Big wins for UH, UT

Hous­ton tops SMU, while Texas edges Kan. St.

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - By Nick Moyle nmoyle@ex­ twit­­moyle

AUSTIN — Texas de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Todd Or­lando ex­pected a “fourquar­ter war” against Kansas State at Royal-Me­mo­rial Sta­dium. In fact, he wanted it. And few ac­tive coaches could de­vise a fiercer test than Bill Sny­der.

Or­lando got the ad­ver­sity he de­sired and UT (3-2, 2-0) got the out­come it needed, down­ing the Wild­cats (3-1, 1-1) in dou­ble over­time 40-34.

Mo­men­tum swung like a pen­du­lum be­tween the teams all night. It began in the Wild­cats’ fa­vor, with quar­ter­back Jesse Ertz find­ing re­ceiver Dal­ton Schoen on scores of 82 and 12 yard to put UT in a 17-7 hole.

Coach Tom Her­man’s man­date be­came ap­par­ent on the first play of the game: He was go­ing to put the game in fresh­man quar­ter­back Sam Eh­linger’s hands, con­se­quences be damned. With Shane Buechele (an­kle) out, it was time for the Austin na­tive to seize the start­ing job.

Even af­ter Wild­cats cor­ner­back D.J. Reed picked off Eh­linger’s first pass, noth­ing changed. Eh­linger kept tak­ing shots — even de­liv­ered a few of his own on the run — grow­ing stronger and more com­fort­able as the game rolled on.

Af­ter start­ing the game with three empty drives, in­clud­ing one that ended in a failed fourth-and­goal, Eh­linger led the Longhorns to four straight scores.

Eh­linger’s 33-yard touch­down pass to Chris War­ren was sand­wiched be­tween two short touch­down runs by Kyle Porter. Josh Row­land knocked through a 34-yard field goal early in the third quar­ter to in­crease UT’s lead to 24-17.

In his third ca­reer start, Eh­linger com­pleted 30 of 50 passes for 380 yards, two touch­downs and one in­ter­cep­tion. He also ran for 107 yards on 20 car­ries.

But just as the mo­men­tum seemed to be tip­ping per­ma­nently in the Longhorns’ fa­vor, some­thing strange hap­pened.

Ertz ex­ited the game with an ap­par­ent in­jury more than 10 min­utes into the third pe­riod af­ter throw­ing for 224 yards and two scores. En­ter Alex Del­ton, a sopho­more re­serve with six ca­reer pass at­tempts.

But his arm wasn’t the prob­lem. Del­ton started run­ning all over UT’s de­fense.

Three plays af­ter tak­ing over, Del­ton ran in for a game-ty­ing touch­down from 2 yards out. On his next pos­ses­sion, Del­ton drove Kansas State down to UT’s 16, set­ting up a go-ahead 33-yard kick by Matt McCrane.

And what did Her­man do with just four min­utes sep­a­rat­ing UT from its third loss? He told Eh­linger to go save the day.

The fresh­man led UT on a 12-play, 52-yard drive to set up Row­land’s 33yard game-ty­ing kick.

Ertz re­turned for Kansas State’s fi­nal drive of reg­u­la­tion, only to be picked off by DeShon El­liott. He wouldn’t ap­pear again.

Eh­linger again or­ches­trated a drive deep into en­emy ter­ri­tory, only for Row­land to shank a would-be win­ner from 45 yards out, set­ting up an­other OT test for UT.

On the first play of the ex­tra pe­riod, Eh­linger hooked up with Jer­rod Heard for a score. Del­ton an­swered with an­other rush­ing touch­down.

But UT was de­ter­mined to re­verse the fate it suf­fered against USC. Af­ter McCrane missed a 53-yard field-goal try, Eh­linger drove UT down to the 1-yard-line.

In this in­stance, he put the ball in War­ren’s hands, and the 250-pounder de­liv­ered, pow­er­ing through for the game-win­ning touch­down.

Eric Gay / Associated Press

Texas quar­ter­back Sam Eh­linger, right, shook off an early mis­take to pi­lot the Longhorns to 40-34 dou­ble-over­time win to im­prove to 2-0 in the Big 12.

Tim Warner / Getty Im­ages

Texas run­ning back Chris War­ren is caught in a crowd but pushes the scrum across the goal line in the sec­ond over­time against Kansas State.

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