It’s easy to point to the fact that Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson ruled the game out in favor of saving themselves in the NFL draft, a disappointment for Texas in Thursday night’s Alamo Bowl game s reason. 12 Washington. Because yes, this is probably the biggest culprit.
Without their Doc Walker Award winner Robinson and versatile running back and team leader Johnson, the running game the Longhorns depended on looked stale in San Antonio. Quinn Ewers ended his first season as a Texas starter with a defense that scrambled the game enough to keep Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. off his game, but the defense eventually waned and lacked a run. The impact force is also difficult to overcome.
Our takeaways from Texas’ 27-20 loss:
what this loss means
Texas finished the season with an 8-5 record, which is certainly not as good as its 9-4 record. That could mean the No. 20 Longhorns finish the season outside the top 25. Now there are question marks at running back and linebacker, two of Texas’ top position units for two seasons. We’ll likely see some heavy portal moves, whether it’s incumbents like Xavier Worthy or Jordan Whittington heading elsewhere for a change of scenery, or the Longhorns playing at receiver, running back, linebacker and defense. The guard side introduces ready-made starters. That means Steve Sarkisian’s first year will be remembered with a 5-7 record, while his second will likely be a bowl loss. That means the Big 12 is now 1-5 in the bowl game with two games left.
Who will lead Texas in 2023?
Chances are he’s not on campus yet. Five-star running back Cedric Baxter Jr. — like Bijan Robinson in 2020, No. 1. The country’s No. 1 high school running back prospect — signed from Florida last week — who knows what tonight’s rush performance means for how Steve Sarkisian handles the transfer portal.
Keilan Robinson, who had doubts about his durability, started the game and finished for 27 yards on eight carries. Jonathon Brooks, who is projected to lead the way for Texas, had six carries for 18 yards. He flashed a 34-yard catch for a touchdown but averaged 3.0 yards per carry.
The entire evening felt without Robinson. Sarkisian made an angled pass on fourth-and-1 in the first half instead of the usual Bijan run behind a solid attacking line. Later, in the third and first, Kieran Robinson was stuffed for nothing. The Longhorns punt.
Three big games lost tonight
trick around. What a fun call. Washington scored 4 and 1 of its own 34 points with 10:30 left in the third quarter. It was pointless, leading 13-10, and when Michael Penix Jr. lined up below center for the first time all night, the Huskies flashed players in various movements, and then when Penix let the game clock run down, It looked like an obvious ruse to get the Longhorns offside. But just when you think it’s a phone call, the huskies snatch it and Penix charges. They went on to score touchdowns to lead 20-10.
Wayne Taulapapa’s 42-yard run. Not only did it give Washington a 10-3 lead, but it was the first wow factor of the Huskies’ offense of the night. In fact, it turns out, it’s one of only a few.
Licorice by Xavier Worthy. And Xavier Worthy’s licorice. With Texas just trailing 20-10, the Longhorns really needed an answer in the third quarter. But on back-to-backs, Quinn Evers found an open Worthy 35 to 40 yards downfield, and both times, Worthy lost catches. Ewers was spot on on both passes. Worthy’s second throw was supposed to go for 66 yards.
Quinn Ewers went 31 of 47 for 369 yards and 1 touchdown. Casey Cain (4-106) and Gunnar Helm (1-19) did well. Ja’Tavion Sanders had five tackles for 36 yards.