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

The Sarkisian era hits its benchmark

Peyton Sims
Texas Football head coach, Steve Sarkisian taking notes during game against West Virginia on Oct. 1st, 2022.

It’s Nov. 13, 2021. Steve Sarkisian and the rest of his Texas Longhorns sit in shock after being upset 57-56 by the Kansas Jayhawks.

The Jayhawks, who finished the season with just one other win, were a part of Texas’ six game losing streak, its first since the 1956 season. The Longhorns ended the 2021 season with a record of 5-7.

Looking to bounce back in the following year, Sarkisian returned 19 starters on both sides of the ball and brought in a new quarterback in redshirt freshman Quinn Ewers.

Sarkisian and his team still couldn’t take the next step forward. Texas finished the season 8-5 with a 20-19 loss to No. 1 ranked Alabama at home while also adding a 49-0 statement win against rival Oklahoma but found itself unable to finish in close games. All five losses during the season were by one score. 

Throughout the offseason, Sarkisian had a strong core of returners and brought in top recruits including five-star quarterback Arch Manning and five-star linebacker Anthony Hill Jr.

Facing high expectations for the 2023 season, Sarkisian knew that the team had a target on its back, especially with the move to the SEC in 2024.

“Now more than ever are they ‘Who cares about Texas? Let’s take one more shot at them on the way out,’” Sarkisian said. “We can’t sit here and be a punching bag. We have to walk in there, be in attack mode, and make sure we’re built for the environment.”

On Sept. 9, Sarkisian and the Longhorns faced No. 3 Alabama again, this time on the road. 

Heading into Bryant-Denny Stadium was going to be a monumental task for the Longhorns. Alabama entered the matchup with a 21-game home winning streak that dates back to its game against LSU on Nov. 9, 2019. 

After a back-and-forth game and a 21-point fourth quarter, Ewers led the Longhorns to a 34-24 win in Tuscaloosa. The win was important not only for the team but for Sarkisian himself.

After leaving Alabama for the head coaching job at Texas just two and a half years prior, Sarkisian became the first of Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s former assistant coaches to defeat him at home.

“This game is not going to define our season.” Sarkisian said, “We got 10 more regular season games to play, but it does serve as a benchmark of what we are capable of and the potential for who we can be as a team.”

After a 3-0 start, Sarkisian’s team has shot up to a No. 3 ranking in the AP Poll ahead of its final Big 12 season.

The Longhorns are now looking ahead to the beginning of Big 12 play against the Baylor Bears in Waco on Saturday.

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About the Contributor
Peyton Sims, Associate Photo Editor
Peyton is senior journalism student at UT Austin. During this fall semester, she's an Associate Photo Editor for The Daily Texan and she's a true crime Podcast Producer for The Drag Audio Production House.