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

Advertise in our classifieds section
Your classified listing could be here!
October 4, 2022

Sarkisian reflects on Murphy’s first start, looks ahead to Kansas State

Lorianne Willett
Texas football coach Steve Sarkisian during the Longhorns’ game against BYU on Oct. 28, 2023.

With the dangerous Kansas State matchup looming, head coach Steve Sarkisian stayed positive about his redshirt freshman quarterback Maalik Murphy and team following a commanding win over BYU.

“I think he stayed consistent, and that’s that’s a great thing,” Sarkisian said about Murphy. “You develop the habits that you develop for consistency and he’s developed great habits in his preparation not only mentally but physically.”

Murphy made his first career start on Saturday, replacing the injured Quinn Ewers and facing off against the BYU Cougars. Despite a slow start that included two costly turnovers, Murphy finished with 16 completions for 170 yards and two touchdowns.

“We can’t afford two turnovers every week,” Sarkisian said. “We’ve got to take care of the ball.”

Texas took a comfortable victory over BYU, winning 35-6 with the special teams unit outsourcing the entire Cougars offense thanks to junior wide receiver Xavier Worthy’s kick return. The Longhorn defense forced three turnovers and gave up under 100 yards of rushing on 26 BYU attempts.

“Anytime you can go into a game and get three turnovers, hold your opponent to 2/13 on third down, get three red zone stops and limit explosive plays, it’s usually a pretty good day,” Sarkisian said.

But with the defensive prowess came struggles that have been apparent all season. Texas struggled once again in the red zone, converting on less than half its opportunities.

“Two of five in the red zone isn’t good enough,” Sarkisian said. “Especially when (we’re) zero for three on first and goal scenarios.”

Sarkisian noted that he was pushing his players hard in this week’s practice, especially with the task of Kansas State ahead of them. The Wildcats enter the week with two straight blow out wins, having won four of their last five with an average margin of victory of over 23 points.

“(We’re) just trying to improve what we’re good on,” Worthy said. “Little things, building (Murphy’s) confidence, this is still his second game starting.”

As Worthy mentioned, Murphy will be back in the starting role once again. Sarkisian said that Ewers, sophomore edge rusher Ethan Burke, and senior safety Jalen Catalon were all week-to-week injuries, but it doesn’t seem likely they will return.

For Murphy’s second career start, he’ll face one of the more physical teams in the Big 12. Sarkisian, Worthy and sophomore offensive tackle Kelvin Banks noted the physicality of the Chris Klieman led team.

“Last year Kansas State played very tough versus us,” Banks said. “I expect the same game this year because they’re playing for something just like we are.”

Kansas State sits alongside Texas at the top of the Big 12 standings, with serious Big 12 title game implications for the winner of the matchup. The teams are tied with Oklahoma, who lost to Kansas last week, with Oklahoma State and Iowa State at the top.

The Wildcats bring success on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, making them a headache to gameplan for. Kansas State ranks second in scoring offense and first in scoring defense in the Big 12, creating one of the most efficient teams in the nation.

Each team’s defensive fronts will be focused on the rushing game, but Texas will have to deal with a two-headed monster at the Kansas State quarterback position, senior Will Howard. Howard leads the way for passing, but surprise freshman quarterback Avery Johnson has given new life to the offense. His dual-threat ability gained over 160 yards in two of his last three games and creates hard decision making for the defenses to have to deal with two quarterbacks, one that gets it done with his arm and one with his legs.

“They’ve really incorporated the quarterback run stuff into what they do,” Sarkisian said. “They’ve got a multitude of schemes and run games to go along with the toughness.”

Despite struggling since the loss in Dallas, Sarkisian and the Texas football roster sound ready to battle against Kansas State and the rest of the Big 12, all looking towards a coveted championship game appearance.

“We got to get back to playing our brand of football,” Sarkisian said. “That’s a physical brand of football (while) being detail oriented and executing.”

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Evan Vieth, Senior Sports Reporter
Evan is a junior journalism major and the sports editor for the Texan. He is originally from Washington DC and has covered UT sports for 4 semesters and counting. He has covered the Men's Tennis, Soccer, Baseball and Football teams and had the opportunity to write about the 2023 Longhorns in the Sugar Bowl.
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.