Leading up to the showdown between #9 Texas and #6 LSU, you could cut the tension in the air with a knife. The biggest matchup in Austin in over a decade paired with high expectations for both teams in the 2019 season, means high stakes football. The trash talk and pre-game scuffles were there too.
When it was all said and done, the LSU Tigers (2-0, 0-0) proved to be a formidable opponent for the Texas Longhorns (1-1, 0-0). Dave Aranda’s defensive unit was a worry for the Texas coaching staff and players, but it was the LSU offense that ultimately did the Longhorns in. Playing score for score with a well-oiled machine is sometimes tough to do, but Texas held their own, especially in the second half. The Longhorns also failed to capitalize on two first-half possessions inside the LSU five-yard line, walking away with no points and turning the ball over on downs. Playing a Top-10 opponent at home, you just can’t do that. Not if you expect to win.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow had a tremendous night in the air, throwing for 471 yards and four touchdowns. Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger also surpassed the 400 yard passing mark, throwing for a career-high 401 yards and four touchdowns, and rushing for another. Texas receivers Devin Duvernay and Brennan Eagles each surpassed 100 yards in receiving, while LSU’s Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase and Terrace Marshall Jr combined for a whopping 433 yards receiving. Jefferson led all receivers with 163 yards.
After a Texas punt to open the game, the Tigers struck first on a Cade York 36 yard field goal at the 8:04 mark.
On the ensuing drive highlighted by a 28-yard pass from Sam Ehlinger to Brennan Eagles, the Longhorns marched into Tiger territory. On 4th & 2 at the LSU 2-yard line, Keaontay Ingram dropped what would have been a touchdown pass, turning the ball over on downs.
At the 4:06 mark in the first quarter, Joesph Ossai intercepted Joe Burrows and returned it to the LSU four yard line. After what appeared to be a Sam Ehlinger rushing touchdown on second down, the play was reviewed and Ehlinger’s knee was ruled down at the 1/2 yard line. Texas couldn’t punch it in and LSU took over on downs.
It took the Longhorns until the second quarter to score, when Sam Ehlinger found Brennan Eagles for a 55 yard touchdown, leaving 10:29 on the clock.
Texas struggled the remainder of the half while LSU racked up 17 more points, courtesy of two Justin Jefferson touchdown receptions and a Cade York field goal. Texas linebacker Joseph Ossai had a productive night, sacking Burrows to force York’s field goal attempt.
At the half LSU led Texas 20-7.
The Longhorns scored on every possession in the second half, beginning with a seven minute drive that ended with Ehlinger’s two yard touchdown run.
Cade York added another field goal, this time from 40 yards out increasing the LSU lead to 23-14.
Texas would inch back within two points on freshman wide receiver Jake Smith’s 16 yard touchdown reception to close the third quarter. The reception marked Smith’s first career touchdown as a Longhorn.
Terrace Marshall Jr. scored the first points of fourth quarter, hauling in a 22 yard Joe Burrow touchdown pass. LSU held a 30-21 advantage, but Texas answered with a score of their own. Devin Duvernay’s 44 yard reception would be the first of two scores on the evening for the senior.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire provided the Tigers’ only rushing touchdown of the night, from 12 yards out with 9:58 left in the game.
Cameron Dicker made good on a 47 yard field goal with 3:59 remaining to trim the LSU lead to 37-31, giving Texas hope.
That hope soon ended when Justin Jefferson broke a tackle after catching a bullet from Burrow, running 61 yards into the Texas end zone. That happened on 3rd & 17.
LSU led 45-31 at that point.
Devin Duvernay’s second touchdown came with just 22 seconds left in the game, leaving the Longhorns with an onside kick attempt for a shot at an upset.
Cameron Dicker’s kick was almost recovered by Collin Johnson, but Johnson couldn’t maintain control of the ball as it was ruled out of bounds.
As the game clock expired LSU handed Texas their first loss of the season, 45-38.
Despite the loss, Texas head coach Tom Herman liked how his team handled the adversity of being down in the first half.
“Yeah, really proud of our guys. It was, what, 20-7 at halftime We knew that was not indicative of how well we could play. I thought our guys responded to the occasion. Sam (Ehlinger) certainly did. I thought he was much more agressive in the second half.”
Texas travels to Houston next weekend to face the Rice Owls in the team’s final non-conference matchup of the season.
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