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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.

No. 15 Texas leading TCU at the break

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No. 15 Texas holds a 17-13 lead over TCU at the half in Fort Worth.

Leading 3-0 in the first quarter, Texas appeared to take control when Brandon Jones became the first player to intercept TCU freshman Max 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 intercepted Sam Ehlinger at the Texas 32 and returned it to the 20, setting up Jonathan 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 will receive to open the second half.

No. 11 Texas loses two starting DBs for a month, a third for longer, backup LB for the season

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Coming into this season, Texas really liked its depth in the secondary. Heading into the meat of the Big 12 schedule, that faith is about to be tested.

Tom Herman confirmed Monday that Texas will be without starting cornerback Jalen Green and starting safety Caden Sterns for the next month and safety Josh Thompson for even longer. All three were injured during the No. 11 Longhorns’ 36-30 win over Oklahoma State.

Those injuries were in addition to the injuries already sustained by starting nickelback BJ Foster and back-up safety DeMarvion Overshown, who both missed Saturday’s game.

Additionally, freshman linebacker Marcus Tillman, Jr., will miss the remainder of the season with an MCL sprain.

The Green injury is especially painful for Texas given the circumstances that led to it. The ‘Horns were set to take a 21-13 lead into halftime when, with 45 seconds left in the second quarter, punt returner Jake Smith muffed a punt at his own 15-yard line, which Oklahoma State recovered. Forced to defend an extra possession, Green dislocated his shoulder attempting to tackle Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard and did not return to the game. Adding insult to injury, Oklahoma State scored on the possession. (Though Texas obviously won the game.)

Sterns led the Longhorns with 12 tackles on Saturday but left the field seated upright in a cart after spraining a ligament in his knee. Sterns also missed Texas’ win over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl due to a knee injury and sat out spring practice recuperating the knee.

Texas is off this week, accounting for one of the weeks Sterns, Green and Thompson will miss. That’s the good news. The bad: all are certain to miss the ‘Horns Oct. 12 date with No. 6 Oklahoma.

No. 12 Texas opens Big 12 play by halting home losing streak to Oklahoma State

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In a game that was both as close as the final score and not, No. 12 Texas survived a game effort from Oklahoma State, 36-30.

Sam Ehlinger picked up a battered defense, completing 20-of-28 passes for 281 yards with four touchdowns and an interception while rushing 10 times for 70 yards. Keontay Ingram complimented his quarterback by carrying a season-high 21 times for 114 yards.

Texas (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) snapped a 5-game home losing streak to Oklahoma State (3-1, 0-1 Big 12), a Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium opponent record. However, the Cowboys showed flashes of a team that will compete in the Big 12 this year, as Spencer Sanders threw for 268 yards and rushed for 109 yards and a score.

Both teams put up near 500-yard efforts (498 for Texas, 494 for OSU) and were at times their own worst enemies. Oklahoma State kicked two short field goals and came up empty on two deep trips inside Texas territory, while the Longhorns muffed two different punts, both of which turned into Cowboy touchdowns.

Oklahoma State accepted the ball to open the game and, after converting an opening 3rd-and-11 on a 20-yard completion to Tylan Wallace, moved 78 yards to the Texas 1, but two Chuba Hubbard runs were turned away and the Cowboys settled for a 20-yard Matt Ammendola field goal.

Texas moved 35 yards over nine snaps on its first chance, but Texas punted from the Oklahoma State 40. After its defense forced a three-and-out, the Longhorn offense moved the ball again, this time going 66 yards in nine plays to take the lead on a 6-yard toss from Ehlinger to Devin Duvernay on the opening play of the second quarter.

Texas then seized control of the game when safety Montrell Estell caught a Sanders overthrow and returned it 37 yards to the Oklahoma State 28, and two plays later Ehlinger hit freshman Jake Smith for a 17-yard touchdown to put UT up 14-3 with 12:42 left in the first half.

Sanders moved past the interception by finding Wallace for a 35-yard gain to the Texas 38, but the Oklahoma State drive stalled when the Pokes ran Hubbard for a loss of four on 3rd-and-8 from the UT 26, leading to another Ammendola field goal.

Texas looked to increase its lead on its next touch, a 36-yard drive, but Roschon Johnson was stuffed for a loss of one on a 4th-and-3 from the OSU 28. Now trailing 14-6, Sanders hit Braydon Johnston for a 55-yard bomb to the Texas 3, then after two backwards runs, ran it in himself on third-and-goal to pull the Cowboys within 14-13 with 3:07 left in the first half.

That margin wouldn’t last, though, as Ehlinger hit Brennan Eagles for a 73-yard catch-and-run touchdown, pushing the Texas lead to 21-13 with 2:09 left in the first half. The ‘Horns forced an Oklahoma State punt and appeared in position to sit on the ball until halftime, but Smith muffed the Tom Hutton punt at his own 15, which Oklahoma State recovered. Hubbard charged in a 1-yard run with 11 seconds to go to put the score at 21-20 at halftime.

Oklahoma State forced another plus-territory punt to open the second half, then swiftly drove 74 yards. After Sanders was stopped for a 2-yard run a 3rd-and-4 from the Texas 11, Mike Gundy played it safe and called for another short Ammendola field goal, giving Oklahoma State its second lead of the game at 23-21.

It wouldn’t last. Texas moved 75 yards in seven plays, scoring on a 25-yard fake reverse throwback from Ehlinger to tight end Cade Brewer, putting Texas up 28-23 with 5:30 left in the third quarter.

Oklahoma State once again drove into the Texas red zone, but this time they came up empty. Sanders ran for 10 yards on a 3rd-and-11 from the Longhorns’ 13, a spot that seemed favorable to Texas and replay could not overturn. Gundy rolled the dice this time and paid for it when Hubbard was stuffed for a loss of a yard.

Texas quickly moved the ball out of the shadow of its own goal post, but on a 3rd-and-7 from his own 33 Ehlinger’s pass was tipped and intercepted by safety Kolby Harvell-Peel, who returned the ball 22 yards to the Texas 31. Given another chance to take the lead, Oklahoma State again came up empty. This time, after Sanders fired incomplete with room to run on 2nd-and-1 and Hubbard was again stuffed on 3rd-and-1, and the Pokes had been flagged for delay of game, Gundy tried a fake field goal which turned into a fumble that Texas’s Malcolm Roach recovered.

Given a second chance to step on the gas, this time Texas capitalized. A pair of Oklahoma State penalties and a 26-yard Ingram catch-and-run put Texas to the Cowboy 2, and converted quarterback Roschon Johnson punched in the score and then a 2-point conversion, putting Texas up 36-23 with 11:44 to play. The Longhorns had a real chance to put the game in a choke hold when safety Chris Brown caught a tipped interception on Oklahoma State’s next drive and returned it to the Oklahoma State 47, but the Cowboys’ defense forced a three-and-out, stuffing Ehlinger for a loss of a yard on a 3rd-and-1 keeper.

Gundy seemed to wave the white flag by punting with 3:44 remaining, but Texas muffed another punt, this time safety Brandon Jones. Hubbard, on his 37th carry of the night, streaked in for a 13-yard touchdown with 1:37 to go, and all of a sudden Oklahoma State was onside kicking with a chance to win the game. On a 3rd-and-9 with 1:24 to go, Ehlinger clinched the game with a 29-yard run, giving Texas its first win over Oklahoma State since 2008.

Texas leads Oklahoma State after up-and-down first half

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A first half of big plays and big mistakes has Texas up 21-20 at the half in Austin.

Oklahoma State accepted the ball to open the game and, after converting an opening 3rd-and-11 on a 20-yard completion to Tylan Wallace, moved 78 yards to the Texas 1, but two Chuba Hubbard runs were turned away and the Cowboys settled for a 20-yard Matt Ammendola field goal.

Texas moved 35 yards over nine snaps on its first chance, but Texas punted from the Oklahoma State 40. After its defense forced a three-and-out, the Longhorn offense moved the ball again, this time going 66 yards in nine plays to take the lead on a 6-yard toss from Sam Ehlinger to Devin Duvernay on the opening play of the second quarter.

Texas then seized control of the game when safety Montrell Estell caught a Sanders overthrow and returned it 37 yards to the Oklahoma State 28, and two plays later Ehlinger hit freshman Jake Smith for a 17-yard touchdown to put UT up 14-3 with 12:42 left in the first half.

Sanders moved past the interception by finding Wallace for a 35-yard gain to the Texas 38, but the Oklahoma State drive stalled when the Pokes ran Hubbard for a loss of four on 3rd-and-8 from the UT 26, leading to another Ammendola field goal.

Texas looked to increase its lead on its next touch, a 36-yard drive, but Roschon Johnson was stuffed for a loss of one on a 4th-and-3 from the OSU 28. Now trailing 14-6, Sanders hit Braydon Johnston for a 55-yard bomb to the Texas 3, then after two backwards runs, ran it in himself on third-and-goal to pull the Cowboys within 14-13 with 3:07 left in the first half.

That margin wouldn’t last, though, as Ehlinger hit Brennan Eagles for a 73-yard catch-and-run touchdown, pushing the Texas lead to 21-13 with 2:09 left in the first half. The ‘Horns forced an Oklahoma State punt and appeared in position to sit on the ball until halftime, but Smith muffed the Tom Hutton punt at his own 15, which Oklahoma State recovered. Hubbard charged in a 1-yard run with 11 seconds to go to put the score at 21-20 at halftime.

Sanders hit 11-of-14 passes for 180 yards with an interception, while Ehlinger was 10-of-14 for 155 yards and three touchdowns. Hubbard has carried 19 times for 52 yards, while Keontay Ingram leads Texas with nine carries for 51 yards.

Overall, Texas out-gained Oklahoma State 259-252 in the half. The Longhorns will receive to open the second half.