive line is anchored by RT JC Latham and LG Tyler Booker. Both have the potential to be high round NFL draft picks. True freshman Kadyn Proctor drew the start at LT last week and checks in at a massive 6'7 360 pounds. Similar to the Texas offensive line, this unit had their ups and downs in week 1.
New defensive coordinator Kevin Steele took over for Pete Golding this offseason and inherited a pretty nice situation. Dallas Turner and Chris Braswell strike fear in any offense coming off the edge. Jaheim Otis is another great player who could play inside or straight up on an offensive tackle. The strength of Alabama defense is the front 7. Running the ball could be tough sledding for the Longhorns on Saturday night.
In the backend, Kool-Aid McKinstry is the Crimson Tide's best corner and will likely spend a lot of time against Xavier Worthy. The rest of the Alabama secondary is inexperienced and/or has some injury concerns. Starting nickel Malachi Moore and starting safety Jaylen Key both left the Middle Tennessee State game with injury and their status is unknown headed into Saturday.
Texas was able to catch Alabama off balance at times last year by mixing in tempo with some different formations that had not been shown previously. It will be interesting to see if Saban and Steele come out with a more aggressive gameplan in an attempt to put Texas on their heels instead of the other way around.
Final Thoughts
Defensively, this appears to be a typical Nick Saban team. It would be pretty surprising if Texas got into the 30's or 40's in this game. The good news for the Longhorns is the majority of the question marks for the Crimson Tide come of the offensive side of the ball. Texas played well defensively week 1 and the unit could have the ability to carry the team in a low-scoring affair.
If Jalen Milroe gets into a rhythm and Alabama puts up some points early, it is going to be tough for Texas to walk out of Tuscaloosa with a win. The path to a Texas victory likely involves some early scripted success offensively and forcing Milroe into a turnover or two. If the Longhorns do that, they will likely find themselves with a chance in the 4th quarter to win the game.

Staff Predictions: #11 Texas Longhorns vs. #3 Alabama Crimson Tide

Photo: USA TODAY Sports Images
#3 Alabama and #11 Texas will square off in Tuscaloosa on Saturday night at 6:00 PM in one of the season's most highly anticipated non-conference matchups.  Both teams cruised to season-opening wins with the Longhorns beating Rice 37-10 and the Crimson Tide throttling Middle Tennessee 56-7.  While neither team showed much offensively, expect the playbook on both sides to be opened to the fullest at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers left last season's game in Austin with a first-half injury, but he will have another shot at pulling off an upset over Nick Saban's team which is favored by a touchdown.
Alabama starting quarterback Jalen Milroe, a redshirt sophmore and Katy Tompkins product, was committed to Texas in the 2021 recruiting cycle.  Milroe subsequently decommitted and signed with Alabama when Ewers announced his decision to transfer to Texas from Ohio State.   The quarterback battle will be a large part of the storyline in Saturday's game, but both teams have strong defenses and a myriad of offensive weapons to bolster their case for a victory.
It's hostile territory for the Longhorns, who will face the Crimson Tide in conference matchups more often than not beginning next season in the SEC.  However an upset over mentor Nick Saban on Saturday would serve as a signature win for Sarkisian and this Texas program which hasn't beaten an AP Top-5 team since it upset #5 Georgia in the 2018 Sugar Bowl under former head coach Tom Herman.
Can the Longhorns leave Tuscaloosa with Sark's biggest win as head coach?  Our staff weighs in with thoughts on the game and their predictions on the outcome.
Jameson McCausland (1-0)
Alabama surely hasn't forgotten about the scare Texas gave them in Austin last year in a game the Longhorns probably should have won. Texas is going to get Alabama's best shot this year in Tuscaloosa. The good news is if the Longhorns play their best brand of football, they can go toe to toe with the Crimson Tide for 4 quarters. A leaky Texas offensive line didn't inspire a ton of confidence week 1, but Alabama's OL also had their moments of struggles against Middle Tennessee State.
It's hard to bet against Nick Saban at home in a game he has circled. There is a realistic path for a Texas win, but the margin for error is slim and for that reason I will side with Alabama in a very close game where Saban's defense gets the necessary stops late.
Score Prediction: Alabama 28, Texas 24
Marc Henry (0-0)
The Longhorns travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide, in a game that has National Championship implications and is a matchup in which Texas is seeking to establish themselves as a championship contender. The key will be the play of the Longhorns in the trenches defensively. The Texas defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage against Rice in their home opener, holding the Owls to 27 yards rushing and 176 yards of total offense in a 37-10 opening game win. Will the Texas defense be able to disrupt the Alabama running game, which features former Longhorn commit, now starting quarterback Jalen Milroe and former Aledo standout running back Jace McClellan. The Crimson Tide had a balanced attack against Middle Tennessee but the running ability combined with Milroe’s strong arm, is going to force the Longhorns to have to stay home defensively and play sound containment defense against the quarterback’s ability to be a threat in the run game. A stout defensive gameplan and a clean game from Quinn Ewers are the keys to success for the Longhorns to come back to Austin with a victory in hand.
Score Prediction: Alabama 24, Texas 21
Todd Glawson (1-0)
For the first time in 121 years, the Texas Longhorns will be playing a football game in Tuscaloosa. And it feels like 121 years since Colt McCoy’s national title game injury that sent the Alabama and Texas programs on completely different trajectories. Saturday night is an outstanding opportunity for the good guys to right some painful wrongs, validate the culture/roster that Sark has built and vault themselves back into national championship conversations. Many things will obviously need to go well for the Horns to be successful. A few of those are being able to withstand the initial surge of a tough road environment, protecting Quinn Ewers (heavy RPO emphasis could help negate the pass rush while keeping him in rhythm) and doing your best to confuse an inexperienced Jalen Milroe while limiting his legs. As insurmountable of a task as this game may seem statistically, I don’t think a Texas victory would necessarily shock any real college football fans. My heart says this will be a repeat of the massive 2005 victory in Columbus (also a Week 2 game) and a program-changing accomplishment, but my brain says otherwise. 
Score Prediction: Alabama 30, Texas 24
Aaron Carrara (1-0)
This game has had a bullseye on it by both programs since last year's game that saw Alabama escape Austin with a one point win.  The stakes are high for Steve Sarkisian in his third season, and a win on Saturday in Tuscaloosa against his former boss and mentor would be monumental for the Longhorns.  Texas will need to play smashmouth, mistake-free football if they intend on leaving a loud and rowdy Bryant Denny Stadium with a win.  Will Kyle Flood's offensive line hold up through four quarters?  Can the Texas defense contain an inexperienced but very capable dual-threat starting quarterback in Jalen Milroe?  If the answer is yes to both of those questions, Texas wins.  I like the matchups on paper for Sark's guys and while this game can easily go either way I'm going to give the Longhorns the benefit of the doubt.  Let's be honest - Texas needs a signature win to rid themselves of the baggage they have endured as a program for the better part of a decade.  I think they return the favor from last year with a game-winning field goal by Bert Auburn.
Score Prediction: Texas 34, Alabama 31
Dylan DeRaud (1-0)
The showdown between Texas and Alabama has all the makings of a classic, with Heisman hopes potentially riding on the outcome. With a 28-2 record against former assistants, Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban adds another layer of advantage for Alabama. Quarterback Jalen Milroe’s elite ability to run while also having elite pass catching talent around him in Isaiah Bond, Jermaine Burton and Amari Niblack presents a tough challenge for the Longhorns’ defense.  Highlighted by Texas’s linebacking core of Jaylan Ford, David Gbenda, and Jett Bush, who will make containing Milroe their top priority. On the other side, Alabama's injured secondary, including key players like S Malachi Moore and CB Kool-Aid Mckinstry, could be a chink in their armor. Making Ewers's deep ball accuracy and Milroe's ability to scramble the defining elements in this game. The Longhorns defense may be able to keep them competitive but it might not be enough to overcome Alabama. Milroe's dual-threat capabilities and the strong linebacker duo of Dallas Turner and Deontae Lawson will create plenty of pressure and force Ewers into making critical mistakes.
Score Prediction: Alabama 27, Texas 23
Devon Messinger (1-0)
On Saturday, the Longhorns will look to achieve something that no other team has been able to achieve in twenty-one consecutive games in Tuscaloosa... simply to beat the Crimson Tide. On the bright side for the Longhorns, one could argue that this year's Alabama team is not as formidable as last year's as the team lost a tremendous amount of experience to the NFL Draft. However, the Longhorns will also have to show that they have somehow improved despite the loss of their best player from last season, Bijan Robinson.
Ultimately, Saturday's contest will come down to one guy, Quinn Ewers. At some point in the game, the Texas offense will become stagnant - it's bound to happen. However, when this occurs, can Ewers rally the troops and squeeze some life out of his team in a tough environment? I think that he has it in him however, at this point, Alabama has proven to be the more consistent program.
Score Prediction: Alabama 24, Texas 20
Mitch Lovell (1-0)
Texas must prove they can go on the road and win in a hostile environment - something they have yet to do in a number of years.  This is a game in which Texas can win but in the end I think Alabama adds a late score to hold on for a victory.
Score Prediction: Alabama 31, Texas 26
Ryan Swantkowski (1-0)
The time has come. Texas Vs. Alabama is one of the most anticipated games of the college football season (with good reason) as two top-12 teams go toe-to-toe in Tuscaloosa. Let's take a quick look at both sides: 
Starting with Alabama, QB Jalen Milroe is the absolute key on offense for the Tide. He can run, throw, juke, truck, hurdle and whatever else you want a player to do. As talented as he is, though, he still has some weaknesses with accuracy and being a seemingly raw player. He's got solid weapons around him, but nothing too crazy like years past. Defensively, it's Alabama. Even though they lost Will Anderson and other key starters to the NFL Draft, they still have solid talent and depth across the board. 
With Texas, everyone knows how talented the offense is. Ewers, Worthy, Sanders (and I can keep going) are all elite playmakers on offense for the Horns, yet can they finally put it all together? Last season vs Alabama, they seemed to be doing it until Ewers got injured. Defensively, Texas is solid all around and is led by LB Jaylan Ford and DL T'Vondre Sweat. The key for the Horns defense will be keeping Milroe contained and not allowing him to scramble out of the pocket, but that's a very challenging task. 
Alabama has won 43 (!) straight non-conference home games, so I have to go with the obvious answer here.... Texas. 
Score Prediction: Texas 31, Alabama 27

Longhorns land commitment from 4-Star EDGE Zina Umeozulu

The Texas defensive line received a big boost on Wednesday evening with the verbal commitment of Allen High School EDGE Zina Umeozulu.  Umeozulu, a 6-4, 220 lb. four-star recruit, held offers from Oklahoma, Texas A&M, USC, Oregon, Georgia, Miami and LSU among others.  His recruitment ultimately came down to Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M before committing to the Longhorns.  
Umeozulu becomes the 17th commit in the 2024 Class and joins five-star commit Colin Simmons as the second EDGE commit in the class. His brother Neto, 6-4, 311 lbs., is a redshirt freshman offensive lineman at Texas.
Notes from HornSports Recruiting Analyst Marc Henry on Umeozulu:
Long arms, extremely athletic Good burst with a great first step Excellent hip bend Closes like a hawk on the ball carrier High motor, plays fast Has frame to add healthy bulk Pairing him with Colin Simmons and Alex January could be lethal The Longhorns are now ranked 17th in the 247Sports Composite 2024 Team Recruiting Rankings.

Three Keys to a Texas Victory in Tuscaloosa

Texas Longhorns wide receiver Casey Cain (88) is tackled during the game against Alabama at Royal Memorial Stadium on Sep. 10, 2022. Photo: Aaron E. Martinez / American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK
Texas goes on the road for the first time in 2023 in what will be their toughest road environment in nearly 20 years. On Saturday, the Longhorns will get a glimpse into what playing in the SEC on the road is like. The last time the 'Horns played a blueblood like on the road was in Columbus in 2005. Much like in 2005 with Vince Young, Texas will find out what they have with this group on Saturday night.  
On Alabama - even if this isn’t Nick Saban’s best team, the Longhorns have their hands full in this matchup. Texas will have to play its best game of the year in all phases. Let’s take a look at three things Sark and the 'Horns must do to pull off an upset in Tuscaloosa.
Red Zone Efficiency  
Against Alabama you can’t squander scoring opportunities. Last season vs Alabama, Texas left too many points on the field and it cost them dearly in a one point loss. In 5 red zone trips the Longhorns came away with just 1 TD and 16 points. Granted, quarterback Quinn Ewers left at the end of the 1st quarter with an injury and many people forget backup Hudson Card was hobbled in the second half as well. Probably the worst of the red zone woes was the 20 yard FG just before that was partially blocked and missed.
On the flip side Alabama made it into the red zone just twice but scored 1 TD and a FG in those two trips. That is much more effective than what Texas was in the all-important red zone. Who is more effective in the red zone will be a strong indicator in determining who wins Saturday.
Texas OL vs Alabama DL
This is where the game will be won and lost. The Texas OL has been a headache for Texas coaches and fans since 2009 or earlier. Last year the Texas OL finally looked to be heading in the right direction. The first sign was against Alabama and the fact that the OL held their own when nobody thought they had any chance to do so. Will Anderson may be gone but Dallas Turner and company will be ready and the Texas OL better not underestimate the Tide's defensive line.
The Texas OL entering the season was viewed as being better than last year as all 5 starters returned and that is rare in college football. The performance vs Rice was underwhelming to say the least. Texas surrendered 3 sacks to go along with 10 pressures in the season opener. Part of that was redshirt freshman guard DJ Campbell replacing sophomore Cole Hutson due to injury. The former 5 star Campbell is viewed as the high upside OL compared to Hutson. Campbell however struggled in his first start and reports out of Austin suggest Hutson may slide back into his starting spot. Campbell has a great amount of potential still but it may be smart to go with the starting 5 that started 13 games together last season. If the Longhorns can’t establish the run, it’s going to make the difficult task of winning even more of a challenge in Tuscaloosa. The OL needs to come ready to play, much better than they did vs Rice.
Explosive Plays
Last year in Austin, each team had 6 explosive plays. That doesn’t include the pass interference penalties the Longhorns drew against Alabama. Prior to Ewers' departure in last year's game, Texas had receivers running wide open. That is part of the frustration from Texas fans when Ewers was forced to leave the game - the Longhorns didn’t have the same success with Hudson Card in. 
Alabama’s secondary is said to be much better with communication and limiting big plays this season. They will be tested in that area from the Texas offense. Texas took 3 deep shots in the opener vs Rice but were unable to connect. A big storyline headed into the season was if Texas could find a way to connect on the deep shots, which they haven’t been able to do so since they played Alabama last season. If they can connect on a couple of deep shots it will put significant pressure on the Alabama offense and defense. Most of Alabama’s explosive plays in Austin came on the ground and multiple came from first overall pick Bryce Young. New starting QB Jalen Milroe is much more of a runner and if Texas lets him get loose it’s going to be a long night in Tuscaloosa for the Longhorns.
This game is going to be a tightly contested matchup and if Texas is able to win two of these three keys to victory, they will have a great shot at the upset. The last time we saw Texas go on the road to play an SEC opponent was in 2021 and Arkansas manhandled them on every level. If that happens again, Texas will have a long season ahead in 2023 and more importantly 2024 and beyond when they join the SEC. Saturday night presents a great opportunity for Sark and the entire Texas program.  

Deep Dive: Takeaways from Texas' Season-Opening Win

Last Saturday, the Texas Longhorns opened their season with a 37-10 win over the Rice Owls. Today, our Dylan DeRaud and Devon Messinger take a deep dive into the good and the bad of the team's first game.
Quinn Ewers:
Quinn had a bit of an up and down day against Rice in the season-opener, with a slow first half followed by a hot third quarter. While the O-Line play was not great, Ewers’ navigation/feel of the pocket could improve and he will need to have a better touch on the deep ball. On the positive side, Ewers’ completion percentage was around where it should be at 63% and he accounted for four touchdowns without turning over the football. 
Next weekend, Ewers must bear the majority of the offensive weight against the Crimson Tide. We will see how he will do for the first time being Texas’s offensive focal point.
In the game against Rice, Quinn Ewers completed 19 of his 30 passes for a total of 260 yards and three touchdowns. He also demonstrated his mobility by making some key scrambles to extend drives and securing a touchdown on the ground.
Despite his overall strong performance, Ewers did show signs of struggling with his accuracy beyond 25 yards. There were instances where he missed deep throws to his receivers, including a notable overthrow to Adonai Mitchell due to miscommunication in the 1st quarter. Along with two underthrows to Xavier Worthy, where Worthy had to come back to the defender to make an attempt at the ball. These inconsistencies in Ewers' deep passing game were evident as he attempted numerous deep balls that either ended up behind the defender or overshot the intended target. This was not helped either in one instance by his bad habit of throwing off his back foot, rearing its ugly head on a would-be touchdown to Adonai Mitchell in the 3rd quarter. However, he made up for it with a perfect pass to Jordan Whittington later in the drive and then scrambled into the endzone to put Texas up 37-3. 
The coaching staff incorporating more play action in the 2nd half and Ewers’ willingness to use his athleticism to extend drives showcased why Sark has confidence in him as the starting signal caller. While he may have struggled with accuracy on longer passes, Ewers' overall performance, combined with his athleticism, played a pivotal role in Texas defeating Rice.
Running Back Room:
A cloud of uncertainty shrouded the Longhorns' backfield as they approached the Rice game. On the morning of the game, Horn Sports unveiled a depth chart, naming CJ Baxter as the starter in a shared 1A and 1B role alongside Johnathan Brooks. The initial stages of the game saw the Longhorns struggling to establish their ground game. Baxter and Brooks managed only short runs, hindered by an offensive line struggling to gain the upper hand against Rice's defensive front.
In the second drive, a pivotal moment arrived when Quinn Ewers faked left before delivering a screen pass to Brooks, who sprinted 37 yards for a touchdown. However, Brooks couldn't sustain this momentum, later dropping a well-placed pass near the endzone. On the following possession for Texas, they go to Baxter on first down who breaks off a 32 yard run where he follows his blockers and then showcases his speed by quickly switching to the other side of the field. In a sad twist of fate, Baxter falls hard onto his shoulder as he’s brought down on the sideline. Forcing him to be ruled out for the game. Baxter's departure due to injury put Jaydon Blue into action, who impressively contributed with 10 carries and 55 yards, showcasing his agility and speed in the third quarter. Despite ending the game with 158 rushing yards, the unanswered questions regarding Baxter's health and Brooks' performance loom large as Texas heads to Tuscaloosa to face the formidable #4 ranked Alabama team, who recently dominated Middle Tennessee State with a 56-7 victory. These are not mysteries that a contending team wants to have going into a big matchup against a team that will test every position group on the field to see where the weaknesses lie.

Defensive Line Room:
The defensive line had themselves a fantastic game against Rice, allowing only 27 rushing yards last Saturday. Sophomore defensive end Ethan Burke was a pleasant surprise in his first collegiate start, tallying 1.5 sacks, and will be challenged next week against an uber-talented offensive line. Moreover, T’Vondre Sweat’s contagious energy on the field was evident and the senior came up with a big run stop on a Rice fourth down try. Lastly, both Alfred Collins and Byron Murphy had relatively quiet games, which is not a bad thing as they were not being gashed for big yards. And, just wanted to point out that Collins had a big swat of a JT Daniels pass that seemingly traveled 30 yards in distance from the point of impact.

Quick Hits: Main Points From Sarkisian's Pre-Alabama Media Availability

Texas Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian watches from the sideline during the game against Rice at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sep. 2, 2023 in Austin.  Photo: Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK
The week that Texas fans have had marked off on their calendars for almost a year has now arrived. No, not opening week….  I am talking about Alabama week. Steve Sarkisian met the media this morning to talk about everything from Nick Saban's mentorship to how his team looked in Week 1 against Rice. Here's some quick notes on everything that was said: 
-Recapping last week's game vs Rice, Sarkisian said that the "Defense kind of held true..." and found ways to pressure the QB, "special teams was a little hit and miss..." and that the offense was very inconsistent 
-Regarding the running game and RB room, Sark stated that freshman RB CJ Baxter was "back at practice today" and that he "thought some of the errors that occurred" were due to the group not trusting their training
-Sarkisian's thoughts on Alabama QB Jalen Milroe: "Tremendous runner, elite runner... he's highly competitive..." and stated that he can make every throw around the field. His main point of emphasis was Milroe's legs and questioned "how do we [Texas] control and contain the QB with his legs?". Milroe had 7 rushes for 48 yards and 2 touchdowns in Saturday's win versus Middle Tennessee. 
-Throughout the presser, Sarkisian made it VERY clear that the team needs to focus on themselves rather than what everyone else is doing: "People always want to talk about the opponent... for us [Texas] to be at our best, we need to focus on what we need to do..." 
-Regarding the offensive line, Sark felt that Christian Jones was the "cleanest" on Saturday and wants the unit as a whole to "be more physical" and "go cut it loose" 
-Sarkisian on Nick Saban: "He's not going to change for you. You're going to change for him"
-Sarkisian on WR Xavier Worthy's maturity: "He's had an awesome off-season... I think the guy's having more fun now than he ever has here playing football... the personality of him is really back out... feels like there is a weight lifted off his shoulders". It seems as if Worthy has become much happier and more comfortable in his 3rd season. 
Sark also touched on AD Mitchell's impact, Quinn Ewer's improvement since last season's Alabama game and how in years past, one of the biggest challenges has been the team's ability to finish games. Get your popcorn ready... it's almost time. 
-Twitter/X: @RSwantkowski 

Texas Volleyball loses first home opener since 2000 to Stanford in a sweep

The difference in today’s team performances was a seasoned #2 Stanford which largely retained their 2022 roster versus a national championship team adapting to losing players in key positions. The Longhorns have incredibly talented and promising freshmen starting in both libero and setting positions, but in a high-intensity team sport, building communication and a seamless rhythm among new and old in order to be effective is a process.
Even though the Cardinal committed 14 service errors and the Longhorns limited theirs to three, the Longhorns’ hitting efficiency was 0.130 – a stunningly low percentage when in 2022 the team average was 0.336 – and today, Stanford was at 0.396. Texas was unable to optimize any of their opponents mistakes only earning 34 kills to 47 by the Cardinal; moreover, the Longhorns made 20 attack errors. Defensively, Texas also lagged, with only six blocks to 11 for Stanford and 38 digs to their 44.
The Longhorns have a nice homestretch ahead, giving them time to work through the mechanics and team fundamentals. Following their match with Florida Gulf Coast University this Friday, they will host three top twenty games on the 40 Acres against #18 Rice (9/11), #12 Ohio State (9/14) and #17 Washington State (9/15). The pressure for the defending champions to notch more wins against ranked teams before conference play begins on September 22 is high.

Top Ten Showdown Today: #7 Texas vs. #2 Stanford

Photo: Annie Rice/Avalanche-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK
Today will mark the 13th time the Texas Longhorns and Stanford Cardinal meet on the court with Texas only claiming three of the wins. Both boast historically powerful volleyball programs, but the Cardinal has claimed the championship nine times versus Texas’ four. The two teams meet on the 40 Acres at 11:30AM following the Longhorns pulling the upset over #5 Minnesota and #2 Stanford reeling from a sweep delivered by #8 Florida over the Cardinal on Tuesday. Both teams meet today with 2-1 overall record for the season.
This year, the Cardinal are believed to be a solid national champion contender along with the Longhorns because they have retained much of their roster since 2022 unlike Texas who lost players in key positions (Outside hitter Logan Eggleston, libero-Zoe Fleck and setter Saige Ka'aha'aina-Torres). Longhorn fans have seen two versions of their team thus far, a sluggish one easily wiped out by an unranked opponent and a fiery, well-oiled machine that bounced back. Last year in preseason, the two met and Texas upset Stanford in California. The Cardinal was the last team earning back to back national championships in the NCAA (2018 and 2019) while the Longhorns have never secured the crown consecutively.
Today’s top ten showdown will provide a needed boost for the victor after the sting of early unexpected season upsets to two programs hoping to make the final round for another chance at the title on December 17 in Tampa Bay, Florida. The match will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2.

Longhorns Recruiting Road Trip: Week 2

On Friday, I planned on covering Buda Johnson's non-district game against the Lake Belton Broncos. There were several appealing factors for choosing this game, however 2024 five-star wide receiver Micah Hudson had to be the headlining reason.
Against the Jaguars, Hudson continued to prove why he is the best wide receiver prospect that I have covered since Garrett Wilson (the Lake Travis product turned New York Jet) in 2018. While Hudson may not have had as crazy as a game as he did when I covered him last year (click here for highlights of last year's performance), Friday's outing may have proven to be even more impressive as he still managed to find a way to wreak serious havoc against Johnson on a possible 'off night'. Of course, when I say 'off night,' I am being facetious. To be frank, Hudson once again balled out and proved why the nation's top programs are vying for his services.
Hudson's first big play of the night came in the second quarter, when the Bronco wide out showed signs of prime Santonio Holmes with a toe-dragging touchdown reception. Later on in the game, Hudson's prowess for the end zone struck again as he skied over a Johnson defender - plucking a pass out of the air, reclaiming Lake Belton's lead late in the contest. Ultimately, Hudson finished the game with six receptions for 67 yards and two touchdowns in Lake Belton's thrilling 51-44 victory.
While Hudson holds 33 college offers, it appears that the race has come down to Texas versus Texas Tech. Unfortunately for Longhorns fans, it appears that the Red Raiders may have the lead in Hudson's recruitment. However, while Texas Tech may currently be seen as the favorite in Hudson's recruitment, the senior wide receiver has not announced his commitment and both teams may end up dueling it out until National Signing Day.
Extra Point:
This is an important recruitment for both Texas and Texas Tech, along with all of the other schools that are surely fighting for Hudson's attention. While the Longhorns look to be in a different position than they were in recent history, this is the type of recruitment that has killed the Longhorns in years prior to the beginning of the Sarkisian era. Although the Longhorns appear to be in a good position with 2024 five-star wide receiver Ryan Wingo, you truly can never have enough talented receivers in college football. Of course, in a dream scenario, Sarkisian is able to land both targets but fans will have to wait and see how it all shakes out.
Lastly, I am hoping to see Lake Belton play once again later this season as they have plenty of promising athletes with potential. One of whom was sophomore wide receiver Davion Peters, who was been used in a utility role, and had kicked off Belton's scoring action with a touchdown reception.
Miles Logged:

After slow start, No. 11 Longhorns gas their way to 37-10 victory over Rice

Photo: Ricardo B. Brazziell - Austin American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK
On Saturday, the Longhorns kicked off their 2023 season campaign against the Rice Owls. Despite a slow first half, the Longhorns gassed their way to a sizable lead in the third quarter, ultimately beating the Owls 37-10.
If someone were to tell you that the Longhorns were to only score 16 points in the first half of Saturday's contest, there is a good chance that you would not have believed them. However, that is what occurred in Texas's season-opener against Rice as the Longhorns offense struggled to finish drives early. Early on in the contest, the offensive line looked rusty and Quinn Ewers had a hard time finding receivers on the deep ball. Thankfully for Steve Sarkisian's Longhorns squad, the Texas defense had a phenomenal performance from the get go. In the first half, the Longhorns came away with two interceptions, one by senior linebacker Jaylan Ford and one by sophomore defensive back Austin Jordan. By the end of the game, Texas had reached head coach Steve Sarkisian's goal of creating three turnovers defensively when senior linebacker Jett Bush recovered a fumble in the second half.
Despite early offensive struggles, once the second half was whistled in, the Longhorns offense came alive as Ewers connected with junior wide receiver Adonai Mitchell and junior tight end Ja'Tavion Sanders on third quarter touchdown passes. Ultimately, Ewers would end his night with a total of four touchdowns, with one of them being on the ground.
The season's first touchdown for the Longhorns came at the hands of Jonathon Brooks, who took a Quinn Ewers pass 37-yards to the house with 7:27 left in the first quarter. Despite not making the start on Saturday, Brooks led the team in rushing attempts after freshman starter CJ Baxter left the game with an injury in the second quarter. In addition to Brooks, fellow sophomore running back Jaydon Blue made the most out of his opportunities as he had a game-high 55 rushing yards on 10 attempts.
Next week, the Longhorns will travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to take on Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide squad. There will be many questions to ask before next Saturday's game which is set to air on ESPN at 6 P.M. (CT).
Game Stats:
QB Quinn Ewers: 19/30, 260 passing yards, 3 passing TDs, 1 rushing TD RB Jonathon Brooks: 94 all-purpose yards, 1 TD WR Xavier Worthy: 7 receptions, 90 yards TE Ja'Tavion Sanders: 2 receptions, 44 yards, 1 TD LB Jaylan Ford: 5 tackles, 1 INT

GAME DAY: #11 Texas Longhorns vs. Rice Owls

Photo: Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman via USA TODAY NETWORK
The season opener for the #11 Texas Longhorns is finally here.  Steve Sarkisian's third year at the helm in Austin brings a lot of excitement for fans, along with great expectations for a team that possesses tremendous talent.  After finishing 8-5 and third in the Big 12 last season, the Longhorns are favored to win the conference this year and have their sights set on a spot in the College Football Playoffs. Quarterback Quinn Ewers returns, along with all five starters on the offensive line, and newcomers AD Mitchell (WR) and CJ Baxter (RB) add big play possibility to an already stout Texas offense.  Defensively, the losses of Keondre Coburn (DL), Anthony Cook (DB), Demarvion Overshown (LB) and D'Shawn Jamison sting, but Pete Kwiatkowski's unit returns veteran players Jaylon Ford and Byron Murphy among others.  The addition of guys like Anthony Hill (LB), Jalen Catalon (DB) and Liona Lefau (LB) add a boost to a solid defense that finished 28th nationally last season.

The Longhorns are favored by 35 points against the Rice Owls, but it is important the team doesn't get caught looking ahead to their matchup with the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa next week.  Sarkisian said on Thursday that it was likely a lot of freshmen would see playing time, which gives guys an opportunity early in the season to begin acclimating to the speed of the game.  Rice quarterback JT Daniels is very capable but he doesn't have many playmakers around him to do a lot of damage to the Texas defense.  There is still a big game to be played against the Owls - the Longhorns need a win to start things off on the right foot.  Heading into next week's game against Alabama with a 1-0 record and team health is paramount.
What:  #11 Texas Longhorns vs. Rice Owls
When: Saturday, September 2, 2023
Time: 2:30 PM
Location:  Austin, TX
Venue:  Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium
Spread: Texas -35
All Time-Record:  Texas leads Rice 74-21-1
Last Meeting:  Texas defeated Rice 58-0 (9/18/2021 - Austin, TX)
Relevant News:
Discuss the Texas vs. Rice game here with other Texas Longhorns fans

Staff Predictions: #11 Texas Longhorns vs. Rice Owls

The Texas Longhorns look to dust off the cobwebs after a 27-20 Alamo Bowl loss to the Washington Huskies as they take the field at DKR against the Rice Owls on Saturday afternoon.  It will be a hot day on the turf with temperatures expected to hover around 102 degrees at kickoff, but both teams will be ready to showcase the work put in during the offseason.  For Texas, it's Steve Sarkisian's third year as head coach and expectations are high - rightfully so.  Despite losing the team's two best running backs in Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson, the Longhorns are loaded on offense.  As far as Rice is concerned, Mike Bloomgren hasn't held a winning record in his previous five seasons as head coach of the Owls. He will look to lead his team to what would amount to a monumental upset over Texas - something Rice hasn't done in nearly 30 years (10/15/1994).
How will the season opener shake out for the Longhorns?  Does Rice have the players and depth to notch their first win at DKR since 1965?  Our staff weighs in with their final score predictions and thoughts on the game.
Jameson McCausland (0-0)
It will be interesting to see what Texas shows gameplan wise on Saturday with the looming matchup in Tuscaloosa next week. The Longhorns were pretty vanilla against ULM a year ago before hosting the Crimson Tide, but Rice likely presents a few more challenges than the Warhawks did. JT Daniels will return to DKR for the 3rd time with his 3rd different team. He has shown good ability as a passer, but the skill talent around him will likely be a step down from what he had at West Virginia last year.
Defensively, Rice had issues last year and didn't put up much resistance against quality offenses. There is not much you will likely be able to take away from this game if you are a Texas fan, but it will be mildly concerning if the Longhorns can't run the ball effectively.
Rice has enough talent to where Texas likely won't completely overwhelm them from the opening snap, but the Longhorns should pull away relatively easily if all goes according to plan.
Score Prediction: Texas 45, Rice 10
Aaron Carrara (0-0)
The beauty of season openers is we anticipate seeing the growth a program has made in the offseason.  Unfortunately that growth sometimes manifests itself as regression.  That won't be the case on Saturday against the Rice Owls. The Longhorns are likely much-improved from last season, and they have an arsenal of playmakers that will make things difficult for Mike Bloomgren's squad.  The Owls are improved at quarterback with veteran JT Daniels, but a hungry Texas defense and the lack of a supporting cast for Daniels will make for a long day for the Rice offense.  This is a tune up for the Alabama game next week and the goal will be to keep everyone healthy.  Expect Sark to play a lot of guys down on the depth chart in the second half as this one gets out of hand early.  
Score Prediction: Texas 63, Rice 13
Todd Glawson (0-0)
College football is finally back and Texas appears to have its most talented roster in over a decade. Will it translate to the field? If all goes well on Saturday against Rice, your best players are resting in the second half and immediately shifting their focus towards a huge road trip to Tuscaloosa. Score early, score often and get out of this weekend as healthy as possible. This one isn’t complicated.
Score Prediction: Texas 52, Rice 10
Devon Messinger (0-0)
On Saturday, Rice quarterback JT Daniels will trot out onto DKR's turf for the third time in his career... each of which with a different football team. The journeyman gunslinger will have his work cut out for him against the Longhorns, trying to move the chains with a squad that went 5-8 last season and was devoid of offensive playmakers.
The key for the Longhorns in their season opener will be their ability to create pressure against Daniels. If the Longhorns can make the Owls one dimensional, you can expect the game to get out of hand fast as the Rice running back room has been nothing but inconsistent in recent history. And, on offense for the Longhorns, expect Quinn Ewers to test his arm early and often, with a decently sprinkled amount of carries going to a plethora of running backs.
Score Prediction: Texas 55, Rice 3
Ryan Swantkowski (0-0)
On Saturday, Rice quarterback JT Daniels will trot out onto DKR's turf for the third time in his career... each of which with a different football team. The journeyman gunslinger will have his work cut out for him against the Longhorns, trying to move the chains with a squad that went 5-8 last season and was devoid of offensive playmakers.
The key for the Longhorns in their season opener will be their ability to create pressure against Daniels. If the Longhorns can make the Owls one dimensional, you can expect the game to get out of hand fast as the Rice running back room has been nothing but inconsistent in recent history. And, on offense for the Longhorns, expect Quinn Ewers to test his arm early and often, with a decently sprinkled amount of carries going to a plethora of running backs.
Score Prediction: Texas 48, Rice 13
Mitch Lovell (0-0)
Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers gets the season started off on the right note and the defense looks impressive in the 2023 debut.  The Longhorns will be entirely too much for the Rice Owls on a hot, sunny day in Austin.
Score Prediction: Texas 63, Rice 10
Dylan DeRaud (0-0)
The upcoming matchup against Rice carries all the signs of a lopsided victory in favor of the Longhorns. On the offensive side for Rice, while quarterback JT Daniels has had an interesting career bouncing around from USC to Georgia and then to West Virginia last year, he struggled against Texas that season. On the defensive end, Rice has had ongoing issues getting off the field, ranking near the bottom in points allowed and third-down conversion rate. Expect big games from the receiving core as Quinn Ewers lights up the box score. Along with the fans getting to see this new backfield of Johnathan Brooks and CJ Baxter as they attempt to replace the production left by Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson. On the flip side, Jaylon Ford will wreak havoc on the Rice offense and the veteran secondary led by Jahdae Barron will stifle any attempts at big plays.
Score Prediction: Texas 49, Rice 7

Scouting Report: Rice

(Photo: USA TODAY Sports)
The long wait is over and football will be back Saturday afternoon as Texas opens the 2023 season against Rice. The Owls are coming off a 5-8 season where they qualified for a bowl thanks to a high APR score. Mike Bloomgren is entering his 6th season at the helm and has a career coaching mark of 16-39. Let's take a look at what to expect from the Owls.
Texas fans will see a familiar face behind center in JT Daniels, who is on his 4th college program. Daniels will be making his 3rd career start at DKR (USC in 2018, WVU in 2022) and will be looking for his first victory. The highly touted recruit has had an up and down college career following a knee injury in 2019. He offers very little with his legs and is a traditional dropback passer. Turnovers have been an issue (25 career INT's in 937 attempts) and the skill talent around him will be a downgrade from what he had at USC, Georgia and West Virginia.
The Owls are replacing leading rusher Cameron Montgomery but return 3 other running backs who logged meaningful carries in 2022. Ari Broussard (262 yards, 9 TD's in 2022) is likely to receive the bulk of the carries. Rice struggled to run the ball last season, ranking 79th nationally in yards per carry (3.9). The passing game figured to be the strength of the offense with the addition of Daniels and several quality receivers returning, but Bradley Rozner (transfer) and Cedric Patterson (gave up football) both left the program this summer. This leaves Luke McCaffrey (yes, related to Christian) and Kobie Campbell as the only two returning receivers who recorded double digit receptions in 2022. 
Along the offensive line, Rice returns both starting tackles but is replacing the majority of the production at all 3 interior spots. If Texas is unable to generate interior pressure consistently, it does not bode well for the rest of the season.
The good news for the Owls is juniors and seniors occupy 9 of the 11 starting spots on defense. The bad news is many of the returners were on a defense that was awful in 2022. Rice allowed 6.5 yards per play last year, good for 123rd nationally. Rush defense was a major issue (allowed 5.4 yards per carry) and the pass defense was just as bad (allowed an opponents passer rating of 157.1). 
The Owls struggled to generate pressure on opposing QB's (95th in sack %) and will be counting on returning edge rusher Josh Pearcy to take his game to another level after notching 6.5 sacks last year. Rice does return 3 of 4 starters in the secondary, led by Austin native Sean Fresch at CB.
Overall Thoughts
The bugaboo for Rice over the years has been their inability to hold up in the trenches in games like these. Bloomgren, who previously worked as the OC at Stanford under David Shaw, wants to win up front on offense but the run game and QB play have been very inconsistent during his tenure. The addition of Daniels at QB will give him his best signal caller since he arrived, but the lack of weapons surrounding him is likely to prevent the Owls from truly breaking out offensively. Defensively, Rice was just plain bad a season ago. If the Texas offense is as good as many think they could be, the Longhorns should be able to move the ball almost at will in this one.  

Longhorns Ranked 6th Nationally in 247Sports 2023 Team Talent Composite Rankings

Photo: © Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
247Sports released their 2023 team talent composite recruiting rankings on Wednesday and the Longhorns find themselves ranked 6th on the list behind top-ranked Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Texas A&M and Clemson.  The team talent rankings look at all FBS programs and spits out a team ranking based on the team's players and their high school recruiting rankings.
The Longhorns amassed a total of 913.24 points with a total of 85 commits with 9 five-star players, 47 four-star players and 27 three-star recruits for an average player score of 90.96.
Here is a look at the Top-10 Team Talent Rankings along with total commits, five-star recruits, four-star recruits, three-star recruits, average player score and total points:
247 Sports 2023 Team Talent Composite Rankings
Team Total Commits 5-Stars 4-Stars 3-Stars Average Points Alabama 84 18 56 10 94.49 1,015.43 Georgia 85 13 52 20 93.03 977.87 Ohio State 85 10 63 12 93.32 974.79 Texas A&M 80 10 42 25 91.20 925.92 Clemson 83 7 49 26 91.17 917.88 Texas 85 9 47 27 90.96 913.24 LSU 80 7 35 36 90.73 899.31 USC 83 6 39 34 89.90 896.41 Oklahoma 85 3 48 32 90.50 884.97 Oregon 85 5 48 32 90.29 874.74 Texas leads the Big 12 in the team talent rankings, followed by Oklahoma (844.97), TCU (768.25), Texas Tech (694.26), Baylor (678), University of Houston (670.25), West Virginia (666.23), Cincinnati (663.68), Oklahoma State (649.79), Iowa State (638.87), Kansas (632.68), Kansas State (616), and BYU (576.25).  We could not find any information on Central Florida.

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