Football

Texas 28, Tulsa 21: Five key plays

Posted September 9th, 2018

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There were 138 snaps taken in Texas’ 28-21 win over Tulsa on Saturday. Here are five that ended up making a big difference:

1. There’s a first time for everything

Tulsa received the opening kickoff, but it was Texas that created the game’s initial highlight. On Tulsa’s first snap, Texas freshman safety Caden Sterns intercepted Luke Skipper. A Tulsa receiver appeared to sneak open down the sideline on the play, but Skipper was unable to get the ball to him and Sterns tracked down the pass.

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The interception was the first of UT’s season and Sterns’ career. The play set Texas up at the Tulsa 47, and UT quarterback Sam Ehlinger eventually turned the turnover into a one-yard touchdown run.

2. There goes Keaontay

UT opened its third drive with a six-yard screen pass to freshman running back Keaontay Ingram. Three snaps later, Ingram turned his first carry into a 29-yard touchdown that weaved through the Tulsa defense. The play gave the Longhorns a 14-0 lead.

Ingram ran 10 times for 64 yards. Ingram’s night was cut short by a knee injury that needed further evaluation but four of his carries came in the second half. Last week against Maryland, Ingram scored a touchdown but did not touch the football after halftime.

3. Boyd bounces back

With Tulsa looking for its first points midway through the second quarter, Skipper lobbed a pass into the end zone that cornerback Kris Boyd swatted away from receiver Justin Hobbs. Two plays later, Tulsa missed a 29-yard field goal and Texas took off on a quick scoring drive that gave the team a three-touchdown advantage. Hobbs, who was on the Biletnikoff Award’s preseason watch list, finished the game with only two catches and 13 receiving yards.

Placed on the Big 12’s preseason team, Boyd had a shaky performance in UT’s opener. He dropped an interception one play before Maryland scored a 65-yard touchdown. Another scoring drive for the Terrapins was kept alive by a pass interference call on Boyd.

On Saturday, Boyd compiled six tackles and his pass break-up.

4. Catching up

During the second week of the 2017 season, Texas responded to a loss to Maryland with a shutout of San Jose State. The Longhorns were looking for history to repeat itself this year. Tulsa, though, thwarted Texas’ shutout bid on the fourth-to-last snap of the third quarter.

The Golden Hurricane then began eyeing an upset when Keylon Stokes hauled in a 48-yard pass from Skipper in the fourth frame. Officials ruled that Stokes did not get into the end zone on the play and that call was upheld by a replay. The shorting of a touchdown did not end up mattering as Shamari Brooks then scored on a short run. Following Brooks’ second touchdown of the evening, Tulsa trailed 21-14 with 12:38 remaining.

Texas running back Tre Watson (5) beats Tulsa cornerback Akayleb Evans (26) to the goal line at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Sept. 8, 2018. (Stephen Spillman / for American-Statesman)

5. Practice makes perfect

With Tulsa making Texas sweat, the Longhorns put together a 13-play touchdown drive that extended their lead to 28-14 with 6:25 left.  Ehlinger completed all seven of his passes on the drive, and the sophomore twice used his feet to pick up first downs on third-down attempts. The possession also featured freshman Joshua Moore’s first two collegiate catches and graduate transfer Tre Watson’s first touchdown at UT.

On the 11-yard touchdown, Ehlinger faked a handoff to Watson who then scored after receiving a dump-off pass. Watson told reporters the team often works on the play he scored on. Watson joked, however, that Ehlinger never checks down to him in practice.

Over his 37 games at Cal from 2014-17, Watson scored 13 touchdowns. Five of those scores were receiving touchdowns.

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