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Texas notebook: ‘Hindsight’s 20/20’ as Longhorns pass up a two-point opportunity in overtime loss

Posted September 17th, 2017

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LOS ANGELES — Texas’ bid for an upset of No. 4 USC fell short in double-overtime on Saturday. The main culprits were a fumble by freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger in the second overtime and Chase McGrath’s ensuing 43-yard field goal, but did Texas fail to go for the kill earlier?

USC scored on the first overtime’s opening play, and Ehlinger quickly pulled the Longhorns within 24-23 with a 3-yard touchdown toss to tight end Cade Brewer. Texas then opted against a two-point conversion and forced a second overtime with an extra point.

Throughout his coaching career, Herman has not shied away from offensive risks. The Longhorns attempted their sixth, seventh and eighth fourth-down tries of the season against the Trojans, passing up a 34-yard field goal attempt on its only fourth-down failure. In the extra session, UT played it safe.

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Following the game, Herman said he considered going for it. He, however, liked the way his defense had looked to that point. Herman also pointed to the four-play, 25-yard scoring drive the Longhorns had put together in that first overtime.

Said Herman: “Obviously, hindsight’s 20/20. Had you told me hey, if you go into double-overtime, you’re going to fumble it, then yeah, I probably would have gone for two.”

Had UT kept its offense on the field, the Longhorns would have been going up against USC’s defense and recent history: Texas’s last two-point conversion came against Iowa State in 2010.

Texas receiver Collin Johnson (9) pulls down a catch against USC cornerback Jack Jones (25) at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sept. 16, 2017 in Los Angeles. Johnson’s 191 receiving yards were the fourth-best effort in school history. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Top target: On Texas’ first offensive snap, Ehlinger connected with sophomore receiver Collin Johnson for a 48-yard gain that lost 10 yards thanks to a downfield blocking penalty. Johnson went onto add six more catches, two of which were a key 47-yard snag in the fourth quarter and a 21-yard reception in overtime.

The 6-6 Johnson finished the game with 191 receiving yards, a single-game total that ranks fourth in UT’s record books. Only two receivers have recorded a 200-yard game at Texas.

“Collin Johnson’s a hall-of-famer, there’s no question about that,” Ehlinger said. “He’ll be a first-round draft pick, there’s no doubt about that in my mind. It’s really, really, really, really good to know that he’s over there against one of the best corners in the nation, but he’s still beating him on just press coverage, one-on-one. That shows a lot. I think he deserves a big, big pat of the back.”

Ex-rivals: The touchdown reception in overtime was the first collegiate catch for Brewer, a 6-4, 230-pound freshman who had 29 touchdown catches over the past two seasons at Lake Travis. The pass was thrown to him by Ehlinger. Ehlinger, of course, attended Westlake High, which is Lake Travis’ biggest rival.

Adams remembered: Sean Adams, an Austin radio personality and motivational speaker who died of a heart attack on Thursday, was remembered Saturday night. A moment of silence was held in the press box before the game. USC also kept open the seat that had been reserved for the 46-year-old Adams.

The post Texas notebook: “Hindsight’s 20/20” as Longhorns pass up a two-point opportunity in overtime loss appeared first on Hook ‘Em.

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