college football

Third and Longhorns: A closer look at Maryland 34 Texas 29

Posted September 1st, 2018

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Why Texas (0-1) lost

The Longhorns started off in a funk, then got hot, then got cold again after an hour-and-a-half weather delay. It was anyone’s game before that delay; Texas’ four drives to close the game after it ended with a punt, a Sam Ehlinger interception, a Tre Watson fumble and another Ehlinger pick. It’s hard to close out games that way.

Why Maryland (1-0) won

The Terps were the mirror opposites of the Longhorns. Maryland started hot, withstood a hot second quarter from Texas, and then produced two fourth quarter scores while taking advantage of Texas turnovers.

The eyes of Texas

… were on four specific players — Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger, Maryland receiver Taivon Jacobs, Maryland running back Ty Johnson and Texas defensive tackle Chris Nelson.

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How’d they do?

Ehlinger: 21 of 39 for 263 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; also ran for 30 yards.

Jacobs: 6 carries for 25 yards; also led the team with 5 catches for 73 yards and a TD.

Johnson: 11 carries for 30 yards; also had 3 catches for 21 yards.

Nelson: 5 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss.

Game balls

Offense: Lil’Jordan Humphrey. The wide receiver led Texas with six catches for 82 yards. When Ehlinger needed him, Humphrey was there.

Defense: Brandon Jones. Led the team with 10 tackles and also was solid on punt returns. His 33-yard punt return in the first quarter set up UT’s first touchdown, and he saved a TD in the fourth with a big hit on Kasim Hill at the goal line; the Terps ended up settling for a field goal.

Cheers

1. Texas, down 24-7 in the second quarter, didn’t show any quit. One touchdown/safety/touchdown later, it was anyone’s game at halftime.

2. Strong debuts for Caden Sterns, B.J. Foster and Calvin Anderson. Tre Watson and Keaontay Ingram need more carries.

3. Ehlinger was sacked only once and rarely looked pressured in the pocket. A nice day for the offensive line.

Jeers

1. Those three turnovers on the last three drives — each one with Texas in a position to grab control of the game or outright win it.

2. Ten tackles worth 102 yards.

3. The plays that ended up costly in the big picture — a dropped interception by Kris Boyd, Gary Johnson’s targeting penalty and subsequent ejection, those two Ehlinger picks, the Watson fumble and Jeffrey McCulloch’s missed tackle on Tayon Fleet-Davis’ touchdown.

Texcetera

This was Texas’ 20th all-time season-opening loss — and its second in a row. … Five Longhorns made their first career starts — RB Tre Watson, LT Calvin Anderson, WR Brennan Eagles, DT Ta’Quon Graham and S Caden Sterns. And nine true freshmen played. … Ehlinger has thrown for at least 200 yards in every one of his seven starts. … Keaontay Ingram scored his first career TD. … Devin Duvernay’s 39-yard touchdown catch was his first score since the 2016 season.

On deck

Tulsa (7 p.m. Saturday, LHN)

The Longhorns have one last shot to turn things around and gain some momentum before things get very serious — USC, TCU, Kansas State and Oklahoma follow.

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