AUSTIN (KXAN) — Despite a sluggish second half where the defense gave up 21 points and the offense struggled, Texas held on to beat Tulsa, 28-21, in its home opener.
With just under five minutes to play, Tulsa pulled within a touchdown on a 35-yard touchdown from Luke Skipper to Keenen Johnson, but Texas was able to bleed out the clock thanks to a 30-yard run from Daniel Young to lock up the win.
In the second half, the Longhorns had less than 200 yards of offense and failed to score on its first four possessions, allowing the Golden Hurricane to get back into the game.
Tulsa cut into UT’s 21-0 halftime lead with back-to-back touchdowns at the end of the third and start of the fourth quarters to make it 21-14.
The Texas answered with its final touchdown of the game, an 11-yard catch and run from Ehlinger to Tre Watson, his first TD as a Longhorn, to go up 28-14. Watson led all rushers with 74 yards.
The big focus for Texas this week was a faster start, especially after a rough first quarter against Maryland to open the season. The Longhorns got exactly what they wanted.
On the first offensive play of the game, true freshman Caden Sterns picked off Skipper for his first career interception.
Texas took advantage of the short field with Ehlinger punching it in from a yard out after a 36-yard pass to Lil’Jordan Humphrey.
On the next possession, another true freshman, Keaontay Ingram, had an impressive 29-yard touchdown run down the far sideline to go up 14-0. Ingram had 64 yards on 10 carries.
Texas got its second turnover of the game on Tulsa’s ensuing drive when BJ Foster, another true freshman, intercepted Skipper.
The Golden Hurricane had plenty of opportunities to get on the board, but their two kickers combined for three missed field goals in the first half.
After the second miss, Texas drove 80 yards in five plays for the final score of the half — a 40-yard touchdown pass from Ehlinger to Humphrey, who broke two tackles before diving across the goal line. Ehlinger, starting his second game in a row, threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns without any interceptions. He also ran for 51 yards.
Next, Texas gets ready for its toughest stretch of the season, starting with a showdown against USC in a rematch of the 2005 national championship game. Last year, the Longhorns lost to Southern Cal in double-overtime. The Trojans lost on the road at Stanford Saturday night, 17-3.
UT will open Big 12 play the next week at home against TCU before going on the road to Kansas State, then wrapping up the stretch with the annual Red River Rivalry against Oklahoma in Dallas.