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Defense shows dominance, Ewers looks sharp as Longhorns blast Rice, 37-10

A tense first half culminated in a dominant second half, as the Longhorn defense forced three turnovers and shut down Rice quarterback JT Daniels.

AUSTIN, Texas — A closer-than-expected first half may have created some tense moments early on, but the Texas Longhorns were able to shut the door on the Rice Owls in the second half, en route to a dominant 37-10 victory.

Quarterback Quinn Ewers had an impressive showing in three quarters of work, completing 19 of 30 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown toward the end in the third quarter.

Second stringer Maalik Murphy relieved Ewers in the fourth quarter and completed three of five pass attempts for 40 yards.

The running game, which had been an area of concern due the departures of Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson, had flashes of brilliance on Saturday. Sophomore Jaydon Blue led the team in rushing, with 55 yards on 10 carries, while fellow sophomore Jonathon Brooks wasn't far behind, tallying 52 yards on 12 carries.

Xavier Worthy showed why he was named a Preseason All-Big 12 First Team wide receiver, raking in seven catches and 90 yards. Georgia transfer A.D. Mitchell made good on his Longhorns debut, hauling in a touchdown on one of his three receptions.

The top performing unit on Saturday was unquestionably the Longhorns' defense. The Owls were only able to put up 176 yards of total offense and were only allowed into the end zone well into garbage time. Senior linebacker David Gbenda led the team with eight tackles, while freshman defensive back Malik Muhammad led the squad with five solo tackles.

The defense also created turnovers, as the Longhorns intercepted Rice quarterback JT Daniels twice and recovered a second half fumble. Turnovers were seen as an area in need of improvement, as the team only forced 12 during the 2022 season.

The impressive Week 1 result was expected for the Longhorns, who will now prepare for an incredibly dangerous road test against the always talented Alabama Crimson Tide in Week 2. The matchup will be one of the season's most anticipated games.

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