AUSTIN (KXAN) — There may be no place like home, but the road is where you truly earn your stripes. On Saturday night, Texas will reacquaint itself with the the Longhorns-Razorbacks rivalry — in enemy territory.
No. 15 Texas will hit the road to face Arkansas in front of a sellout, hostile pro-Razorbacks crowd at 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPN.
Longhorns running back Bijan Robinson, who accounted for 40% of Texas’ offensive production against Louisiana last week, says he’s ready to introduce himself to a new audience.
“I just know for me, it’s exciting. For this whole team, it’s exciting because we didn’t get to play in crowds last year,” running back Bijan Robinson said. “Now, we get to play in a full stadium, Arkansas, especially with a rivalry like that.”
It will be the first game Arkansas has sold out since 2017 and Razorback fans would love nothing more than to beat their old and future conference rival. This summer, Texas and Oklahoma decided to bolt from the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference. Leadership from both schools have maintained they won’t leave for the SEC until 2025.
Saturday night in Fayetteville will give Texas a little dose of SEC football even if the schools won’t become full-fledged members of the conference for four more years.
“I know this rivalry goes way back and now it’s the first time we’ve played them in awhile so it’s going to be pretty cool,” quarterback Hudson Card said. “Pretty special, just to bring it back especially going into the SEC in the next couple of years.”
“They’re going to get loud, it’s going to get dirty, it’s going to be physical, but the fact that I get to play in one of the biggest rivalries ever,” linebacker DeMarvion Overshown said. “I’m excited for it and I’m blessed.”
Even though it’ll be business as usual once the ball is kicked off, Steve Sarkisian wants his team to embrace the moment.
“You have to appreciate the arena that you’re in, you don’t want to dwell there, you don’t want to stay there, so you might as well get it out of the way and appreciate the opportunities that we have,” Sarkisian explained. “This is a great opportunity for our guys to go on the road in this type of environment. You kind of have to relish that role.”
First road game for redshirt freshman Hudson Card
Lake Travis High School product and redshirt freshman quarterback Hudson Card will look to build on a solid, starting debut for the Longhorns.
Against Louisiana, Card threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns, skirting pressure from Louisiana defenders most of the afternoon. Card was most dangerous on third down as Texas frustrated Louisiana-Lafayette, converting 10 of 15 third down attempts.
“I don’t think that he’s walking around like he’s big man on campus — that’s just not in his demeanor,” Sarkisian said. “I’m sure, internally, that had to feel pretty good for him. To go out and perform and play … all those things I’m sure built confidence, but hopefully it also instilled in him that [his] preparation paid off. So that another good week of preparation and getting himself back to the right frame of mind going into this game…not only is helpful for him, I think it’s helpful for the entire team.”
All of Longhorn nation will be watching to see how Card handles the pressure of his first road test.
Scouting the opponent — what to know about Arkansas
Arkansas rallied from a halftime deficit and third quarter tie against Rice last week for a 38-17 win.
The offense is based around tempo and the running game. This year’s version is led by quarterback KJ Jefferson. Against Rice, Jefferson rushed for 89 yards while throwing for 128. Kendal Briles, the son of former Baylor coach Art Briles, is the Razorbacks’ offensive coordinator. Running back Trelon Smith, a Houston native, had 102 rushing yards against the Owls.
The defense is adding and subtracting players on the defensive line this week. Starting defensive end/JACK Dorian Gerald is out for the season with a broken leg. Redshirt senior defensive tackle John Ridgeway returns after an appendectomy. Senior linebacker Bumper Pool will miss the first half after being ejected for a targeting call in the second half vs. Rice.
There are several Texans, starting for Arkansas this week. Running back Trelon Smith is a Cy Ridge High School graduate. The Longhorns recruited safety Jalen Catalon, but the Mansfield product ultimately picked Arkansas. Punter Reid Bauer is a Magnolia, Texas native.
How to watch Texas vs. Arkansas
Where: Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium (Fayetteville, Ark.)
When: Saturday at 6 p.m.
Radio: Longhorn Radio Network
Weather: Forecasted to be around 90 degrees at kickoff with 0% chance of rain. South wind at 5 to 10 mph