Horns Illustrated

RECAP: Sarkisian era starts with Texas over Louisiana 38-18 in opener

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photo by Don Bender / Horns Illustrated

AUSTIN, Texas – No. 21 Texas beat No. 23 Louisiana 38-18 in the first game of the Sarkisian football era. Texas’ offense scored five touchdowns, two from Bijan Robinson, one from Cade Brewer, Hudson Card, and Jordan Whittington and totaled 435 yards in 68 plays, 18 passes, 42 rushes, and one field goal before 91,113 happy fans at Darrell K Royal Stadium.

Hudson Card completed 14 passes for 224 yards, two touchdowns, one of them rushing removing any doubt about his ability to play poised elite level football under pressure. In his first career start, Card passed for more yards than Colt McCoy (178) and Sam Ehlinger (222) in their firsts starts. Casey Thompson took over during the third quarter completing four passes for 41 yards and a touchdown.

Coach Sarkisian commented after the game on how Card and Thompson performed saying “I thought both guys played very efficiently. I thought both guys for the most part took advantage of their opportunities when they got them. They made their plays. I thought both guys did a nice job third down. It wasn’t a gut feeling, it was what would be the right timing to do it, but getting Casey in there in the third quarter was roughly around when we did that. Let him play a quarter and a half of football. Hudson playing two and a half quarters, that’s big for us. Neither guy had a lot of experience and to get that opportunity is going to be big for us moving forward as a team. All in all, that was effective of those two guys having an opportunity to play and play pretty efficiently.”

Coach Sarkisian has said before that Texas is primarily a rushing offense and passing secondary. Bijan Robinson rushed 20 times for 104 yards, caught four passes for 73 yards and one touchdown. Keilan Robinson carried the ball eight times for 42 yards, Roschon Johnson eight times for 27 yards, and Hudson Card six times for 13 yards, one for a touchdown. 

When Bijan Robinson has rushed for 100+ yards, Texas has won every game. 

Jordan Whittington had 113 yards receiving in a team-high seven catches and one touchdown. On one reception, Whittington ran a route that caused a Louisiana player to actually break his ankle. During media availability after the game, Whittington expressed genuine concern for his defender and said he ran the route the way it was designed.

Joshua Moore had 17 yards on five catches, Roschon Johnson 22 yards on two, Xavier Worthy 34 yards on two, and Cade Brewer six on one catch for a touchdown (sixth of career). Cameron Dicker missed a 45 yard field goal attempt in the first quarter, his second field goal was good in the fourth quarter for 49 yards. 

The Texas defense contained Louisiana with 76 tackles, four sacks and one blocked point after attempt, allowing 358 total yards (76 rushing), two field goals, two touchdowns. Eighteen Texas defensive players contributed to the 76 tackles of which 32 were solo tackles: DeMarvion Overshown (13-4), Luke Brockermeyer (10-4), Ovie Oghoufo (7-1), B.J. Foster (6-1), David Gbenda (5-4), Ray Thompson (5-4).

After the game, Overshown commented about his and Brockermeyer's early dominance saying "I love that guy. He comes to work every day. I don't know how many times I hugged him since the game was over. I know how much this means to him with his father playing here and getting his first start, seeing him earn his scholarship since he first got here. I have so much love for that guy. That's my guy."

We asked Keondre Coburn how he felt following the first game of the season. Coburn said "I'm not going to lie, I feel so good right now. Usually, from a game, you feel dead. I can say that probably because the offense had the ball more than ever to where it gave the defensive side more time to chill because you could see we barely had plays on defense ... that means the offense is doing their job."

Coburn also said of the team’s preparation heading into the game "I can honestly say, from this first game, practice was harder than the game. Sarkisian did a good job of putting distractions aside so that we could focus on football."

Following this win over Louisiana 38-18, the Texas Longhorns are 106-20-3 all-time in season openers.

Next up, Texas travels to Fayetteville for a game with Arkansas of the SEC who barely beat Rice 38-17 in their season opener that was tied (17-17) until the fourth quarter when the Hogs scored 21 points.

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