■ Chuck Carl­ton: Texas looked stronger against a USC team that showed prob­lems 37-14.

Texas dom­i­nates USC af­ter first quar­ter for school’s 900th vic­tory

The Dallas Morning News - - Sportsday - Twit­ter: @Chuck­Carl­tonDMN

AUSTIN — You can de­bate what con­sti­tutes a sig­na­ture win or whether USC is re­ally a Top 25 pro­gram this year and if what hap­pened Satur­day will have any last­ing im­pact.

All that re­ally mat­ters for the mo­ment is that Texas got a win that coach Tom Her­man and his pro­gram des­per­ately needed. With com­plaints from the fan base grow­ing louder, Texas de­liv­ered a re­but­tal and a rea­son for at least some hope the rest of this sea­son.

“Yeah, I would say so,” Her­man said when asked if this was was his most com­plete win at Texas. “Against this op­po­nent, at this time, pushes it into the lead for our 16-game ten­ure here.”

Down by 11 early, Texas (2-1) ral­lied for a 37-14 vic­tory over No. 22 USC, dom­i­nat­ing the game af­ter the first quar­ter. While Her­man carved out a

rep­u­ta­tion as gi­ant-killer at Hous­ton with vic­to­ries over Florida State and Ok­la­homa, this was his big­gest win at Texas, eas­ily trump­ing wins over Kansas State and Mis­souri last sea­son.

Texas avoided a 1-2 start, some­thing the Longhorns had not been able to do in four of the pre­vi­ous five sea­sons. UT opens Big 12 play on Sept. 22 with TCU, which has a fourgame win­ning streak on the Longhorns.

“We’ll eval­u­ate how this win stands dur­ing the sea­son with how we re­spond to it,” Her­man said.

An­nounced at­ten­dance was 103,507, a school record for Royal-Me­mo­rial Sta­dium, which got to see Texas’ 900th win. The Longhorns joined Ohio State and Michi­gan as the only schools to reach that mile­stone.

Af­ter prac­tice Thurs­day, Her­man said his team was “in a re­ally, re­ally good place. A re­ally good place. The guys have let their hair down col­lec­tively.”

Ap­par­ently, Her­man had a solid read on his play­ers.

Sopho­more Sam Eh­linger threw for two touch­downs and ran for an­other, and Texas broke open the game on spe­cial teams. Fresh­man Caden Sterns blocked a 50-yard field goal at­tempt by Chase McGrath. An­thony Wheeler scooped up the loose ball and raced 46 yards to give Texas a 30-14 lead.

The Texas de­fense shut down USC and fresh­man quar­ter­back JT Daniels af­ter the Tro­jans built a 14-3 lead in the first quar­ter. USC had failed to score an of­fen­sive touch­down in a Week 2 loss to Stan­ford but Stephen Carr capped a 75-yard drive with a 23-yard touch­down run. Vavae Male­peai scored just be­fore the end of the quar­ter on a 3-yard run.

That would be it for the Tro­jans’ of­fense. Af­ter seven first downs and 153 to­tal yards in the first quar­ter, USC was held to nine first downs and 164 to­tal yards over the next three quar­ters by the Texas de­fense. The Tro­jans, who have pro­duced some of the great tail­backs in Pac-12 his­tory, had mi­nus-5 yards rush­ing.

“Of­fense, de­fense, spe­cial teams all had an im­pact in dig­ging out of that hole,” Her­man said.

Texas’ come­back be­gan early in the sec­ond quar­ter. Eh­linger found Lil’Jor­dan Humphrey on a short com­ple­tion. Humphrey spun out of a tackle and turned the com­ple­tion into a 47-yard touch­down.

Two 46-yard field goals by fresh­man Cameron Dicker gave Texas a 16-14 lead at half­time that only grew larger in the sec­ond half.

Eh­linger found fresh­man Joshua Moore, who made a div­ing catch for a 27-yard

touch­down to com­plete a 74yard drive early in the third quar­ter and put Texas up 2314.

Then came the 10-point

turn­around on the blocked field goal try. USC could have drawn within one score. In­stead, Texas had a 30-14 lead. Eh­linger (15 of 32 for 233 yards) scored from 4 yards out and the out­come was a for­mal­ity.

Ash­ley Lan­dis/Staff Pho­tog­ra­pher

Texas de­fen­sive back Caden Sterns (7) blocks a field goal at­tempt by Chase McGrath. An­thony Wheeler scooped up the loose ball and raced 46 yards to give Texas a 30-14 lead.



Ash­ley Lan­dis/Staff Pho­tog­ra­pher

Texas wide re­ceiver Collin John­son tries to catch a pass while be­ing de­fended by USC cor­ner­back Isa­iah Lan­g­ley in the end zone. John­son had six catches for 79 yards.

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