AUSTIN — Texas Longhorns freshman running back CJ Baxter left Saturday’s 37-10 win over the Rice Owls early in the second quarter when he landed roughly on a 32-yard run that ultimately held up as the longest of the game for the Longhorns.
The Run that ended Freshman Starter, CJ Baxter's day for the #TexasLonghorns— ᴄᴏᴅʏ ᴄᴀʀᴘᴇɴᴛɪᴇʀ (@CarpentierNFL) September 2, 2023
Baxter finished with 5 carries and 38 yards, time will tell if he will be healthy for Week 2 in Tuscaloosa, great handful of carries in his debut pic.twitter.com/fPGIDmJWV9
“CJ obviously had that nice run and I think what it looked like he landed on the ball and kind of had a rib issue that we just wanted to make sure we’re getting checked out, so I’m hopeful it’s not serious but we don’t know for sure yet,” Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian said after the game.
The 6’1, 218-pounder from Orlando, Fla. was apparently the first Texas running back to start a season opener for the Horns since Ricky Williams in 1995. The previous Texas player to accomplish that feat? Earl Campbell in 1974.
The 32-yard run flashed the upside of Baxter, who entered the game as the co-starter listed ahead of junior running back Jonathon Brooks. Ranked as the No. 1 running back in the 2023 recruiting class, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Baxter finished his collegiate debut with five carries for 38 yards.
Sophomore Jaydon Blue led the team in rushing with 10 carries for 55 yards and Brooks added 12 carries for 52 yards with two catches for 42 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown catch on a screen pass.
The surprise injury scratch for Texas was sophomore right guard Cole Hutson, the co-starter behind sophomore DJ Campbell. Sarkisian said that Hutson was going to rotate in on Saturday, but Hutson unexpectedly did not appear against Rice.
“Cole got nicked up at the during the week, so we held him today just because I want to make sure he’s healthy moving forward in the season,” Sarkisian said.