The No. 15 Texas Longhorns returned to Fayetteville in hopes of renewing the old SWC rivalry in style, but instead, were completely manhandled by the Arkansas Razorbacks in what was probably the most embarrassing Texas loss since Kansas in 2016.
This was a game I’m sure most would love to move on from sooner than later, but first, here’s a few initial thoughts from Texas’ 40-21 loss to Arkansas.
Texas has a ton of work to do in the trenches. That goes for both sides of the ball. The offensive line is a complete mess right now and Kyle Flood almost has to try new bodies in his starting unit, particularly in place of a severely-struggling Denzel Okafor. No matter how good Bijan Robinson is or how much upside Hudson Card has, it almost doesn’t matter until Texas’ offensive line can become even respectable. On the other side, a Texas defensive line that was supposed to be the strength of the team was completely overwhelmed, allowing Arkansas to gash the Horns for one chuck gain after another.
Steve Sarkisian probably should have made a change at quarterback way before he actually did. Sark switched from Card to Casey Thompson near the end of the third quarter, but it was probably way too late. Though Card missed a few deep throws, it might not have made much of a difference, as he was simply in a no-win situation with how horribly his line played. Given that, and the fact that things just weren’t working offensively even into the front end of the third quarter, Sark could have benefited from switching to the more dynamic runner in Thompson before the game was effectively over at 33-7. But, he didn’t.
We’re probably going to hear plenty of fresh talk of a quarterback battle this coming week. Sarkisian probably made the right decision to name Card his starter, and as noted, Card was essentially in a no-win situation on Saturday with porous offensive line play and a few key drops from Jordan Whittington that could have changed the dynamic of the game. But after he led just one scoring drive on a short field and finished with only 60 total yards of offense in nearly three quarters, Thompson tallied more yards — 101 — and twice as many touchdowns in just two series. So, whether it’s fair or not, we’re probably going to hear plenty of quarterback talk in Austin until next Saturday. Prepare yourself.
Pete Kwiatkowski has to put a better product on the field. Much of that has to do with Texas getting completely overmatched in the trenches, which allowed for wide-open running lanes, but the second line didn’t do them any favors by failing to fill the gaps, and the Texas secondary simply got ran past a couple times. In total, Arkansas ran all over the Longhorns defense to the tune 333 rushing yards a four touchdowns to headline a 40-point showing.
Texas isn’t SEC ready just yet. Disregard the hostile crowd and the impact that has, Texas got completely out-played, out-classed, out-executed, out-coached, out-everything by a Razorbacks squad that won three games last season and will likely finish at — or below — .500 this year. Nearly any way you slice it, this was an embarrassing loss for Sarkisian’s Longhorns.
Whatever your expectations for this season were, it’s probably wise to lower them just a bit. This will probably be a long season. That is all.
Now, with one of Texas’ worse performances in years now in the rearview. burn the game tape and move on.