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Texas starts hot, leads Colorado 17-10 at halftime of Alamo Bowl

Texas defensive lineman Alfred Collins, left, celebrates with teammates after his one-handed interception against Colorado in the Alamo Bowl on Tuesday at the Alamodome. Collins made three big plays in the first half.

It’s halftime at the Alamodome in San Antonio, and for the 20th-ranked Texas Longhorns, the future is now.

Texas leads Colorado 17-10.

Opt-outs by Joseph Ossai, Brennan Eagles, Caden Sterns, Chris Brown and Samuel Cosmi. A season-ending injury to senior center Derek Kerstetter. No worries — at least not yet. 

Wondering who'll step into focus next season for Texas to fill important shoes? Bijan Robinson is making his case on offense and Alfred Collins is doing the same on defense.

Robinson, matched up with Colorado running back Jarek Broussard, the Pac-12 offensive player of the year, is running the show at the Alamodome. He had 91 yards in the first quarter alone along with a pair of touchdowns, outshining Broussard (9 carries, 35 yards) in the opening period. And remember how big a night Ossai had last year in this game? In the first quarter, Collins produced a tackle for loss, a broken up pass at the line of scrimmage and an impressive one-handed interception at the line, too.

Texas (6-3) dominated the first quarter, then cooled off a bit offensively in the second as the Horns moved away from the running game.

Oh, and have we come this far without mentioning Sam Ehlinger? The Texas quarterback, making his 43rd — and possibly/probably his final — career start, is 10 of 16 for 160 yards and a score. He's been sacked twice. He had a four-touchdown game in last year's Alamo Bowl, earning offensive player of the game honors.

Scoring — so far

1st quarter: Texas 14, Colorado 0

Texas: Bijan Robinson 8-yard run (Cameron Dicker kick, 12:51)

Texas: Robinson 14-yard pass from Sam Ehlinger (Dicker kick, 5:28)

2nd quarter: Halftime — Texas 17, Colorado 10

Colorado: Jarek Broussard 2-yard run (Evan Price kick, 6:58)

Texas: Dicker 52-yard field goal (2:07)

Colorado: Price 40-yard field goal (:43)

Rewind: First half

Quick start: Texas scored points on its first drive for the third straight game, sparked by a 27-yard run from Robinson on UT's first play and a 39-yard catch by Joshua Moore on the second. The Horns hadn't played since Dec. 5. There were no signs of rust either offensively or defensively.

Here's to you, Mr. Robinson: Texas' five-star freshman has six carries for 90 yards and a touchdown. But after the brilliant opening quarter, he ended up with minus-1 yard in the second. We won't know until we ask Tom Herman after the game, but for some reason the Horns chose to work in Roschon Johnson into the running game and also focus on trying to make things happen in the passing game (which hasn't clicked yet).

In Texas' last six drives, Robinson had just one touch. Huh?

Catch this: Eagles, who was the Horns' leading receiver when he chose to skip this game in order to prep for the NFL draft, was one of Ehlinger's most dependable targets down the stretch of the regular season. At the same time, Joshua Moore — who looked like the second coming of Devin Duvernay (and not just because of his jersey number) for the first half of the season — cooled off over the final games. Tonight, no receivers are standing out.

Jordan Whittington has three catches for 35 yards, Moore has two for 44, Al'Vonte Woodard has a pair of grabs and Cade Brewer, Robinson and Brenden Schooler have one catch each. Moore has a game-high five targets.

QBs watch: Ehlinger is 10 of 16 for 160 yards and a touchdown. Colorado has used two quarterbacks; Sam Noyer is 5 of 17 for 76 yards and two interceptions, and Brendon Lewis is 2 of 2 for 30 yards but led the Buffs to their only touchdown drive.

Top plays of the first half: (1) Collins' one-handed pick. (2) Broussard's spin-move touchdown on fourth-and-goal. (3) Robinson's 50-yard run in the first quarter. (4) DeMarvion Overshown's interception. (5) Dicker's 52-yard field goal.

Horns up: Texas' first drive was a thing of beauty, with a 27-yard run from Robinson on the first play and a 39-yard reception by Moore on the second. ... Overshown looked like a safety (his old position) than a linebacker (his current position) with his interception on Colorado's second drive. And it came at UT's 11, too, so it saved points. ... Collins' impressive one-handed pick at the line was even better, though. ... Cameron Dicker the punter had a 54-yarder, something we haven't seen in a bowl game since Michael Dickson was earning MVP honors in the 2017 Texas Bowl. ... Josh Thompson had a nice breakup on a one-on-one deep throw. ... Vernon Broughton had a big sack late

Horns down: Texas second drive stalled at Colorado's 40 when the Horns turned it over on downs. Texas had two plays to gain 2 yards for the first down — and didn't make it. ... Dicker missed a 45-yard field goal try late in the first quarter. He's now 14 of 19 on the season. To add to the list, Dicker was called for delay of game on a second-quarter punt. ... Ehlinger took back-to-back sacks on second and third down in the second quarter, forcing a fourth-and-24 field goal which Dicker hit.

Texcetera: Linebacker Juwan Mitchell, the Longhorns' leading tackler this season, sat out the first half because of his targeting ejection in the second half against Kansas State. The Horns definitely could have used him on Broussard's fourth-and-goal touchdown in the second quarter. Mitchell should be back in the game to start the third quarter.

Texas’ drives: 1st quarter — TD, downs, TD, punt, missed FG. 2nd quarter — punt, punt, FG

Colorado’s drives: 1st quarter — punt, punt, interception, punt, interception. 2nd quarter — TD, punt, FG

The Longhorns will get the ball to start the second half.