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Texas Longhorns Football

Longhorns, Ehlinger Show Resilience but Fall Short: Oklahoma 29 – Texas 24

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Tim Heitman - USA TODAY Sports

Close, but no cigar – the motto of the Texas football team this year. After falling behind 17-0 early on in the Cotton Bowl, Texas fans seemed to think this one was over. Sam Ehlinger had other ideas. After a long kickoff return by Kyle Porter, the Longhorns were in business. To finish off the drive, Ehlinger hit Porter on a beautifully designed screen pass for the 16-yard touchdown. Texas cut the Sooners’ lead to 13 points. This occurred with 3:14 left in the first half. On the ensuing Sooners drive, the Texas defense made a big stop when John Bonney intercepted a screen pass by Baker Mayfield and allowed the Texas offense a chance to score before the half. Freshman QB Sam Ehlinger did his thing and led the Longhorns to a 34-yard field goal by Joshua Rowland. At the half, the score was 20-10 Oklahoma.

A big part of this half has not yet been mentioned. Early on in the game when the Texas offense finally gained some momentum, they were deep inside Oklahoma territory when Tom Herman elected to go for it on 4th down. It is important to note that Texas K Joshua Rowland was kicking 44% on the year at the time. The play was unsuccessful, and Texas left points on the board. Tom Herman has reiterated time and time again that he hates attempting short yardage field goals. But sometimes, stubbornness can lose you football games. That wasn’t the case here, since the field goal attempt for Joshua Rowland on 4th down would have been for 45+ yards. However, if Rowland makes that kick, we might be talking about a new ball game. Instead, Texas went for it and failed to convert. Instead of a 7 point game, Texas trailed by 10 heading into halftime with the Sooners set to receive the ball to start the 3rd quarter.

On Oklahoma’s first possession of the second half, they drove down the field and kicked a 36-yard field goal. Oklahoma then led 23-10. However, Texas responded on its ensuing drive when Ehlinger led a 13 play, 75-yard drive that was capped off by Ehlinger pushing running back Chris Warren into the end zone for a touchdown. Texas cut the lead to 23-17, and was within 6 points. After several back and forth drives, the Texas offense began to drive once again. With a 4th down on the Oklahoma 27-yard-line, Tom Herman again elected to go for it on 4th down instead of kicking a 44-yard field goal. The conversion failed, and Texas again gave up an opportunity to put points on the board. Fortunately, Oklahoma did not take advantage of the missed opportunity and punted away to Texas. On the next drive by the offense, Ehlinger made sure the offense would get into the end zone. The drive was capped off but a gutsy 8-yard run by Ehlinger, who lowered his shoulder to get into the end zone. Texas took its first lead of the game, 24-23 with 8:01 left in the game.

The biggest issue with this team? They still don’t know how to finish and win games. That was evident on Oklahoma’s ensuing drive, when Baker Mayfield hit Mark Andrews on the third play for a 59-yard touchdown. And just like that, Oklahoma retook the lead and never looked back. On the play, Texas safety Brandon Jones bit on a post route and left Andrews wide open along the sidelines. The touchdown was as easy as pitch and catch. During the next drive for the Texas offense, Sam Ehinger was again moving the chains when he was hit hard out of bounds and landed on his head. He did not move for several minutes, but was able to get up and went to be evaluated by the medical staff. That brought in Shane Buechele, who has not seen a snap since the teams loss to Maryland in the season opener. Buehcele was only in for one series, but converted a key 3rd & 6 to Chris Warren. After that, Ehlinger returned to the game. During this drive the Texas offense, who had one penalty the entire game, began to lose discipline. A couple of holding calls and false starts later led to the Longhorns staring at a 4th & 13, which resulted in the ball being thrown away by Ehlinger. The result wouldn’t have mattered, because RT Derek Kerstetter was flagged for holding.

Many would perceive the game as being over then and there, but with two timeouts Todd Orlando’s defense had a chance to get a stop and give Texas a chance. They did just that, but on the punt was fair caught by Reggie Hemphill-Mapps inside the Texas 10-yard-line and a holding penalty pushed the offense back to Texas’ own 4 with :49 left. After leading the Longhorns to the 42-yard-line. After an acrobatic one-handed grab by Lil’Jordan Humphrey was ruled incomplete, the Longhorns had one chance left and could not heave a hail mary to the end zone. After a screen pass and a couple of laterals, the Sooners defense held on and Oklahoma won the game 29-24.

Texas did not want win the game, but held their own against a great Oklahoma squad. The biggest issue for Texas is the lack of an efficient running back. Chris Warren is a good pass catcher out of the backfield, but not good enough when given the rock. Because of this, Sam Ehlinger essentially acts as the offense’s QB and RB. Ehlinger had 22 carries for over 100 yards in today’s loss. Ehlinger is a tough kid, but his body cannot take that type of workload week in and out. Secondly, the Texas defense does not yet know how to finish. Time after time this year, Sam Ehlinger has given Texas the lead late in games only for the defense to fail to hold. It happened against USC, Kansas State, and now Oklahoma. Two of those games resulted in losses. On the bright side, this team is light years different under Tom Herman than Charlie Strong. No offense to Coach Strong, but 2 years ago this team would have never come back from a 17 point deficit. Strong never won a game when he did not score first.

The future is bright and Texas is showing improvement. There are still some holes to fill, but each game gets better and better. Tom Herman is certainly not pleased that his team lost, but he must be pleased with their resilience and refusal to back down from a fight. At some point this year, that attitude and fight will result in an unexpected victory. Today is just not that day. With each game I further believe Texas is closer to being back. Tom Herman is the right coach, and Texas is the right program for him. One day soon, Texas will take the college football world by storm.

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Harrison is a proud alumnus of The University of Texas at Austin and a second-year law student at Texas Tech University School of Law, where he plans to get a J.D./M.S. in Sports Management. He hales from Baytown, TX, but will always consider Austin home. In his spare time Harrison enjoys hunting, sports and any activity pertaining to his dog.

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Texas Longhorns Football

Top Plays: Texas vs. Baylor

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Photo: John Gutierrez-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Longhorns held on to beat the Baylor Bears 23-17 last Saturday in Austin to win their sixth straight game, improving to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in Big 12 play.  Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger left the game with a shoulder injury on the opening drive and was replaced by junior Shane Buechele. Buechele, who saw his first action on the field since the Longhorns’ bowl game against Missouri last December, finished 20-34 with 184 yards and one touchdown.  True freshman running back Keaontay Ingram surpassed the century mark on the ground, the first in his career, amassing 110 yards on 19 carries.

Texas scored all of its points in the first half and held a 23-10 lead over Baylor at the half. The Bears scored a touchdown in the third quarter to cut the lead to 23-17 and held possession of the ball on the final drive of the game. Todd Orlando’s defense held steady as Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer was pressured and threw a last-effort pass out of the Texas end zone as the game clock expired.

Place your vote for Texas’ top play in the win over Baylor.

Shane Buechele’s 44-yard TD pass to Collin Johnson (4:21 – 2nd quarter)

 

LJ Humphrey’s quarterback keeper for a TD (1:12 – 2nd quarter)

 

Caden Sterns intercepts Charlie Brewer (:44 – 2nd Quarter)

 

Texas defense pressures Brewer on final play of the game (:01 – 4th quarter)

 

Vote for your Top Play below.

What was Texas' Top Play in the win over Baylor?

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Big 12

Texas Football 2019 full schedule released

The Longhorns host LSU at Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday, September 7

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Photo: USA TODAY Sports

The Big 12 Conference released the 2019 football schedules for all ten conference schools on Thursday.  The Longhorns’ schedule includes three non-conference games, two of which are against teams from Louisiana. Notably, Texas will host the LSU Tigers on September 7th after a home season-opener against Louisiana Tech, and will complete non-conference play against former Southwest Conference opponent Rice at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Texas will host Texas Tech on Friday, November 29th, the day after Thanksgiving, to wrap up the season.

Full schedule can be found below.

2019 Texas Football Schedule

Aug. 31—Louisiana Tech
Sept. 7—LSU
Sept. 14—at Rice (NRG Stadium)
Sept. 21—Oklahoma State
Oct. 5—at West Virginia
Oct. 12—vs Oklahoma (Cotton Bowl)
Oct. 19—Kansas
Oct. 26—at TCU
Nov. 9—Kansas State
Nov. 16—at Iowa State
Nov. 23—at Baylor
Nov. 29—Texas Tech

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College Football

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Baylor

Texas narrowly escaped with a victory against Baylor on Saturday, and there are several areas that the Longhorns must clean up to stay atop the Big 12

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John Gutierrez, USA TODAY Sports

Another week, another close ballgame that came down to the final drive for Texas. The Longhorns found themselves behind the eight ball when Sam Ehlinger exited the game with an injury in the 1st quarter, and Baylor ended up giving Texas all they could handle. Regardless, Texas is now 6-1 and sits alone atop of the Big 12 conference standings. The Longhorns will gladly welcome the bye week as they prepare for the final stretch of the season. Let’s take a look at the good and the bad from a 23-17 win over the Bears:

The Good

Texas finally has a 100-yard rusher

For the first time in the Tom Herman era, Texas had a 100-yard rusher. Freshman Keaontay Ingram finished the afternoon with 110 yards on 19 carries. It’s hard to believe it had been 20 games since the Longhorns had someone surpass the 100-yard rushing mark, but it is only appropriate Ingram was the one to break the streak. Ingram continues to see an uptick in touches and has proven to be the best running back on the roster.

Collin Johnson continues to dominate

Texas now has a good problem on their hands. Collin Johnson is playing himself into position to be a potential high NFL draft pick, and I don’t think you will find many people who are upset about it. Johnson has cemented himself as a number 1 receiver after turning in another great performance on Saturday, hauling in 11 receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown. The biggest improvement he has made from his first two seasons is his physicality. Johnson has proven to be reliable going over the middle of the field while also also improving his ability beat corners off the line of scrimmage.

The Bad

Punting

It’s hard to find a lot of negative when you look at Ryan Bujcevski’s stat line: 47.8 yards per punt and 3 punts inside the 20. Unfortunately, the stats do not tell the full story. Texas continues to have major issues getting punts off in a timely manner, and I am beginning to think it is more on Bujcevski than the protection unit. The Aussie takes far too long to get the ball off his foot once he receives the snap. Baylor nearly had a block yesterday, and it is a minor miracle the Longhorns have not had a punt blocked this year.

Opening drive scores

The Texas defense has had a tough time stopping opponents on their opening drives this season. In the 7 opening drives opponents have had against the Longhorns this year, 5 have ended in either a touchdown or field goal. Todd Orlando has stressed the importance of starting fast on defense, but a trend has emerged.

Cameron Dicker comes back to earth

Cameron Dicker carried over his momentum from his game winner against Oklahoma, going 3 for 3 on field goals in the first half, including a 47-yarder to end the half. The second half was a different story. Dicker missed a 34-yard attempt late in the 4th quarter that would have given Texas a 9-point lead. He followed it up with a miss from 51 yards. It has been a roller coaster ride for Tom Herman as he tries to manage the punting and kicking unit, but it’s hard to expect anything less since he is having to trot out a true freshman punter and kicker.

The Ugly

Zero second half points

The Longhorns had 5 drives in the second half — 2 ending in punts, 2 in missed field goals and one with an interception. Similar to the Kansas State game, the Texas offense moved the ball at times in the second half but were hurt by the inability to finish drives. Tom Herman and the offensive staff have shown improvements in making halftime adjustments, but the staff failed to put Shane Buechele and the offense in a position to finish off drives against a Baylor defense that ranked at or near the bottom of the Big 12 in nearly every major statistical category.

Sam Ehlinger’s injury

Texas fans now have a greater appreciation for Sam Ehlinger after watching the offense try to operate for almost 4 full quarters without him. Shane Buechele is considered a quality passer, but he fails to bring the running dimension to the offense that Ehlinger brings. The Longhorn offense is built around Ehlinger, and if he were to miss any extended period of time, it would not be good. If he is healthy enough for Oklahoma State, he needs to play. The Texas offense is not good enough to plug in the backup and rest the starter, even against a team like Oklahoma State.

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Texas Longhorns Football

Ehlinger’s MRI results show shoulder sprain

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Photo: USA TODAY Sports Images

Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger left the Baylor game in the opening series after suffering a shoulder injury.  Ehlinger left for the locker room to be evaluated and was replaced by backup Shane Buechele.  He returned to the field but remained on the sideline with a headset on for the duration of the game.  The Longhorns, behind Buechele, held on to defeat the Bears 23-17 and improved to 6-1 overall on the season.

In his postgame media availability, head coach Tom Herman expressed uncertainty about the injury to his sophomore quarterback, who led the Longhorns to five straight wins before the injury.

“I think any time you hurt a throwing shoulder, my level of concern is greater than zero, but I don’t know enough. I’ve got to be educated more on it.”

Ehlinger’s MRI results revealed a first degree sprained shoulder, which is good news for the Longhorns, who travel to Stillwater in two weeks to face Oklahoma State.

Ehlinger has thrown for 1,534 yards and 11 touchdowns this season with just two interceptions. He has also rushed for 230 yards and 6 touchdowns.

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