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 12

Lorianne Willett

After the return of starting quarterback Quinn Ewers came as a pleasant surprise and alleviated some of the stress felt by Texas fans going into its matchup against TCU, that relief was quickly squashed when running back Jonathon Brooks was carried off the field. With a confirmed ACL tear and scheduled surgery, it seems that the Longhorns will have to fare without one of their most crucial assets to their success so far.

The Longhorns managed fairly well when Ewers got knocked off his feet for two weeks, as second-string Maalik Murphy made his first career start and kept Texas’ head above water against a fierce Kansas State team.

But head coach Steve Sarkisian might find it difficult to create offensive consistency without Brooks, who has proven himself to be the program’s underdog the entire season.

“Losing Jonathon for the season is a tough blow for us,” Sarkisian said. “He’s a weapon out of the back field catching the ball, so naturally that creates a void.”

Just against TCU, Brooks saw a career-long 73-yard reception to set himself up for a two-yard touchdown run, which put Texas in the lead 7-3 over the Horned Frogs. He found the end zone once more in a 22-yard rushing touchdown effort to extend Texas’ lead, claiming his 10th and final rushing touchdown of the season.

The Texas native has had a breakout career this year like no other. Brooks has well over quadrupled the amount of rushing yards he accumulated last season, going from a mere 197 to nearly 1,200 and doubling his number of touchdowns from five to 10. On the receiving side, Brooks caught only two receptions across seven games in 2022, but has been able to capitalize on his opportunities this year, completing 25 receptions throughout the 10 games he appeared in for an average of 28.6 receiving yards per game. It’s not crazy to say that Brooks has been giving us Bijan Robinson-level statistics.

Texas must now look to other options in the running back room, which fans got a taste of in the last few minutes against TCU when Sarkisian put in freshman CJ Baxter. Despite Brooks leading the way, Baxter has seen his fair share of success this season, having three rushing touchdowns and 12 receptions to his name across nine games. Similar to the quarterback situation, spectators won’t truly be able to know Baxter’s capability until he’s put in the spotlight.

“It creates opportunities obviously for CJ Baxter, Jaydon Blue, Keilan Robinson, Savion Red,” Sarkisian said. “We’ve got a lot of faith in those guys that they’re going to perform at a high level naturally.”

Without Brooks on call, Sarkisian has a tough choice when it comes down to playcalling: feed Baxter the ball and gain little yardage, as Baxter records around 4.5 yards per rush attempt, or utilize Ewers’ arm with the potential of an injury flare up.

Turning to the passing game wouldn’t be a bad route with the array of talent inside the wide receiver room. Xavier Worthy and Adonai Mitchell both showed off against TCU, with Worthy almost claiming a rushing touchdown and Mitchell finding the ball for a six-yard touchdown and a 35-yard pass to hand Texas the win.

Ewers himself displayed that he’s still able to throw a deep ball, but it will be up to Sarkisian and the rest of the coaching staff to make some distinct play calling in order to advance the offense in the right direction.

Texas could make these last two matches a chance to showcase what the team has improved on all season, and, though Brooks will be missed, prove once again that it can function without key offensive components.

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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.