Big wins for UH, UT
Houston tops SMU, while Texas edges Kan. St.
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.
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.
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.