AUSTIN (KXAN) — When Texas Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian named Quinn Ewers the starting quarterback two weeks before the first game of the season, he said they’d need Hudson Card to win games as he began the season as the backup.
Card did just that Saturday night at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium, filling in for the injured Ewers against UTSA. He wasn’t at 100% himself, still playing through an ankle injury he suffered in the second half of the Alabama game, but he showed grit and guts when he needed to the most.
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Card, the Austin native and Lake Travis High School graduate who began last year as the starter before losing the job to Casey Thompson, was hobbling on the field throughout the game. He’d emerge from piles with a bigger limp than other times, so all 102,520 people in the stadium knew he was still running on a flat tire, so to speak.
But when he sped 32 yards on a 2nd-and-22 scramble in the fourth quarter to help set up a Bijan Robinson 41-yard touchdown run, he looked like he was going at full speed on brand new wheels.
“They went to a coverage that wasn’t great with the look we wanted, so I just stepped up in the pocket and saw an opening,” Card said of the play. “I had a little adrenaline going, so that probably helped me out, too.”
The play came with 10:34 left in the fourth quarter, and while Texas was up 31-20 at the time, UTSA quarterback Frank Harris showed he was more than capable of taking the Roadrunners to the end zone. Texas didn’t want to give him the chance to make the game closer, so Card took matters into his own hands — and about 1 1/2 ankles.
“Hudson Card bleeds burnt orange and white,” Sarkisian said. “That’s why he’s on our leadership committee, and when his number was called, he gave this program everything he could tonight just like he did a week ago.”
Card finished the game 15 of 23 passing for 151 yards and a touchdown, so not the eye-popping numbers that fans want to see, but they were functional numbers and complemented Robinson’s huge rushing night. Robinson had 183 yards on 20 carries and touchdowns runs of 78 and 41 yards in the second half.
He was better than being just a game manager, and while a couple of deep shots early in the ballgame didn’t work out, he made good decisions with the ball and didn’t put the team in harm’s way. The best decision he made, though, was that improbable run on a bum ankle that limited him in practice.
“I was doing treatment all week and kind of seeing how it would get throughout the week,” Card said. “I was limited here and there, but I had a pretty good idea I was going to play.”