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

Texas football’s culture shines, even with uncertainty surrounding Ewers’ injury

Connor Steen
Texas Football coach Steve Sarkisian and players during The Eyes of Texas after a 31-24 win against Houston on Oct. 21, 2023.

Texas football head coach Steve Sarkisian opened up Monday’s weekly press conference by praising his team’s culture. In No. 7 Texas’ 31-24 win over Houston, Texas took a 21-0 lead before Houston was able to tie the game early in the second half.

“I thought this game definitely showed our versatility,” Sarkisian said. “I thought that our culture shined through in this game and that the togetherness of the team, the ability to keep their poise and composure showed up in one specific instance.”

That instance was sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers leaving the game with a shoulder injury late in the third quarter.

Ewers took a big hit after running the ball midway through the third quarter, but stayed in the game. He left the contest later in the quarter and returned to the sidelines for the fourth quarter in street clothes and a sling.

It was later revealed that Ewers has a grade two AC joint sprain. Anwar Richardson from Orangebloods was first to break the news.

“Quinn will be week to week at this point,” Sarkisian said. “You never really know exactly how bodies respond to injury so we’re just gonna have to monitor him on a weekly basis.”

In his absence against Houston, the rest of the offense and redshirt freshman quarterback Maalik Murphy stepped up and led a game-winning drive.

Sarkisian credited his team’s poise to its depth and consistency. Murphy was not the only player forced to step up due to injury, with everyone keeping their composure on the field.

“Malik had to come in in that game,” Sarkisian said. “I thought he showed great poise and composure.”

After the bye week, Sarkisian praised his team’s ability to execute what was worked on in practice. Sarkisian put an emphasis on creating turnovers and scoring in the red zone, and his team did exactly that.

“I think the things that we emphasized in the bye week showed up, that obviously, red zone offense was critical,” Sarksian said. “I thought we executed well there and through our ability to create turnovers. We’ve been harping on it and those two turnovers, the Jaylan Ford sack fumble and the interception by Taffe and the endzone were big.”

The defense stepped up in the second half. Senior defensive back Jaylan Ford had a strip sack on Houston quarterback Donovan Williams that was recovered by defensive tackle Vernon Broughton.

To start the fourth quarter, sophomore corner Michael Taffe picked off Williams in the end zone.

Sarkisian commended Taffe, who joined the team as a preferred walk-on out of high school.

“From day one, when every opportunity he got to step in and be here as a true freshman and get on the grass, he found a way to make a play,” Sarkisian said. “He tackled well and got a big time interception but what gets lost in a lot of this is how good he played on special teams on Saturday. It’s not just defense, he’s (playing well) on special teams as well.”

The defensive stops were complemented by the offense’s ability to score touchdowns in the red zone, something Texas had struggled with earlier in the season and especially against Oklahoma two weeks prior.

Three of Texas’ four touchdowns came in the red zone.

Sophomore running back Savion Red got his first career touchdown, running the ball in from the one-yard line out of the wildcat formation. Two weeks ago, Texas failed to score from the one-yard line.

Texas’ versatility allowed it to win a tight game against Houston and has prepared it to win more tough games down the road.

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