In a rare move, Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman declared a starter at quarterback early in the week, announcing during his media availability on Monday that freshman Sam Ehlinger will receive the opening snap against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on offense.
Ehlinger went 12-of-19 for 136 yards and two touchdowns passing against West Virginia, including orchestrating the first two touchdown drives of the game. As a runner, he added nine carries for 68 yards, in addition to catching a 23-yard pass.
However, Ehlinger also struggled with his decision making in a critical moment, as he has at times this season — instead of taking a sack deep in Mountaineer territory, he tried to recklessly throw the ball away. Instead of landing harmlessly out of bounds, it was intercepted and returned 94 yards for a critical West Virginia touchdown.
Sophomore Shane Buechele has largely avoided those moments, but struggled some with his accuracy in hitting 4-of-7 passes for 28 yards against West Virginia. A drop by junior wide receiver John Burt ended Buechele’s day.
After Ehlinger came in on the third drive of the game in Morgantown, Herman said that Buechele will likely receive the same opportunity on Friday. Whichever quarterback is playing at a higher level would then remain in the game.