As the rain fell in Austin and the first quarter came to a close, many Texas fans wondered if this team had any fight left in them or if they were just focused on the latest Black Friday deals or recovery from a bit too much turkey on Thanksgiving.
It turns out the Longhorns did, even if the team got off to yet another slow start against an opponent they should have overwhelmed from the get-go. That eventually happened in a 49-24 win over in-state rival Texas Tech on Friday and leading the way were none other than the two offensive stars that have kept the program afloat for much of this season.
QB Sam Ehlinger was terrific with both his arm (348 yards, 2 TDs) and his legs (83 yards, 1 TD) in slicing up the Red Raiders defense. When the dual-threat wasn’t powering through for another first down on the ground, he probably was going to top target Devin Duvernay, who topped 100 catches for the year with a 199 yard, one score effort in his final outing at Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium.
Tailback Roschon Johnson chipped in with 105 yards and three touchdowns rushing as well as the ex-high school quarterback was even allowed to attempt a pass on a 4th quarter trick play (it was incomplete).
Despite the lopsided final score, Tech did have their chances but going only 3-of-5 in the red zone and turning the ball over twice hampered their efforts. QB Jett Duffey recorded 399 yards and two scores against a questionable secondary and did well to only take four sacks on the day given how much he was under pressure. SaRodorick Thompson notched 86 yards and a TD rushing while both KeSean Carter (150) and Erik Ezukanma (135) were over the century mark receiving with a score apiece.
It was all for not in the end however, as they closed out the first campaign under head coach Matt Wells at 4-8 with a number of encouraging close losses outside of this one. The flip side is that the result, amid a sparse crowd for the home finale, should help take at least a little of the heat Tom Herman has been feeling from his fan base after thumping a conference and in-state rival to move to 7-5. There’s still plenty to clean up for the ‘Horns but at least on Friday the team got back on track a little after looking like the wheels were going to fall off early.