Texas looks for faster start against rival Texas Tech
No. 22 Texas will get its first taste of playing in a hostile environment when it squares off against always-dangerous Texas Tech on Saturday in the Big 12 Conference opener for both teams in Lubbock, Texas.
The Longhorns (2-1) head to the South Plains after coming from behind to beat Texas-San Antonio 41-20 last Saturday, which was Texas’ third straight home game to start the season. The win came a week after Texas lost to then-top-ranked Alabama 20-19 on a field goal in the final seconds.
Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian praised his team for fighting through its first-quarter doldrums against UTSA.
“Being down 17-7, nobody blinked — nobody said, ‘here we go again,’ which I think a year ago we may have,” Sarkisian said. “We just stayed the course.”
Bijan Robinson, the Longhorns’ preseason All-America running back, ran for 183 yards and three touchdowns in the win over UTSA. Robinson scored on runs of 3, 41 and 78 yards, the latter a career-long scoring rush, and has racked up 311 yards and five TDs rushing this season on 51 carries to pace Texas’ ground attack.
Hudson Card, drawing the start at quarterback for the injured Quinn Ewers (left clavicle), passed for 161 yards and a TD and ran for 35 more yards against UTSA. Card will likely start again against Texas Tech, even after Sarkisian said Monday that all of his quarterbacks have been practicing.
Jahdae Barron returned an interception 44 yards for another score in the victory, the third non-offensive score this season, which is Texas’ most through three games since 2017. Barron was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week on Monday for his performance.
The Red Raiders (2-1) return home after a 27-14 loss at then-No. 16 North Carolina State last weekend. Texas Tech quarterback Donovan Smith passed for 214 yards and a 24-yard TD to Myles Price and ran 3 yards for the Red Raiders’ other score, but also uncorked two interceptions, including a pick-6 that resulted in a 20-0 deficit at halftime.
The loss was the first in the Joey McGuire coaching era at Texas Tech and came after an easy season-opening win versus Murray State and a double-overtime victory over then-No. 25 Houston, both at home.
“We have to be better in catching all catchable balls, getting vertical when you catch it,” McGuire said. “We’ve got to put ourselves in good situations. … But there’s some stuff that we’ve got to do as a staff to put these guys in better situations.”
Smith was the backup when the season opened but jumped into the starter spot when Tyler Shough suffered a collarbone injury in Week 1. In his two starts, Smith has completed 60.6 percent of his passes while being intercepted five times.
Texas holds a 54-17 advantage over the Red Raiders in the all-time series between the schools and has captured 11 of the past 13 matchups. The Longhorns scored 10 touchdowns in a 70-35 win over Texas Tech in Austin, Texas, in 2021.
“I have not been to Lubbock, but I’ve heard it’s an unbelievable environment,” Sarkisian said when asked about this week’s game. “I’m looking forward to it.”
–Field Level Media