The University of Texas has lost quarterback Richard Walton for four to six weeks with a broken bone in his throwing hand, suffered in the fourth quarter of Saturday's loss to UCLA.
Walton, a fifth-year senior, completed 14-of-22 passes for 196 yards for the Longhorns before injuring his right hand. X-rays showed the break.
"It's extremely frustrating because I was really getting comfortable in the offense," Walton said. "I knew when it happened something was wrong, but I tried to throw one more pass. At that point I knew I couldn't continue and had to take myself out.
"Now I just have to be patient and let it heal. I'm going to push to get back as fast as I can, but I know Major (Applewhite) will do a great job. He has worked very hard and I am going to be there to help him every step of the way."
The 6-5, 225-pound Walton, a native of Bay City, Texas, played in the shadow of James Brown for three seasons before getting his chance this year. In two games, he was 29-of-43 for 478 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.
But the ailment put him on the sidelines with Greg Cicero, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the final preseasoscrimmage. That leaves Applewhite, a redshirt freshman, to run the team.
Applewhite's main function will be handing off the ball to Ricky Williams, the potent running back who is a favorite for the Heisman Trophy.
"Richard's injury is a real disappointment for our team, because we really need him," Longhorns coach Mack Brown said. "He's mature, he handles things well in pressure situations and steps in there with a lot of confidence.
"I am even more disappointed for him than I am for the team. Here is a guy who had a dream to be the starting quarterback for the University of Texas and he's done everything right. He's been a great backup player, he's been positive with James Brown being so successful and he is a great young man."
Things get tougher for Texas Saturday, when the Longhorns start their Big 12 Conference season with a visit to fifth-ranked Kansas State, which has outscored its first two foes, 139-7.
Texas then has a home game against intrastate rival Rice before closing the campaign with seven straight Big 12 encounters.
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