FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns are leaving Fayetteville with their first loss of the season and some serious questions.
Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns were overwhelmed in front of a sellout Arkansas crowd Saturday night, losing 40-21 win. The Texas offense was harassed and the offensive line struggled to protect Hudson Card or open running room for Bijan Robinson.
The Longhorns never led in the game and allowed Arkansas to bully the defense to the tune of 333 rushing yards.
Here’s what Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian said after the game.
“The story of the game…we just couldn’t get anything going offensively. The execution wasn’t quite there on third down. In the first half, our defense was giving us a chance. They were getting stops in the red zone. The two drives in the third quarter kind of sealed the game. We have to get back to the drawing board. This is not a performance I was anticipating. I believe it doesn’t define us.”
On defense’s inability to stop the run
“Over time, they kind of wore us out so our defense was out on the field…it kind of wore out. Forty-seven rush attempts. We never put any pressure on them to throw the ball. I think part of that we just didn’t get it done offensively to take any pressure off the defense.”
Did Sarkisian consider going to Casey Thompson earlier?
“I did. It was gut thing. Hindsight is 20/20…maybe you look back and do it earlier. We didn’t as a team play well enough on early downs. We put ourselves in long third down scenarios…it’s hard to convert. We have to play better on first and second down. We didn’t do that tonight.”
How will Sarkisian evaluate the quarterback position this week?
“Pretty early to ask that question. We’ll have to take a look at it.”
On defensive issues with missed tackles
“I thought we were tackling good early on. I thought fatigue set in. I don’t think it was a lack of fight or effort. We knew what this game was going to be…we knew it was going to be a physical game and they started to lean on us. We’re going to have to be better moving forward that’s for sure.”
Where did Arkansas succeed in slowing Texas?
“Unfortunately, I don’t know how much of it is what they did versus what we did. Sam’s done a nice job with their team, but the majority is…we didn’t play great. We didn’t execute great in the pass game. We have some mishaps that didn’t happen last week.”
On Arkansas swinging momentum in the third quarter
“They popped a couple of runs right there. Felt like we were going to come right back. The next two series were the key…when we had the turnover on downs and the fumble. Momentum started to get on our favor but they got it right back.”
Where did the offense struggle?
“You just try to run some things that you think the guys believe in and are good at. We were just a little jittery for whatever reason. I don’t think it was about the looks that we were prepared for. We just didn’t play to our standards. We calmed the nerves a little bit unfortunately it was too late.”
Where did Texas lose the game?
“It was a combination of everything. We didn’t play very good as a football team…especially as an offensive football team. We end up…we missed a couple of plays that I think could’ve helped us. We had the missed field goal…there were things in the game…we didn’t create the plays for momentum. Everybody takes a part in this thing that we have to get back to work and the way we played tonight was not good enough to win.”
“In the first half, I was really proud of our defense to get stops when the offense wasn’t playing great. That was a positive. On the flip side, I thought late in the game our guys battled…we never waved the white flag. Our guys competed.”
On decision to stick with Hudson Card in third quarter
“It’s not about just the game. It’s about the work you put in throughout the week. It’s easy to point the finger at the quarterback when things aren’t going good.”