Malcolm Epps

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No. 19 Texas watches Big 12 title hopes die in walk-off loss to Iowa State

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No. 19 Texas went to Ames on Saturday afternoon knowing a win over Iowa State and a No. 10 Oklahoma win over No. 13 Baylor tonight meant a de facto Big 12 semifinal between the Longhorns and Bears next Saturday.

However, a season-high nine punts, eight three-and-outs, a failed fourth down try and a catastrophic offsides penalty conspired to cancel that semifinal before it began, as Iowa State beat Texas, 23-21.

The win is sweet triumph for Iowa State (6-4), whose four losses came by one, two, seven and one point.

Despite the 2-point margin, Iowa State dominated the first three quarters of the game.

It appeared Iowa State would take a 10-0 lead into the break, as Texas took over the ball at its own 25 with 47 seconds left in the first half, having gained 59 yards on their first 24 snaps. Instead, the Longhorns briefly came alive, covering 75 yards in alternating passes to Devin Duvernay and Brennan Eagles, bridging the gap to 10-7 and giving the visitors momentum heading into the break.

That momentum did not last. Brock Purdy found Deshaunte Jones wide open behind the defense on the first play from scrimmage of the second half, putting the Cyclones back up 10. Brayden Narveson then pushed the lead to 20-7 on a 48-yard field goal with 12:09 to go in the third quarter, and Texas answered by registering its sixth and seventh three-and-outs of the day.

The Longhorns finally got off the mat late in the third quarter, moving 80 yards in 10 plays and scoring when Sam Ehlinger hit Keontay Ingram on 3rd-and-10 for a 21-yard touchdown, a play when he leaked out of the backfield and punished a zero blitz.

When the Texas defense forced a punt with 12:20 to play, the Longhorns took over at their own 11 and put together a marathon, miracle 15-play, 89-yard touchdown drive in which Texas overcame a 2nd-and-35 and, later, took the lead when Ehlinger found Malcolm Epps for a 7-yard touchdown on 4th-and-goal, giving Texas a 21-20 lead with 5:37 to play.

Iowa State gained a first down on the ensuing possession, and prepared to go for a 4th-and-5 from midfield, but a delay of game forced Matt Campbell to send the punting unit on the field, giving Texas the ball and the lead for the first time of the game. The Longhorns did nothing with it, running for no gain on first and second down and throwing incomplete on third, marking their eighth three and out of the game. Chris Naggar‘s ninth punt, a season high, sailed and rolled 67 yards, pushing the Cyclones back to their own 18, but they were in Texas territory in two plays thanks to a 15-yard strike to Jones and a 22-yard grab by La'Michael Pettway, while fighting off pass interference.

Jalen Green eventually forced an incompletion on 3rd-and-4, setting up a 44-yard field goal with 2:16 to play. But Narveson’s try never happened, because Texas linebacker Joseph Ossai jumped offside, putting the Iowa State offense back on the field.

Having exhausted all its timeouts to set up the first try, Texas could not stop as Iowa State ran the clock down to just four seconds. This time, Connor Assalley tried from 36 yards, and it was good, clinching Iowa State’s first walk-off field-goal win since 1983.

The loss drops Texas (6-4, 4-3 Big 12) out of Big 12 title contention and will send them back to Austin wondering what might have been. In addition to the Ossai penalty, Texas also blew an opportunity in the second quarter, when D'Shawn Jamison intercepted a Purdy pass at the Iowa State 39 but Texas stubbornly refused to throw the ball on the possession, running sight straight times, including for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-2 from the Iowa State 22.

For the game, Texas ran for 54 yards on 26 carries, 27 of them by Ehlinger, who completed 22-of-40 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns.

No. 11 Texas uses four INTs to push past West Virginia

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No. 11 Texas arrived in Morgantown a beat up team, especially in the secondary. The Longhorns played Saturday without starting corner Jalen Green, starting safety Caden Sterns and top-reserve safeties Josh Thompson and DeMarvion Overshown, with starting nickel back BJ Foster returning from an injury of his own.

And, considering all those circumstances, Saturday went nearly perfect for the Longhorns as they intercepted West Virginia quarterback Austin Kendall four times, turning three into touchdowns, to secure a 42-31 win.

The first pick came from linebacker Ayodele Adeoye, who stepped in front of a Kendall pass with the Longhorns trailing 7-0 in the first quarter. His 13-yard return set Texas up at the WVU 27, and Sam Ehlinger cashed in on a 22-yard touchdown toss to Malcolm Epps.

West Virginia (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) then nudged ahead with a 5-play, 60-yard touchdown drive, keyed by a 44-yard completion from Kendall to TJ Simmons and capped by a 1-yard Kendall keeper. Texas then pulled even with a 13-yard touchdown toss to John Burt and then, with 3:28 left in the first half, took the lead for good on a 13-yard Ehlinger keeper.

With the score still 21-14 late in the third quarter, West Virginia’s defense got in on the action when Keith Washington, Jr. picked an Ehlinger pass and raced it 34 yards to the Texas 29-yard line which, when combined with a 15-yard personal foul on Texas, gave WVU the ball at the 14. Unlike Texas, though, the Mountaineers did not turn a pick into six, this time settling for a 29-yard Evan Staley field goal with 1:59 left in the third quarter.

That’s when the Texas secondary took over, nabbing interceptions on consecutive drives to break the game open.

The first was by Foster, who bumped a WVU receiver out of the way and snared the ball off a deflection, giving Texas the ball at the WVU 18. Devin Duvernay, who led the ‘Horns with six grabs for 86 yards, pushed the lead to 28-17 with a 13-yard touchdown run on a handoff out of the backfield.

Now in true desperation territory, Kendall tossed his fourth pick of the day and his second to cornerback D'Shawn Jamison, who returned the ball to the WVU 33.

Texas (4-1, 2-0 Big 12) put the game away for good with this made-to-go-viral play call.

Kendall added two cosmetic scores with the game in hand, finishing the day 31-of-46 for 367 yards with three touchdowns and four crucial interceptions.

With Keontay Ingram battling a stinger, Roschon Johnson carried the Texas running game, rushing a game-high 21 times for 121 yards. Ehlinger had a pedestrian game by his standards, hitting 18-of-33 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns with one interception while adding nine carries for 45 yards and two touchdowns, the last coming with 3:03 to play to ice the game for good.

No. 11 Texas locked in a tussle with West Virginia

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After a back-and-forth first half, No. 11 Texas holds a 21-14 over West Virginia at the break in Morgantown.

West Virginia accepted the ball to open the game and, with the help of two 15-yard penalties on the visitors, rolled 76 yards in four plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 44-yard toss from Austin Kendall to Sam James.

Texas moved into WVU territory on its first chance, but Cameron Dicker‘s 42-yard field goal was no good. However, the Longhorns did not suffer for it as Ayodele Adeoye intercepted Kendall on his first pass after the touchdown, and Sam Ehlinger hit Malcolm Epps for a 22-yard equalizer.

After an exchange of four punts, West Virginia regained the lead on a 1-yard Kendall keeper, a play set up by a 44-yard pitch-and-catch to TJ Simmons.

Texas again answered, moving 69 yards in 11 plays to tie the game at 14-14 on a 13-yard strike from Ehlinger to John Burt. When Evan Staley kicked wide of the same goal post Dicker missed in the first period, Texas took its first lead on a 13-yard Ehlinger keeper at the 3:28 mark of the second quarter.

Taking over with more than 200 seconds and two timeouts in his arsenal, Neal Brown opted to churn clock on his final possession of the half, forcing only a 46-yard Staley field goal, which again was wide right.

Ehlinger completed the half 13-of-21 for 176 yards while rushing five times for 26 yards. Keaontay Ingram left the game with an apparent shoulder injury in the first quarter, so converted quarterback Roschon Johnson led Texas with 53 yards on nine carries.

Kendall completed 15-of-18 passes for 163 yards with a score and a pick, while Kennedy McKoy added 32 yards on four carries.

Texas will receive to open the second half.