In need of a bounce-back win, the Texas Longhorns got exactly that on Saturday afternoon, cruising past the West Virginia Mountaineers in convincing fashion, 38-20.
Here are a few initial thoughts from Texas’ first conference win of the season.
Texas closed. Better yet, they didn’t relent, which in turn removed the need for the Longhorns to close in crunch time as they enjoyed a comfortable lead down the stretch. And that’s been the concerning theme for Steve Sarkisian’s program — building notable leads just to collapse them away. The flow of the game swayed a bit in the second half, which limited the number of scoring drives the offense had opportunities at, but save for the hesitancy given Texas’ recent woes with blowing leads, the outcome was never really in doubt given how quickly opened.
Hudson Card continues to grow each time out. In his third start of the season and in what felt like a must-win for 2-2 Texas, the junior put forth the best performance of his career, completing 21-of-27 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns. There were a few throws he’d love to have back, but for the most part, he played his game, remained composed under pressure, and found his playmakers to continually move the chain and put points up, leading five straight touchdown drives (save for the incomplete heave to end the first half) to put Texas in control, 35-7 early in the third. Going forward, Texas may be set to welcome freshman Quinn Ewers back into his role as QB1, but in his absence, Card continues to hold his own and prove Texas can win games with him behind center.
Hello, Xavier Worthy. Texas’ star receiver has had a fairly slow start to the first third sophomore season, but he was nothing short of a game-changer on Saturday. He hauled in the first score of the game, then reversed his role and tossed a 33-yard touchdown to Ja’Tavion Sanders on the next drive. Later, Worthy grabbed a 44-yarder from Card to set Texas up to take a commanding 28-0 lead, and delivered another touchdown after the break, displaying incredible focus and body control to secure 45-yard tipped touchdown pass. All told, Worthy looked like himself and helped the Horns flash their explosive upside, grabbing seven catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns, along with his touchdown pass.
This is the kind of performance Texas needed heading into the Red River Showdown. After playing what was unquestionably their worst game of the season last week, the Longhorns arguably looked the best they have yet. To be sure, there will be a few opportunities they’ll want back on both sides of the ball and especially in the secondary, but by and large, the defense was flying around playing aggressive and disciplined, and the offense executed and produced points nearly every time out. In doing so, Texas looked like the confident bunch we saw against Alabama, and this time around, it resulted in a double-digit conference win. Now, build on it and go beat OU.