AUSTIN (KXAN) — The season wasn’t close to what the Longhorns expected, but they’ll be heading to a bowl game coming off a win. Texas started slow and finally realized Texas Tech’s defense wasn’t good enough to stop them.
The Longhorns outscored Tech 43-10 in the final three quarters of Friday’s contest at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium for a 49-24 win.
Sam Ehlinger threw for 348 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another. Freshman running back Roschon Johnson notched a 100 yard rushing day while tallying three touchdowns. The freshman may have found his forever position after being recruited to Texas as a quarterback.
16 seniors played the final home game of their Texas careers. Receiver Devin Duvernay made it count with 6 catches for 199 yards and a touchdown. Duvernay completed a fantastic regular season with 103 catches, 1294 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
Texas head coach Tom Herman met with the media following the victory over the Red Raiders.
“The first thing is I want to thank our friends from coming out at 11 a.m. on a Friday kickoff. The weather conditions weren’t ideal but the ones that showed up it was evident they support our program. Really excited about getting a win. We all know this is not where we hoped we would be but to send these seniors out…that was the mission from the time we met on Sunday. Nothing that has happened prior to this week mattered. They played a lot of football these seniors. Some games they’ll remember, some games they won’t but they’ll always remember their lost home game. Small senior class but the guys around them really rallied. Proud of the effort, proud of the way our guys responded to early adversity and excited to go into a bowl season with a good taste in our mouths.”
Caden Sterns: rib injury
Devin Duvernay: shoulder (good spirits after the game)
Keaontay Ingram: re-aggravated ankle injury
Difference in offensive production this week:
“We ran the football and we didn’t abandon the run. We knew 2,3,4 yard runs were going to happen. The offensive staff had a good plan. Early in the game, we threw a pretty significant RPO to Duvernay which made them think twice about that. Sam played really well…was decisive and accurate and our receivers made some big time plays too.”
Significance of Malcolm Epps catch:
“You hate to have to rely on somebody making a play to spark some energy but it certainly did. It was a great throw in a tight window but you’re absolutely right it definitely did rejuvenate the offense.”
On how Herman will evaluate the offense for the season:
“I’m just really proud of our seniors. 7-5 is not our standard here. There will be time to evaluate it. Evaluate how the program from the top-down. Now is not the time to do it, now is the time to celebrate these seniors.”
On if offense played loose or more aggressive:
“We took some risks we attempted some special plays. Once we had a good plan for what their base was going to be which was similar to the last few weeks. It allowed us to open it up a little bit and feel like we could take some risks knowing that it was going to be double-cloud, three safeties. But that has to do with the run game.”
On intention of playing freshmen against Tech:
“Jake’s been playing the last few weeks. Jared had slid into that starting tight end job. It was good to see Kenyatta Watson out there making plays. There was a lot of youth on that field…a lot of first and second year players. Those guys really performed well today.”
On performance of defensive line:
“We held them to 75 yards rushing which is indicative of the disruption the d-line was having. To leave the game with four sacks, those guys made a big impact on the game.”
On defensive improvement as game progressed:
“We were playing hard. We played better. We didn’t draw up any magic blitzes or defenses. When you try to be simple which was the game plan on all sides of the ball then you have to adjust when they poke and prod and say ok, we’re not going to make wholesale changes, we’re going to adjust. Still gave up too many big pass plays but at the end of the day they got themselves off the field”
On if Herman’s learned anything new after three years at UT:
“I’ve got a great administration in Chris Del Conte and Greg Fenves and great fan support. There haven’t been many surprises.”
On stopping Tech on fourth down:
“They were 7-of-16 on third down but when you factor in those three fourth down stops…we were getting off the field. That was big. Really proud of the way the guys understood…it’s our job to get them off the field.”
Evaluation of Ehlinger’s performance:
“I think he felt comfortable. Really proud of the way Sam played. Beyond that, I thought he played excellent. QB draw was a big part of this game plan. He was trusting his receivers, he was on-time, he was decisive.”
Message to Longhorn nation after game:
“That we’re going to be OK. Things are still going in the right direction. We’re not happy with the totality of the season but the kids are fighting. We’ve got a lot of young talented players that will have another year under their belt to develop. The future is very, very bright but we’re not oblivious to the fact that we’ve got to evaluate what needs to be fixed and we’ll fix it.”
On encouraging signs from freshman/sophomore players:
“I think I counted something like…over the course of the season there were 14 or 16 first or second year players that had started a game and that’s a good thing. They’re going to be so much better for that experience. We are really excited about the talented, youthful groups and we’ve got another game to play and I don’t want to turn the page yet. It’s very encouraging to see these young guys.”