AUSTIN (KXAN) — Steve Sarkisian opened his Texas Longhorns tenure with a convincing 38-18 win over No. 23 Louisiana.
Sarkisian was true to his word that sophomore running back Bijan Robinson would be the focus of the offense. Robinson rewarded his head coach and Longhorns fans with an impressive season opening display, totaling 176 yards of offense and two touchdowns.
Hudson Card didn’t look rattled during his first start with the Longhorns, throwing for 224 yards and scoring three touchdowns (two passing and one rushing).
Here’s what the Longhorns head coach said after the win.
Sarkisian’s opening statement
“It’s always great to win. Right before kickoff I got to meet Ricky Williams. That was an awesome moment. He’s kind of the one guy we’ve missed. To meet him today was awesome. I want to thank our fans and appreciate our fans. It was a hot day to create an environment for our team. The story of the game was our ability to get off the field on defense on third down and stay on the field on third down for scoring opportunities. I liked the efficiency of what we did. I thought Bijan set the tone. Both Hudson [Card] and Casey [Thompson] were efficient. In the end, it was controlling the ball, controlling the line of scrimmage and getting off the field on third down on defense was big.”
Thoughts on Louisiana and his team’s performance
“We knew this was a veteran team. We wanted to possess the ball and control the line of scrimmage. We knew the run game was going to take a minute, but if we could sustain drives that was key. I thought we played complimentary football. We did a lot well in all three phases and controlled the game.”
On Bijan Robinson’s day
“One of the questions I kept going was how many touches for Bijan? And I said ‘somewhere around 20’. Nearly 180 yards of total offense. That’s a good day of work. Keilan Robinson has eight carries. Roschon Johnson has eight carries.”
On Hudson Card and Casey Thompson’s play
“I thought both guys played very efficiently. Both guys took advantage of their opportunities when they got them. I thought both guys did a nice job on third down. It was a gut feeling. That’s big for us. All in all that was effective having both of those guys play.”
On fourth down conversion and third down plays
“That was something…Hudson is very elusive. He’s a very good athlete especially on third down and he throws it extremely well on the run. Previously, where Hudson has gotten in trouble, he can drop his eyes some. Jordan [Whittington] obviously on third down…he was really effective.”
How did this day live up to Sarkisian’s expectations?
“I loved it. There’s nothing like winning. We put in a lot of work. Whether it’s the coaching staff, the strength and conditioning staff…there’s a lot of components to put on a football performance. I was pleased with the environment. I loved it. As a coach, to come out and have zero turnovers…we had a couple errors from a penalty standpoint. One of the concerns going into a first game…more teams lose these openers than win the game. We wanted to make sure we won the game. The environment was awesome and we played a relatively clean football game.”
On wide receiver Jordan Whittington’s day
“It was great. It really goes back to spring ball. He’s a physical guy. He’s got natural football instincts…that’s where his effectiveness comes into play on third down. I’m really happy for him. I know it’s been a long journey for him.”
On special teams performance
“I give coach Banks a lot of credit. BJ made that play. Those are two big plays. I thought we were really effective today in special teams. We had the one big return with a penalty in the block in the back. Those types of plays keep you up at night. Work to do that’s for sure.”
On Hudson Card’s emotion
“I thought he was even keel. That’s kind of his personality to begin with. I don’t feel like the moment was too big for him.”