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The Texas Longhorns are Back

UT Austin football's triumphant return as a powerhouse in the 2023 season

UT Football
Celebration after UT beat Texas Tech 57-7 at their home stadium in Austin (courtesy of UT Austin)

If you moved to Austin in the past decade, you might have heard UT football fans reminiscing on the “good ‘ol “days”— when names like Vince Young, Coach Mack Brown, and Colt McCoy dominated college football headlines.

In 2009, UT sadly lost in the National Championship Game to Alabama when quarterback McCoy got injured early in the game. Since then, UT has taken a backseat to historically less-prestigious programs. Baylor University beat Texas in 2010 for the first time since 1997, then went on again to win against Texas in 2011—a victory that propelled quarterback Robert Griffin III to win the Heisman that year. Texas A&M had an incredible showing in 2012 and 2013 with Johnny Manziel, the first-ever freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. Oklahoma University started dominating the Red River Rivalry and, in 2017 and 2018, had two Heisman quarterbacks in a row, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, both Texans. 

Hook ‘Em! (photo courtesy of UT Football)

Last year, the Longhorns finally found their man with Coach Steve Sarkisian. He started building momentum back up within the program. Going into the 2023 season, all knew something special was coming when the UT football program landed Arch Manning, the number one high school recruit and nephew of Peyton and Eli Manning, some of the most renowned NFL quarterbacks in recent history. That, along with the current landscape of college athletics (i.e., NIL allowing players to monetize their personal brands), has made Austin an attractive place for young men to grow their athletic careers, attracting more attention and talent to the UT football program. 

Coach Sarkisian of the Texas Longhorns congratulates Ewers after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide 34-24 at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 09, 2023 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images, courtesy of UT Austin)

In his second season at the helm, Coach Sarkisian has brought a renewed sense of energy and tactical brilliance to the Longhorns’ football program. Known for his offensive prowess, “Coach Sark” has implemented a dynamic and high-scoring style of play that has left opponents struggling to keep pace. His strategic acumen and ability to motivate players have been pivotal in UT Austin’s success this season.

Several key players have been instrumental in UT Austin’s triumphs this season, contributing to the team’s success on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Quinn Tucker Ewers has played a pivotal role in the team’s success, showcasing exceptional skills and composure on the field. Ewers’ precision passing and ability to read defenses have been instrumental in offensive strategies, consistently connecting with receivers and leading the Longhorns to crucial victories. Third-year wide receiver Xavier Worthy’s speed and play-making ability have made him a constant threat downfield, providing the Longhorns with a reliable target in crucial situations. On the defensive side, Alfred Collins has been a disruptive force, wreaking havoc in the opponent’s backfield. Defensive Lineman T’Vondre Sweat puts up an indestructible wall against the run game, not letting anyone get past him. 

Celebration after UT beat Texas Tech 57-7 at their home stadium in Austin (courtesy of UT Austin)

The Longhorns’ success this season is not only reflected in their impressive win-loss record but also in their notable achievements on the field. Key victories against formidable opponents—notably Alabama in Tuscaloosa—and standout individual performances have solidified UT Austin’s position as a contender on the national stage. The success culminated when they claimed their first Big 12 championship title since 2009 after defeating the Oklahoma State Cowboys 49-21 on December 2. Now they’re headed to The Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on New Year’s Day. This will be their first time in the College Football Playoffs since its inception in 2014. 

Needless to say, UT Austin has officially reestablished itself as a powerhouse in collegiate football.

Where to Watch the Game in Austin on Jan. 1

If you need somewhere to watch the Texas Longhorns play the Washington Huskies on January 1 at 7:45 p.m., TLC Austin, Progress Coffee, Corner Bar, and Revelry Kitchen will play the game with the sound on. For even more ideas, read on our Guide to Where to Watch UT Austin Football Games.