Breakfast with Bevo: Will the Longhorns go hog wild against Arkansas — in SEC country?
Good morning. Breakfast is served.
It's Saturday, Sept. 11 — Texas at Arkansas.
The first road trip of the season.
A sneak preview of what Saturdays will look like come 2026. Or 2025. Or 2024. Or 2023.
A chance for us to see what Hudson Card can do in a hostile stadium with fans screaming against him, not for him. And to see if Bijan Robinson can keep his impressive run (and runs) going. And to see if No. 15 Texas can handle its success, play as well away from home as it did at home last week, and keep the momentum rolling.
Kickoff at venerable Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium (cap. 80,000) in Fayetteville is at 6. You can watch it on ESPN or catch it on radio at 104.9, 105.3 (Spanish), 1260 or 1490. Should be sunny and clear and in the low 90s come kickoff.
How the American-Stateman staff is picking the game. Our W-L for Horns games this season is in parenthesis:
Picking Texas: columnist Cedric Golden (1-0), beat writers Brian Davis (0-1) and Danny Davis (1-0) and the two editors, Jason Jarrett (1-0) and me (1-0).
Picking Arkansas: columnist Kirk Bohls (1-0), who's calling it a 24-21 Hogs win in today's Statesman. He thinks the Razorback will load up close to stop Robinson and dare Card to beat them. "Says here the Hogs will get a favorable call and a friendly bounce and upset the Longhorns 24-21 to welcome them to the SEC," he wrote.
The Horns are 7-point favorites. They're 1-0 against the spread.
Texas football: Texas vs. Arkansas: Five questions facing the Longhorns
"Do you know what this Texas game means to Arkansas?" our own Kirk Bohls wrote on Friday. "Everything. Maybe even a little bit more." His column on what is in many ways a one-sided rivalry — the hate seems to flow mainly from Fayetteville to Austin, not the other way around anymore — explored the history these old/former rivals shared, and how things may heat up again soon enough. On Monday, the Texas players we talked to were generally clueless about the SWC or Frank Broyles or the Big Shootout or the Game of the Century or Right Veer 53 Pass or the Richard Nixon plaque. It'll take the Horns joining the SEC to heat things back up.
Brian Davis' Friday beat column was on linebacker Luke Brockermeyer, the former walk-on who toiled for years on special teams before getting his shot to start this year. Earlier in the week, Kirk praised Steve Sarkisian's play-calling, we looked at Texas' to-do's along its offensive line and what looks like an opportunity game for Bijan Robinson. Other coverage we've had this week included Danny Davis' story on the added dimension of pass-catching the running backs offer, and we asked five questions facing Texas tonight. We'll answer them in our postgame coverage.
Also out there: The Dallas Morning News set up today's game by examining how the Horns intend to play with emotion, but not emotionally — there's a difference. And to Razorbacks coach Sam Pittman, Texas already looks like an SEC program, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette wrote about.
What's at stake today
For Texas, see above. Will Card be the same quarterback in SEC country as he was at DKR? You can fairly easily make the case for Texas to be 3-0 heading into Big 12 play in two weeks, and even 5-0 heading into the Oklahoma game on Oct. 9. But that's contingent on the belief that what we saw and what we got in the opener is what we'll get the rest of the way: steady play from the quarterback, stellar play from the running back, steady play-calling and a bend-but-don't-break defense that's much more reliable than the bend-and-break UT defenses of recent years. But all that depends on taking care of business. So far, Texas has shown it can win that first game and beat a ranked opponent. Next up on the check list is winning on the road against an SEC program that has a history with you.
For Arkansas, it's a chance to stick it to Texas. Knocking off the Horns would deflate Texas — certainly its fans, maybe its players, too — and derail their season with an early setback. And it also improves the Razorbacks to 2-0, and then probably 3-0 (Georgia Southern next week) with some built-up confidence heading into that back-to-back Texas A&M/Georgia grinder on Sept. 25 and Oct. 2.
Three things you should know:
1. Bijan Robinson is rolling. In his last three games since assuming command of the UT running backs room — last year's regular-season finale against Kansas State, the Alamo Bowl win over Colorado and the season-opener last week — he has averaged 206 total yards a game, has rushed for 458 yards, is averaging 11.7 yards per carry and has produced eight total touchdowns.
2. Arkansas' defense is already in a hole. Star linebacker Bumper Pool will sit out the first half because he was ejected for targeting in the second half of last week's win over Rice. And starting edge rusher Dorian Gerald broke his leg in practice on Wednesday and will miss the rest of the season.
3. Other injuries: Nothing new for Texas. Starting RG Junior Angilau left with a knee injury against Louisiana but is expected to play tonight. WR Troy Omeire (knee) is still a couple of weeks away. Arkansas WR Treylon Burks (leg) has practiced this week and DT John Ridgeway, who missed the opener while recovering from an emergency appendectomy, should be back as well.
Top players to follow
No. 15 Texas (1-0): QB Hudson Card (14-21-224, 2/0); RB Bijan Robinson (20-103-1); WR Jordan Whittington (7-113-1); LB DeMarvion Overshown (13 tackles); LB Luke Brockermeyer (10 tackles, 1.5 TFL)
Arkansas (1-0): QB KJ Jefferson (12-21-128, 1/1); RB Trelon Smith (22-102-1); WR Tyson Morris (3-42-1); LB Bumper Pool (14 tackles, 1.5 TFL); DB Jalen Catalon (11 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 interception)
Who we're specifically watching:
Kirk Bohls: Xavier Worthy. "I'm eager to see how Worthy responds in his second collegiate game after he was largely invisible with only one catch and one good punt return. I look for the freshman wideout to have a breakout performance."
Cedric Golden: Worthy. "Worthy has the look of a great deep threat. The Hogs are good up the middle, but there will be chances to hurt them with a deep ball. Worthy can take the top off a defense, but the ball has to be there."
Brian Davis: DeMarvion Overshown. "Agent Zero had a terrific opener. The defensive linemen held up blockers, allowing him and Luke Brockermeyer to run around and make plays. Let’s see if he can do that again as the defensive catalyst."
Danny Davis: D'Shawn Jamison. "Will Arkansas test him on either defense or special teams? ... Jamison has scored three touchdowns on special teams. Each of those and all three career interceptions, by the way, have been recorded on the road."
I'm watching Joshua Moore, who had a very quiet stats day last week (3 catches for 37 yards). He was Texas' top receiver last year and Card overthrew him three times. The Horns can't get by with just Jordan Whittington every week.
There are 26 Texans on the Razorbacks' roster — one more than there was on Louisiana's — including an interesting part to a Texas-Arkansas crossover connection on special teams.
Razorbacks punter Reid Bauer and Longhorns deep snapper Justin Mader were teammates at Magnolia High, a Class 5A school outside of Houston near The Woodlands. You can bet that they'll seek each other out before and/or after tonight's game. Mader was a tight end and Bauer was a linebacker (an all-district one, too) but they also were the team's punter and long snapper. Found a good read on the Magnolia pair from the Houston Chronicle back in 2017. Here it is.
There are other connections, too. Star Razorbacks safety Jalen Catalon, his receiver brother Kendall and defensive lineman Taurean Carter played at Mansfield Legacy with UT freshmen edge rusher David Abiara. There are five Highland Park alums in the game — Texas WR Paxton Anderson, edge rusher Prince Dorbah and LB Marshall Landwehr and Arkansas QB John Stephen Jones and DB Hudson Clark. DeSoto High, outside of Dallas, can claim Razorbacks WRs Jaquaylin Crawford Jr. (a transfer from Oklahoma) and Texas DL Byron Murphy II. And Arkansas OL T'Keast Crawford, a sophomore, shared the same Carthage huddles as Texas receiver Kelvontay Dixon, a redshirt freshman. Texas DL Moro Ojomo and Arkansas RB Josh Oglesby Jr. both played at Katy, and Arkansas RB Trelon Smith Jr. (an Arizona State transfer) and Texas DL Vernon Broughton are from Houston Cypress Ridge. Maybe Broughton will get the chance to tackle Smith tonight.
And there's lots of cross Austin Westlake-Lake Travis intrigue, too. Arkansas has Lake Travis DB Nathan Parodi Jr. and Westlake long snapper John Oehrlein; Texas has three Cavaliers of their own — K Cameron Dicker, TE Cade Brewer and OL Chad Wolf. And there are three Horns from Westlake who played with Oehrlein, including the kicker he snapped to in high school, Texas' Gabriel Lozano.
Stats vs. stats
How Texas and Arkansas rank nationally in some key stats categories.
Scoring: Texas T-36th, Arkansas T-36th. Edge: Push (38.0 ppg)
Points allowed: Texas 57th, Arkansas 51st. Edge: Arkansas (17.0 ppg)
Offense: Texas T-48th, Arkansas 72nd. Edge: Texas (435.0 ypg)
Defense: Texas 66th, Arkansas 47th. Edge: Arkansas (17.0 ppg)
Passing: Texas T-46th, Arkansas 119th. Edge: Texas (265.0 ypg)
Stopping the pass: Texas 94th, Arkansas 73rd Edge: Arkansas (227.0 ypg)
Rushing: Texas 56th, Arkansas 25th. Edge: Arkansas 245.0 ypg)
Stopping the run: Texas 29th, Arkansas T-39th. Edge: Texas (76.0 ypg)
Turnover margin: Texas T-29th, Arkansas T-12th. Edge: Arkansas (+2)
Converting 3rd downs: Texas T-2nd, Arkansas 104th. Edge: Texas (.667)
Red zone offense: Texas T-2nd, Arkansas T-2nd. Edge: Push (100%)
Red zone defense: Texas T-17th, Arkansas T-17th. Edge: Push (50%)
Time of possession: Texas T-31st, Arkansas 104th. Edge: Texas (33:13)
Fewest penalties: Texas 75th, Arkansas 122nd. Edge: Texas (7 per game)
Interceptions: Texas isn't ranked, Arkansas 4th. Edge: Arkansas (3)
Sacks: Texas 15th, Arkansas 50th. Edge: Texas (4)
For those counting, out of those 16 categories, Texas holds a 7-6 edge with three pushes, which isn't surprising after only one game's worth of stats. These national rankings will take a couple of weeks to settle. Last week, Louisiana held a 9-7 edge on these based on 2020 final numbers.
There's not really a recent history — Texas and Arkansas haven't played since the 2014 Texas Bowl, when these players in today's game were middle schoolers or just starting out high school — but there's a deep, rich history between the schools. This will be the 79th time the former Southwest Conference rivals will play, though only the sixth since the Razorbacks bolted for the SEC before the 1992 season.
Arkansas is 3-2 in those five post-SWC meetings, including a pair of bowl wins.
Bohls' column on Friday included his list of the top Texas-Arkansas games — and he's been to a lot of them between his time at UT and covering UT for the Statesman. His list: the classic Big Shootout of 1969 in Fayetteville; the next year's Big Shootout II in Austin; Texas' 16-14 win in Little Rock in 1987 (Stafford to Jones on the final play); the 13-9 win in 1977 in a No. 2 vs. No. 8 matchup; and Texas' 1976 win in Austin — the score is irrelevant, as it also was the night that Darrell Royal and Frank Broyles both announced their retirements.
The last five Texas-Arkansas games:
2000: Arkansas 27-6. The Cotton Bowl loss at the end of the '99 season. Anyone remember Hogs coach Houston Nutt flashing his Horns Down on national TV?
2003: Arkansas 38-28. Royal and Broyles — best friends — were on hand and participated in the pregame coin toss.
2004: Texas 22-20. The Horns got 188 yards and 2 TDs from Cedric Benson.
2008: Texas 52-10. It was UT's largest margin of victory vs. the Hogs in 92 years.
2014: Arkansas 31-7. The Horns managed only 57 total yards of offense in a miserable Texas Bowl loss.
The Horns are 3-1 all-time in games played on Sept. 11, including a 2004 road win in Fayetteville:
1976: at Boston College 14, Texas 13 (7th)
1999: Texas 38, at Rutgers 21
2004: Texas 22, at Arkansas 20
2010: Texas 34, Wyoming 7
Football: Texas and Texas Tech have agreed to keep playing each other once the Horns leave the Big 12 for the SEC. Here's the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal story. ... Texas got a commitment on Thursday from Justice Finkley, a 6-2, 255-pound four-star defensive lineman from Trussville, Ala. who chose the Horns over Alabama and Colorado. He's a national top-20 DL recruit and is the 21st pledge to the 2022 class, which has vaulted up the national rankings to No. 3 behind Penn State and Notre Dame.
Women's basketball: Texas released its nonconference schedule for the upcoming season, and there are three big road trips on tap — the Horns will play at defending national champion Stanford on Nov. 14, at Tennessee on Nov. 21, at Texas A&M on Dec. 5 and a game against NCAA runner-up Arizona on Dec. 19 in Las Vegas.
Volleyball: No. 1 Texas beat Arizona in four sets Friday night at Gregory Gymnasium, improving to 6-0 ahead of Sunday's home match with Notre Dame (1 p.m., Longhorn Network). Logan Eggleston notched her fourth double-double of the season with 13 kills and 11 digs and Skylar Fields finished with 11 kills, three blocks and three digs. Asjia O'Neal added nine kills and four blocks.
Women's soccer: Texas' Savannah Madden was this week's Big 12 goalkeeper of the week and Lexi Missimo was the conference's freshman of the week. On Thursday, though, the Horns fell to Oregon 1-0 at Myers Stadium to fall to 1-3-2 on the season. Sydney Nobles came close to giving Texas a 1-0 lead in the 82nd minute, but her shot struck the cross bar. The Ducks scored their goal in the 87th minute.
Texas exes: Ooo. Did you hear the one about the time Tom Herman and Mike Vrabel almost got into a fight at a 2013 Ohio State practice? The Houston Chronicle tells the tale. ... Georgia Tech women's hoops coach Nell Fortner was given a two-year contract extension on Thursday that keeps her with the Yellowjackets through the 2026-27 season. ... Former Horns Jordan Spieth and Scottie Scheffler will be on the 12-member U.S. Ryder Cup team that takes on Europe at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin from Sept. 24-26. The team was announced this week.
Today's three best matchups:
At 11 a.m. (Fox), No. 11 Oregon at No. 3 Ohio State (the Buckeyes are TWO TOUCHDOWN favorites)
At 3:30 p.m. (ABC), No. 12 Iowa at No. 10 Iowa State (for the Cy-Hawk Trophy)
At 6 (ESPN), No. 15 Texas at Arkansas (OK, not the game of the century, but still ...)
Today's Big 12 docket:
Tulsa (0-1) at No 23 Oklahoma State (1-0), 11 a.m., Fox Sports 1
California (0-1) at TCU (1-0) 2:30 p.m., ESPNU
No. 12 Iowa (1-0) at No. 10 Iowa State (1-0), 3:30, ABC
Long Island University (0-1) at West Virginia (0-1), 4, Big 12 Network
Western Carolina (0-1) at No. 4 Oklahoma (1-0), 6 (you can't get this one on TV)
No. 15 Texas (1-0) at Arkansas (1-0), 6, ESPN
Texas Southern (0-1) at Baylor (1-0), 6, ESPN+
Southern Illinois (1-0) at Kansas State (1-0), ESPN+
Stephen F. Austin (1-0) at Texas Tech (1-0), ESPN+
Last night, as expected, No. 19 Coastal Carolina waxed Kansas at home, 49-22.
Joe Tessitore and Greg McElroy are handling the TV booth for ESPN tonight. (Tessitore, by the way, was a guest on this week's "On Second Thought" podcast with Bohls and Golden). We've got Bohls and both Davises covering the game from the Razorback Stadium press box.
Follow us on Twitter today and through tonight's game: @bevobeat, @kbohls, @BDavisAAS and @aasdanny. Thomas Murphy, who covers the Razorbacks for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is at @thomasmurphy_.
And on Instagram: bevobeat.
We're planning a halftime Q&A with Bohls and maybe a Davis or two or even with Golden back home over on our Facebook Hookem page, with a quick analysis after the game and lots of nouns and verbs to read late tonight and tomorrow, including a Horns report card.
OK, Breakfast is over. We'll be back Sunday morning for a Texas-Arkansas postmortem.