Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger passed for 223 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 35 yards and another score as the Longhorns rolled past No. 22 Southern California 37-14 on Saturday before a stadium-record crowd of 103,507 patrons at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin.
Ehlinger’s scoring plays all came during the second and third quarters, when the Longhorns (2-1) rang up 34 unanswered points to erase an early deficit and walk away from USC. He hit on 15 of his 33 throws without an interception and did more than enough damage with his legs as well, using his knack for escaping danger to pick up big first downs on five different occasions.
USC’s freshman quarterback JT Daniels passed for 322 yards without a touchdown and was intercepted once but was constantly harassed by the Texas rush and sacked three times. The Trojans (1-2) gained minus-5 yards on 16 carries on the ground.
A 23-yard TD run by Stephen Carr on the game’s opening possession garnered the Trojans a 7-0 lead. A 20-yard field goal by Texas’ Cameron Dicker on the Longhorns’ first drive cut that advantage to 7-3.
USC added a 3-yard scoring run by Vavae Malepeai late in the first quarter after Daniels connected with Velus Jones Jr. on a 40-yard pass to set the table.
The Longhorns again responded as Lil’Jordan Humphrey turned a short pass from Ehlinger into a highlight-reel, 47-yard touchdown that brought Texas back to within 14-10 at the 13:23 mark of the second quarter. Humphrey caught the 10-yard pass and spun 180 degrees to avoid a Trojans defender before sprinting to the end zone.
Dicker added a pair of 46-yard field goals, the second as time expired in the first half, to grant the Longhorns a 16-14 lead at intermission.
Texas continued its run in the third quarter, as Ehlinger hit freshman Joshua Moore on a strike in the end zone on a post pattern for a 27-yard TD with 10:45 to play in the third quarter.
The Longhorns took a commanding 30-14 lead when Caden Sterns blocked a 50-yard field goal attempt by the Trojans’ Chase McGrath and the bouncing ball was scooped up by Texas’ Anthony Wheeler and returned 46 yards for a touchdown.
Ehlinger rambled 4 yards for a touchdown at the end of an eight-play, 50-yard drive with 1:42 to play in the third quarter to build Texas’ advantage to 37-14.
–Steve Habel (@SteveHabel), Field Level Media