Since taking over as the full-time quarterback for the Texas Longhorns, senior Sam Ehlinger has been rewriting the Texas record books.
By the end of his junior season, Ehlinger held outright or was tied for seven of the school’s passing records, putting his name alongside Colt McCoy, Major Applewhite, and Vince Young statistically as the best quarterbacks in Texas history.
The senior actually sits at second all-time in several different statistical categories, but overtaking McCoy would require also breaking McCoy’s single-season record for the same feat. For example, he sits second behind McCoy in career passing yards, but to overtake him, Ehlinger would also need to break Colt’s single-season yardage total by nearly 500 yards.
With the Big 12 conference now playing a 10-game season, Ehlinger would have to average 439 yards per game to accomplish that feat. His highest single-game total thus far is 401 yards.
Statistically, it seems that Ehlinger will simply have to settle for second-best all time, ahead of names like Bobby Layne and James Brown, whose impact is undeniable on the legacy of Texas. Where then, does that leave Ehlinger and how can he cement his place in the pantheon of Texas quarterbacks?
Win a conference championship.
In the nearly 25 years of the Big 12 conference, just three other Texas quarterbacks have been able to manage that feat — McCoy in 2009, Young in 2005 and Brown in 1996. In two of those three years, the strength of the Big 12 title was enough to carry the team to a National Championship game.
With the changes to the schedule, it would likely take Ehlinger leading the Longhorns to The Big 12 Championship game and winning his final matchup against the Oklahoma Sooners. Winning that game would once again put him in the same sentence as McCoy, becoming the only other Longhorn quarterback with multiple career wins against OU in the last two decades.
Not only would that give Texas its first conference championship in 11 years, it would snap the Sooners’ five-year championship streak and perhaps set up the Longhorns to be more competitive in the future.
For Ehlinger, ending Oklahoma’s streak, giving Texas its first championship trophy since 2009 and putting Texas in a position to continue an upward trajectory would solidify an already incredible career.