Led by a number of starters, the White team defeat the Orange team 21-10 on Saturday at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium as the Texas Longhorns ended spring practice with the annual Orange-White scrimmage.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers was the standout leading the White team, providing a public glimpse into the behind-the-scenes improvements he’s made with a strong offseason by finishing the first half 15-of-20 passing for 193 yards and a touchdown. The connection with junior tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders wasn’t there, but Ewers was able to connect with junior wide receiver Xavier Worthy for a 46-yard completion on a corner route, the type of deep pass that the two struggled to connect on last season.
WE HAVE A DEEP BALL LADIES AND GENTS pic.twitter.com/HZQiQNtF8g— Nash (@NashTalksTexas) April 15, 2023
Worthy notched four catches for 83 yards in the first half with a catch and run he finished with physicality and some words for redshirt freshman safety BJ Allen, who was on the receiving end of Worthy’s contact courage.
And although junior wide receiver AD Mitchell was wearing a green non-contact jersey, he showed a strong rapport with Ewers, recording four catches for 42 yards and a sensational one-handed grab on a 13-yard touchdown that flashed his incredible catch radius.
Senior wide receiver Jordan Whittington also looked like a former running back on a 21-yard catch and run in the first half.
Overall, Ewers looked comfortable in the pocket going through his progressions, showed clean footwork, and was accurate — all the signs of a quarterback ready to made significant strides as a second-year starter under head coach Steve Sarkisian.
Behind multiple starting offensive linemen, the running game made some plays, too, with freshman running back CJ Baxter scoring a touchdown in short yardage and sophomore Jaydon Blue had an electric 31-yard touchdown run with multiple broken tackles.
The debut of freshman quarterback Arch Manning featured some challenges working with a group that included walk-on wide receivers and primarily showcased the strong functional athleticism of Manning and his ability to scramble for positive yardage under pressure. On one notable pass intended for sophomore running back Savion Red, the ball sailed on Manning over the middle, but he responded with a completed pass featuring Manning flashing some serious velocity to hit a small window.
One of the most impressive players for the Orange team was Red, who found a seam for a long run and spun out of a tackle in the backfield to pick up positive yardage on an otherwise busted play.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Maalik Murphy was also a standout, especially in the second half with a perfect delivery to freshman wide receiver DeAndre Moore Jr., who dropped the perfect throw. How did Murphy respond? By targeting the same walk-on defensive back in finding freshman wide receiver Johntay Cook for a 79-yard touchdown pass.
MALIK MURPHY DEEP SHOT TO JOHNTAY COOK pic.twitter.com/MLqT9r0zds— Nash (@NashTalksTexas) April 15, 2023
Murphy continued playing well in the fourth quarter, hitting Moore on a crossing route and hanging on the pocket to complete a 4th and 5 pass on a difficult throw across the field that required pure arm strength. He finished 9-of-13 passing for 165 yards and the touchdown.
At the end of the third quarter, it was the White defense making plays — freshman linebacker Anthony Hill beat Red on a middle blitz to sack Manning and senior cornerback Ryan Watts delivered a huge hit on Moore to break up a pass.
Former Denton Ryan five-star linebacker Anthony Hill Jr. has flashed throughout the Spring Game, including this sack blitzing from the second level.— Hudson Standish (@247Hudson) April 15, 2023
A ton of five-stars from the 2023 class making their presence felt early #HookEm | @Horns247 https://t.co/2DmsN5QNmk pic.twitter.com/QviYxclKsU
The only concerning developments for the Longhorns were Baxter and Blue hobbling off the field in the fourth quarter. Fortunately, Sarkisian said after the scrimmage that Texas emerged injury free, so the knocks to the two running backs were minor.