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Big 12 upset brewing in Austin? Longhorns tied 7-7 with Oklahoma State at half

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Don’t hit the upset alarm just yet, but No. 10 Oklahoma State is in a bit of a defensive battle on the road against the Texas Longhorns. After one half of play, the Cowboys and Longhorns are knotted at seven points apiece to set the stage for an interesting second half of play in Austin.

J.D. King gave Oklahoma State a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a seven-yard touchdown run. It came on Oklahoma State’s third possession of the game and at the end of a 96-yard drive. The next time the Cowboys had the football, another long drive for points was stalled when Justice Hill lost a fumble at the Texas 14-yard line. The Longhorns capitalized on the turnover by orchestrating a quick three-play 86-yard touchdown drive. Sam Ehlinger completed a 90-yard pass to John Burt on a 2nd and 16 and then Ehlinger took it in himself from two yards out on the next play to tie the game at 7-7.

No. 12 Oklahoma hangs on to beat Texas and remain in Big 12, CFP races

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What looked at the beginning looked like a familiar rout turned into an instant classic. No. 12 Oklahoma looked like it was primed to blow out an undermanned and unprepared Texas but instead found itself overcoming a fourth quarter deficit as Baker Mayfield‘s touchdown pass to Mark Andrews pushed the Sooners over the Longhorns, 29-24.

Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) roared out of the gate of Saturday’s Red River affair, mounting a 20-0 lead before Texas could mount so much as a serious drive. Mayfield’s second pass of the game was a perfectly-placed 54-yard rainbow to Jeff Badet for a touchdown. Rodney Anderson glided in untouched for a 15-yard scoring run, and a pair of Austin Seibert field goals staked the Sooners to a 20-point edge.

But Texas (3-3, 2-1 Big 12) finally woke in the second quarter, set up by a 41-yard Kyle Porter kickoff return and completed on a 16-yard screen pass from Sam Ehlinger to Porter. The Sooners were driving just before the half in an attempt to stretch the lead back to 20, but John Bonney became the first defender to intercept Mayfield this season on a 4th-and-3 pass. That allowed Texas to mount a responding drive, as Joshua Rowland knocked in a 34-yard field goal to pull the Longhorns with 10 at the half.

Texas nearly intercepted Mayfield again on the first possession of the second half, but linebacker Breckyn Hager could not corral the pass that hit him in the numbers, and Seibert’s third field goal pushed the lead to 23-10.

Texas moved 75 yards in 13 plays, largely on Ehlinger’s legs, on the ensuing possession, and Chris Warren‘s 1-yard run, aided by Ehlinger pushing him across the goal line, cut the lead to 23-17 with 4:27 to play in the third quarter. The Longhorns were primed to take the lead when Ehlinger had Devin Duvernay streaking uncovered down the sideline, but his 42-yard pass carried the receiver out of bounds and the ‘Horns turned the ball over on downs. No matter, Texas moved 73 yards in eight plays to take the lead on an 8-yard Ehlinger (278 passing yards to go with a game-high 106 yards on 22 carries) run with 8:01 to play.

After spending the entire second half in a slumber, Oklahoma’s offense awakened when it had to do so. Mayfield found a wide open Andrews for a 59-yard touchdown. Mayfield’s 2-point pass to Andrews sailed out of bounds, forcing the Sooners to defend a 29-24 lead with 6:53 to play. Playing his fourth and (probably) final game against Texas, Mayfield finished 17-of-27 for 302 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

Ehlinger led Texas to midfield but left the game after banging his head on the Cotton Bowl turf, and Shane Buechele entered and took the ball to the Sooners’ 31-yard line with 2:45 to play. Texas would get no further though, as Buchele was sacked and a pair of penalties pushed the Longhorns’ into 2nd- and 3rd-and-long. Ehlinger fired incomplete on third and fourth downs, and Texas did not get the ball back until the 49-second mark at their own 3-yard line. With no timeouts remaining, Texas moved to midfield but no further, and Oklahoma had its sixth Red River win in the last eight years.

Sam Ehlinger leads Texas past Kansas State in double OT

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Sam Ehlinger made his third start at quarterback for Texas on Saturday night. He earned the right to make a whole lot more.

The true freshman from Austin led Texas from two 10-point deficits and a fourth quarter hole to overcome Kansas State, 40-34 in double overtime. He carried Texas on his back for almost the entire game, plus two extra frames, hitting 30-of-50 throws for 380 yards with two touchdowns and one interception while leading the ‘Horns with 107 yards on 20 carries.

But before Ehlinger could have his triumph, he had to have his struggle. His first throw of the game was intercepted, and an incomplete pass on fourth-and-goal set up a 10-0 Kansas State lead in the second quarter.

Kansas State took advantage of Ehlinger’s fourth down misfire with an 82-yard play-action strike from Jesse Ertz to Dalton Schoen (a game-high five grabs for 128 yards and two touchdowns), completing a 14-point swing from 7-3 Texas to 10-0 Kansas State.

Texas also faced a 10-point deficit at 17-7 but roared back to close the second half with two straight touchdown drives, the last of which closed on a 1-yard Porter run with 16 seconds left before the half to give the Longhorns a 21-17 lead at the break.

The Longhorns opened the half with a stop and seemed in position to notch a third straight touchdown drive until Chris Warren, who caught a 33-yard touchdown in the first half, dropped a shovel pass on 3rd-and-3, forcing Texas to settle for a 34-yard Joshua Rowland field goal.

Kansas State marched the field on its next possession, keyed by an injury to Ertz. Ertz left the game with a dinged elbow and was replaced by spark plug backup Alex Delton, who rushed for the final 19 yards of the drive to tie it at 24-24 with 3:37 to play in the third quarter, then carried the share of the load on a 74-yard march to set up Matthew McCrane‘s second field goal of the game at the 12:19 mark of the fourth quarter

Texas put together yet another lengthy drive, killing half the available time, but Texas stalled in the red zone and Rowland’s game-tying 27-yard chip shot sailed wide right. Kansas State put its offense on the field, up 27-24 with 5:43 to play, but, rather than putting the game away, the Wildcats punted the ball away after a three-and-out.

Ehlinger passed or rushed on every one of Texas’s 11 plays for 52 yards, moving from the Texas 31 to the K-State 17 and setting up Rowland’s redemption chance from 34 yards out, which he made to tie the game at 27-27 with 1:37 to play.

Ertz (12-of-18 for 224 yards) replaced Delton for Kansas State’s final drive of regulation, but the Wildcats’ push to win the game in regulation ended in a deep interception to Texas safety DeShon Elliott, his fifth pick in his last three games.

Ehlinger, again, accounted for all 39 Texas yards to move Rowland in position for a 45-yard game winner with six seconds left and he, again, missed it.

Texas accepted the ball to open overtime and scored on its first snap, a 25-yard strike from Ehlinger to Jerrod Heard. Kansas State needed only four plays to answer. Alex Barnes rushed for 20 yards to give the Wildcats a first-and-goal, and Delton pushed the game to double overtime with his second rushing score. Despite not playing at all until the fourth quarter, Delton led the Wildcats with 79 yards on 12 carries while hitting 2-of-5 passes for 30 yards.

Kansas State (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) briefly secured a first-and-goal at the top of the second overtime, but two holding calls and an incomplete passed forced a 53-yard field goal try for McCrane, who missed it off the left upright.

With its third chance to win the game, Texas (3-2, 2-0 Big 12) secured the win when Warren carried a mass of humanity into the end zone on third-and-goal from the two.

Though Ehlinger looked every bit like the Next Big Thing in Austin, Texas has had a lot of Next Big Things since Colt McCoyGarrett GilbertDavid AshTyrone SwoopesJerrod Heard and, yes, Shane Buechele each had their moments, but that’s all they turned out to be — moments. Ehlinger will have to prove his moment can turn into a movement, first in practice and then starting again with next week’s opponent: Oklahoma.

Texas faces early deficit but fights back to lead Kansas State at the break

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Sam Ehlinger made his third start for Texas, and through one half has played like a guy who should make a lot more. After throwing an interception on his first pass and facing two 10-point deficits, Ehlinger led Texas on a 14-0 run to close the half and put the Longhorns in the locker room with a 21-17 lead.

The key play of the half came on a score that wasn’t. Kyle Porter rushed in from the 2-yard line on the 14th play of Texas’s third possession in a play that was originally ruled a touchdown, but was overturned upon review. Ehlinger lost yardage on his 3rd-and-goal rush, then threw incomplete on fourth down.

Kansas State drew a pass interference call on Texas cornerback Holton Hill to gain some breathing room away from its own goal line on 3rd-and-11 from its own 2, then took advantage on an 82-yard play-action strike to Dalton Schoen, completing a 14-point swing from 7-3 Texas to 10-0 Kansas State.

Texas mounted another long drive in response and completed it this time, moving 71 yards in 12 plays, as Porter scored on a 1-yard plunge.

The Wildcats had no trouble dicing the Texas defense again on the next possession, putting together a 75-yard march in seven plays, culminating in another scoring strike to Schoen to stake K-State to a 17-7 lead with 6:29 before the break.

Texas, in turn, had no trouble moving through Kansas State’s defense for the third straight possession. Ehlinger led Texas 78 yards in six snaps, the last 33 on a wheel route completion to running back Chris Warren for a touchdown at the 3:25 mark.

After forcing a punt by Kansas State, Texas used all but the final 16 seconds remaining of the half to take its first lead on another 1-yard Porter run.

Though Porter was the one finishing drives, the freshman Ehlinger did the lion’s share of the work. He closed the half hitting 15-of-21 passes for 189 yards while leading the club with nine carries for 59 yards. Fellow freshman Toneil Carter leads the running backs with 32 yards on six attempts.

Jesse Ertz has gotten what he wanted in the passing game, connecting on 7-of-11 passes for 169 yards and two scores; Schoen has three grabs for 100 yards and both of the scores. Kansas State managed just 16 yards on 14 credited rushes.

Kansas State will receive to open the second half.

Shane Buechele in a walking boot with a sprained ankle, not expected to miss practice time

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Shane Buechele returned to the lineup on Thursday night after missing two games due to an injury, and immediately suffered another injury.

Buechele missed Texas’s win over San Jose State and loss to USC with a shoulder sprain, but returned in the Longhorns’ 17-7 defeat of Iowa State. Playing behind a severely depleted offensive line, Buechele completed 19-of-26 passes for 171 yards with a touchdown and an interception while rushing 13 times for 42 yards. He took every snap at quarterback.

On Saturday, Texas announced that Buechele sustained a sprained ankle in the win and has donned a walking boot, but is not expected to miss practice time (or, presumably, game time).

The fact that Buechele is less than 100 percent brings to question how effective he can be Saturday against Kansas State. Tom Herman‘s offense is not effective without the quarterback run game, particularly at a time when the Longhorns are playing without three of their best run blockers in offensive linemen Connor Williams and Elijah Rodriguez and tight end Andrew Beck.

Buechele has rushed 28 times for 63 yards and a touchdown in his two games, while Sam Ehlinger has carried 26 times for 58 yards in his two starts.