No. 7 Texas' QB depth will be tested vs. BYU
No. 7 Texas will have plenty of questions to answer -- perhaps more than at any time so far this season -- when it faces BYU on Saturday in Austin, Texas, in what will be the only Big 12 Conference matchup of the teams.
The Longhorns (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) will have either Maalik Murphy, who has been the backup all season, or highly coveted freshman Arch Manning at quarterback for the contest. Starter Quinn Ewers sprained his right (throwing) shoulder late in the third quarter of their 31-24 win at Houston last week.
Ewers was listed as week-to-week by Texas coach Steve Sarkisian on Monday. Sarkisian said both Murphy, who finished 1 of 2 for 7 yards in the fourth quarter of the win over Houston, and Manning, who has not seen the field this year, would get a "ton of reps" this week and that both could play.
"What are the things that Maalik does well? What are the things that Arch does well? What do they do well and how do we ensure, 'OK, here's the concepts that we think they run really well,' " Sarkisian said about his two backups. "They don't have to run the whole playbook. They need to run what they run really well."
The Longhorns bounced back from a loss to then-No. 12 Oklahoma with the victory over Houston, scoring the winning touchdown on a 16-yard run by CJ Baxter with 5:37 to play. Texas sprinted to a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter before giving it all back. After Baxter's scoring run, the Longhorns' defense repelled a final drive by the Cougars that ended at the Texas 10 with 1:03 remaining.
Jonathon Brooks led Texas with 99 yards on 20 carries and added eight catches for 51 yards, but the Longhorns finished with just 360 total yards, their second lowest output of the year.
Texas still climbed a spot in the AP poll despite its less-than-stellar effort and Ewers' injury.
BYU (5-2, 2-2 Big 12) heads to Austin after a 27-14 home win over Texas Tech last week. The Cougars rebounded from a dismal 44-11 loss at TCU the week before. They have alternated losses and wins the past four games after starting the season with three victories.
Cougars quarterback Kedon Slovis completed 15 of his 27 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns, and LJ Martin rushed 10 times for 93 yards, though BYU produced only 277 total yards in the win.
The Cougars forced five turnovers. Eddie Heckard recovered a fumble for a touchdown and nabbed an interception, Jakob Robinson recorded his fourth interception of the season, Ethan Slade hauled in his first career interception and Tyler Batty caused a fumble on special teams that was recovered by punter Ryan Rehkow.
The Cougars' running game remains an issue. BYU had 150 yards on the ground in the win over Texas Tech but is ranked 128th out of 130 FBS teams in yards per carry (2.78).
BYU is a win away from being bowl-eligible.
"We just do whatever it takes to win," Cougars coach Kalani Sitake said. "There is still some room for improvement in every phase. We still have some new bodies and some new people to the scheme. They're getting used to it. They are starting to develop rapport with each other on the line, in the passing game with our quarterback. Then on defense, (they are) understanding the scheme a little bit more."
The Cougars have dominated the all-time series between the teams, winning four of the five games, including a 41-7 victory in Austin in 2014 in the most recent matchup.
BYU will get just the one Big 12 crack at Texas as the Longhorns are moving to the Southeastern Conference next year.
--Field Level Media
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