AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Longhorns season opening touchdown on Saturday meant more than seven points to receiver Joshua Moore.
On the Longhorns first offensive play from scrimmage for the 2020 season, quarterback Sam Ehlinger hit Moore, running a slant route on the Texas 22-yard line. Moore sliced through the UTEP defense without being touched, going 78 yards for the touchdown.
It was Moore’s first catch in more than a year and a half after a winding start to his Texas career. Moore showed promise during his freshman season, playing in six games before being sidelined with an injury for the last half of 2018.
In the summer of 2019, Moore was involved in an incident in downtown Austin where he was arrested for carrying a loaded gun without a license. Last September, Longhorns coach Tom Herman said Moore was suspended indefinitely. He didn’t play a snap in 2019, taking a redshirt season.
“That year and a half was a long, long, long, long year and a half being away from doing what I love which is playing football. Every game that I did not play in last year, I cried. I love football, grew up around football, coming here was my dream and just to know that I almost threw that away it hurt me so I was disappointed in myself,” Moore said.
His touchdown on Saturday started a landslide of scoring for the Longhorns, but the play meant even more to the redshirt sophomore and his family.
“Whenever I scored, my mom and my sister were sitting in the stands and they left the game to go to the restroom and they cried. I talked to my dad after the game and he told me once I scored, he cried. It was such a surreal feeling because I’ve been out for a year and a half. Coming back and doing this, it felt great, but just to see the smile on their faces…I would definitely rather see the smile on their faces than the faces that they had last year. I’m blessed and I’m thankful,” Moore told the media on Tuesday.
Moore admitted the last year and a half has been very difficult, but he relied on the support of his actual family and his Longhorns family. He finished Saturday’s game as the leading Longhorns receiver with six catches and 127 yards.