Quinn Ewers sparks sluggish No. 11 Texas to Week 1 win

Quinn Ewers passed for three touchdowns and ran for another as No. 11 Texas overcame a sluggish start with an overwhelming third quarter to beat Rice 37-10 on Saturday in the season-opener for both teams.

Ewers connected with Jonathon Brooks on a 37-yard TD in the first quarter, and Bert Auburn kicked three first-half field goals for the Longhorns, the longest a 49-yarder.

Texas turned it into a rout in the third. Ewers connected with Georgia transfer Adonai Mitchell for a 9-yard score that put Texas ahead 23-3. Another TD pass to J.T. Sanders and Ewers’ own short scamper to the end zone finished the Texas scoring.

The Longhorns are in their final season in the Big 12 and are favorites to win their first league title since 2009 before moving to the Southeastern Conference.

Texas dominated Rice defensively, but struggled to find its rhythm throughout the first half behind an offense that returned 10 starters and added a talented transfer in Mitchell. Ewers was sacked twice in the first half and Texas was twice stopped on fourth-and-short.

But the Longhorns were able to grind down the Owls. Texas forced three turnovers and only let Rice cross midfield once in the first half. Texas put Rice quarterback JT Daniels under relentless pressure and allowed only 172 total yards.

Highlights: No. 11 Texas pulls away vs. Rice


Rice: The Owls showed some potential for conference play in the AAC. A defensive effort that often used only three down linemen held its own against the bigger Longhorns, pressured Ewers and kept Texas’ big-play firepower mostly in check in the first half.

Texas: The Longhorns won’t feel comfortable about this one despite the lopsided final score. Not with a road trip to No. 4 Alabama up next. Most concerning will be a veteran offensive line that is supposed to be a strength yet consistently struggled to move the Owls off the ball. Ewers, who kept the starting job over Maalik Murphy and Arch Manning, wasn’t sharp on deep throws, an area where he continues to struggle.

Texas’ Quinn Ewers connects with Adonai Mitchell for big TD!


Texas probably did little to effect its No. 11 ranking. The Longhorns took care of an opponent they were supposed to dominate, even if it took longer than expected to put the Owls away.


Rice hosts new Big 12 member and crosstown rival Houston next Saturday.

Texas plays at Alabama next Saturday in a return matchup of last season’s 20-19 Crimson Tide victory when Ewers was hurt in the first quarter.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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