Sep 3, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) outruns Utah State defensive lineman Daniel Grzesiak (9) and Utah State defensive lineman Byron Vaughns (11) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Texas gets its chance against No. 1 Alabama

Texas has the chance to jump back into the national spotlight Saturday afternoon when the Longhorns host top-ranked Alabama in nonconference play at Austin, Texas.

The Longhorns have slid from college football’s elites, managing just one 10-win campaign in the past 12 seasons, haven’t won a conference championship since 2009 and last earned a national championship in 2005.

And last year Texas stumbled to 5-7 in Steve Sarkisian’s first season as coach.

But the current narrative can be altered quickly if the Longhorns (1-0) can slay Nick Saban’s powerful Crimson Tide (1-0).

Sarkisian, formerly an offensive coordinator at Alabama, is doing his best to downplay the matchup with his team entering as a three-touchdown underdog.

“It’s one game, you know?” Sarkisian said. “It’s a chance for us to do what we love to do. I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking this is going to be the game that’s going to define our program.

“It might, it might not. I’m not that concerned about it. I’m more concerned about just the way we play the game.”

Texas will join Alabama in the Southeastern Conference in 2025 — or perhaps a year earlier if the Longhorns and Oklahoma are successful in hastening their bid to leave the Big 12.

Texas is 7-1-1 all-time against Alabama with the loss coming in the BCS Championship Game at the end of the 2009 season.

Last week, the Longhorns opened with a 52-10 rout of Louisiana-Monroe, while the Crimson Tide crushed Utah State 55-0.

Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young led Alabama by passing for five touchdowns and rushing for one against the Aggies. He passed for 195 yards and rushed for a career-best 100.

“I just try to do whatever’s best for the team, whatever the defense gives me,” Young said of his all-around performance. “But that was definitely interesting. It definitely wasn’t something I was planning.”

Young expects a fierce battle against the Longhorns.

“We have a lot of respect for them as a program,” Young said. “We know that we’re going to a hostile environment. So, we’re gonna learn all that we can throughout the week. We’re gonna study, we’re gonna prepare. We know it’s gonna take everything.”

Sarkisian was offensive coordinator in Young’s initial season at Alabama in 2020 when the latter backed up Mac Jones. But when the topic of familiarity came up, Saban shut down such talk with his usual defensiveness.

“We’ve seemed to play several teams now that kind of know us, but you act like we don’t know them,” Saban said. “So just because somebody knows you when they play you, doesn’t mean they’re going to beat you. And just because you know them when you play them, doesn’t mean you’re gonna beat them either. It’s gonna come down to how you execute.”

New Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers, who transferred from Ohio State, passed for 225 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in his first start.

Ewers’ second pass was intercepted, but he settled down and Sarkisian was pleased with the debut of his 19-year-old quarterback.

“We stuck to the plan,” Sarkisian said. “We had some things called down the field that I thought he did a nice job of finding his checkdowns on. You can’t expect him to ride this bike and do it with training wheels on. I’ve got to let him go.”

Now Ewers will face a defense led by Crimson Tide All-American linebacker Will Anderson. Alabama allowed just 136 yards against Utah State.

Anderson, who led the nation with 17.5 sacks last season, is ready to bring the heat against the Longhorns.

“They haven’t probably seen a team like us before and I’ll go out there and try to get him rattled up a little bit, go in and get pressure on him early on,” Anderson said. “I think it is very beneficial to what we have to do to slow him down or slow the team down.”

–Field Level Media

Jul 14, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian is interviewed during the Big 12 Media Day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Texas takes heightened expectations into opener vs. UL Monroe

The Texas Longhorns look to build momentum Saturday night with an eye on a spot in the Top 25 when they host Louisiana-Monroe in the season opener for both teams in Austin, Texas.

The Longhorns went 5-7 last year in coach Steve Sarkisian’s first season, missing missed a bowl game for the first time since 2016. Last month, Texas was picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 Conference preseason poll behind Oklahoma, defending league champion Baylor and Oklahoma State.

Texas returns two of the nation’s top offensive players in running back Bijan Robinson and wide receiver Xavier Worthy, both of whom are preseason All-Americans.

The Longhorns drew attention in the offseason when they signed 5-star quarterback Quinn Ewers, a Texas native who played all of two snaps (both handoffs) last year as a true freshman at Ohio State. Ewers was named the starter last week over Hudson Card, who played in eight games and started twice in 2021.

While Texas is more than a five-touchdown favorite over ULM, there are plenty of things for the Longhorns to decide before they host top-ranked Alabama next week.

“I don’t think they’re worried about what’s down the road,” Sarkisian said Monday. “I honestly think our guys are excited to play football against another team, another helmet, another scheme, and enjoy doing it.”

The Warhawks head to Austin for just the second meeting ever against Texas with heightened expectations as well. UL Monroe went 4-8 in the Sun Belt Conference in 2021 and lost its final five games but should improve in coach Terry Bowden’s second year in northeast Louisiana.

UL Monroe was ranked seventh (last) in the West Division in the Sun Belt preseason poll.

“We expect to have a winning season, we expect to go to a bowl,” Bowden said. “You don’t always get what you want, you don’t always get what you need, but you almost always get what you expect.”

The offense is led by wideout Boogie Knight, whose 588 receiving yards on 45 catches paced the squad in 2021 and garnered him a spot on the All-Sun Belt preseason second team. Chandler Rogers won a preseason quarterback battle with Jiya Wright to lead the UL Monroe attack in the opener.

–Field Level Media

Jul 14, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; A view of the Texas Longhorns helmet logo during the Big 12 Media Day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Texas legend Steve ‘Big Woo’ Worster dies at 73

Texas Longhorns legendary fullback Steve Worster, a two-time first-team All-American, has died. He was 73.

According to the school, Worster died Saturday. Media outlets said he had been experiencing health issues.

Worster, known as “Big Woo,” thrived in Texas’ wishbone offense that revolved around three running backs and the quarterback. The bruising back helped the Longhorns win national titles in both 1969 and 1970.

Worster finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 1970 when he established career highs of 898 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. He earned consensus first-team All-American honors that season.

Worster rushed for 2,353 yards and 36 touchdowns in his three seasons. His touchdown count currently ranks tied for fifth in school history while his rushing yardage is 16th.

He averaged 5.1 yards per carry over his career, topped by a 5.6 mark in 1970. He is a member of the Texas Athletics Hall of Honor.

Texas went 30-2-1 in Worster’s three campaigns, including a school-record 30-game winning streak that was halted with a 24-11 loss to Joe Theismann-led Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, 1971.

The Longhorns were consensus national champions in 1969 and UPI national champions in 1970.

Worster was a second-team All-American in 1969 when he rushed for 649 yards and nine touchdowns. In 1968, as a sophomore, he rushed for 806 yards and 13 scores.

Worster was a fourth-round pick of the Los Angeles Rams in 1971 but never played for the team. He briefly played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League before retiring.

–Field Level Media

Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama wide receiver Agiye Hall (84) reacts as time runs off the clock during the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Georgia defeated Alabama 33-18. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Texas WR Agiye Hall faces criminal mischief charges

Texas wide receiver Agiye Hall was arrested Thursday night by campus police for misdemeanor criminal mischief.

Travis County police records show Hall faces a Class B misdemeanor charge for damages between $100 and $750. According to the Austin American-Statesman, citing a campus police report, the damage was done to a “vehicle boot.”

Hall was suspended indefinitely by the Longhorns on Friday.

“We’re aware of the situation involving Agiye Hall, have talked with his family, and have suspended him indefinitely from all team activities for conduct that is detrimental to our program,” Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said in a statement.

Hall, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, transferred to Texas seeking a fresh start after being suspended in April by Alabama coach Nick Saban for an unspecified violation.

A four-star recruit from Valrico, Fla., Hall played in seven games for the Crimson Tide last season and had four catches for 72 yards. He had two receptions for 52 yards in the national championship game loss to Georgia.

–Field Level Media

Nov 26, 2021; Austin, Texas, USA; Texas Longhorns running back Roschon Johnson (2) runs for yardage during the first half against the Kansas State Wildcats at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Roschon Johnson’s career performance lifts Texas past Kansas State

Roschon Johnson ran for a career-high 179 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries and the Texas defense produced two fourth-down stands in the fourth quarter as the Longhorns stampeded past Kansas State 22-17 on Friday in the Big 12 Conference regular-season finale for both teams in Austin, Texas.

Texas (5-7, 3-6 Big 12) snapped a six-game losing streak, its longest since 1956. The Longhorns still could earn a bowl spot if not there are not enough six-win teams to fill the 82 postseason spots.

The much-maligned Longhorns defense came up with two stops on fourth-down-and-one in the fourth quarter, the second of which came with 4:03 to play at the Texas 17-yard line.

Casey Thompson passed for 170 yards and a TD as he shared time at quarterback with Johnson, who came to Texas as a QB but has been primarily a running back during his time in Austin.

Deuce Vaughn rushed for 143 yards and a score on 24 carries for the Wildcats (7-5, 4-5), who have clinched a bowl spot but head to the postseason with a two-game losing streak.

Will Howard passed for just 65 yards for Kansas State, but scored on a 71-yard run and finished with 82 yards on the ground.

The Longhorns took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards to a 9-yard TD run by Johnson out of the wildcat formation. Kansas State answered with a 9-yard scoring run by Vaughn at the 4:44 mark of the first quarter.

Texas went back on top with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Thompson to Cade Brewer with 13:07 to play in the second quarter but Cameron Dicker missed the PAT kick, leaving the score at 13-7. The Wildcats responded with Howard’s 71-yard keeper for a TD and a 14-13 Kansas State lead.

The teams traded field goals in the final two minutes of the half, with Chris Tennant nailing a career-best 51 yarder with 1:56 to play for Kansas State and the Longhorns countering on Dicker’s kick from 24 yards out on the last play before halftime.

The Wildcats went to the locker room up 17-16.

Dicker’s 39-yard field goal with 1:52 to play in the third quarter pushed Texas back in front at 19-16. His third field goal of the game, a 22-yarder, expanded the Longhorns’ lead to 22-17 with 7:32 remaining in the game.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; Texas Longhorns running back Keilan Robinson (7) runs for a touchdown during the second quarter against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Texas looks to end disappointing season on high note vs. Kansas State

Texas will be playing mostly for pride when it hosts bowl-bound Kansas State on Black Friday in Austin, Texas, in the Big 12 Conference finale for both teams.

The Longhorns (4-7, 2-6 Big 12), who have lost six straight games for the first time since 1956, look to avoid a seventh conference loss, a cellar Texas has never reached in program history. Texas may end its disappointing 2021 campaign without a bowl for the first time since 2016 (5-7 teams can become bowl eligible if not enough teams finish 6-6) and needs a win to avoid its worst record since it finished 1-9 65 years ago.

The Longhorns head home after a 31-23 loss at West Virginia on Saturday in which both their regular quarterbacks suffered injuries. Backup QB Hudson Card opened the second half after replacing the ineffective Casey Thompson and passed for 123 yards and a touchdown before being forced from the game late in the fourth quarter.

Both quarterbacks have been listed as day-to-day heading into Friday’s game.

Keilan Robinson had 111 yards and a 49-yard touchdown on nine carries for Texas in the loss. Robinson and Roschon Johnson have become the primary ballcarriers for the Longhorns after a season-ending injury to star back Bijan Robinson.

Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said he expects his team to finish the season strong.

“(Having bowl) practices would be great, would be nice, but I think inevitably for us it’s about the psyche and the mindset,” Sarkisian said. “Don’t think that our players aren’t working hard and trying hard. Our guys are battling, and they’re competing.”

The Wildcats (7-4, 4-4) travel to Austin after a 20-10 home loss to then No. 11 Baylor on Saturday that snapped Kansas State’s four-game win streak. Deuce Vaughn led the Wildcats with 128 yards on 11 carries and their only TD; he also paced the team with five catches for 37 yards.

“Everyone on this team is a grown man and we know what just happened and what we need to do to get better,” Kansas State center Noah Johnson said after Saturday’s loss. “We just have to go do it. You don’t play football to cakewalk everyone. The hard times, that’s when you grow and learn the most.”

Skylar Thompson passed for 158 yards in the loss before leaving late in the game with a left leg injury. His availability for the Wildcats in the short week is still to be determined.

Texas has won the past four games against the Wildcats but owns just an 11-10 all-time lead in the series.

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2021; Austin, Texas, USA; Texas Longhorns quarterback Casey Thompson (11) throws a pass during the second half against the Kansas Jayhawks at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia, Texas fight to stay on course for bowl eligibility

West Virginia hosts Texas in a Big 12 game between teams trying to stay in the running to become bowl eligible on Saturday in Morgantown, W. Va.

The Mountaineers and Longhorns have struggled this season, both bringing 4-6 overall records into a game that will eliminate one of them from any postseason consideration. Both teams have to win their final two games to become bowl eligible.

West Virginia and Texas also find themselves tied for seventh place in the Big 12 with 2-5 records in conference play.

The Mountaineers have dropped two straight games, the latest a 34-17 loss at Kansas State on Nov. 13 that came down to the fourth quarter. After West Virginia scored with more than 11 minutes remaining to cut its deficit to 24-17, Kansas State made the plays to win the game.

Jarret Doege passed for 268 yards and two touchdowns and uncorked two interceptions for West Virginia. Leddie Brown rushed for 85 yards on 20 carries but also fumbled in the fourth quarter.

“Our guys played hard, but playing hard is not good enough,” West Virginia coach Neal Brown said. “You’ve got to play smart, and we just don’t play smart — and we turned the football over.”

The Longhorns head north for the do-or-die game on the heels of an embarrassing 57-56 home overtime loss to Kansas on Nov. 13. It was the Jayhawks’ first Big 12 road win since 2008. Texas has lost five straight games, its longest such streak since 1956 when it lost its final eight contests of the year.

Casey Thompson passed for 353 yards and six touchdowns including an 8-yarder in overtime to Marcus Washington to give Texas its first lead of the game. But Kansas responded with a touchdown and two-point conversion to send the Longhorns into head-scratching mode, again.

“Clearly everybody’s upset,” Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday. “Everybody feels the frustration in what has occurred. But I can assure you nobody’s more upset, nobody’s more frustrated than we are in the performance.”

Sarkisian announced Monday that star running back Bijan Robinson will miss the rest of the season because of a dislocated elbow injury he suffered in the loss to Kansas. Robinson had racked up 1,127 yards rushing through the first 10 games, in the process becoming the first Texas player since 2016 to reach the 1,000-yard mark.

Texas starting cornerback Josh Thompson is also out the rest of the season with a fractured fibula.

The Longhorns have won three of their past four meetings with West Virginia, including wins in Morgantown in 2017 and 2019.

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2021; Austin, Texas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks running back Keilan Robinson (7) tries to avoid a tackle by Texas Longhorns defensive back Brenden Schooler (14) during the first half at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas shocks Texas in OT, snaps 8-game losing streak

Jalon Daniels passed to Mason Fairchild for a 2-point conversion in overtime as the Jayhawks stunned Texas 57-56 on Saturday in a wild Big 12 Conference game in Austin, Texas, to snap an eight-game losing streak.

Casey Thompson passed for 358 yards and six touchdowns, including an 8-yarder in overtime to Marcus Washington to give Texas its first lead of the game.

But the Jayhawks answered on Devin Neal’s 2-yard TD run, eschewed a kick that would have tied the game and went for broke, beating the Longhorns for the first time ever in Austin.

Daniels pass for 202 yards and three TDs for the Jayhawks (2-8, 1-6 Big 12), the final of which was a 2-yarder to Kwamie Lassiter II midway through the fourth quarter. Neal ran for 143 yards and three touchdowns, and caught a scoring pass in the win.

The Longhorns rallied from 21 points down to pull to within 49-42 on an 8-yard TD pass from Thompson to Xavier Worthy with 4:39 left. Thompson then hit Cade Brewer for a 25-yard TD with 22 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.

Bijan Robinson ran for 70 yards and caught a TD pass before being injured in the second half. It’s the first time Texas (4-6, 2-5) has lost five straight games since 1956, when it had eight straight losses to close out the season.

Neal scored on a 3-yard TD run for the Jayhawks on their first possession. Kansas added an 11-yard touchdown pass from Daniels to Fairchild that pushed its lead to 14-0 with just 36 seconds left in the first quarter.

Texas cut the KU lead in half with a 25-yard scoring pass from Thompson to Washington with 12:14 to play in the second quarter. The Longhorns then tied the game on their ensuing possession on a 33-yard TD toss from Hudson Card to Worthy.

Daniels put Kansas back on top with a 9-yard TD run with 2:25 left in the half. The Jayhawks re-established their 14-point lead on a 19-yard pass from Daniels to Neal after a fumble by Card at the Texas 23.

Card then uncorked an interception that was returned 31 yards for a touchdown by Jacobee Bryant with one minute to play in the half.

Thompson got the Longhorns back on track with a 1-yard TD on the first possession of the third quarter. But Kansas responded with Neal’s 10-yard scoring run.

Thompson’s second TD pass was a 25-yarder to Robinson with 3:50 to play in the third quarter. His third, for seven yards to Worthy 2 ½ minutes later, cut the Kansas lead to seven points.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Ames, Iowa, USA; Texas Longhorns quarterback Hudson Card (1) throws a pass against the Iowa State Cyclones during the third quarter at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Struggling Texas looks to get back on track vs. Kansas

There’s been no panic this week in the Lone Star State as unranked Texas prepares to host hapless Kansas on Saturday in Austin, in a game between two Big 12 teams that are stuck in the mud and going nowhere fast.

That might come as a surprise to some who have come to expect a short fuse from the Longhorns’ fanbase. Instead, there’s been a collective yawn and a shaking of heads as Texas (4-5, 2-4 Big 12) tries to get back on track after losing four consecutive games for the first time since 2010 — all in conference.

The Longhorns are home after a 30-7 loss at Iowa State on Nov. 6 in which they were totally outplayed after halftime for the fourth straight contest, managed just 207 total yards of offense and got little or nothing out of their two quarterbacks or their defense.

Texas gained only 6 yards, had just 14 offensive snaps and punted four times during the pivotal third quarter as the Cyclones roared to the lead and the win after trailing 7-3 at the half. It’s the fourth game in a row that the Longhorns were leading in the third quarter and lost.

“We don’t have time for feeling sorry for ourselves,” Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said. “This has been a long month with some grueling losses, and our guys continue to come back and fight back. I’d be remiss without saying that I’m as frustrated as anybody because I know what we’re capable of.”

Quarterback Hudson Card passed for just 101 yards and a touchdown for Texas after entering in relief of the ineffective Casey Thompson. Bijan Robinson, the Longhorns’ star running back, had 90 yards rushing and caught eight passes for 36 yards but fumbled twice.

Kansas travels to Austin after a 35-10 loss to Sunflower State rival Kansas State in Lawrence on Nov. 6. The Jayhawks (1-8, 0-6) have now lost 13 straight games to K-State and have dropped eight consecutive games — by an average of 31.5 points per contest — since a season-opening 17-14 win over South Dakota.

Kwamie Lassiter II led Kansas with six catches for 82 yards and a touchdown, with third-string quarterback Jalon Daniels passing for 105 yards and Devin Neal rushing for 62 yards on 19 carries for the Jayhawks.

“We’ve got to keep working — got to keep working,” Kansas coach Lance Leipold said. “That’s the biggest thing I’ve said for a long time. Our margin of error is small, and we have to find a way to overcome things that don’t go our way and respond better than we have and become a little bit more consistent.”

The Longhorns lead the all-time series 16-3, including a 9-0 record at home.

–Field Level Media