Coming off a bad win against Arkansas, where Texas was routed 40-21 in Fayetteville and subsequently dropped taken out of the AP Top 25, the Longhorns had an excellent chance to regain momentum by playing a struggling Rice Owls football team. With a tough slate of matchups coming back (including games against Texas Tech, TCU, and Oklahoma in the next three weeks), the Longhorns really needed positivity before starting conference play.
The biggest headline entering yesterday's matchup against the Owls was Junior QB Casey Thompson's first-ever start as a Longhorn. In front of a packed Darrell K Royal Stadium (with nearly 92000 fans), Thompson's first drive of the game was a success as he led the Longhorns 69 yards down the field that ended with a Bijan Robinson 6 yard touchdown score.
On the next Longhorn's possession, Thompson threw a pick to the Owls, putting them in prime position to tie up the score. The Owls, led by QB Luke McCaffrey, drove deep into Texas territory. However, the Longhorns' defense stepped up, forcing a field goal that was missed by Rice kicker Collin Riccitelli. A major shift in momentum, this sequence represented a huge gain of confidence for the Texas team.
The Longhorns used this momentum as an impetus for their strong play following. After the missed field goal attempt, RB Roschon Johnson ran 72 yards into the end zone to put the Longhorns up 14-0. Further, to end the first quarter, the UT special teams came up big once again as they blocked a Rice punt, forcing a safety for the Owls.
The Longhorns followed up with more points in the second quarter. Two Bijan Robinson touchdown runs (one of 7 yards and another a 62-yard burst) put the Longhorns up 30-0 halfway through the second quarter. Furthermore, two Casey Thompson touchdowns (a 20-yard dart to Jared Wiley, and a 13-yard completion to Xavier Worthy) put the cherry on top as the Longhorns closed out a dominant 28-0 second quarter. This left the Longhorns up 44 -0 against Rice after only the first half.
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Despite the offensive onslaught by the Longhorns offense, credit must be given to the UT defense for their hard work preventing the Owls from gaining any yardage and stymying their attempts to score. Allowing only 119 yards in the first half, forcing four punts, and a fumble, the Longhorns were all over the Owls on Saturday.
The second half, though, was quieter with many of the Longhorns; second-stringers playing against the Owls. QB Hudson Card took the place of starter Casey Thompson in the second half as many starting Longhorns to preserve their health for the upcoming weeks.
The Owls, who unfortunately lost starting QB Luke McCaffrey and backup QB Wiley Green in the first half due to injuries, were forced to play their third-string QB, Jack Constantine. Both of these factors led to a much slower and low-scoring second-half.
Despite that, however, the Longhorns managed to continue their hot offense as they scored 14 points in the third quarter. The two touchdowns came from a 65-yard run by Keilan Robinson and a 17 yard run by Jonathon Brooks. The Longhorns closed the third quarter with a 58-0 lead over the Owls.
The fourth quarter was scoreless by both teams as both the Owls and Longhorns were anticipating the game to end. The 58-0 win by UT represented a huge win over an old SWC rival while also a big swing of momentum in the favor of the Longhorns as they head into heavy conference play over the next couple of weeks.
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