Much to Terry Bradshaw's chagrin, Sam Ehlinger is pretty good.
The junior quarterback tossed four touchdowns and No. 10 Texas trounced Louisiana Tech 45-14 Saturday night. It's the first time in head coach Tom Herman's tenure that the Longhorns have won their season opener.
"I thought he managed the game really well," Herman said. "Sam checked us into some really good plays. You know, it was good to see the entire offense, staff included, adjust to what we were seeing."
Herman added the Bulldogs blitzed so much that the offensive staff had to alter the game plan during the game.
Ehlinger finished 28-of-38 passing for 274 yards and four touchdowns - tied for a career-high.
Collin Johnson caught four passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. That was the unsurprising stat line. The Longhorns' other two top receivers were a bit more of a surprise.
Senior Devin Duvernay had nine receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown and also finished with four yards on two rushes. Sophomore Brennen Eagles had three catches for 59 yards and two touchdowns - the first of his Texas career.
"He's maybe about as selfless a player we have on this team," Herman said of Eagles. "After his first touchdown he sprinted to go hug a big guy and that was frigging awesome. I swear he's made the most strides. I think it's just the speed of the game and the knowledge of his assignment."
Defensively, the Longhorns gave up a pair of late touchdowns that eliminated the shutout. Their last shutout was Sept. 9, 2017, at home against San Jose State.
Joseph Ossai had an interception for Texas, and the defensive coordinator Todd Orlando also pointed out Malcolm Roach and Chris Brown as players who impressed for the Longhorns on defense. Louisiana Tech finished 1-for-3 on fourth down and had three turnovers.
It couldn't have started any better for Texas, as the Longhorns when 57 yards in seven plays and scored on a 4-yard pass from Ehlinger - who was a perfect 4-for-4 on the drive - to Duvernay.
The Longhorns scored on two of their next three drives, and sophomore kicker Cameron Dicker nailed a 43-yard field goal.
Ehlinger connected with Eagles for a touchdown on the first drive of the second half before running back Keaontay Ingram scored his first touchdown of the season with a 1-yard run in the third quarter.
For Herman, it was progress.
"The progress was shown throughout the preparation," he said. "You know, the progress was shown in the mental makeup of this team leading up to the game. I wasn't surprised by the way that we started. I kind of knew that progress was already there just the way these guys handle their business."
Now the focus shifts to a top-10 showdown with No. 6 LSU nee Saturday. ESPN College GameDay will be in Austin for the first time since 2009.
The Tigers blew out Georgia Southern in their season opener as quarterback Joe Burrow passed for five touchdowns.
Herman said that, other than the analysts and grad assistants getting a head start on the breakdown, neither the Texas staff or the players have looked past the season opener after losing in back-to-back years to Maryland.
"The letters LSU never came out of anybody's mouth these entire nine months since we left New Orleans," Herman said. "That's probably a testament to a lot of things. All of those guys we consider leaders were here the last couple years know how the openers turned out the last couple years."
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