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.