No. 21 Texas vs.  UTSA live updates: Longhorns tie the game at 17-17 heading into halftime

No. 21 Texas vs. UTSA live updates: Longhorns tie the game at 17-17 heading into halftime

For the first time, the No. 21 Texas Longhorns are ready to face the UTSA Roadrunners, with kickoff set for 7 pm Central on Longhorn Network at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

This is your place for live updates on the game, including the latest on injuries from warmups.

About 90 minutes from gametime, Texas redshirt freshman Quinn Ewers was out on the field in t-shirt and shorts — like his teammates — throwing some passes at about half speed without any obvious support for the left shoulder he injured last week against Alabama.

The depth chart for the game still has Ewers as the starter with redshirt sophomore Hudson Card as the backup and redshirt freshman Charles Wright now listed as the third-string quarterback. But Ewers seems unlikely to dress, although the prognosis for him now seems better than it was last weekend, and some reporting on Saturday supports that.

Card suffered an ankle sprain in the loss to the Crimson Tide and was also out on the field warming up, including sprints of about 20 yards during which he looked like he was about at 85 to 90 percent — certainly not hobbling like he was towards the end of last Saturday’s game. He’s moving around well enough to try to play.

Senior cornerback D’Shawn Jamison, who suffered a sprained ankle last week, too, was also out on the field going through warmups and looked close to 100 percent while sprinting.

When the players came out in uniform 45 minutes before gametime, Ewers was dressed, along with freshman quarterback Maalik Murphy, who was termed “not healthy” by head coach Steve Sarkisian on Monday. Card was dressed as well, coming out several minutes before most of his other teammates.

Junior running back Bijan Robinson is also dressed, but Sarkisian would likely prefer to avoid giving him 20-25 touches against UTSA. Jamison is dressed, too.

Throwing routes on air, Card and Wright were working with the first group, followed by Murphy and then walk-on Ben Ballard with Ewers not throwing at all.

Card was announced as the starting quarterback during pre-game introductions.

first quarter

After UTSA won the toss and deferred, Texas received the ball to start the game. Texas came out in 12 staff at tempo handing the ball off to Robinson three straight times, but came up just short, forcing a fourth-down run by Robinson, which finally moved the chains. After a personnel change to 20 personnel, junior running back Keilan Robinson took a push pass 10 yards before a false start put the Longhorns behind the chains. On the first shot play of the game, Card threw behind sophomore wide receiver Xavier Worthy on a post route and the pass was broken up. Texas had to punt after a run stuff and Card missing Worthy up the sideline.

A low snap from Zach Edwards resulted in a line-drive punt from walk-on Daniel Trejo and the ball bounced into the end zone.

UTSA was able to pick up a first down on a completion to 285-pound tight end Oscar Cardenas, but suffered another injury along the offensive line as tackle Demetris Allen left the game. Cardenas the converted another third down and UTSA quarterback Frank Harris scrambled for another, showing off his quickness. After the Harris run, an illegal shift saved a touchdown when Jamison was beat in coverage by Roadrunners wide receiver Joshua Cephus, which prompted Jamison’s quick removal in favor of sophomore Jamier Johnson.

With UTSA moving into the red zone, Harris was able to avoid a sack on a corner blitz and then Texas junior cornerback Ryan Watts and junior safety Jerrin Thompson both missed tackles to allow a fourth third-down conversion on the drive.

Jamison bounced back from the earlier coverage burn saved by the penalty by breaking up a third-down pass in the end zone, forcing UTSA to go for it on fourth down just inside the two-yard line. As the Roadrunners split four players out to the field, including Cardenas, a false start penalty forced head coach Jeff Traylor to settle for a field goal on the grinding 20-play, 74-yard drive that took nearly eight and a half minutes off the clock.

Of the seven runs by UTSA running back Brenden Brady on the opening drive, none went longer than five yards, but the Roadrunners mostly stayed ahead of the chains in the running game and received some key scrambles from Harris, who was also effective on short passes .

On Card’s third attempt to find Worthy, a hitch route picked up 19 yards on the first chunk play of the game for the Longhorns. Texas had trouble giving up penetration on the second drive, but Robinson and senior running back Roschon Johnson were able to make UTSA players miss in the backfield to avoid negative plays. Card missed Worthy on another shot play when the Texas standout had to dive in the end zone and had the ball go through his hands. On 3rd and 1, junior center Jake Majors lost the line of scrimmage and Robinson lost three yards, but another offside call on UTSA gifted Texas a first down.

The first quarter ended with an 11-yard push pass to junior wide receiver Jordan Whittington.

second quarter

The second quarter started with a holding penalty called on Texas sophomore tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders on a run-pass option, putting the Horns behind the chains. In 21 personal, a play-action pass to Johnson in the flat picked up 19 yards, a hugely important gain on the drive. On the next play, Johnson scored from the same personnel grouping on a pass to the opposite flat for an 11-yard touchdown aided by a stiff arm from Johnson as Texas took a 7-3 lead.

On the kickoff, freshman Will Stone either tried an angled kick or just mishit it — either way, he went out of bounds and gave the ball to the Roadrunners at their 35-yard line.

Once again, Harris was able to pick up yardage on short throws or scramble to positive gains, quickly moving into the Texas red zone. A stop on 2nd and 1 forced UTSA to convert a third down, but junior nickel back Jahdae Barron missed a tackle in the backfield and the Roadrunners moved the chains again on the money down. An incomplete pass and a run stuff did force a third and long for UTSA, but Watts was called for pass interference in the end zone on a fade route and the Roadrunners ran the ball in on the next play.

Catching the Texas kickoff return unit off guard, Traylor called an onside kick — he was the special teams coach in Austin. On the second play of the drive, the Roadrunners called a trick play — a throwback pass to Brady, who underthrew the intended receiver, but Watts wasn’t able to break the play up and Zhakari Franklin hauled it in for a momentum-changing touchdown .

Texas was able to move steadily down the field with three rushes for a first down and then several completions. Sarkisian then called three straight plays from the Wildcat formation—a run bounced outside by Robinson and then a run by Johnson, who hurdled a defender to get down near the goal line.

The third play lost some yardage, so Card returned behind center, handing off to Robinson for a three-yard touchdown run to cap the 11-play, 67-yard drive that represented a key response to the 14 quick points scored by the Roadrunners.

Harris moving outside the pocket under pressure resulted in a pass for a first down, but a false start penalty forced a 3rd and 11 for UTSA and Texas was able to populate the football on a flare pass to force the game’s first punt for the Roadrunners.

A 55-yard punt forced the Horns to face a long field with the ball at the 12-yard line, but a 15-yard run by Robinson and a 19-yard catch that featured his elite cutting ability and contact balance put the Roadrunners defense under pressure late in the first half as a nine-yard run by Johnson moved the ball to the UTSA 38-yard line.

The drive stalled, however, as Card missed open receivers on two consecutive plays, the second of which resulted in a holding penalty and forced a 44-yard field-goal attempt by redshirt freshman kicker Bert Auburn, who knocked it through the uprights to tie the game at 17-17.

Half-time notes

  • Robinson went over 2,000 career rushing yards in the first half and has scored at least one touchdown in 14 of his last 15 games.
  • UTSA converted 5-of-7 third downs (71.4 percent) after entering the game with a 59.3-conversion rate, ninth nationally.
  • Harris was efficient, too, hitting 12-of-15 passes for 115 yards and adding 25 yards on the ground, including 4-of-5 passing for 28 yards on third down.
  • Card was 12-of-18 passing for 140 yards and a touchdown, but wasn’t able to connect on shot plays and missed opportunities to take a lead late in the first half as he struggled to identify open wide receivers.
  • The running game started to get going in the second quarter — after 10 rushes for 27 yards in the opening 15 minutes, the Longhorns ran the ball 11 times for 64 yards in the second quarter.
  • In all, Texas 67 yards offensively in the first quarter and 164 yards in the second quarter.

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