LAWRENCE, Kan. — As Texas closed out its regular season with a 24-17 win over Kansas on Friday, Sam Ehlinger threw the final pass of his own record-setting run.
On a third-and-10 at Kansas’ 22 in the second quarter, Ehlinger was intercepted by Jayhawks defensive end Najee Stevens-McKenzie. It was the sophomore quarterback’s first pick since the end of the season opener against Maryland, a string of 308 straight passes without a pick that’s a record for both Texas (by 152 passes, ahead of Major Applewhite) and the Big 12 (by 35, ahead of Geno Smith).
The NCAA record is 444, by former Louisiana Tech quarterback Colby Camero.
Ehlinger was looking for Lil’Jordan Humphrey on the play. He explained after the game that Kansas had dropped eight defenders into coverage. Humphrey ran an option route but Stevens-McKenzie made the play.
“We’ve run that play a thousand times to that same exact coverage and it’s worked out,” Ehlinger said. “He made a good play on it.”
After sitting out the second half of last week’s win over Iowa State with a shoulder injury, Ehlinger was 16 of 28 for 154 yards and two touchdowns against the Jayhawks. He threw a second interception in the fourth quarter. Kansas entered this week ranked sixth nationally in forced turnovers.
“I think he would tell you he probably tried to force a few things here and there,” UT coach Tom Herman said. “He was a little bit off throwing the football, just a little bit. I will tell you the wind was real down there.”
Ehlinger finished the regular season with 2,774 yards and has 4,689 yards for his career. Both marks rank eighth in the school’s record books.
Injury update: Safety Brandon Jones’ return to the starting lineup was cut short by a scary head injury.
Jones had missed UT’s previous three games after he aggravated an ankle injury on the morning of UT’s 42-41 loss to West Virginia on Nov. 3. He dropped Kansas running back Pooka Williams for a 3-yard loss on the game’s first play. He earned four additional tackles in the first quarter and he had two more in the second.
But on a second-quarter punt return, Jones received a helmet-to-helmet hit from Kansas safety Emmanuel Moore, who was ejected from his final college game for targeting. Jones was ruled out at halftime with a head injury.
This was Jones’ third notable injury of the season. His ailing ankle also sidelined him for UT’s win over Tulsa on Sept. 8.
Texcetera: With his 34-yard kick with 10:57 remaining, Cameron Dicker tied Dusty Mangum’s freshman school record for single-season field goals. Dicker is 16 of 22 this season. … Tre Watson, who arrived this season as a graduate transfer from Cal, topped 2,000 rushing yards for his career on Friday. … On UT’s first drive, junior Devin Duvernay exceeded 1,000 receiving yards for his career. … Williams became the second player to top 100 rushing yards against the Texas defense this season; Williams finished with 103 yards, with 57 of them coming on one play.