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Will Arch Manning Make College Debut Against BYU?

Oct 24, 2023, 11:21 AM | Updated: 11:22 am

PROVO, Utah – Will we see the much-anticipated debut of Arch Manning at quarterback for Texas this week?

It wasn’t a question at the top of people’s minds after Texas starter Quinn Ewers suffered an injury against Houston. That’s because Maalik Murphy has always been viewed as the primary backup to Ewers.

But Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian opened the door slightly for Arch Manning to have a chance at playing this Saturday against BYU.

Arch Manning, Maalik Murphy will get practice reps leading up to BYU game

“We’ll go through the week and Arch and Maalik will both get a ton of reps,” Sarkisian said. “If the game was being played today, Maalik would start the game; and again, Arch will be ready to go.”

Perhaps this is gamesmanship on the part of Sarkisian to force BYU defensive coordinator Jay Hill to scout Texas’ entire quarterback unit. But it leaves a window open for Manning, one of the most coveted recruits in the internet era of recruiting rankings.

After Quinn Ewers went down with an AC Joint sprain against Houston, Maalik Murphy stepped in for Ewers. Murphy was 1-of-2 for seven yards.

The 6-foot-4, 212-pound Manning is Cooper Manning’s son. His uncles are Peyton and Eli Manning. He has been in the football spotlight since he began his prep career at Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans.

Manning was selective with his recruitment as the No. 1 prospect in the 2023 cycle. But he picked the Longhorns over the heavy hitters in college football: Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Clemson, to name a few.

“Like I’ve said before, I’ve had a ton of confidence in Arch,” Sarkisian said. “I think it was a couple of weeks ago he had a fantastic practice. So I’m really encouraged by that. … We’re fortunate, you know, not every school is as fortunate as we are to have the quarterback room that we have and the connectivity that room has. I think a lot can be said for Quinn and his leadership in that room.”

Steve Sarkisian expects new looks from BYU’s defense

The starter on Saturday for Texas will likely be Maalik Murphy, but if he struggles? Perhaps Sark looks to Arch Manning, who hasn’t played a snap yet in his collegiate career.

Sarkisian expects BYU’s defense to throw new wrinkles at one of the young signal-callers that the Longhorns will trot out.

“Naturally, BYU is going to do things that aren’t on tape and you have to adapt at that point. Adapting, sometimes, when we can get them on the sideline and adapt, much better. Sometimes you have to adapt in play, post-snap, right? The coverages may be different than they’ve been playing, pressures a little different; and matchups are different. So that ability to adapt and not just rely on practice. As much as I love practice and practice is huge, adaptability in-game to some of the newness that comes at you I think is critical.”

It adds another element to a game that doesn’t have a shortage of storylines.

BYU vs. No. 7 Texas

Date: Saturday, October 28, 2023

Location: Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium

Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. (MT)

TV: ABC

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM) — Extended pregame coverage begins at 9 a.m.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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Will Arch Manning Make College Debut Against BYU?