LUBBOCK, Texas (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns made countless mistakes in their Big 12 season opener, but will leave Lubbock improbably with a 63-56 overtime win.
The Longhorns survived glaringly bad special teams miscues and poor tackling against Texas Tech, but Sam Ehlinger wouldn’t let the Longhorns lose, throwing three touchdown passes in the final three minutes of regulation and overtime.
In his postgame press conference, Texas coach Tom Herman said Ehlinger told him that Texas Tech left “too much time” on the clock after scoring the fourth quarter touchdown to give the Red Raiders a 56-41 lead.
He was right. Overall, Ehlinger finished the day with 262 passing yards and five touchdowns.
Here’s what else the Herman said about the Longhorns 63-56 win in Lubbock.
“Really proud of our team. To go on the road, to have the mistakes, make the mistakes that we made especially defensively and on special teams. To find a way to gut it out in the end, we know what we need to do. We need to work on tackling. We gift-wrapped them three touchdowns so as poorly as we tackled on defense we certainly didn’t do them any favors on the other two phases of the game. Again, win…we won and really proud winning on the road is difficult. Especially when you continue to be your own worst enemy. We made big plays when we needed to.”
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What do you say to team after game like that?
“You point out the things you did well and you go back to work on the things you didn’t do well. Obviously the tackling on defense. I felt like it was last year I did. With no spring ball and fall camp. I think the speed of the game got to our guys a little bit. All of these are really good teaching moments. We’re going to celebrate the things we did well and go back to work on the things we didn’t. We’re certainly not pleased with how we won, but we are pleased with the result.”
On the importance of winning games like this during hopeful championship run
“I think we had a couple players say the same thing in the locker room. Great teams have a game or two like this. We saw the two teams that play in our conference championship last year had some real nail bitters. I think Baylor had a couple of overtime wins. They all count the same. For us to find the intestinal fortitude, to not give up or hang their head and find a way to win that thing. There’s a lot of confidence that can come from that, but also a lot of humility. Hopefully, this humbles some guys in there that thought this way going to be easy and that every game was going to be UTEP.”
How to describe Ehlinger’s performance
“Our quarterback actually looked at me and said they left us too much time. We’re going to tie this thing up and go to overtime and I believed him. He’s usually right on. He was right. Really proud of the offense for being able to do that. Proud of our onside kick team. The two-point play…it’s a multi-faceted play and I’m not going to tell you all the options on it. Brennan and Sam had a signal on which route they wanted to run and the rest is history.”
Evaluation of Ehlinger’s performance
“I never yell at a quarterback when they throw picks. They don’t want to throw one worse than you don’t want them to throw one. He knew and he was forcing things. He hit a funk in the third quarter and didn’t look like himself. Had me worried a little bit for a few drives and had me worried a little bit, We talked about it on the sidelines and he bounced back. I am running out of adjectives to describe him.”
Did team believe what coaches said about Tech’s talent before the game?
“Nope. Did they believe it, but did they believe it to the degree they needed to…no, they didn’t. I think a team with the athleticism especially at the skill positions…we knew they were going to be good on offense. We found our footing again there offensively in the fourth quarter. I’m selling them short (his team). They did believe me, but to the extent necessary…they didn’t.”
On running game
“I get really uptight when we get tackled for less than four yards and sometimes I don’t see the forest through the trees. Do I wish it were cleaner at times, but to walk out of there with 214 yards rushing…that’s a pretty good day. I’d like to be a little more consistent.”
Team’s belief before comeback
“What does it take to believe…down by 15 with three minutes and some change. I think a couple things…one that our training is what it is and we’ll find a way because of how well we’re trained from a football standpoint and strength and conditioning standpoint. I think everybody on that sideline thinks we have a shot to win that thing.”
Evaluation of offensive line
“Without watching the video, just OK. We threw for whatever percentage and close to 300 and rushed for 212 so the numbers were pretty good but you’re asking the question because you saw what I saw. Some TFL’s and sacks that you would like to have back so just OK too inconsistent for my taste but we’ll look at the film and find out why and continue to get better. This was a Big 12 team on the road and their offense is always going to keep them in games. They’re going to keep coming and making plays. We have to do a better job up front and I have full confidence that we will.”
On performance of secondary
“Any time you have 325 yards and five touchdowns thrown on you I would say that’s not a good day at the office. It was 96 degrees out there without summer conditioning and truncated training camp…we needed to rotate for the health of our players. It’s good that we’re able to. I remember there was a time last year where we were in a two-minute drill against Kansas with walk-ons. All of those guys have to play better and tackle better.”