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 week after getting trounced by Oklahoma, Texas Tech appears to be a bit fired up to get back in the win column this afternoon in Lubbock. The Red Raiders have forced three first-half turnovers and have taken a 20-0 lead into halftime against No. 21 Oklahoma State.
The turnovers started right from the beginning. Spencer Sanders lost the football as he was being sacked, which set Texas Tech up for an early field goal for a 3-0 lead. The Red Raiders extended that lead to 10-0 later in the first quarter when Jett Duffey took off for a 16-yard run.
With Texas Tech leading 13-0, Sanders and the Cowboys started a drive early in the second quarter with an interception. Although Texas Tech missed a field goal on the following possession, the Cowboys still haven’t been able to get the offense going. After Texas Tech pushed the lead to 20-0 with a Duffey pass to KeSean Carter just two plays after an interception by Oklahoma State, an 11-play Cowboys drive ended with a turnover on downs at the Texas Tech 34-yard line.
Oklahoma State’s rising running back star Chuba Hubbard has rushed for 105 yards on 18 carries. Ironically, Oklahoma State started to get something going once they got Hubbard involved more. Expect more of that in the second half. Hubbard scored the only touchdown of the half for the Cowboys.