Collin Johnson

Associated Press

Joe Burrow, No. 6 LSU outgun No. 9 Texas in shootout

26 Comments

On a 3rd-and-17, with a six point lead and two and a half minutes left in the game, the old LSU would have run the ball, punted and played defense. The old LSU is dead, and the new one is pretty damn scary.

On that 3rd-and-17, Joe Burrow faced a blitz, stepped up and found Justin Jefferson, who raced 61 yards for a touchdown that clinched the No. 6 Tigers’ 45-31 win over No. 9 Texas in Austin.

Burrow played the game of his life, completing 31-of-39 passes for 471 yards with four touchdowns, the second-most passing yards in LSU history, while in the process producing three 100-yard receivers for the first time in LSU history. The trio of Jefferson, JaMarr Chase and Terrace Marshall, Jr. simply torched the Texas secondary, as Jefferson caught snared nine passes for 163 yards and three touchdowns, Chase caught eight for 147 and Marshall caught six for 123 and a score of his own.

Sam Ehlinger posted a career night of his own, throwing for 407 yards, rushing for 60 and accounting for five touchdowns, but it was a play he didn’t make that set the early tone.

LSU opened the scoring with a 36-yard Cade York field goal, but the Longhorns appeared in position to take the lead when Brennan Eagles hauled in a 26-yard pass to put the ball at the LSU 8 on UT’s second possession. The ‘Horns moved the ball to the 2 when Tom Herman characteristically rolled the fourth down dice, which saw Ehlinger find a wide open Keaontay Ingram in the end zone, who promptly dropped the ball.

The Texas defense gave its offense the ball right back, though, when linebacker Joseph Ossai caught a tipped Burrow pass and took it to the LSU 4, but again Texas was denied. This time, Ehlinger ran for two yards on first down and appeared to get in on second, but replay ruled him down inside the 1. The Tigers stuffed Ingram on third down, then stoned Ehlinger on fourth — thereby turning eight snaps in goal-to-go situations into zero points.

After Texas forced an LSU punt, Ehlinger tried two unsuccessful deep shots, then hit on a third when Kristian Fulton misjudged a ball and a wide open Eagles hauled it in to race 55 yards for a touchdown, putting the ‘Horns up 7-3 at the 10:29 mark of the second quarter. The play was Texas’ first of 50-plus yards since the 2017 season.

LSU answered with its best drive of the half: 75 yards in eight plays, most of them Burrow to Jefferson, who had grabs of 17, 12 and six yards, the last of which resulted in a third-and-goal touchdown, shoving LSU back ahead 10-7 at the exact midpoint of the second quarter.

After a Texas punt, Burrow again charged LSU down the field, but this time an Ossai third down sack forced a 33-yard York field goal with 1:41 left in the first half. Texas used two timeouts in forcing that field goal, a move that backfired when its offense went three-and-out and LSU took over at its own 42 with 1:13 still left. They would need only 26 seconds. Three straight Burrow completions, the last to Jefferson from 21 yards out, gave LSU a commanding 20-7 halftime lead.

Teetering on the brink of blowout territory, Texas answered the bell to open the second half. The ‘Horns’ defense forced a three-and-out to open the third quarter, and then the offense went on a 2018-esque 19-play, 86-yard touchdown drive (that saw four stoppages due to injured LSU players) that this time around ended in a successful 2-yard Ehlinger plunge.

After a third York field goal, Texas again drove the length of the field on a winded and bruised Tiger defense, moving 75 yards in seven plays and scoring on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Ehlinger to Jake Smith on a third-and-10, pulling UT within 23-21 with 2:36 left in the third quarter.

And at that point, a game that began an SEC slobber-knocker turned into a Big 12 track meet.

LSU zipped down the field 75 yards in six plays, scoring on a 26-yard strike from Burrow to Marshall. Texas zipped right back, going 75 yards in seven plays and scoring when Devin Duvernay caught a slant on 4th-and-2, slipped a tackle and sprinted 44 yards for a touchdown that brought Texas back within 30-28 with 12:09 to play.

When Texas pulled close, LSU again pulled away with yet another 6-play, 75-yard drive. Clyde Edwards-Hellaire did the damage this time with a 12-yard run to push the cushion to 37-28 with 9:58 remaining.

On the ensuing possession, Texas finally blinked. And by blinked, they broke a string of four straight touchdown drives (and three touchdowns in their last three possessions) by settling for a 47-yard Cameron Dicker field goal to cut the deficit to six with 3:59 left.

After an incompletion on 1st-and-10, Brandon Jones sacked Burrow on 2nd-and-10 to set up a 3rd-and-17 with 2:27 to play, needing only one stop to potentially send its offense on the field with a chance to win the game. Instead, Jefferson beat single coverage from Texas safety Caden Sterns and was off to the races.

Texas answered with another Ehlinger-to-Duvernay touchdown, but it came with just 22 seconds remaining.

The Longhorns had a golden opportunity to recover the onside kick, but the ball rolled off Collin Johnson‘s fingertips and he could not recover the ball, allowing LSU to hold on for the win.

LSU in control of things in Austin through one half

Associated Press
Leave a comment

Joe Burrow has outdueled Sam Ehlinger through one half, and as a result LSU has a 20-7 lead over Texas at the break in Austin.

LSU opened the scoring with a 36-yard Cade York field goal, but Texas appeared in position to take the lead when Brennan Eagles hauled in a 26-yard pass to put the ball at the LSU 8. The ‘Horns moved the ball to the 2 when Tom Herman elected to go for a fourth down. Ehlinger found a wide open Keaontay Ingram, who got his hands on the ball but could not haul it in.

The Texas defense gave its offense the ball right back when linebacker Joseph Ossai caught a tipped Burrow pass and took it to the LSU 4, but again Texas was denied. Ehlinger ran for two yards on first down and appeared to get in on second, but replay ruled him down inside the 1. The Tigers stuffed Ingram on third down, then stoned Ehlinger on fourth — thereby turning eight snaps in goal-to-go situations into zero points.

After Texas forced an LSU punt, Ehlinger tried two unsuccessful deep shots, then hit on a third when Kristian Fulton misjudged a ball and a wide open Eagles hauled it in to race 55 yards for a touchdown, putting the ‘Horns up 7-3 at the 10:29 mark of the second quarter. The play was Texas’ first of 50-plus yards since the 2017 season.

LSU answered with its best drive of the half: 75 yards in eight plays, most of them Burrow to Justin Jefferson, who had grabs of 17, 12 and six yards, the last of which resulted in a third-and-goal touchdown, shoving LSU back ahead 10-7 at the exact midpoint of the second quarter.

After a Texas punt, Burrow again charged LSU down the field, but this time an Ossai third down sack forced a 33-yard York field goal with 1:41 left in the first half. Texas used two timeouts in forcing that field goal, a move that backfired when its offense went three-and-out and LSU took over at its own 42 with 1:13 still left. They would need only 26 seconds. Three straight Burrow completions, the last to Jefferson from 21 yards out, gave LSU a commanding 20-7 halftime lead.

Burrow closed the half hitting 16-of-21 passes for 220 yards with two touchdowns and one tipped interception, while Ehlinger was 9-of-19 for 136 yards and a score with just six yards on the ground. Collin Johnson has been shutout, while Jefferson hauled in six balls for 83 yards and two scores.

Sam Ehlinger throws four TDs as No. 10 Texas tops LaTech, eyes showdown with No. 6 LSU next week

Getty Images
8 Comments

No. 10 Texas’ opponent on Saturday night was Louisiana Tech but the minds of many in Austin probably were looking ahead to the matchup against No. 6 LSU in the same stadium next week. For just a little bit early on, it seemed like the Longhorns were too.

Eventually though, Tom Herman’s team shook off a relatively slow start and dispatched the Bulldogs 45-14 to turn the page on their season opener and move onto a week full of cleaning up little issues before the big showdown.

Quarterback Sam Ehlinger did look sharp in his first action since declaring that UT was indeed “back,” throwing for 276 yards and four touchdowns in about three quarters worth of work. He had a fairly light load carrying the ball as one would expect in a game against an overmatched CUSA team and rushed just eight times for 34 yards before giving way to backup Casey Thompson.

10 different receivers wound up catching a pass, highlighted by two scores from Brennan Eagles and one touchdown apiece from Devin Duvernay and Collin Johnson. The rushing attack was limited given the number of injuries in the backfield but Keaontay Ingram shook off his training camp injury to rush for 78 yards and a trip to the end zone.

LaTech was able to move the ball on their trip to the state capital though, putting up 413 yards of total offense and looked feisty until the final minutes. QB J’Mar Smith threw for 331 of those yards and tossed a pair of touchdowns against one interception. Given that the Bulldogs couldn’t really run the football effectively, it wasn’t a bad outing against a team ranked in the top 10 on the road.

The eyes of Texas — and the nation — will, however, be looking ahead to next week after LSU breezed past Georgia Southern 55-4 earlier in the night over in Baton Rouge. The old regional rivals both took care of business as expected even if the Longhorns needed a little bit more time to get going to open their highly anticipated 2019 campaign.

No. 10 Texas sluggish early before pulling away from Louisiana Tech before halftime

Getty Images
2 Comments

One probably can’t blame Texas for looking ahead to their mega-matchup with LSU next week in Austin but Tom Herman is unlikely to be a fan of his team’s rather sluggish early start to the 2019 season against Louisiana Tech on Saturday night.

The Longhorns did not seem to be in any danger of pulling a Tennessee in the matchup against the CUSA program but did not exactly scream being a top 10 program either in easing into their 24-0 lead heading into halftime.

That’s not to say UT didn’t have their moments through the first two quarters, just that they were far from as sharp as they should have been given the level of competition. QB Sam Ehlinger was efficient however in throwing for 173 yards and three touchdowns, including one apiece to top targets Devin Duvernay and Collin Johnson. The signal-caller also rushed for 31 yards but was helped out by tailback Keaontay Ingram, who looked pretty healthy in racking up 52 yards on the ground.

Though Texas’ defense gave up nearly five yards per play in the half, they also had their moments in recovering a fumble, pulling down an interception, notching a sack and forcing several third down stops.

The Bulldogs may not have gotten on the scoreboard but they certainly were playing fearless against one of the Big 12 favorites. Quarterback J’Mar Smith threw for 139 yards (one pick) and was the focal point of the LaTech offense despite not having much room to operate. He kept the changes moving with several third down conversions however and spread the ball around to six different receivers by the break.

We’ll see how the rest of this one plays out but it doesn’t seem like Herman and company are truly rounding into form just yet to kick off their 2019. The good news is they have a second half to correct that and truly put the pedal to the metal down on Saturday night.

Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy headlines 2019 Biletnikoff Award Watch List

Getty Images
4 Comments

Media Day season is also Watch List season and the latest to surface for the 2019 campaign comes out of Tallahassee in the form of the Biletnikoff Award Watch List. The award, given annually to the nation’s most outstanding receiver, includes the defending winner in Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and fellow semifinalist Tylan Wallace out of Oklahoma State, as well as a number of other talented pass-catchers from around the country.

Here’s the full list, which is a good general overview of the best wide receivers and tight ends for the upcoming season even if a few names can gripe about being left off:

Lynn Bowden, Jr. (Kentucky)

Rico Bussey, Jr. (North Texas)

Cedric Byrd (Hawaii)

Grant Calcaterra (Oklahoma)

Damonte Coxie (Memphis)

Gabriel Davis (UCF)

Bryan Edwards (South Carolina)

D’Wayne Eskridge (Western Michigan)

Aaron Fuller (Washington)

Antonio Gandy-Golden (Liberty)

KJ Hamler (Penn State)

Adrian Hardy (Louisiana Tech)

Damon Hazelton (Virginia Tech)

Tee Higgins (Clemson)

K.J. Hill (Ohio State)

Isaiah Hodgins (Oregon State)

Justin Jefferson (LSU)

Jerry Jeudy (Alabama)

Tyler Johnson (Minnesota)

Collin Johnson (Texas)

CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma)

Ty Lee (Middle Tennessee State)

Kalija Lipscomb (Vanderbilt)

McLane Mannix (Texas Tech)

Kirk Merritt (Arkansas State)

Riley Miller (Ball State)

Denzel Mims (Baylor)

Darnell Mooney (Tulane)

Rondale Moore (Purdue)

Albert Okwuegbunam (Missouri)

K.J. Osborn (Miami)

Dezmon Patmon (Washington State)

Jared Pinkney (Vanderbilt)

Michael Pittman, Jr. (USC)

James Proche (SMU)

Jalen Reagor (TCU)

Jared Rice (Fresno State)

Sean Riley (Syracuse)

Reggie Roberson, Jr. (SMU)

Justyn Ross (Clemson)

Henry Ruggs III (Alabama)

Laviska Shenault, Jr. (Colorado)

JD Spielman (Nebraska)

Amon-Ra St. Brown (USC)

Marquez Stevenson (Houston)

Tamorrion Terry (Florida State)

Jaylen Waddle (Alabama)

Tylan Wallace (Oklahoma State)

JoJo Ward (Hawaii)

Quez Watkins (Southern Miss)