Texas Wrs rel­ish­ing break­out per­for­mance

Austin American-Statesman - - LONGHORNS FOOTBALL - By Danny Davis daniel­d­avis@statesman.com Con­tact Danny Davis at 512-445-3952. Twit­ter: @aas­danny

On Sun­day, Collin John­son said he just plans to cel­e­brate his birth­day with his fam­ily.

If that seem low-key for turn­ing 21, don’t worry. John­son was the cen­ter of at­ten­tion at a party at Royal-Me­mo­rial Sta­dium on Sat­ur­day that was at­tended by 95,124.

The ju­nior re­ceiver had 124 yards and the go-ahead touch­down in UT’s 31-16 win over No. 17 TCU.

“This win to­day, it meant a lot. It was re­ally an early birth­day gift for me,” said John­son, whose seven re­cep­tions tied a ca­reer-high. He also topped 100 re­ceiv­ing yards for the third time in his ca­reer.

John­son’s big­gest mo­ment as a Longhorn had been last year’s 191-yard ef­fort at USC. He fol­lowed that per­for- mance up with a six-catch game against the Tro­jans last week, which led quar­ter­back Sam Eh­linger to be asked this week if John­son needed to be in­spired by USC film be­fore each of his games. No, Eh­linger re­sponded, “it’s al­ways fun to get Collin with a 1-on-1 matchup.”

Tar­geted nine t imes against the Horned Frogs, John­son’s first catch went for 45 yards. Later in the first quar­ter, a fourth-down catch ex­tended UT’s first touch- down drive. In the sec­ond half, though, the 6-6, 220- pound John­son snagged his big­gest pass.

With UT trail­ing in fi­nal minute of the third quar- ter, John­son got open and dove for a 31-yard pass from Eh­linger. He caught the foot- ball and gave Texas a 17-16 lead it never re­lin­quished.

“They gave me a post, and I was like, man, I’m not the fastest but I’m just go­ing to lay out and try to make the play,” John­son said. “I was happy just to make the play for the team and kind of help the team out.”

John­son was not UT’s only stand­out. Ju­nior Lil’Jor­dan Humphrey had four catches and 38 of his 77 re­ceiv­ing yards came on a fourth-quar­ter touch­down. Humphrey has scored in each of the last three weeks.

Texas last had two re­ceivers with at least 40 catches in 2014. Through four games, Humphrey and John­son have 21 and 20 re­cep­tions. So far this sea­son, Texas and Texas Tech are among the eight FBS-level pro­grams that can claim two play­ers with 20 catches.

“I’ve been say­ing this since the sea­son started: I don’t feel like any­body in the coun­try can re­ally guard us,” said Humphrey, who has said John­son’s down­field block- ing shouldn’t be over­looked on his touch­down catches. “I feel like we’re one of the best duos in the na­tion, (one of the) best wide re­ceiver group in the na­tion.”

John­son and Humphrey ac­counted for half of UT’s 22 re­cep­tions. Run­ning back Tre Wat­son also caught four balls, while re­ceivers Devin Du­ver­nay and Joshua Moore and tight end An­drew Beck each had two. TCU had been al­low­ing 185.3 pass­ing yards per game, but Eh­linger had a 255-yard day.

Texas will next face a Kan­sas State team that is com­ing off a 35-6 loss at West Vir­ginia. The Wild­cats sur­ren­dered 356 pass­ing yards on Sat­ur­day and the Moun­tain- eers’ five touch­down catches were divvied up among three re­ceivers.

NICK WAG­NER / AMER­I­CAN-STATESMAN

Texas wide re­ceiver Lil’Jor­dan Humphrey scores on a 38-yard pass play against TCU.

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