Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger passes downfield under pressure from Texas Tech's Eli Howard on Sept. 26, 2020 in Lubbock. (AP Photo/Mark Rogers)

Football

Texas 63, Texas Tech 56: Our five questions for the Longhorns — answered

Posted September 26th, 2020

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Revisiting our five pregame questions that were facing the Longhorns ahead of Saturday’s 63-56 conference-opening win at Texas Tech in overtime.

How they played out:

 

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1. Did Sam Ehlinger or Krishon Merriweather have another Big 12-worthy game?

Ehlinger: Absolutely.

The Texas quarterback, who won Big 12 offensive player of the week honors after his huge game (half) in the opener, overcame an icy third quarter to rally the Longhorns with three touchdowns and a two-point conversion pass in the final three minutes of the game and overtime. He produced nearly 300 yards of total offense, threw five touchdowns for the second straight game and added his first rushing score of the season. Merriweather, who was the Big 12’s defensive player of the week after the Red Raiders’ opener, was third on the team with eight tackles. He also had a tackle for loss.

 

2. Did Caden Sterns match his brother’s big days against Texas Tech?

Yes. But not until the final play of the game.

Until the Texas safety picked off Tech quarterback Alan Bowman’s fourth-and-14 prayer in overtime, Sterns’ biggest moment of the day came on a non-pass interference call on a Tech incomplete pass. But his final-play interception should help him on the home front; two weeks ago, both of his younger brothers had big games at Jones AT&T Stadium as players for Houston Baptist; Josh Sterns had five catches for 209 yards and two touchdowns and Jerreth Sterns had 12 catches for 130 yards and a score in the opening loss to Tech. It was Caden Sterns’ first career interception against Tech.

 

3. Were “Snacks” or a “Big Lunch” provided on UT’s defensive line?

No.

Texas defensive tackle Keondre Coburn — nicknamed “Snacks” by teammates — and fellow tackle T’Vondre Sweat, who’s being called “Big Lunch,” had quiet days on the stat sheet. Coburn finished with one tackle and was shaken up in the second half, and Sweat didn’t make the final stats.

 

4. Who gave Texas the most production out of the slot?

Brenden Schooler.

The Pac-12 transfer had another strong performance, targeted 10 times by Sam Ehlinger and leading the team with seven catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. Joshua Moore, playing on the outside, had a three-touchdown game but Schooler was steady throughout. And walk-on Kai Money added four grabs. Still, not having Jake Smith and Jordan Whittington — both of whom missed the game with injuries — available really had an impact. Schooler’s brother, Colin, finished with seven tackles as a Red Raiders linebacker.

 

5. Was this a blowout or was there some drama?

Umm, drama. Definitely.

These teams played an overtime game against each other for the first time ever. Just to get there, Texas had to produce two touchdowns and a two-point conversion with three minutes to go. The Longhorns were 18-point favorites and beat Tech by 25 points in Austin last year. But the last three games in Lubbock have featured dramatic endings. Four years ago, Kris Boyd intercepted a Patrick Mahomes pass in the end zone with nine seconds left in UT’s 45-37 victory. Two years ago, Lil’Jordan Humphrey had a Michael Crabtree moment when he lifted Texas to a 41-34 victory on a 29-yard touchdown catch in the final minute.

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