Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Hutch’s Huddle: Week 2

Lorianne Willett

It’s hard to believe I was so skeptical of Texas’ offense on Saturday afternoon, that I didn’t want to leave at halftime — however, the heat made my decision for me and I left anyway. While the lack of an explosive offense during the first half left me anxious to see if the Longhorns could gain better footing, it was also a major glimpse into the promising work of Pete Kwiatkowski’s defensive line going into a weekend matchup that will need defense in its prime condition.

In his post-game press conference, head coach Steve Sarkisian noted that Texas football is not one-dimensional, but can react and adapt to certain situations with versatility. He then continued to highlight the team’s defense, an area that he said doesn’t get enough recognition. 

“I thought our defensive front did exactly what they’ve been doing all training camp long, which is play dominant football,” Sarkisian said. “We won in a way today that I don’t think most people thought that’s how we would win that game.”

And dominant is exactly the word that should be used to describe Texas’ defense. The Longhorns didn’t let the Owls touch the endzone until the scraps of the fourth quarter, holding them to only 60 yards and a field goal within the first half. Seeing senior linebacker Jaylan Ford assist Texas in forcing three turnovers with his fifth career interception was a huge moment for him, as he got the praise he deserved from fans and Sarkisian, with the head coach giving him a shoutout for his impactful plays. 

But if Texas wants to stand any chance against Alabama on its own turf, then the current struggles within the offensive line need to be cleaned up, and Quinn Ewers needs to find his footing within the first half to stray away from a second half save. 

Ewers’ performance during the first half of Saturday’s matchup wasn’t an ideal start to the season, but his efforts shouldn’t be discarded. He accounted for four touchdowns, including one rushing, and completed 19 out of 30 attempted passes for a total of 260 yards. Although his completion rate only stood at 63%, this is exactly where he started out last season against Louisiana Monroe, and he went on to throw at a 75% completion rate against Alabama the following weekend.   

It also seems that Sarkisian isn’t too worried about Ewers’ ability to make things happen and believes that Ewers has matured into a player who can reflect on his mistakes and come back onto the field with the confidence he’s been relaying during the offseason.

“I thought he got himself kind of re-centered, and that was a real positive for me,” Sarkisian said. “A year ago, you know, he got sacked a couple of times there at the end of the first half, I don’t know what might’ve happened coming out into the second half. Today, he came out in the second half and looked much more comfortable.”

However, in its season opener, Alabama brought out last year’s backup quarterback Jalen Milroe to replace now-NFL player Bryce Young, and the redshirt sophomore did not disappoint for his second career start. Milroe made successful connections with eight different receivers and accounted for five out of eight touchdowns made, seemingly being no short of the perfect competitor for Ewers. 

This game will definitely reveal what Texas can expect from itself on both sides of the ball for the remainder of the season and if Ewers’ offense can generate enough momentum to get over the Alabama hurdle once and for all.          

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About the Contributors
Emma Hutchinson, Senior Sports Reporter
Emma is a journalism sophomore from Prosper, Texas and is probably watching Dallas Mavericks highlights as you read this. She currently works on the women’s basketball beat as a senior reporter, but has previously reported on men’s swim and dive and softball. In addition to watching the Mavericks, she enjoys spending her free time with the people she loves most, usually by grabbing some coffee or boba with them.
Lorianne Willett, Photo Editor
Lorianne is a Journalism and Global Sustainability junior from San Antonio, Texas. Currently, she is the Photo Editor. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing tennis.