Texas starting quarterback Quinn Ewers is week-to-week with an injury to his throwing shoulder, Texas coach Steve Sarkisian announced Monday. Ewers’ injury doesn’t appear to be season-ending and Sarkisian noted that the goal is to try and get him back “sooner than later.”
Ewers took a big hit directly to his shoulder from Houston defensive lineman David Ugwoegbu and immediately went to the injury tent. He was later taken to the locker room for further evaluation. Sarkisian noted after the game that Ewers, who had 211 yards passing and two touchdowns prior to his exit, tried to play through the injury.
Ewers is in his second season as Texas’ starting quarterback. Through seven games, the Ohio State transfer and 247Sports’ No. 1 overall prospect in the 2022 class completed 151 passes for 1,915 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also rushed for five touchdowns and posted four games with at least two passing scores. With Ewers at the helm, Texas has the Big 12’s fourth-best passing offense at 289 yards per game.
Ewers finished five out of the six full games with 250-plus yards passing. His best outing of the year came against Alabama, when he completed 24 of his 38 pass attempts for 349 yards and three touchdowns in leading the Longhorns to a huge 31-24 win.
Where Texas turns next
Backup Maalik Murphy entered the game at quarterback with Ewers out and was able to help Texas hold on, engineering a scoring drive late in the fourth quarter to secure a win for the Longhorns and avoid a massive upset. Murphy, a redshirt freshman, has completed four passes in four appearances on the year.
The 6-foot-5, 238-pound signal caller turned heads during the offseason with his strong arm and standout athleticism. A former four-star prospect, Murphy signed with the Longhorns in 2022 out of Gardena, California. He was the No. 9 quarterback in his class, according to 247Sports.
Texas also famously has five-star true freshman Arch Manning on the roster, and some fans will certainly want to see what he can do with Ewers out. Though Sarkisian didn’t shut the door on Manning factoring into the game plan moving forward, he did make it clear that Murphy is the top option.
“Arch and Maalik will both get a ton or reps,” Sarkisian said. “If the game was today, Maalik would start and Arch would be ready to come in.”
Lean on the run game
Murphy brings a new dimension to the offense with his ability to run, which is something the Texas coaching staff could exploit with some creative wrinkles in the playbook. The Longhorns also have an uber-talented stable of running backs to help carry some of the load and give Murphy an outlet.
Sophomore Jonathon Brooks ranks third in the Big 12 in rushing with 825 rushing yards. His six touchdowns on the ground is tied for second in the conference. Five-star freshman CJ Baxter — the No. 1 running back in the 2023 class — could be in for a heftier share of carries.
Baxter’s already played plenty this year, rushing for 217 yards and two touchdowns. But after a season-high 15 rushing attempts against Kansas, he has just 13 touches in Texas’ last two games. Getting him more involved will take some burden off of Brooks and give Texas a chance to ease Murphy in.