It’s Texas (0-0) vs. No. 10 Notre Dame (0-0) in the only prime-time game in the country, so everyone’s watching.
Some quickie storylines:
1. Who’ll start at quarterback for Texas? It’ll either be Shane Buechele, the freshman who enrolled early and had an impressive spring, or Tyrone Swoopes, who has excelled in his short-yardage package but is 6-8 as a starter. We won’t know till No. 16 or No. 18 trots out on the first play.
2. Who’ll start at quarterback for Notre Dame? It’ll either be Malik Zaire, who looked great in last year’s 38-3 win over Texas, or DeShone Kizer, who took over for an injured Zaire one week later and led the Irish to the Fiesta Bowl.
Both Charlie Strong and Brian Kelly have played it close to the vest this week. All four quarterbacks will play, though.
3. How will Texas look? It’s the season opener. A lot of eyes are on Strong this year. The Longhorns are playing at home. This is arguably the biggest game so far in Strong’s Texas tenure. And there’s the motivation factor from that 38-3 opening stumble in South Bend last year.
4. Will freshmen emerge? New players to watch include receivers Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay, running back Kyle Porter, center Zach Shackelford and safety Byron Jones. Last year, freshmen like Malik Jefferson, Holton Hill, John Burt and Davante Davis shined.
Last year, Texas started 10 true freshmen — a school record — and played a total of 17. Of Strong’s first two classes, 32 of his 43 signees have played significantly as freshmen and sophomores.
5. Everyone’s looking at quarterback play for Texas — and it is critical, for sure — but just as important to the Longhorns’ success this season is what they get from the defensive line. The front was gashed by opposing run games all last year. Finding a pass rush and stopping the run should be at the top of Texas’ to-do’s. Notre Dame will be a good early test.
Texas is 102-18-3 all-time in season openers. That includes a 106-14-3 mark in home openers.
Texas hasn’t played on a Sunday since the 2003 season opener, a 66-7 win over New Mexico State.
This is the first time Texas has opened back-to-back seasons against ranked teams since 1992 (No. 21 Mississippi State) and 1993 (No. 11 Colorado).
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