Collin Johnson

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Texas edges No. 16 Kansas State with last-second field goal

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The Texas Longhorns (6-3, 4-2 Big 12) are right back to thinking about a Big 12 title shot. Although Texas may still need a little help, a 27-24 victory over No. 16 Kansas State (6-3, 3-3 Big 12) now sits third in the Big 12 standings tied with Iowa State, who is playing Oklahoma tonight. A last-second field goal by Cameron Dicker lifted the Longhorns to a big win in conference play against the Wildcats.

Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger completed 22 of his 29 pass attempts for 263 yards and a touchdown with one interception. Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay each were responsible for 110 receiving yards and Johnson had the lone touchdown catch in the Texas passing game. Keaontay Ingram led all players with 139 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Kansas State took a 14-0 lead on their first two offensive possessions of the game but the offense went silent until the fourth quarter. But the only touchdown for the Wildcats since the first quarter came on a 98-yard kickoff return by Joshua Youngblood after Texas had taken a 24-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. Kansas State tied the game at 24-24 midway through the fourth quarter, but Ehlinger and Texas orchestrated a well-executed 13-play drive over 67 yards to set things up for a game-winning kick.

It wasn’t all positive headlines for Texas, however. Jalen Green ejected for targeting penalty in fourth quarter, and it was most certainly deserved.

Considering the viciousness of the hit, a suspension could absolutely be in play from the big 12 offices. But as things stand now, Green will be forced to miss the first half of the next game on the schedule for Texas, against Iowa State.

Texas keeps pace to stay in the thick of the Big 12 championship game hunt coming down the final stretch of the regular season. Baylor winning in triple overtime earlier in the day assured the Bears will remain in the top two after next week’s game against Oklahoma regardless of the outcome, but the Sooners own a head-to-head tiebreaker with Texas. The next couple of weeks should clear some things up for the Big 12 championship game picture, but a win today was significant for keeping hopes alive for the Longhorns.

Texas will visit Iowa State next week in a dangerous road trip in conference play. Kansas State will host a struggling West Virginia team that was blown out at home today by Texas Tech.

Quick start has No. 16 Kansas State leading Texas at halftime

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Looking to stay firmly in the thick of the Big 12 championship hunt, Kansas State is holding on to a lead at halftime against Texas. The Wildcats own a 14-7 lead on the Longhorns, who played for the Big 12 title last season,  thanks to two touchdown passes thrown by Skyler Thompson in the first quarter.

Kansas State got off to a quick start with a 70-yard touchdown pass from Thompson to Malik Knowles on a 3rd-and-5 on the third play fo the game. Texas proceeded to end its first offensive possession with a missed field goal, and Kansas State kept the pressure on with a second touchdown drive on the ensuing possession. Wykeen Gill hauled in a 19-yard pass from Thompson to give the visiting Wildcats a 14-0 lead.

After exchanging punts on the next two offensive series, Texas finally got on the board in the second quarter. Sam Ehlinger connected with Collin Johnson for a 21-yard touchdown to cut the Kansas State lea din half. The Wildcats fumbled in Texas territory on the next drive, but Texas was unable to move the football more than 11 yards before resorting to punting back to Kansas State. Faced with a 4th-and-14 at the Texas 42-yard line, Kansas State opted to play it safe and punted the ball down to the Texas 19-yard line.

A Kansas State win would keep them in third place in the Big 12 standings, knocking on the door step of playing for the Big 12 championship. But if Texas comes back, the big 12 race could quickly be trimmed down to a two-team race between Baylor and Oklahoma.

TCU picks Sam Ehlinger four times to beat No. 15 Texas

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TCU entered Saturday’s game with No. 15 Texas having forced five turnovers in six games. Sam Ehlinger entered with three interceptions in 255 attempts. Naturally, the Horned Frogs picked Ehlinger four times, and true freshman quarterback Max Duggan played a sensational second half to lead TCU to a 37-27 win in Fort Worth.

Ehlinger finished the day 22-of-48 for 321 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions, while Duggan overcame his early interception to go 19-of-27 for 273 yards and two touchdowns while rushing 13 times for a game-high 72 yards and the game-clinching touchdown.

The win is TCU’s (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) sixth in eight tries over Texas (5-3, 3-2 Big 12) — including three in a row in Fort Worth.

With the score knotted 20-20 with 4:25 to play in the third quarter, Ar’Darius Washington cut in front of a 3rd-and-7 Ehlinger pass at the Texas 44, TCU’s second pick of the day. The pick gave TCU a chance to take its second lead of the game and the Frogs immediately took advantage, as Jalen Reagor ran right pass cornerback D'Shawn Jamison and caught an easy 44-yard touchdown pass, putting the Frogs up 27-20.

Then, on the final play of the third quarter, TCU picked Ehlinger inside UT territory for the second time in the frame. It was truly a horrendous throw, as the junior forced a 2nd-and-13 throw to freshman tight end Jared Wiley; Trevon Moehrig had a better shot to catch it for TCU and catch it he did, handing TCU the ball at the Texas 36. The Texas defense held this time, forcing a 33-yard Jonathan Song field goal to go up 30-20 with 11:28 to play.

Needing a drive, Texas got one, as Ehlinger ran for two first downs over the course of 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that brought the Longhorns with 30-27 thanks to a 2-yard Roschon Johnson run with 6:50 to play.

A punt or even a field goal would have given Texas the ball with a chance to win the game, but instead the Frogs found pay dirt. True freshman Max Duggan converted a 3rd-and-11 from his own 24 with a 16-yard strike to John Stephens, Jr., and then hit the dagger — a 36-yard rainbow, on 3rd-and-14, in the face of a blitz, to Taye Barber, putting the ball at the Texas 11. Duggan did the deed himself one play later, putting TCU up 10 with 1:59 to play on a zone-read keeper.

Leading 3-0 in the first quarter, Texas appeared to take control when Brandon Jones became the first player to intercept Duggan and returned it near midfield, but freshman safety Tyler Owens was flagged for unnecessary roughness, taking the ball all the way back to the 12-yard line. That proved consequential when Garrett Wallow nabbed the first of Ehlinger’s quartet of interceptions at the Texas 32 and returned it to the 20, setting up Song’s 32-yard equalizer.

The score remained 3-3 until Duggan found Pro Wells for a 24-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-17, giving the Frogs a 10-3 lead at the 12:18 mark of the second quarter, a drive extended when nose guard Keondre Coburn erased a 3rd-and-5 incompletion by driving Duggan into the grass, drawing a drive-extending roughing call.

But as Duggan made up for his pick, so did Ehlinger, immediately responding by hitting Devin Duvernay for a 47-yard score, knotting the game at 10-10 with 10:57 to play in the half.

Texas then had another chance to take control of the game when Byron Vaughns forced Jalen Reagor to fumble on the ensuing kickoff, but the Longhorns could not capitalize as Ehlinger threw incomplete on 3rd-and-7 from the TCU 8 and Cameron Dicker‘s 26-yard field goal pushed wide left.

An exchange of punts gave TCU the ball at its own 2, but the Frogs got out of it when Duggan scrambled for 11 yards on 3rd-and-9 from his own 3, escaping a sack from Malcolm Roach deep inside his own end zone. The Frogs successfully flipped the field when Jake Smith muffed a punt, giving Texas the ball at its own 17. Taking over with 3:22 left before the half, Ehlinger marshaled an 8-play, 83-yard drive capped by a 17-yard toss to a wide open Keontay Ingram. Ehlinger closed the half 11-of-23 for 211 yards with two touchdowns and a pick, while Ingram totaled 77 yards on 12 touches.

TCU responded with a 52-yard field goal by Griffin Kell on the final play of the half — after Tom Herman iced an initial attempt that landed 20 yards wide.

Texas whiffed on another opportunity to take control early in the third quarter, when Duvernay ripped off a 63-yard catch, setting the ‘Horns up with a 1st-and-goal at the 6. Offensive pass interference on Collin Johnson (who otherwise played a sensational game with seven catches for 101 yards) pushed the ‘Horns backward and forced a 38-yard Dicker boot.

As has been so often the case in this increasingly-doomed Texas season, the defense surrendered the lead and did so quickly: a 51-yard bomb to Barber served as the key in a 5-play, 70-yard touchdown drive. Sewo Olonilua scored two plays after the Barber completion, and TCU never trailed again.

CeeDee Lamb, No. 6 OU defense too much for No. 11 Texas

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CeeDee Lamb caught three touchdowns and Alex Grinch‘s defense sacked Sam Ehlinger nine times, overcoming two first half Jalen Hurts turnovers to lead No. 6 Oklahoma to a 34-27 win over No. 11 Texas in Dallas.

Oklahoma (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) accepted the ball to open the game and rolled down the field, moving 66 yards in 10 plays and scoring on a fourth-and-goal toss from Hurts to Lamb from the 1.

The Sooners then forced a three-and-out on Texas’ first possession and appeared primed to push their early lead to 14-0 when Hurts turned a 3rd-and-5 keeper into a 27-yard run to the Texas 7, but review ruled Anthony Cook jarred the ball loose and D'Shawn Jamison hopped on the fumble for the Longhorns.

Texas (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) moved the ball out of the shadow of its own goal post and pushed into OU territory, but Kenneth Murray forced UT off the field with the Sooners’ second third-down sack of Ehlinger in as many possessions.

Starting at their own 5, Oklahoma rolled down the field, gashing the Texas defense with Hurts scrambles up the middle, but on 3rd-and-8 from the OU 11, Hurts committed his second red zone turnover of the first half — an ill-advised intercepted to Texas safety Brandon Jones. Once again, though, the Oklahoma defense held, surrendering one third-and-long completion but not a second, as Kenneth Murray swallowed an Ehlinger scramble on 3rd-and-11.

Texas finally forced an OU punt — giving OU three straight scoreless possessions for the first time all season — but Texas punted it right back as the Sooners sacked Ehlinger again on third and long.

Oklahoma reached the Texas red zone for the fourth time of the half, but was again turned away from the end zone as Hurts rushed for just two yards on 3rd-and-goal from the 4, forcing a 19-yard Gabe Brkic field goal with 1:49 left in the first half, and Texas finally got on the board when Cameron Dicker answered with his own 49-yarder to close the half.

On its second possession of the second half, Texas finally put a drive together, moving 93 yards in seven plays to level the game at 10-10 at the 8:48 mark of the third quarter. Ehlinger converted a 3rd-and-8 with a fling to Roschon Johnson for nine yards then, one play later, Johnson broke free for a 58-yard run to the OU 4. The true freshman converted quarterback finished the drive with a scoring rush one play after that.

On its heels for the first time all afternoon and having scored three points in its last five possessions, Oklahoma’s offense came alive for the first time since the opening drive. A 9-yard completion to Lamb turned into a 24-yard gain when Malcolm Roach was flagged and ejected for targeting and, after a run for no gain, Lamb hauled in a 51-yard flea-flicker for a touchdown, putting OU back up 17-10 just 63 seconds after Texas tied the game.

Looking to tie the game for a second time, Texas’ drive was an utter disaster. Devin Duvernay dropped a fair catch attempt, putting the ‘Horns at their own 5. Collin Johnson dropped a big gain on first down, and Brennan Eagles did the same on second down, leading to a Ryan Bujcevski punt that Lamb returned to Texas’ 38. Looking for a knockout blow, Oklahoma instead settled for a 34-yard Brkic field goal then, after another Texas punt, came up empty on a 4th-and-1 pass, giving Texas the ball in its best starting point of the game — its own 40. Thanks to a 23-yard Roschon Johnson run and two flags drawn by Collin Johnson, Texas pulled within 20-17 on a 2-yard Ehlinger keeper to close the third quarter.

With Texas back in striking distance, Oklahoma struck: six plays, 75 yards and a third Lamb touchdown, this one from 27 yards out as he broke several tackles after making the catch inside the 10. UT needed a score to stay in the game and the Longhorns got one in the form of a 32-yard Dicker field goal.

But Oklahoma, who scored from 75 yards out in three and six plays the two previous times Texas pulled close, needed only five snaps to score the capper — a 3-yard Hurts keeper with 4:19 to play.

Ehlinger pulled Texas back within a score with his second keeper of the day, a 4-yarder with 1:49 to play, but Texas could not recover the ensuing onside kick. The junior quarterback finished the day 26-of-38 for 210 yards with two rushing scores while enduring nine sacks.

In his first and only appearance inside the Cotton Bowl, Hurts hit 16-of-28 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns (all to Lamb) while carrying a game-high 16 times for 121 yards and a score. The Sooners out-rushed Texas 268-100.

Texas not ‘holding our breath’ for WR Collin Johnson’s return vs. West Virginia

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Even as the door hasn’t been completely slammed shut, don’t expect Collin Johnson back on the field the next time his Texas teammates do so.

Johnson suffered a hamstring injury in the season opener against Louisiana Tech that, even as he played through it in a Week 2 in the loss to LSU, has sidelined the fourth-year senior wide receiver for the Longhorns’ past two games. UT is on a bye this weekend, with their next contest scheduled for Oct. 5 against West Virginia.

Despite two weeks between games, Tom Herman doesn’t sound optimistic that Johnson will be healthy enough to take the field against the Mountaineers.

Following the WVU game, Texas will tangle with rival Oklahoma in its annual matchup at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

In two games this season, Johnson has totaled 108 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions.  Johnson led the Longhorns in receiving in 2017 (54-765) and was a second a year ago (68-985).

In early January, Johnson announced that he would be eschewing early entry into the 2019 NFL Draft and returning to Texas for his final season.