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

No. 8 Texas scrapes by Houston, winning 31-24

William Whitworth

With 12:49 left to play in the first half, No. 8 Texas led Houston 21-0. On three consecutive drives, Houston tied the game at 21 points less than three minutes into the third quarter. 

Texas got off to a hot start, dominating the first quarter. On its first drive, sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers took Texas storming down the field, resulting in a 14-yard touchdown by junior wide receiver Adonai Mitchell. Following a defensive stop, Ewers extended Texas’ lead to 14 with a 42-yard touchdown throw to junior wide receiver Xavier Worthy.

After those two drives, the Houston defense came to life, forcing head coach Steve Sarkisian to get creative with his playcalling. Ewers found the most success on screen and with short passes. 

Texas also found success in running the ball. Early in the second quarter, sophomore running back Savion Red ran the ball in for a one-yard touchdown from the wildcat, putting Texas up 21-0.

After a failed red zone conversion, Sarkisian called for a fake field goal where senior punter Ryan Sanborn threw a pass to junior kicker Bert Auburn, but it was stuffed.

After this, Houston quarterback Donovan Smith and the rest of his offense flipped a switch.

On three straight drives, Smith threw two consecutive touchdowns to end the first half. Opening the second half, Smith found wide receiver Joseph Manjack for a 35-yard touchdown, but Manjack was ruled down at the half-yard line. 

Two plays later, Smith found wide receiver Matthew Golden in the end zone to tie the game at 21-21, stripping Texas of any momentum it had. 

Houston was outplaying Texas in every aspect of the game. 

On fourth and inches, Ewers was stuffed on the quarterback sneak on third-and-one. Out of the wildcat, Red found the edge and gained three yards for the first down. 

Three plays later, Ewers failed to find Mitchell on fourth-and-two, giving the ball back to Houston. 

Then the Texas defense found its footing. Sophomore linebacker Jaylan Ford sacked Smith and knocked the ball out for junior defensive lineman Vernon Broughton to jump on the ball. Ewers had the ball back on Houston’s 38-yard line. 

Unable to score a touchdown, Auburn nailed a 25-yard field goal to put Texas back in front. It was the momentum shift Texas needed. The Texas defense forced another turnover as sophomore defensive back Michael Taaffe picked off Smith in the end zone. 

But Ewers was hurt. Redshirt freshman Maalik Murphy came in but was unable to create offensive momentum. 

After Houston muffed a punt and had 90 yards to go, it settled for a field goal. Murphy then led Texas charging down the field and handed the ball off to freshman running back CJ Baxter, who ran untouched into the endzone. 

Baxter’s touchdown put Texas ahead 31-24. With Ewers on the sideline in a sling, Murphy’s drive and Baxter’s touchdown gave the Texas defense just enough momentum.

Smith led Houston down to the red zone but was unable to convert when it got to third-and-one from the 10-yard line. On fourth and inches, the Texas defense got the stop. 

Murphy took over with just over one minute left and took a knee three times in victory formation to seal the win for the Longhorns. 

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