On Sep. 2, the long wait for Texas football to open up the 2023 regular season will end. Texas and head coach Steve Sarkisian open up the 2023 regular season slate at home on Sep. 2 at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium to take on the Rice Owls, with the kickoff time set for 2:30 p.m. CT.
The difficulty of Texas’ non-conference slate ramps up in a hurry when the Longhorns travel to Tuscaloosa in Week 2 (Sep. 9) to face the No. 4 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. Texas will look to avenge its narrow one-point loss to Alabama in the back end of the home-and-home series in a couple of weeks.
After the primetime showdown in Tuscaloosa on Sep. 9 against the Tide, the Longhorns round out the non-conference schedule with another Group of Five opponent against the Wyoming Cowboys on Sep. 16.
Texas should have opportunities to get some younger players deeper down the depth chart valuable live-game reps while boasting big leads at halftime against Rice and Wyoming in the non-con.
Getting an early lead against Rice can help build momentum and shake off the rust for the Longhorns in live-game action before facing the Tide the following weekend.
Bold predictions for Quinn Ewers and Texas football in the non-conference slate
Here are three bold predictions for the Longhorns in non-conference play.
Quinn Ewers throws for over 1,000 yards in the non-con
I actually don’t think it will be all that difficult for redshirt sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers to reach the 1,000-passing yard mark if the three non-conference games were going to be closer than they appear to be in projections and on paper. The problem Ewers faces reaching 1,000 passing yards in the non-con will be how long he stays in those games against Rice and Wyoming.
Sark will want to get redshirt freshman quarterback Maalik Murphy and true freshman Arch Manning as many live-game reps as he can against the G5 opponents in the non-con. If Texas has big leads at halftime against Rice and Wyoming, Ewers probably won’t be the quarterback in either coming out of the locker for the second half.
For Ewers to reach 1,000 passing yards, he’ll have to get at least 300 against Alabama in Week 2 and likely connect on some deep balls in the opener against Rice. Sark will want to pile on the points against Rice, especially to build momentum heading into the Alabama game, so Ewers could have his best chance to rake in the stats in the first two games of the season.