Football

The Eyes of Texas: Four players to watch in Saturday’s Longhorns-Terrapins game

Posted August 31st, 2018

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The Longhorns open their season on Saturday at Maryland. The eyes of Texas will be upon …

Sam Ehlinger, Texas quarterback

Ehlinger enters his sophomore season as UT’s unquestioned starter, having beaten out junior Shane Buechele for the job they split last year. Ehlinger threw for 1,915 yards and 11 touchdowns in his debut season while notching 100-yard rushing performances against Kansas State and Oklahoma. He also had several costly turnovers, a recurring issue he has attempted to address in the offseason.

Maryland’s Taivon Jacobs (12), showng hauling in a pass against UT defender P.J. Locke III in last year’s game, will take over the top receiving spot from DJ Moore in the Terrapins’ passing game this year. (Nick Wagner/American-Statesman)

Taivon Jacobs, Maryland receiver

Texas was introduced to Maryland’s running game last year, but the Terrapins did produce a first-round receiver in DJ Moore (Carolina). Jacobs is Maryland’s top target this year in the passing game. The sixth-year senior is coming off a 47-catch, 553-yard, five-touchdown season. No other Maryland returnee had more than 15 catches last year.

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Texas cornerback Kris Boyd (2) tackles Maryland’s Ty Johnson in the fourth quarter of last year’s game at Royal-Memorial Stadium. Johnson ran for 132 yards and a touchdown in the Terrapins’ 51-41 win. (Stephen Spillman / for American-Statesman)

Ty Johnson, Maryland running back

Johnson has led Maryland in rushing in each of the past two seasons, and last year’s 1,592 all-purpose yards were the seventh-most in school history. (Johnson scored one of his seven touchdowns on a 100-yard kickoff return against Ohio State). Texas already has Johnson on its radar; he ran for 132 yards and a touchdown on only 12 carries in last year’s 51-41 Terrapins win in Austin.

The Longhorns are asking defensive tackle Chris Nelson (97) to fill the shoes of the departed Poona Ford, who was the 2017 Big 12 defensive lineman of the year. (Stephen Spillman / for American-Statesman)

Chris Nelson, Texas defensive tackle

Texas is asking Nelson to plug the 305-pound hole that Poona Ford — last year’s Big 12 defensive lineman of the year — left when he departed for the NFL. The Longhorns clearly believe in Nelson, a senior who has started 15 times in various positions on the line. Head coach Tom Herman said this week that Nelson was the leading vote-getter when the players selected their captains.

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