To say that the matchup against the USC Trojans has the potential to be a major pivot point for the Texas Longhorns’ season is putting it lightly.
Even though this isn’t the 2017 undefeated USC team led by Heisman Trophy hopeful Sam Darnold, a win over the Trojans could signal a change in identity for the Longhorns. Head coach Tom Herman is 0-4 against ranked teams at Texas and quarterback Sam Ehlinger is 3-5 as a starter.
Putting one in the win column has the potential to shift fans’ thoughts and feelings around the head coach and his young signal caller.
USC is facing the challenge of making the changeover from an NFL-caliber talent, to an true freshman quarterback in JT Daniels. Against the Cardinal, Daniels suffered a hand injury and struggled late, but is expected to take the field for the Trojans Saturday.
It seems to be that the play of the young quarterbacks could turn out to be the deciding factor for whichever team comes out on top.
- One of the other marquee matchups against USC may be the Trojans’ pass rush against the Longhorns’ tackles.
- Texas coaches have been impressed with the way their young defensive backs have played through two games.
“I’ve been so impressed with him and Caden,” defensive coordinator Todd Orlando said on Wednesday. “It’s so hard to learn a package, come into a place and have eight or nine months, whatever it is. Those guys... I mean, they’re savvy, they’re smart, they really, really care, they work at it. I don’t want to say this, because I don’t want to jinx the kids, but if they keep going, they are going to be two really special players.”
- USC quarterback JT Daniels will need to prove to Trojans fans, and himself, that he can win games.
- The Longhorns’ pass rush has not made a huge impact, as it is still looking to replace stars it lost from last season.
- Sam Ehlinger isn’t using last year’s game as motivation heading into Saturday’s rematch in Austin.
It was real tough. It was a crazy game,” Ehlinger said on Tuesday. “It was one of the loudest atmospheres I’ve ever been in. My first road game. I was 18 years old. Looking back on it, it was a pretty surreal moment, regardless of the outcome, just being in the Coliseum, such a historic place. And to play against one of the top quarterbacks, it was just an amazing experience.”
- The Longhorn Republic tries to diagnose where things went wrong against Tulsa and how they can be fixed prior to USC.
- The Texas Longhorns are just one marquee victory away from shifting the narrative about the 2018 season.
- Sophomore guard Patrick Hudson (heat) — out
- Freshman running back Keontay Ingram (knee) — highly doubtful
- Junior center Zach Shackleford (foot) — out
- Freshman LB/S DeMarvion Overshown (knee) — out
- Senior WR John Burt (foot) — out
- Junior safety Brandon Jones (ankle) — will play
- Freshman linebacker Ayodele Adeoye (knee) — will play
How to Watch:
Time: 7 p.m.
Radio: Texassports.com. Broadcasts are also available on Sirius 132, XM 199, and App Ch. 953
Online Streaming: Fox Sports Go
Weather: High of 86 degrees with a 80 percent chance of thunderstorms
Odds: Texas (-3.5)