AUSTIN, Texas – Texas turned to a punitive racing game to eliminate any lingering bad taste from a bad loss.
Bijan Robinson ran for three touchdowns in the first half and the Longhorns rushed for 427 yards as they beat Rice 58-0 on Saturday night, a week after a loss, a humiliating loss to Arkansas took the Longhorns out of the Top 25.
âWhen you kind of have to take a big bite out of the humble pie, like we did last week, we challenged guys. We had to own it and we had to get back to work,â Steve said, Texas freshman coach. Sarkissian said.
Texas quarterback Casey Thompson got his first career start, but it was the shattering running game behind Robinson and Roschon Johnson that quickly gained the upper hand. Texas finished with a total of 620 yards and scored three runs over 60 yards.
Robinson scored on 6, 7 and 62 yard carries in the first half and finished with 127 on 13 carries. Johnson made four tackles for 72 yards as Texas (2-1) took a 44-0 halftime lead. Johnson amassed 112 yards in three carries.
“The races were breaking out, so why stop running?” Johnson said. “I think we’re both playmakers. If you put the ball in our hands, we can shake something.”
Thompson had spent the previous three seasons supporting Sam Ehlinger and lost the starting job to sophomore rookie Hudson Card at training camp. After Texas only managed 256 total yards in a 40-21 loss to Arkansas, Sarkisian went with Thompson in an attempt to get the offense off the ground.
Thompson threw an early interception when he was hit on a pitch, then spent most of the first half passing to Robinson and Johnson. Thompson closed a 28-point second quarter with touchdown passes to Jared Wiley and Xavier Worthy.
âI actually got nervous for the first time. I haven’t gotten nervous since I started high school, âsaid Thompson, who was 15 of 18 passing for 164 yards. “I think we would have scored on every shot without that interception then got hit.”
Rice (0-3) only crossed midfield once in the first half, and that practice ended with a failed 30-yard field goal attempt.
In Texas first possession in the second half, Alabama transfer Keilon Robinson ran 65 yards for a touchdown that took him to 51-0.
âWe rely on our defense to get us through a lot of things. Today they weren’t able to bail us out, they leaned on them, âRice coach Mike Bloomgren said. “This game was not fun.”
Take it away
Rice: The Owls were just overwhelmed by the Texan running game that easily pushed them over the line of scrimmage. Even when they got their hands on the Texas running backs, Robinson and the others easily managed to break through some arm tackles. Offensively, the Owls’ top two quarterbacks, Luke McCaffrey and Wiley Green, were both injured in the first half and will need to be assessed this week, Bloomgren said.
âEverything is tough in his game when you only have your third and fourth quarters,â Bloomgren said.
Texas: When Thompson plays, Texas scores. Dating from last season’s Alamo Bowl, Thompson had led the Longhorns in points on 16 of his 18 possessions. He played mostly in the cleaning service in the first two games behind Card, which eventually came on in the third quarter when the score was 51-0.
“There’s something about him when he comes into the game, the ball moves towards the pitch,” Sarkisian said of Thompson. “I imagine Casey will lead the charge next week against Texas Tech.”
Rice welcomes opponent FCS Texas Southern next Saturday.
Texas is hosting Texas Tech next Saturday to start the Big 12.
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