Longhorns stomp on Horned Frogs
String of turnovers helps UT score a decisive victory over TCU in Big 12 opener
Momentum may be an illusion, as Texas coach Tom Herman is wanting to say. Try telling that to the 95,124 fans at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
What they saw was no illusion, as 17th-ranked TCU can attest. The Texas football program is indeed coming back to life.
Trailing by six in the third quarter, the Longhorns converted two turnovers into points and made enough plays down the stretch to capture a 31-16 victory over the Horned Frogs.
This is no illusion, either: The Longhorns (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) will wake up on Sunday tied for first place in the league standings. The Horned Frogs (2-2, 0-1) left town knowing their four-game winning streak in this series, one in which they have dominated, is over.
“This is just one step. One step. This is not the end-all, be-all,” Herman said. “This is a good win against another ranked opponent, an opponent that’s
going to win a lot of games in their season as well.”
Freshman Caden Sterns had two interceptions as part of a four-turnover day for the defense. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw two touchdown passes and the rushing game tallied up 112 yards for the Horns.
To beat USC, Texas had to stack one winning play on top of another. That’s exactly what happened against TCU, too. Same as last week, the Horns didn’t tense up after a bad break, like two missed field goals. And they didn’t crack after one bad call, like not getting pass interference near the goal line when Vernon Scott practically tackled Collin Johnson.
If Herman truly turns this program around, Saturday’s third quarter may be forever known as the turning point.
Cameron Dicker missed a 43-yard field goal attempt, and TCU took over with 4:05 left in the period. But two plays later, Texas defensive end Marqez Bimage got just enough of the football to knock it loose from TCU’s Shawn Robinson. Brandon Jones pounced on it for the turnover.
The Horns wasted no time. Ehlinger couldn’t connect with Johnson streaking toward the end zone. But on first-and-20 from the TCU 31, he reared back and put it out there again. This time, Johnson made a catch fully extended in the end zone for the score.
On TCU’s next possession, Robinson tried to throw over the middle himself. This seemed like a dicey move considering how the defensive backs were swarming all over the place. UT’s Kris Boyd knocked a sure-fire touchdown pass out of Jalen Reagor’s hands in the first quarter. Those two went at it all day.
Robinson’s pass was eaten by the wolf. Sterns, known for his three wolf tattoos, had an easy interception at the TCU 35 and returned it to the 2-yard line. It was his second of the game and third of his young career.
“Caden Sterns, a hell of a football player,” Herman said. “A hell of a football player.”
Ehlinger went for the kill. On first-and-goal, he faked a handoff to Daniel Young and then ran around the right side for the score. Texas led 24-16 with 28 seconds left in the period.
The Horns weren’t done. Lil’Jordan Humphrey was targeted only once in the first half as TCU clamped down on him. But he got loose on a fourth-quarter crossing route. Just like against USC, Humphrey made a catch and turned it into something more. His 38-yard touchdown with 3:18 left put this one on ice.
Texas wide receiver Collin Johnson catches a touchdown pass Saturday, helping the Longhorns upset No. 17 TCU in their Big 12 opener.
Texas fans cheer as the Longhorns mount a comeback that leads to victory.
Texas receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey scores a touchdown Saturday. The Longhorns rallied in the second half to beat TCU.
Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando argues a call with an official during Saturday’s upset of TCU in Austin.
Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger scrambles away from TCU defensive end L.J. Collier in the second half of the Longhorns’ Big 12 opener Saturday against TCU.