HOUSTON (AP) — Texas coach Tom Herman wanted to see his team put last week’s loss behind them and start fast Saturday night.
The Longhorns did just that.
Sam Ehlinger threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns, Jake Smith caught six passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns and No. 12 Texas rebounded from its first loss of the season with a 48-13 rout of Rice.
“We said all week elite teams, you don’t prove to yourself you’re an elite team by winning every top 10 matchup that you face,” Herman said. “Obviously, we wish we would have played better last week, but this week was going to be the big test to prove to ourselves that we could prepare, train, take care of our bodies at an elite level. And then, obviously, we had to go out there and play and start fast, and I thought both sides of the ball really, really showed they believed in that.”
Ehlinger threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Roschon Johnson to cap the opening drive before throwing touchdown passes of 53 yards and 12 yards to Smith in the first half. Ehlinger finished 23 of 27 passing in less than three quarters.
“Any type of game where you win after a loss is huge,” Ehlinger said. “For us to come out and play to our standard, continue to prove to ourselves that when we work really hard and play to our standard, it is hard for people to beat us is great.”
Keaontay Ingraham rushed for 74 yards and had touchdown runs of 26 yards and 14 yards after rushing for 29 yards on 10 carries last week.
“I think Keaontay definitely bounced back,” Herman said. “Early I thought he got a little bit frustrated, and we had to remind him ‘Hey we knew it was going to be this kind of game, especially early’. He found his groove, the (offensive) line found their groove. I think it was important for him to have a game like this.”
Cameron Dicker nailed a career-long 57-yard field goal a minute before halftime to push Texas’ lead to 31-0.
D’Shawn Jamison put the icing on the win for Texas with a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with a minute left.
Texas (2-1) outgained Rice, 509-266, after losing at home last week to LSU. The Longhorns finished with 28 first downs compared to 13 for the Owls (0-3).
“Amazed at how well we worked this week and how well we executed during game time,” Texas linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch said. “To be able to bounce back from what happened last week and just wipe the plate, go out and do what we needed to do was a big step for us.”
Tom Stewart was 11 of 22 for 175 yards and threw touchdown passes of 3 yards and 4 yards to Aston Walter in the fourth quarter. Austin Trammell caught six passes for 97 yards to lead Rice.
“Tonight was a very frustrating day to be a coach,” Rice coach Mike Bloomgren said. “It was a hard day at the office. We weren’t just committed to the run, we were trying other things. Luckily, we popped a few passes at the end of the game and a few runs, and it was a little bit better.”
Texas: Texas clicked in every phase of the game and looked like a team ready for Big 12 play. The Longhorns have won 14 consecutive games against the Owls and are now 42-1 in the series since 1966.
“When we’re doing things on offense and long drives, that really takes the life out of the defense,” Ehlinger said. “By the end of the game, when we string those together, we are so well trained that it’s really hard on opposing defenses. It’s great to do what we want on offense to wear the defense down.”
Rice: The Owls were overmatched and struggled to get any momentum going. The Owls played a clean game, with no turnovers and only one penalty.
“They did a lot of things to make it tough on us,” Bloomgren said. “I think from one to 22, we couldn’t really match up with them. We had a handful of guys that could match up with them for 60 minutes.”
BY THE NUMBERS
Texas finished 9 of 14 on third downs, compared to 5 of 13 on third downs for Rice. . Johnson had 11 carries for 59 yards, and Devin Duvernay had six catches for 60 yards for the Longhorns. … Walter rushed for 69 yards on 16 carries.
Texas should maintain its spot after the blowout win over Rice.
Texas: Hosts Oklahoma State Saturday to open Big 12 play.
Rice: Hosts Baylor on Saturday.