AUSTIN, Texas – True freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger played like a seasoned veteran on Saturday, guiding The University of Texas (3-2, 2-0) to a double-overtime victory over Kansas State (3-2, 1-1), 40-34, in front of a rocking crowd at Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium.
In just his third career start, Ehlinger completed 30-of-50 passes, two touchdowns and a Longhorn true freshman record 380 yards. He added 107 yards rushing, also a record for a Longhorn true freshman quarterback.
The Longhorns wasted no time getting on the board in the overtime period, with Ehlinger completing a 25-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Jerrod Heard on the first play from scrimmage to take a 34-27 lead.
Kansas State matched the Horns, scoring on an 8-yard run to even the score at 34-34.
After completing a 7-yard pass to open the second overtime, the Wildcats worked their way backwards with two consecutive 10-yard holding penalties and settled for a field goal attempt. However, the K-State 54-yard attempt bounced up the left upright, opening the door for a UT victory.
Ehlinger began the Longhorns second overtime possession with a 12-yard completion to sophomore wide receiver Collin Johnson, then rushed for nine yards to the Kansas State 4. Junior running back Chris Warren III picked up two yards on the next play for a UT first down at the two-yard line. Warren and the Horns offense pushed their way into the end zone three plays later to lock up the victory, 40-34.
Texas outgained Kansas State 546-394, had 32 first downs, the second time this season UT has topped 30, and converted on 8-of-15 third-down attempts.
The Wildcats opened the scoring, using a mix of short passes and run plays, to take an early 3-0 lead. K-State came as close as the UT 33, before junior linebacker Malik Jefferson pushed them back on consecutive plays – stuffing K-State running back Alex Barnes for a two-yard loss, then teaming with junior defensive back DeShon Elliott to sack quarterback Jesse Ertz for another two-yard loss. KSU settled for a 54-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 7:19 remaining in the first quarter.
On the Longhorns next possession, Ehlinger drove Texas from their own 20 to the K-State three-yard line, but could not convert on a fourth-and-goal try. On the drive, Ehlingher passed for 49 yards, including a 16-yard completion in the middle of the field to redshirt freshman wide receiver Reggie Hemphill-Mapps and a 21-yard completion to sophomore wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey that put the ball at the three.
Taking over at their own three, Kansas State looked to be in trouble after Elliott stuffed Ertz just outside the end zone to force a third-and-11 as time ran out in the first quarter. But a pass interference penalty against Texas to open the second quarter gave KSU a fresh set of downs. The Wildcats scored two plays later on an 82-yard touchdown pass to increase their lead to 10-0.
Ehlinger and the Horns answered with a 12-play, 71-yard scoring drive, punctuated by a 1-yard touchdown run from sophomore running back Kyle Porter. Starting at their own 29, freshman running back Toneil Carter picked up 12 yards on three carries, while Ehlinger connected with junior wide receiver Jerrod Heard for gains of 10 and 13 yards to move the ball to the K-State 30. Ehlinger hooked up with Johnson for a 17-yard gain, then Hemphill-Mapps caught a pass at the 11 and spun out the grasp of three defenders for a pickup of eight yards to the Kansas State 5-yard line. Porter took over from there, powering his way up the middle for four yards, then scoring on a 1-yard burst to close the gap to 10-7.
Hemphill-Mapps set a UT freshman record with 12 catches and had a career-high 121 yards, tied for ninth-most by a freshman in Longhorn history.
The Wildcats responded with a 7-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to bump their lead back to 10 points, 17-7, with 6:29 remaining in the half.
Ehlinger took a page out of the Kansas State playbook on the next possession, opening the drive with a 24-yard run up the middle, then rushing for another nine yards three plays later to put UT at the Kansas State 38. After a five-yard completion to Johnson, Ehlinger rolled to his right, pulling the defense his direction, then threw left to junior running back Chris Warren III, who was wide-open on a wheel route and took it 33 yards for a touchdown to cut the KSU lead to 17-14.
Feeling the momentum shift, the Texas defense forced a three-and-out on the next drive, highlighted by defensive end Malcolm Roach sacking Ertz for a 10-yard loss.
Texas worked quickly on their next drive, taking the lead, 21-17, for the first time in the game on another 1-yard touchdown run by Porter. Regaining possession at midfield with 1:56 remaining, Ehlinger opened the drive with a 16-yard completion to Humphrey, then rushed for a six-yard gain. After a 7-yard run up the middle by Warren, Ehlinger hit Hemphill-Mapps on a 14-yard screen pass, then found senior wide receiver Dorian Leonard along the right sideline, who made a toe-drag catch at the K-State 8-yard line. Ehlinger carried the ball twice, picking up seven yards, then Porter closed out the scoring in the first half with a career-high second rushing touchdown of the game.
The Longhorns extended their lead to 24-17 on the first drive of the second half with a 34-yard field goal by junior kicker Joshua Rowland.
After trading punts, the Wildcats evened the score at 24-24 on a 2-yard touchdown run with 3:37 remaining in the quarter, closing out a short 34-yard, 6-play drive.
Kansas State regained the lead at 27-24 on a 33-yard field early in the fourth quarter.
After drives stalled for both the Horns and Wildcats, UT regained possession with 4:01 remaining in regulation at their own 31-yard line. Ehlinger quickly marched the Horns downfield, completing 5-of-10 passes for 46 yards and rushing for another six to the K-State 17, where Rowland knotted the game up, 27-27.
Kansas State took over with 1:32 and made an effort to get into field goal position, but Elliott ended the threat, intercepting Ertz at the UT 33 with 32 seconds left in regulation. It was Elliott’s fifth interception of the season and the third straight game with an interception.
Ehlinger again moved the Horns downfield, picking up 20 yards on a pass to Hemphill-Mapps, then rushing for 11 yards to set up a 45-yard field goal attempt. The attempt went wide right, and the game went into overtime.
The Horns rush defense continued its run of shutting down top-notch rushing offenses, holding a Kansas State team that averaged 5.7 yards per carry coming into the game to just 3.6 yards per carry.
Fifteen players registered tackles for Texas, led by sophomore defensive backs Brandon Jones‘ 11.
Texas continues the conference slate next Saturday in Dallas, when they will take on the rival Oklahoma Sooners in the annual AT&T Red River Showdown at the Cotton Bowl. The game will be broadcast on ABC or ESPN with kickoff set for 2:30 p.m. CT.
Source: Texas Sports
Powered by WPeMatico