The Longhorns and Red Raiders will meet for the 71st time on Saturday in an 11:00 AM kickoff at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium. Texas Tech brings an improved defense to town and they will attempt to stop a Texas rushing attack that is averaging over 243 yards per game.
Here are four quick things to keep a close on eye on in tomorrow's matchup.
1. Can Texas establish the run?
The Texas Tech defense is allowing just 50 rushing yards per game. If the Red Raiders are able to replicate that success on Saturday, it could spell trouble for Casey Thompson and the Longhorns. In Fayetteville we saw what happens when they can’t establish the run - the quarterback is forced to make plays with his arm, which neither Thompson or Hudson Card have demonstrated the ability to do consistently. Assuming the offensive line doesn't completely implode, Steve Sarkisian's offense will go as far as the running game will take it. With the emergence of Keilan Robinson last week, expect a three-headed monster to carry the load on the ground.
2. Casey Thompson's first real test as a starting quarterback
Last week against Rice, Casey Thompson did what the coaching staff asked of him and played efficient football. This week the talent level increases tremendously. Thompson can make plays with his legs, but can he beat opponents consistently with his arm? The Red Raider defense is revamped and seasoned, thanks largely to the transfer portal (9 of the 11 starters came from junior college or the portal). If Thompson can find his groove and utilize his wide receiver and tight end targets, Texas has a chance to be successful offensively. Thompson led Texas to points vs Rice on 7 of 8 drives in which he led the offense, but that was with a running game that was hitting on all cylinders. With conference play beginning, it is important now, more than ever, that the Longhorns' offense not be one-dimensional.
3. Can Texas Generate a Pass Rush?
Last year Joseph Ossai wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks but the Longhorns are missing that element this season. More rotation with some of younger players may be what needs to happen in order for that to change. Most of Bo Davis' starters on the defensive line are veterans, but if they can't consistently pressure the quarterback, it will be a long season. In today’s era of football, teams have to be able to pressure the quarterback to win football games.
4. Will the Longhorns' secondary shine?
The Texas secondary is experienced and talented but it’s left something to be desired. They haven't been tested this season against an air-raid or spread offense, and they will have their chance to show their growth against Texas Tech QB Tyler Shough. Shough is playing in his first season at Texas Tech since transferring from Oregon. Last week against Florida International, he threw for 399 yards and 4 touchdowns while completing 74% of his passes. Shough will take shots downfield and Foster, Cook, Jamison, Schooler and Thompson will need to wrap up tackles and limit yards after catch.
Mike Murphy and Mike Hardge discuss the win over Rice, the quarterback situation at Texas, the upcoming game against the Red Raiders and a whole lot more in this week's edition of the Inside the 40 podcast.
Texas wrapped up non-conference play with a 58-0 blowout win over Rice and will now turn their attention to conference play. The first Big 12 test will be welcoming Texas Tech to Austin. The Red Raiders are 3-0 after opening the season with wins against Houston, Stephen F. Austin and Florida International. Matt Wells entered 2021 on the hot seat but is off to a good start and has some intriguing pieces to work with. Let's take a look at what to expect from the Red Raiders:
Wells opted to shake up the core of his offense this past offseason by firing offensive coordinator David Yost and opting to look into the transfer portal to find a new quarterback. Yost was replaced by TCU offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie, a former player at Texas Tech. Wells was also able to bring in former Oregon QB Tyler Shough as his new starting quarterback.
Shough has had some up-and-down moments to start the season. After opening with a solid performance against Houston, he was held to 12 of 22 passing while tossing 2 interceptions against Stephen F. Austin. He was able to rebound last week with a big game against Florida International. As with most quarterbacks who have come through Tech, he has the arm talent to make pretty much every throw on the field, although his decision making can be questionable at times.
The biggest difference the Red Raiders have seen so far with Cumbie calling the plays is more success running the football. Sophomore running back Tahj Brooks is averaging over 8 yards a carry and already has 4 touchdowns on the season. A big storyline for Saturday's game will be the availability and workload of SaRodorick Thompson, who had a huge game against the Longhorns a season ago. Thompson sat out the first two games this year while recovering from a shoulder injury, but he returned last week and carried the ball 4 times for 11 yards. It is unknown if Thompson will be close to full strength on Saturday or if he will be on a pitch count.
At receiver, Erik Ezukanma is to-go man and someone Texas will need to keep track of at all times. Ezukanma already has 16 receptions for 350 yards and a touchdown in 3 games. Interestingly, the only other player with double digit receptions so far is TE Travis Koontz, who had a good game last week and will targeted frequently in the red zone.
The Red Raiders have a veteran offensive line that features 3 senior starters. LT T.J Storment transferred in from TCU after starting the majority of the games in 2020 at Left Tackle for the Horned Frogs. Center Dawson Deaton has started 26 career games and is one of the best centers in the Big 12. Overall, the unit probably ranks in the middle of the pack when it comes to Big 12 offensive lines. The Texas defensive line is going to have to work to make an impact on Saturday.
Transfers and experience are the best two ways to describe what the Red Raiders have defensively.
All 11 starters are juniors and seniors, and 9 of the 11 made their way to Lubbock via the transfer portal or junior college. The strength of the defense is at linebacker, where the Red Raiders have Colin Schooler, brother of Texas safety Brenden Schooler, and Riko Jeffers. Schooler leads the team with 21 tackles on the season.
The biggest question marks for Texas Tech is along the defensive line. The Red Raiders are experienced up front, but lack true difference makers and often lean on their linebackers to assist with generating a pass rush. Stephen F. Austin was able to throw for 343 yards a few weeks ago, so if the Texas offensive line can provide some protection, Casey Thompson could be in store for a big game.
It has been a long time since there has been even average defensive play in Lubbock, and it remains to be seen if this year will be any different. The Red Raiders have certainly looked improved through 3 games, but they have faced some shaky offenses and still have a tendency to blow assignments from time to time. The Longhorns should be able to move the ball consistently if they limit negative plays and penalties.
Texas Tech is a tough team to figure out. Entering the season, people had the Red Raiders finishing anywhere from 5th all the way down to 9th in the Big 12 standings. This is a game Texas can absolutely lose if they do not come ready to play. The Red Raiders present some matchup problems offensively with Ezukanma on the outside and if Texas allows multiple explosive plays in the passing game, the game is likely to become a nail-biter. If the Longhorns limit big plays and are able to build on the rushing performance they had against Rice a week ago, Texas is likely to start Big 12 play at 1-0.
The Texas Longhorns (2-1) open conference play against the Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-0) on Saturday at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium in the 71st meeting all-time between the two programs.
Texas holds a 53-17 advantage in the series and leads Texas Tech 31-7 in games played in Austin.
The Red Raiders bring an air raid offense to Austin, led by junior quarterback Tyler Shough, that registers 441 yards of total offense per game.
The 3-0 start for Matt Wells' Red Raider program is the first since the 2017 season, however Wells is 0-2 against Texas as head coach at Texas Tech.
This is the first time the Longhorns and Red Raiders will play in Austin on a non-Thanksgiving Day weekend for the first time since the 2011 season.
Casey Thompson will start for the Longhorns at quarterback for the second consecutive week. Thompson finished 15-18 for 164 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception last week against Rice. The Longhorns beat the Owls 58-0.
LAST MEETING: Texas won a shootout in Lubbock last season, defeating Texas Tech 63-56. The Longhorns were down 15 points in the final three minutes but came back to win in OT.
This marks the second-straight year and fifth all-time in which Texas and Texas Tech open conference play. Texas is 4-0 in these games.
Texas Tech ranks 9th nationally in FBS rushing defense, giving up just 57.3 yards per game on the ground.
The Longhorns rank 15th in rushing offense, with an average of 240.3 yards gained on the ground each week.
Red Raider QB Tyler Shough is making his fourth start on Saturday and had a career high last week against FIU. Shough completed 26-35 for 399 yards and four touchdowns in the 54-21 win.
Texas Tech RB Tahj Brooks leads the Red Raiders on the ground with 35 carries 284 yards and four touchdowns, including 100+ yard performances in the first two games of the season.
Texas Tech has two defensive touchdowns already this season, both pick-sixes, coming from linebacker Rico Jeffers and defensive back Marquis Waters. The Red Raiders had four interceptions against Houston in Week 1 of the season.
A win by Texas Tech would mark the first 4-0 start for the Red Raiders since 2013.
A win by Texas give Steve Sarkisian a 3-0 record at home, making him the first head coach to win his first three home games at DKR since Mack Brown in 1998.
In five of the last six games, the outcome of the game has been decided by a touchdown or less.
The Longhorns and Red Raiders will kickoff at 11:00 AM with the game being televised nationally on ABC.
AUSTIN, Tx -- The Texas Longhorns (2-1, 0-0) handed a 58-0 shutout defeat to the Rice Owls (0-3, 0-0) at Darrell K. Memorial - Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday evening in a game that Texas dominated from the first snap. The Longhorns scored at will on the Owls, and mixed in a variety of new wrinkles in the playbook in doing so. After a humiliating performance last week in Fayetteville, Steve Sarkisian and staff put together a gameplan against Rice that spread the ball around more and included a myriad of players that didn't see the field last week. Postgame, Sarkisian spoke on his team's ability to bounce back after a collective commitment and effort to try and improve after the loss to Arkansas.
"When you have to take a big bite of the humble pie like we had to after last week, we challenged the guys that we had to own it. And then we have to get back to work. I thought the intent and mentality of our team all week long in practice translated to the game."
Quarterback Casey Thompson got the starting nod from Sarkisian earlier in the week and made the most of his opportunity, throwing for 164 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Hudson Card replaced Thompson midway through the third quarter and finished the night 2-3 for 29 yards after handing the ball off on most snaps.
Texas tallied 620 yards of total offense, compared to the Owls' 284 yards. The margin of victory was the largest for the Longhorns since the 2005 season.
The offense did their job, but It was the running game that highlighted the night for the Longhorns. Texas ran wild against a struggling Rice defense and saw four different running backs score touchdowns. Bijan Robinson had 13 carries for 127 yards and three touchdowns, while Roschon Johnson had 3 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown. Alabama transfer Keilan Robinson added 83 yards and a touchdown on 5 carries, and true freshman Jonathon Brooks had 9 carries for 63 yards and a score.
Rice went through three quarterbacks on the night and punted in seven of eleven total possessions.
The Owls won the coin toss and deferred to the second half, giving Texas the ball first, and an opportunity to manufacture a 9-play, 69 yard drive that was capped by Bijan Robinson's first touchdown of the night. After a Rice punt in their first possession, Casey Thompson was picked off by Gabe Taylor as he was pressured by Rice's Ikenna Enechukwu. Rice marched downfield, deep into Texas territory before Collin Riccitelli missed a 30-yard FG and gave the Longhorns the ball back.
Roschon Johnson added a 72-yard touchdown run when he took a direct snap out of the 'Wild Horn' formation, giving Texas a 14-0 advantage. After three and out, Keilan Robinson then blocked Rice's punt which bounced out of the end zone and gave the Longhorns a safety and a 16-0 lead after one quarter.
Bijan Robinson opened the second quarter with a bang, adding a pair of touchdown runs which included a 62 yard romp, to extend the lead to 30-0 in favor of the Longhorns. Rice punted on their next possession and Texas scored again, with Thompson finding tight end Jared Wiley for a 20-yard touchdown. The Owls' struggles continued, as they fumbled at the 1:30 mark before the half, allowing Texas to score again. Thompson threw his second touchdown pass of the night, finding Xavier Worthy for his first score as a Longhorn.
At the half, Texas led 44-0.
Rice opened the second half with possession but went three and out. Texas running back Keilan Robinson demonstrated his speed by outrunning defenders while ripping off a 65-yard touchdown run. After another punt by the Owls, true freshman Jonathan Brooks capped a 13-play, 76-yard drive with a 17 yard scamper into the end zone. After three quarters the longhorns led 58-0.
Neither team scored in the fourth quarter but the Longhorns were able to get a slew of reserve players on both sides of the ball into the game which Sarkisian feels is critical for the future.
Texas hosts Texas Tech next Saturday at 11:00 am in the Big 12 opener for both teams.
There is only so much to extract from Saturday's game again the Rice Owls, but there was a lot of good in the game for the Longhorns. First, games like these can be easy to overlook and Texas didn’t get caught doing that. When you drum a team 58-0, it is always a good night on the turf. The Longhorns were able to get back to what they do best - running the football. This is critical moving forward in order for Texas to achieve their goals for the season. The Longhorns had 427 yards on the ground and averaged over 10 yards a rush. The focal point of Steve Sarkisian's offense was manifested last night, and the offensive strategy moving forward is clear. Big 12 play starts next week and the verdict is still out on if they can run the ball against quality conference opponents.
In a 58-0 shutout win you’re usually nitpicking to find the bad things. With that being said, the wide receivers are still struggling to make plays down the field which is needed for Sarkisian's offense to truly take off. There were plays to be made and Casey Thompson and the wide receivers just couldn’t connect on a number of occasions. Freshman WR Xavier Worthy looked like a legit threat at wideout and it is good to see him getting things going in-game. If he’s able to continue to create explosive plays it will take attention away from Bijan which would help the offense tremendously.
If you run for over 400 yards the offensive line can’t be that bad right? Well considering the competition that is Rice, the starting offensive line left some to be desired... especially in the passing game. In the play that resulted in Casey Thompson throwing an interception, there was interior pressure that forced a bad pass. If the offensive line continues to struggle it’s hard to think young QB’s like Thompson & Card can have much success. The good news is that outside of the interception, the offensive line played much better on Saturday. It’s hard to take too much from this game but next week against Texas Tech we will have another opportunity to see if they have truly made adjustments and improved. Andrej Karic played some in the second half and picked right up where he left off last season. It would be nice to see him get a shot with the starting unit.
Steve Sarkisian said earlier this week that Texas needed to learn to hate losing more than they liked winning. The Longhorns appear to have taken that message to heart for at least one game as they took out a lot of anger on Rice Saturday evening.
Here are some thoughts and takeaways from the blowout win:
It’s hard to truly gauge a lot of what we saw considering the opponent, but it should be stated Texas was 26 point favorites according to Vegas. It was expected the Longhorns would win rather comfortably, but this game turned into a route early. Texas came out with a high level of intensity from the opening kickoff and Rice never really had a chance.
A week after the Longhorns’ offensive line was whipped in Fayetteville, the unit helped pave the way for a 426 yard rushing performance. Steve Sarkisian appeared to lean more on outside running schemes and was rewarded with huge performances from Bijan Robinson, Roschon Johnson and Keilan Robinson. Texas pretty much abandoned the outside run at Arkansas, so it will be interesting to see if Sarkisian continues to emphasize the running scheme his lineman and running backs appear to be most comfortable with.
Casey Thompson turned in a good performance in his first career start. Thompson finished 15 for 18 for 164 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He did toss an interception in the first quarter as he was hit releasing a deep ball. Outside of the interception though, it was a clean performance and Thompson earned another start next week against Texas Tech.
Back to the offensive line for a moment. The unit still has major issues when Texas operates a traditional drop back passing game. Christian Jones was beaten badly and called for a holding penalty in the second quarter in addition to the interior of the offensive line allowing a lot of pressure up the middle early in the game. At this point, Steve Sarkisian is going to have to scheme around the weaknesses his offensive line has.
Keilan Robinson showed how electric he can be with a 65 yard TD run in the third quarter. Texas is going to need to find a way to get him 5-8 touches a game and utilize his speed. He also had a textbook blocked punt in the second quarter.
Defensively, there is not a whole lot you can take away from this game. This was a terrible matchup for Rice, who emphasizes trying to win at the line of scrimmage and running between the tackles. The matchup was made worse when the Owls had to turn to their 3rd string QB before halftime due to injuries.
The Texas pass defensive honestly hasn’t been tested too much through the first 3 weeks of the season due to the style of opponents they were playing, but that is set to change next week. Texas Tech is coming to Austin and the Red Raiders are not afraid to throw the ball all over the field.
Overall, it was the performance Texas needed after what happened in Fayetteville. The Longhorns dominated from start to finish and now have to turn their attention to conference play.
The Texas Longhorns (1-1, 0-0 Big 12) face another former Southwest Conference team this week as the Rice Owls (0-2, 0-0 C-USA) head to Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday night. Saturday's contest marks the 96th time these two teams have played one another with the last matchup taking place 2019. Rice last won in Austin in 1965, when Rice kicker Richard Parker made good on a 33-yard FG gave the Owls a 20-17 win. The last time Rice beat the Longhorns was in 1994 at Rice Stadium (19-17) in which the game was moved to a Sunday night due to the MLB player's strike vacating an ESPN slot that evening.
After a less-than-desirable outcome in Fayetteville last weekend, the Longhorns look to get things back on track against the Owls, who are still in search of win #1 on the season.
What: Texas Longhorns (1-1, 0-0 Big 12) vs.# Rice Owls (0-2, 0-0 C-USA)
Venue: Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium
Location: Austin, TX
When: Saturday, Sept. 18th, 2021
Time: 7:00 p.m. (CST)
All-Time Series: Texas leads Rice, 73-21-1
Last Meeting: Texas defeated Rice 48-13 (9/14/2019 - Houston, TX)
Owl Droppings headed into Game Week
Scouting Report: Rice Owls
Staff Predictions: Texas vs. Rice
Three Things to Watch in Texas vs. Rice
This weekend, I decided on doing something different. I chose to cover the Texas School for the Deaf's football game against Veritas Academy. What is a better way to get inspired by the game of football than to see young adults with such a passion for the game?
In addition to covering TSD's game on Friday, I will write about Texas's recent recruiting news.
On Friday, the Veritas Academy Defenders were looking for revenge against the Texas School for the Deaf in a rematch of their 2020 TAPPS six-man title game.
Although TSD was able to hang on with Veritas for much of the contest, the Defenders ultimately pulled away in the third quarter as senior quarterback Tyler Metro found his rhythm. Ultimately, Veritas Academy sealed a 84-53 statement of a road victory.
Despite TSD's loss, their team looked impressive throughout the course of the game, particularly on offense where the ball traveled efficiently through the air. As a result, look for the Rangers to make another deep playoff run in 2021, possibly setting up a rematch with the Defenders down the road.
Friday's contest was definitely something that I'm not too accustomed to. In fact, the last time I covered a six-man game was in December of 2019 when Richland Springs won their ninth state title.
In addition to the six-man aspect, it was very interesting to see the TSD coaches communicate with their players through sign language. On top of that, when on offense, a big drum is used to indicate the snap count.
According to Nick Harris of Horns247, and Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports, the Longhorns are expected to host a multitude of high-profile visitors this Saturday. Some of the expected visitors include: 2022 four-star wide receiver Brenen Thompson, 2023 five-star linebacker Anthony Hill Jr., 2022 five-star offensive lineman Devon Campbell and 2022 five-star linebacker Harold Perkins.
Needless to say, after Texas's disappointing loss to Arkansas last Saturday, the Longhorns will need to have an emphatic win against Rice.
Currently, Texas's 2022 recruiting class has a total of 21 commitments and is ranked as the nation's third-best class. Additionally, 14 of these pledges have received four-star grades from 247Sports, however the class is still absent of a five-star recruit. As a result, this weekend could be critical in being able to secure a commitment from a five-star recruit.
While Texas's 2022 recruiting class has swelled in size, their 2023 class has still yet to take shape. Consequently, Anthony Hill Jr. would be a potential centerpiece - regardless of the 2023 class's eventual size. Last season, Hill helped lead Denton Ryan to their third state championship and looks to cap his senior year with another title win.
Earlier in the week, Hill released his top 12 schools list which included some familiar names such Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas A&M.
Along with Hill, Harold Perkins also recently released a top schools list, representing 7 college football programs, with schools such as Alabama, Southern California and Texas A&M. As of today, Texas A&M is the lead school for Perkins according to the 247Sports crystal ball predictions.
Obviously, the Longhorns have a lot of work to do, both on the field and off, if they want to win over the services of these athletes. The next month or two will be critical for Texas's positioning in recruiting as they wrap up their 2022 class prior to the early National Signing Day period.
Following the debacle in Fayetteville last week, the Longhorns find themselves in need of working on themselves more so than this week's opponent. That involves players, coaches and a game plan that yields a solid result as they approach conference play. Arkansas should serve as a wake-up call for Sarkisian and his staff to assess personnel, schemes and coaching or it will be a long season on the 40 Acres.
The Offensive Line
The offensive line wasn't good against Louisiana, and it was abysmal against Arkansas. The Longhorns will face some really good defensive lines down the road, but this week all eyes will be on Kyle Flood's front five as they look to impose their will against the Owls. There were plenty of mistakes in Fayetteville, but the offensive line as a unit looked weak and soft. Linemen missed assignments, couldn't stop the pass rush and even let the Texas quarterbacks get hit after the whistle without retaliation. That's the one time a 15 yard penalty would be acceptable.
The fundamentals on defense left a lot to be desired as well. The tackling looked a lot like it did under several previous defensive coordinators that didn't last long in Austin. Players launching themselves rather than form technique tackling was prevalent last week, even amongst some veteran players. This is problematic for various reasons, primarily because the risk of injury is greater. More missed tackles inevitable turn what should be a five yard gain into a 25-yard gain for the opponent. Lastly, many times when a player connects on the big hit they’re looking for, there is a good chance a targeting call will be handed out.
Preparation, preparation, preparation.
Arkansas flat out-coached Texas last week. Sarkisian knew what Barry Odom was capable of, faced him many times and still didn't put a competitive plan together. The offense struggled because of the offensive line in large part, but the play calling didn’t help. Screens or short passes to Bijan would have been nice to see and could have helped get Card/Thompson in somewhat of a rhythm. We didn’t see enough of that Saturday.
The defense didn’t look ready for what Arkansas brought to the table offensively either. The Longhorns' primary goal was to force KJ Jefferson to beat you with his arm. Texas seemed shocked that the Hogs wanted to run the ball the majority of the time. With the exception of a 45 yard pass in the 3rd quarter, Jefferson passed for just 98 yards. Arkansas still ran for over 300 yards and averaged over 7 yards a carry. You won’t win many games allowing those numbers, so hopefully it was an anomaly for Sarkisian and Kwiatkowski . Rice doesn’t have the talent to match Texas but the game plan will show if they have learned from the mistakes in Fayetteville.
Last weekend, I ventured out into the Dallas-Ft. Worth area to cover the Midland Legacy versus Arlington Martin game. Both teams have many intriguing players to watch in relation to the Longhorns, including Martin's Javien Toviano. This was the second time that I have covered Arlington Martin this season, the first time being in their season opener against Lake Travis.
Friday's matchup was set to be a good one, featuring Midland Legacy, the state's 21st-ranked team, and Arlington Martin, the state's 12th-ranked team. Additionally, Legacy features many players that will certainly be known to recruiters across the country in the near distant future. One of these players is sophomore quarterback Marcos Davila, who received a scholarship offer from Kansas in January.
Early in Friday night's contest, Davila connected with 2022 three-star wide receiver Chris Brazzell on a 47-yard touchdown pass which tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter.
So far, Brazzell has made a lot of noise across the state as he has totaled 319 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns in just three games. Currently, the senior wideout is committed to Florida Atlantic and has amassed 4 scholarship offers. Furthermore, Brazzell was challenged with squaring off against Toviano, the state's best class of 2023 cornerback, and was able to stand his ground and make some highlight plays. Needless to say, Brazzell, who is measured at 6'3", will be a prospect to watch as his recruiting stock heats up throughout the course of the season.
Now, we turn back to Davila, who showed signs of promise against one of the state's top defenses. The 2021 season is Davila's first at the helm of the Rebels offense, yet Davila has the potential to lead Legacy deeper into the playoffs than they have been in quite some time. The 6'3" signal caller showed rapport with Brazzell early in the game, however had a relatively quiet second half as Legacy kept the ball on the ground.
Who is Legacy's leader on offense? Well, that would be senior running back Makhilyn Young, who had a whopping 51 carries for 279 yards and 4 touchdowns against Martin. Young was the heart and soul of Legacy's offense all night and continues to produce eye-popping numbers every week. Currently, Young has three scholarship offers from Houston Baptist, Jackson State and UTPB.
Despite Young's incredible offensive production, Martin ultimately was able to pull off a 43-37 come-from-behind victory. 2023 three-star running back Sergio Snider and 2023 five-star cornerback Javien Toviano helped lead the Warriors to their regular season win as both athletes rushed for two touchdowns a piece.
In addition to the skill positions, Legacy also has talent on the offensive line. One player to keep an eye on is 2024 offensive lineman Legend Cabello, who is starting at left guard. Cabello is listed at 6'3" and 315 pounds and will only get better as he gains more experience on the football field. Along with Cabello, 2022 center Seth Heller had a solid performance against Martin and even 2022 offensive lineman Garrett Whitehill made some buzz on Twitter thanks to a powerful block.
Overall, I think that Legacy will be a team to watch in Texas's 6A classification as the playoffs approach and their young talent has more experience under their belt. While Legacy shows promise, Martin continues to look like one of the teams to beat in Texas. Martin's loss of Longhorns commit 2022 linebacker Trevell Johnson certainly hurts, but Toviano and Snider give the Warriors hope.
The Texas Longhorns were ranked 15th in the country at kickoff in Fayetteville on Saturday night when the 'Horns & Hogs met in front of a sold-out crowd at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. They left with a lopsided defeat which saw them fall out of the Top-25, leaving fans, coaches and player scratching their head for answers. Let's take a look at what went right and wrong in Saturday's 40-21 loss to Arkansas.
Let's be honest.
There wasn't a whole lot of good on Saturday night for the Longhorns, so this will be brief.
BJ Foster's interception and Casey Thompson's play when the game was out of reach probably topped the positives for the night. One good takeaway before Arkansas put the game out of reach was the red-zone defense the Longhorns showed. For a while it was "bend but don't break" but the defense was truly broken later on.
Opposite of the good, there was plenty of bad to go around. Let’s start with the defense and their performance. Arkansas is a one dimensional team on offense, and it didn’t matter. The Hogs struggle to pass the ball, especially in tight windows. We saw that during the interception by Foster. Arkansas averaged over 7 yards a carry on their over 300 yards of rushing. Stopping the run was paramount headed into the game, and the game plan was such that if the 'Horns stopped it they had a good chance at success.
It didn't matter.
Arkansas ran at-will, down the field all night devoid of pass rush or the slightest bit of pressure. The defensive issues were glaring, especially in the second half. Tackling was an issue all night in the form of bad angles and bad form. Several times I had to make double-check and make sure Todd Orlando wasn't on the sidelines again. Too many times players went for the big hit instead of making a good, fundamental tackle. Multiple times BJ Foster launched himself into a player instead of wrapping him up - resulting in missed tackles or Arkansas players dragging him into the end zone or ahead for another first down. There were other times in which Josh Thompson was more intent on trying to strip the ball instead of making the tackle. The lack of pass rush is going to be a major issue moving forward in conference play. Texas has no Joseph Ossai on the roster and they will need to find ways to scheme up pressure. If Kwiatkowski's pass rush continues to manifest itself like it did in Fayetteville, Texas will have their hands full in Dallas trying to stop the Sooners.
The Longhorns have had questions on the offensive line for a handful of years now and Saturday night was no different. There were issues in the Louisiana game but they were emphasized on a larger scale against a better defensive line. Card had his fair share of issues Saturday night but the offensive line made his job even more difficult. Several of Bijan Robinson's runs turned into positive gains only because he was forced to make guys miss in the backfield. Kyle Flood and Sarkisian tout a group of eight players that need to be prepared to play up-front, but maybe it is time to try new personnel. It's tough to imagine that unit playing any worse than they did against Arkansas. The puzzling part of the OL play is that many of the starting offensive lineman have started multiple years for the Longhorns. Sixth year player Denzel Okafor struggled all night. Veterans can't play like that and expect positive results. The good news is Texas has Rice and Texas Tech in consecutive games before playing TCU & Oklahoma. Flood has an opportune time to experiment and tweak the OL before the schedule really gets serious. If these issues aren't corrected, the season will fall off the rails really fast.
How this team responds over the next couple of weeks after getting embarrassed by a rival on national television will be critical. Texas has a very good coaching staff despite the underwhelming performance in Fayetteville and it's fair to expect Sarkisian and company to adjust accordingly.
On Saturday, the Longhorns looked lost in Fayetteville as the Razorbacks trounced Texas with a 40-21 win. Having fallen behind 16-0 by halftime, and not showing much promise in the second half, it would be difficult for the Longhorns to hang their hat on any aspect of Saturday's contest.
From Texas's opening drive, the Longhorns struggled to get anything going - on the ground or the air - as the offensive line struggled to get a push against Arkansas's defensive front. However, Texas's passing game in and of itself was inconsistent throughout the night as redshirt freshman Hudson Card was unable to find his groove. In fact, Steve Sarkisian ultimately pulled Card in favor of junior Casey Thompson who provided the team with two rushing touchdowns in just over a quarter of play.
Card finished Saturday's game completing 8 of 15 passes for 61 yards, while Thompson added 57 yards through the air on 5-8 passing.
In addition to Texas's performance through the air, the team's ground game struggled as well as Bijan Robinson had to scrap his way to 69 yards and a touchdown rush. Thompson's 44 yards on the ground helped the Longhorns eclipse the 100-yard rushing mark as the team ultimately rushed for a total of 124 yards.
While the offense had its share of issues, the Longhorns defense allowed the Razorbacks to rush for a stunning 333 yards and four touchdowns. Throughout the course of the game, Arkansas's rampant running game wore down the Texas defense, killing any chance of a late comeback.
The bright spot for the Longhorns on defense was senior defensive back B.J. Foster's interception in the third quarter.
Next Saturday, the Longhorns will host Rice with kickoff set for 7 P.M. in a game which will be aired on the Longhorn Network.
QUICK GAME NOTES
Longhorns scored three rushing touchdowns against Arkansas, improving to 8-for-8 in the red zone after two games this season
Casey Thompson participated in two drives for Texas and guided the Longhorns to two TD's in both drives
BJ Foster's interception in the second half was the third of his career at Texas and first since the 2019 season
LB Demarvion Overshown led the team in tackles with 8 against the Razorbacks
Cameron Dicker missed a 52-yard FG but was 3/3 in extra point attempts on the evening. Dicker's career scoring improved to 309 points, positioning him at fifth on the all-time scoring list at Texas (third all-time among UT kickers)
How the Card is Dealt
True freshman quarterback Hudson Card is making just his second start for the Longhorns in as many weeks. Saturday's contest is a night game, and it's the first sellout in Fayetteville since the 2017 season. Card did a lot of good things in the start vs. Louisiana, but the matchup against the Razorback presents a new set of challenges for him. A young quarterback playing in a primetime game with an electric crowd is a recipe for trouble.... Texas will be tested early and will need to respond in order to set the tone. If Card can play the role of game manager, let Bijan Robinson run the ball and and take the crowd out of the game early on, the Longhorns have a good chance for success on the offensive side of the ball.
Treylon Burks vs. the Texas Secondary
Burks, an All-American, is without question the best offensive player for the Razorbacks and possibly a first round pick in next year's NFL Draft. He’s the type of player that can turn the game on a dime if he’s not contained. Burks is an all around receiver and possesses size and speed that makes him difficult to contain. Texas is fortunate to have skilled defensive backs in their secondary, which will make this matchup fun to watch. Last week against the Ragin' Cajuns, the Texas secondary held their own. D’Shawn Jamison has high-end speed while also having good technique which is necessary to stop a playmaker like Burks. Josh Thompson is a veteran guy that is capable of playing better than he did last week against Louisiana, and he will have an opportunity to show that against the Hogs.
Last week against Rice, Arkansas had a blocked punt and fumbled a kickoff as well. If the Owls were able to create turnovers on special teams, then the Texas athletes should be able to wreak havoc as well. Other than Cameron Dicker’s missed 45 yard field goal, Texas was very solid on special teams last week. Dicker, who also punts, averaged over 51 yards a punt and return man D’Shawn Jamison returned a punt for a touchdown (which was subsequently called back for a block in the back). In a tumultuous atmosphere on the road, Jeff Banks' special teams unit has a real opportunity to showcase their talent and potentially win this game for the Longhorns.
Containing KJ Jefferson
Arkansas QB KJ Jefferson will look to use his legs before his arm when possible. Against Rice last week, Jefferson struggled in the first half largely due to his arm being ineffective. In the second half, Arkansas scored on 5 of 6 possessions. Why? Jefferson's ability to run the ball created opportunities for big plays. He's similar in style to TCU QB Max Duggan, who has torched the Longhorns the last two years with the use of his legs. Under new Defensive Coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski, Texas is more equipped to stop one dimensional quarterbacks like Duggan and Jefferson. If Texas loses on Saturday night, it will most likely be because Jefferson ran wild and Texas failed to keep him in the pocket. If the Longhorns force him to throw, keep an eye out for turnovers. Many of his passes last week against Rice were high, and often times defensive backs can make plays on throws like that.
Texas defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowsi continues to strike gold with out-of-state prospects, this time bolstering his future defensive line with a huge commitment from 4-star DL Justice Finkley. Finkley, 6-2, 255 lbs., plays at Hewitt-Trussville High School in Trussville, Alabama, a little over an hour northeast of Tuscaloosa.
Finkley was offered by the Longhorns in March and took his official visit to Austin on June 25th. He subsequently announced his Top 3 of Alabama, Colorado and Texas on July 4th.
He received scholarship offers from more than 30 programs including Michigan, Florida, Georgia, Florida State, LSU, Oregon and Texas A&M. He made his decision official on Thursday when he committed to the Texas Longhorns.
In his junior season with the Huskies, he registered 4 sacks, 82 tackles and six tackles for loss.
Academics likely played a large role in Finkley's decision, as the big man wants to keep a balance of academics and football after high school. His parents both work in the education arena, and each holds a doctoral degree.
Finkley is ranked as the 6th best player in the state of Alabama, the 19th best defensive lineman in the country and the 112th best player in the nation according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
His commitment vaults Texas to #3 in the team rankings and gives the Longhorns a total of 21 commitments in the Class of 2022. He joins defensive line commits Zac Swanson (Brophy College Preparatory - Phoenix, AZ), Aaron Bryant (Southaven High School - Southaven, MS), Kristopher Ross (North Shore High School, Houston, TX) and Jaray Bledsoe (Marlin High School - Marlin, TX) as defensive line commits in the class.
The Texas Longhorns (1-0, 0-0 Big 12) defeated Louisiana 38-18 on Saturday at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday, earning head coach Steve Sarkisian his first win with the Longhorns.
The Longhorns, ranked 21st in the Preseason AP-Top 25 Poll, found themselves vaulting to the #15 spot in the first regular season Associated Press Top-25 Poll. In the first full opening week of college football, eight teams that were ranking in the Preseason Top-25 lost. Five of those teams were beaten by ranked teams.
Alabama held the top spot after defeating Miami with Georgia jumping to the #2 spot after beating Clemson.
Complete AP Top-25 Rankings after Week 1 can be found below (first place votes in parenthesis).
Following the #21 Texas Longhorns 38-18 win over #23 Louisiana on Saturday, sophmore running back Bijan Robinson was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation (WCFF) Offensive Player of the Week. Robinson amassed 176 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns to lead the Longhorns to an opening-day win at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium.
Robinson eclipsed the century mark on the ground, rushing for 103 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.
He also caught 4 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown.
Robinson becomes the 11th Texas player to receive Walter Camp Player of the Week honors since the 2004 season.
On Friday, I made the short trip over to the hills of Westlake to cover the state's top ranked team, the Westlake Chaparrals, versus the No. 6 Euless Trinity Trojans. Westlake is a team that is always littered with talent, such as on the offensive line where stars include Texas commit Connor Robertson, Bray Lynch and TJ Shanahan.
Heading into Friday night's game, all eyes were going to be on Trinity senior running back Ollie Gordon, an Oklahoma State commit, and Westlake senior quarterback Cade Klubnik, a Clemson commit. Additionally, the top-ten matchup was going to be a rematch of the 2009 Class 5A state championship, a game in which the Trojans won in San Antonio's Alamodome.
To begin the scoring, Cade Klubnik found senior wide receiver Pierce Turner on a streak pattern in the back of the end zone. Klubnik, a five-star quarterback, was on his game all night as he showed off his arm strength in getting several different receivers involved. In addition to Turner, 2023 wide receiver Keaton Kubecka had a solid performance as well. The 6'3" wide receiver finished the night with 6 receptions for 71 yards, leading the team in receiving. Alongside Kubecka, 2023 four-star receiver Jaden Greathouse, routinely Klubnik's favorite target, tallied 3 receptions for 68 yards as well.
Kubecka is a sleeper to watch in recruiting and currently has 3 scholarship offers from Arkansas State, Houston and Kansas. While Kubecka was sidelined for much of last season, he has already gotten off to a fast start to this year and will be a player to watch.
Westlake's other receiver, Jaden Greathouse, is an interesting prospect who has a handful of offers from powerhouse programs. Initially offered by Tom Herman's coaching staff in 2020, Greathouse was able to visit the Forty Acres this past June. The junior wide receiver has already amassed over 2,000 receiving yards during his time at Westlake and is bound to have another dominant season.
Now, looking at arguably the biggest strength of Westlake's team, the offensive line. This unit consists of three recruits with at least three-stars a piece. Texas commit Connor Robertson is starting at left guard for the Chaparrals, next to left tackle Bray Lynch, an Indiana commit. In addition to the left side of the line, new transfer addition TJ Shanahan has been inserted at right tackle. Shanahan, a four-star recruit, was offered by the Longhorns in April and now, having moved from Florida to Austin, is in Texas's backyard.
The offensive line did their job against one of the state's top teams, however they still have room to improve as they gel together throughout 2021.
For Euless Trinity, Ollie Gordon was the Trojan's only player to score a touchdown in the contest. Gordon moved from running back to quarterback prior to this season, but is still seeing some time as a running back as well. In Friday's contest, Gordon was roughed up quite a bit by the Chaparrals defensive front and had to fight for every yard. Besides his touchdown rush late in the third quarter, Gordon's highlight of the night was a beautiful dime that he threw across the field late in the fourth quarter.
Ultimately, the Chaparrals were able to cruise to a 34-14 victory thanks to Klubnik's three total touchdowns.
Klubnik put on a display with his legs, eluding defensive linemen left and right, contributing to his two rushing touchdowns on the night. The Clemson commit has always been an exciting player to watch on Friday nights and I cannot wait to see how he performs on Saturdays.
Lastly, if it weren't for Texas's impending move to the SEC, Oklahoma State commit Ollie Gordon might have been a player that was destined to haunt the Longhorns. Gordon just seems to have the grit and grind of a Cowboy and will soon be showcasing this trait in Stillwater for Mike Gundy.
The Texas Longhorns defeated the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns in a season-opening contest that was essentially one-sided. Head coach Steve Sarkisian saw a lot of positives in the victory, but his first win with the program wasn't without critique. Sarkisian rotated a lot of players and highlighted the Longhorns' depth at a myriad of positions. While the win was a solid one, we take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly in Saturday's play at DKR-TMS.
The offense was the most precarious of the units following the conclusion of fall camp and headed in to the regular season. Overall they played well in Sark's head coaching debut, which is something that should give the coaching staff optimism moving forward. Starting quarterback Hudson Card (redshirt freshman) looked comfortable under center, but the offensive line struggled at times with pass rush and blocking. Card totaled three touchdowns before being replaced by Casey Thompson late in the game.
Running back Bijan Robinson shined as expected, racking up 104 yards and a touchdown on the ground on 20 carries. Robinson also had 73 receiving yards and a touchdown on four receptions. Sarkisian's goal of getting the sophmore 20+ touches per game, something that didn't happen last season, yielded dividends. That will continue to pay out from Bijan as the season progresses.
Sans Jordan Whittington's monster effort on the day, the Texas receivers were relatively quiet. Whittington had 7 catches for 113 yards and a touchdown in his breakout performance with the Longhorns. Outside of Whittington, who was Card's top target of the day, both Joshua Moore and Xavier Worthy need more catches and production. The two combined just 4 catches for 41 yards. Given Whittington's injury history, Card and Thompson need the other wideouts to step up and become playmakers. This is critical for the offense to have success in 2021 as teams will focus on stopping the Texas rushing attack led by Robinson and Roschon Johnson. Worthy and Moore flashed potential in Saturday's game but the plays just didn't materialize.
The offensive line for the Longhorns gave up three sacks as a unit. While this isn't awful, the eye test revealed much more of a problem for this group. There were several times Card was able to outrun a sack, but the Longhorns will face better defensive fronts throughout the season. Sarkisian's starting five on the line includes guard Junior Angilau, who left the game with a knee injury and did not return. His injury will be something to monitor as Texas prepares this week for their trip to Fayetteville. Kyle Flood's group is headed into enemy territory with a raucous fanbase and the offensive line will need to help Card out more than they did against the Ragin' Cajuns.
Many coaches often say that the biggest improvement you see from a team is during the Week 1 to Week 2 transition. All eyes will be on the Longhorns at 6:00 PM next Saturday.
On Saturday, the Longhorns hosted the nation's twenty-third ranked team, Louisiana-Lafayette, and beat the Ragin' Cajuns in a decisive 38-18 victory. Texas's season opener certainly felt like the start of a new era for Longhorns football thanks to a plethora of fresh faces such in head coach Steve Sarkisian, running back Bijan Robinson and redshirt freshman quarterback Hudson Card.
Speaking of Hudson Card, the redshirt freshman looked the part of Texas's starting quarterback as he threw for 224 yards and scored a total of three touchdowns. Additionally, Card did not look fazed under the pressure and afterwards said "I've played in big games in my past, in high school. Lake Travis does a great job of preparing you and I think that had something to do with it. Just practice and being prepared. Preparation gives you confidence".
Alongside Card, fellow underclassman Bijan Robinson had himself a day as he rushed for 103 yards and a score, in addition to catching a touchdown pass and totaling 76 receiving yards.
"We came together and thought we did a pretty good job, and I think that we have a lot more work to do to keep rolling and to be able to be at our full potential," Robinson said.
The Texas offense's secondary weapon of choice was Jordan Whittington, who finished the game with 7 receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown. But, more importantly, Whittington consistently provided the Longhorns with a reliable safety blanket on third downs.
Texas's defense complemented the offense's output, limiting major plays and forcing Louisiana senior quarterback Levi Lewis to beat them with his arm. While Lewis ended the game with 282 passing yards and one passing touchdown, the Longhorns held the Ragin' Cajuns to 76 yards on the ground.
Leading the defense in tackles, senior linebacker DeMarvion Overshown tallied 13 while junior linebacker Luke Brockermeyer had 10.
Overshown commented on Brockermeyer's performance saying "I love that guy. He comes to work every day. I don't know how many times I hugged him since the game was over. I know how much this means to him with his father playing here and getting his first start, seeing him earn his scholarship since he first got here. I have so much love for that guy".
Steve Sarkisian's offseason transfer additions also made an impact as both Ray Thornton and Ovie Oghoufo, transfers from LSU and Notre Dame respectively, came away from Saturday's contest with a sack.
Lastly, keeping his promise, Steve Sarkisian inserted Casey Thompson into Saturday's contest when the Longhorns had a 28-12 lead late into the third quarter. Thompson helped to add to Texas's lead thanks to a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Whittington early in the fourth quarter.
Next Saturday, the Longhorns will travel to Fayetteville to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks. The non-conference game against Arkansas will be at 6 P.M CT and will be televised on ESPN.