Texas makes change at QB with Casey Thompson to start vs. Rice after Hudson Card struggles in loss to Arkansas
Texas will have a new starting quarterback for Saturday’s game vs. Rice when Casey Thompson will replace season-opening starter Hudson Card under center following Thompson’s impressive showing in reserve duty in a 40-21 loss to Arkansas.
After a decent debut in a 38-18 victory vs. No. 23 Louisiana, Card looked lost against a strong Razorbacks front. He completed just 8-of-15 passes for 61 yards and had a backbreaking fumble as the Longhorns went down 33-7. Texas coach Steve Sarkisian noted that Card looked “antsy in the pocket” in his first road competition.
When the more experienced Thompson entered the game, Texas’ offense quickly found its footing. Thompson immediately led a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive against the physical Arkansas defense as Thompson either passed or ran for seven out of the 10 plays, including a 5-yard touchdown run. On the next drive, Thompson engineered a 14-play, 75-yard drive, including three passes of at least 15 yards.
The only scoring drive with Card at quarterback came on a short field after an interception. The rest of the day wasn’t as impressive: four punts, two fumbles, a missed field goal and a turnover on downs. Card accumulated just 74 total yards (61 passing, 13 rushing) in nine drives. Thompson reached 101 total yards and two touchdowns on just two drives.
Thompson’s wait pays off
Thompson has regularly been a big-time player as a backup quarterback at Texas, but has not been given the chance to start since arriving on the 40 Acres. The junior entered the Alamo Bowl against Colorado and completed 8-of-10 passes for 170 yards and four touchdowns in the second half alone. In the season-opener against the Ragin’ Cajuns, Thompson also added 41 yards passing and a touchdown on just five pass attempts. In fact, Thompson has seven passing touchdowns and three rushing scores without a single interception in his career.
In Thompson’s last 10 drives, nine have ended with points for Texas. The lone exception was the Longhorns’ final drive against Louisiana where Thompson did not throw or run the ball.
Card still in QB competition
Card will still get into the game against Rice. The battle for the starting quarterback isn’t over as yet, according to Sarkisian. However, the Longhorns will need to have a definitive answer by the time they head into Big 12 play against Texas Tech on Sept. 25.
Sarkisian’s decision to play with two quarterbacks through the first several games seemingly mirrors the first games of the Tom Herman era, when Herman named Shane Buechele the opening day starter before Sam Ehlinger finally wrested away the starting job. This time, the No. 11 coming off the bench to give Texas a passing and running component is the gritty upperclassman.