Associated Press

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.

LaDainian Tomlinson creates endowment fund for TCU student-athletes

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One of the most famous players in TCU football history is giving back to his alma mater in a big way. LaDainian Tomlinson, former TCU running back, College Football and Pro Football Hall of Famer, has teamed up with TCU to roll out the Tomlinson Student-Athlete Development Endowment Fund to benefit student-athletes at TCU across all 21 sponsored sports.

“LaDainian Tomlinson epitomizes the values we hold dear to TCU and we could not be more proud to strengthen our relationship with him and his team in this joint venture,” TCU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jeremiah Donati said in a released statement. “We both understand how critically important student-athlete development programming can be in positively shaping the lives of young men and women long after their athletic careers are over.”

“Since retirement, I have been working with my team to find the very best opportunities to serve,” Tomlinson said in a released statement. “One of the greatest opportunities afforded me is certainly being a Trustee. As I’m already engaged in year-round leadership development in other sectors, we are in perfect alignment with TCU’s student-athlete development programs and ultimately support TCU’s Lead On initiative. I look forward to our teams working closely to help build elite citizens year-round. We have to train these young leaders how to do what we are asking them to do. Leadership is developed year-round, not in retreats or semesters. We have the opportunity to lead the nation, and I intend to help ensure we do just that through this partnership.”

According to TCU, the fund will collect funds through private donations and go toward helping to support TCU student-athletes in preparing them for life and careers after graduating from the university. In short, Tomlinson is leading the charge to help make sure a TCU student-athlete has a successful path to a career after playing their last games for the university. For a program that has continued to grow as TCU has from the days of playing in the WAC, Conference USA, and the Mountain West Conference and now in the Big 12, this is a noble effort to help those who suit up in a TCU sports uniform that continue to be a part of the growing program.

It’s always cool seeing star players find ways to give back to their universities. TCU has certainly grown as a program since Tomlinson last took a handoff for the Horned Frogs in the WAC in 2000. The two-time WAC Offensive Player of the Year has wasted no time in cementing his spot in the TCU family since his departure for a hall of fame NFL career by serving on the TCU board of trustees.

LSU to approve Ed Orgeron’s contract extension and raise this week

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Coming off his best season as a head coach, Ed Orgeron will officially get a nice new raise from LSU this year. According to a report from The Advocate, citing information gathered from the agenda for an upcoming board meeting, Orgeron is set to officially receive a two-year extension with a $4 million contract.

The new contract would extend Orgeron through the 2023 season and increase his buyout price tag to $10 million this year, with a reduction in buyout cost of $250,000 each month until it drops to $4 million in 2021.

Naturally, the new contract will come with plenty of incentives for Orgeron for various milestones and achievements during any season. The contracts for new assistant coaches will also be on the agenda for the board. It is expected the board will approve all football contracts on the agenda without hassle. These votes are merely formalities in many cases, including this one for LSU.

According to a database of coaching salaries compiled by USA Today last year, Orgeron was paid $3.5 million by LSU, which ranked him 36th among coaches active last season and 10th among SEC coaches. After coming off his third year as head coach of the program and with a contract that was set to expire in 2021, the time to work out a new deal feels about right for LSU and Orgeron. Tacking on two more years now provides job security and allows Orgeron and his staff to sell recruits on the commitment the program has in Orgeron moving forward for the bulk of their college football career in the years to come.

Since taking over as head coach following Les Miles, Orgeron has a record of 25-9 in the past three seasons in Baton Rouge. That is highlighted by a 2-1 bowl record that includes last season’s Fiesta Bowl victory over UCF. It is easily Orgeron’s best run as ahead coach in his career, which includes a 10-25 mark at Ole Miss and a brief 6-2 stint at USC before he left the program after learning he had no chance to become the next head coach of the Trojans.

Michigan DL Reuben Jones announces plan to transfer from Wolverines

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Michigan senior defensive lineman Reuben Jones will play out the final year of his eligibility someplace other than Ann Arbor. On Monday, Jones announced he will move on from the Wolverines as a graduate transfer after the spring semester wraps up.

“After this semester, I will be graduating and also leaving the University of Michigan while becoming the best me on and off the field,” Jones said in a statement shared on his Twitter account Monday afternoon.

Jones appeared in four games for the Wolverines in 2018. The former three-star recruit in Michigan’s Class of 2015 has only played in two seasons and continues to be buried on the depth chart. As a graduate transfer, however, he will have the opportunity to play immediately this fall for any college football program that welcomes him. It will be the final year of his eligibility, however, so he will certainly be hoping to find a place that can afford to give him more of a crack at a meaningful role as he closes out his college football career.

Players-skipping-bowl-games trend hits college basketball

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In just two years, players skipping minor bowl games has become an accepted practice in college football. In part, the tradition, for lack of a better word, has now reached a point where future first-round picks are now announcing that, yes, they will play in their team’s New Year’s Six game before ultimately turning pro.

And now it’s spread to basketball.

Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson on Monday revealed Hogs small forward Daniel Gafford will skip his team’s bid in the NIT to prepare for this summer’s NBA draft.

A sophomore from El Dorado, Ark., Gafford averaged 16.9 points and 8.6 rebounds in just under 29 minutes per game this season. He’s viewed as a fringe first-round pick, and, clearly, he thinks getting a jumpstart on the Combine process will help him secure the guaranteed contract that comes with such a selection.

This is the second trend to jump from college football to basketball in recent years. Following the relative success of ESPN’s Tuesday night College Football Playoff ranking shows, the NCAA’s started revealing its top-16 seeds for the men’s and women’s tournaments in-season recently as well.