Breakfast with Bevo: Texas hits on all cylinders, sure passed the first eye test
Good morning. Breakfast is served.
It's Sept. 5 — the morning after.
If you're a Longhorns fan, you're waking up Sunday morning feeling pretty good. Hudson Card looked like he could become the real deal. Bijan Robinson already looks like a real deal. Steve Sarkisian called a good game on offense, trusting Card to keep drives going, riding Robinson's 176 yards of offense and placing pass catchers in good spots to make plays. The linebackers were flying around and Louisiana, the 19th-ranked team in the country, looked at least a step behind.
There's lots to be happy about. Most important, Texas started the season strong.
That's more than can be said for some of the country's other top 25 teams. No. 3 Oklahoma came close to blowing it at home against a hurricane-displaced Tulane team. No. 15 Wisconsin did blow it at home, the Badgers throwing an interception near the goal line on fourth down late in the game. And No. 9 North Carolina fell to Virginia Tech on Friday night, when No. 4 Ohio State also looked shaky. No. 8 Iowa State had a close one, No. 12 Oregon had a close one.
No. 19 Texas, though, looked strong in all three phases against the 23rd-ranked Cajuns.
Why did Texas win? It's easy to say the two programs weren't on even terms. Breece Hall's thoughts aside, Texas looked like a four-star program. Card was clicking, Robinson was surging, the defense stuffed the Ragin' Cajuns' running game, there were no turnovers and even the special teams had a good day.
Our own Brian Davis may have said it best on Twitter: "This is the most drama-free game Texas has played in quite a while."
Indeed, that was Brian's theme of our main bar coverage out of the win. Cedric Golden has already proclaimed Card as The Guy, and Kirk Bohls wrote about Sarkisian's promising debut win — "His Longhorns beat a team they were supposed to," Kirk wrote. "They also beat a quality top 25 opponent and did so fairly handily. To top it off, they looked like a really strong team that played well in every phase and knew what they were doing. Look good, play good."
Confidence and competence is how the Dallas Morning News painted the picture, pointing out that the Longhorns controlled things from the opening coin flip to the final whistle.
On the other side of Saturday's fence, the Ragin' Cajuns' hometown paper, the Louisiana Daily Advertiser, was already looking ahead to the rest of the Cajuns' season while also acknowledging what Bijan Robinson did to them. The paper also wrote about the loss of standout linebacker Ferrod Gardner, who got hurt trying to tackle Jordan Whittington in the second quarter.
Next up for Texas: Arkansas (6 p.m. Saturday, the Longhorns' old Southwest Conference mates who opened their season Saturday with a 38-17 win over fellow SWC alum Rice. The SEC went 11-2 on opening weekend. Quarterback KJ Jefferson threw for 128 yards and a touchdown and a pick and added 89 rushing yards and two more scores. And Trelon Smith rushed for 102 yards and a TD. The Arkansas Democrat's game coverage wrote about the team's slow start, and columnist Matt Jones described the Razorbacks as shaky.
Saturday's key plays
Three of them. These weren't the plays of the game, just five that proved to be keys to Texas' win:
1st quarter, fourth-and-6 from Louisiana's 40: The options were to either go for it, punt it or see if Dicker could knock down another 57-yard field goal like he did two years ago. Sark went for it. Card scrambled for six yards to keep the drive alive, and the Horns eventually scored.
2nd quarter, third-and-12 on Texas' 36: Robinson had a very nice blitz pickup and Card zipped it to Whittington for 15 yards and a first down — his first catch of the game, and one of five first-down receptions he made. The Horns later scored on Card's touchdown to Cade Brewer.
2nd quarter, third-and-5 on Louisiana's 34: Card, feeling pressure, fired it to Roschon Johnson right off the line, and Johnson evaded tacklers — going high on a leap to get past one — for a 14-yard gain. "This guy's got more moves than Ex-Lax," Fox's Spencer Tillman cracked.
How Texas' top players fared:
Hudson Card: 14-of-21 for 224 yards, 2 TDs and had a rushing TD
Bijan Robinson: 20 carries for 103 yards and a TD, and 4 catches for 73 yards and a score
Joshua Moore: Was quiet, with 3 catches for 17 yards. But he did recover a Robinson fumble.
Keondre Coburn: Also was quiet. No credited tackles, but the DT did block an extra point kick.
DeMarvion Overshown: Led the team in tackles.
D'Shawn Jamison: Left with an injury. Had an 83-yard punt return touchdown called back by a blocking penalty.
Texas is now 106-20-3 all-time in openers,3-0 all-time vs. the Ragin' Cajuns and 31-9-2 all-time vs. teams from Louisiana. The Horns have won 19 of their last 22 openers and improved to 5-2 in games played on Sept. 4.
Football: Texas officially dedicated the football field in honor of past Heisman winners Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams on Saturday. Here's the Morning News' story.
Volleyball: No. 1 Texas (3-0) hosts No. 20 Stanford (3-0) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Gregory Gym. It's on the Longhorn Network. So far, the Horns have swept San Diego and UTSA and won 3-1 at No. 10 Minnesota on Wednesday.
Soccer: Texas (1-2-1) plays at No. 19 Rice (5-0) on Sunday at 5. It's on Conference USA TV. Horns coach Angela Kelly is 3-0 all-time vs. the Owls.
Swimming: Texas officially dedicated the Eddie Reese Outdoor Pool on Saturday morning.
Around the Big 12
It was a good opening weekend for the conference, which went 9-1. Kansas edged South Dakota 17-14 in Lance Leipold's debut as head coach; Oklahoma fended off a surprisingly game Tulane team 40-35; Iowa State managed only a field goal in the second half but still beat Northern Iowa 16-10; Kansas State dumped Stanford 24-7; Texas Tech registered a nice road win for Matt Wells with a 38-21 victory over Houston; Oklahoma State, like Iowa State, could muster only three points in the second half but beat Missouri State 23-16, Baylor beat Texas State in San Marcos 29-20; and TCU blew past Duquesne 45-3.
The lone conference loss came from West Virginia, which fell 30-24 at Maryland.
The big news in the Big 12, though, is expansion. The league looked in jeopardy after Texas and Oklahoma announced they'd be leaving for the SEC sometime before 2025, but the Big 12 reportedly has settled on four schools to invite and make it a true 12-team conference again: BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston.
Here's the USA Today's story from Friday night, quoting a source who had been briefed on the Big 12's conversations. Sports Illustrated is saying that move could happen as soon as this coming week, and that the three American Athletic Conference schools (UCF, UH and Cincy) must give a 27-month notice to the AAC and pay a $10 million exit penalty. And the Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi wrote that adding UCF would be a godsend to the bumbling conference,
OK, Breakfast is over. We'll be back Wednesday morning to talk Arkansas.