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.
Texas must have really enjoyed that turkey on Thanksgiving because it certainly took a while before the Longhorns were able to rid themselves of tryptophan and wake up to play their Black Friday game against in-state rival Texas Tech.
The Red Raiders started quickly before the home side got back into things in Austin, with the burnt orange taking a 28-21 lead into the halftime break.
Keying the UT offensive attack was not surprisingly QB Sam Ehlinger, who has been the focal point of the team all season long amid a litany of injuries. The signal-caller put up 218 yards and a touchdown through the air while notching 64 more on the ground to go with a short run into the end zone as well. Roschon Johnson chipped in with 52 additional rushing yards and a touchdown while Daniel Jones crossed the goal line as well for a team that averaged nearly six yards a carry.
Despite playing through some cold and rainy weather elements, Texas Tech took the opposite approach by going to the air and attacking a banged up secondary down the field on nearly every play. Jett Duffey tossed two touchdowns for 232 yards — the bulk of which went to KeSean Carter (125 yards, 1 TD) and Erik Ezukanma (63 yards, 1 TD). Star wideout T.J. Vasher had a quiet first half numbers-wise with just three catches but he came close to several huge plays and looked like the best player on the field for the Red Raiders as he hopes to torment Texas one more time in his career.
The Longhorns are not out of the woods yet in this one as Tech is both fighting hard and taking advantage of all those weak spots on defense. It should make for a fun finish as both sides try to wrap up their regular seasons on a high note.
A messy start to the game proved to be too deep of a hole for No. 21 Oklahoma State (4-2, 1-2 Big 12) to climb out of against Texas Tech (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) on Saturday afternoon. The Red Raiders held off a rally by Oklahoma State in the second half to score its first win in Big 12 play this season with a 45-35 victory.
Texas Tech jumped out to a 20-0 lead on Oklahoma State in the first half thanks to a handful of Cowboys turnovers. The Red Raiders would go on to take a 45-21 lead midway through the fourth quarter when Jett Duffey completed a touchdown pass of 56 yards to Erik Ezukanma. Duffey had a big game for the offense with 424 passing yards and four touchdowns, and he added a rushing touchdown early in the game as well.
Aside from turnovers, of which Oklahoma State had five, one of the biggest problems for Oklahoma State was taking too long to get running back Chubba Hubbard going. Despite a relatively slow start to the game, Hubbard ended the afternoon with 156 yards and three touchdowns. But it was too little, too late for Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders was intercepted three times and fumbled twice.
The win by Texas Tech gives the Red Raiders their first back-to-back wins against Oklahoma State since winning three consecutive meetings from 2000 through 2002. However, this is the first time Texas Tech has defeated a ranked Oklahoma Stae in back-to-back meetings in the series history.
Texas Tech’s Riko Jeffers was ejected for targeting late in the fourth quarter, so he will miss the first half of next week’s game.
Texas Tech heads to Waco next week to take on Baylor (who entered this week with a clean 4-0 record). Coincidentally, Oklahoma State’s next game will also be against Baylor. Oklahoma State hosts the Bears in two weeks.