Without the luxury of spring practice, the Texas Longhorns had to find a way to successfully implement an offense during fall camp.
After opening the game with a 78-yard pass from Sam Ehlinger to Joshua Moore, the Longhorns did not look back and rolled over the UTEP Miners. An offensive performance like Texas put together deserves a closer look.
Texas offense — 689 total yards, 481 passing yards, 59 points
You don’t bring in Mike Yurcich to run the offense unless you’re looking to open things up like never before, which is exactly what happened in the first game of the season. From a macro level, 689 yards off offense is the third-most in school history, while the 481 passing yards claims the spot for the most all-time.
But for the Tom Herman-led Longhorns, this offensive success is unprecedented.
The 689 yards and 59 points are the most in any game under Herman, while the 56-point margin of victory is tied for the No. 1 spot with the 2017 win over the San Jose State Spartans. The win over the Miners is just the fourth time under Herman that the Longhorns have gone over 600 yards, and just the second time Texas has gone over 400 yards passing under Herman — the first was the 2019 loss to the LSU Tigers.
However, the win over the Miners was a more efficient affair than the LSU game, with Texas averaging 11.7 yards per attempt against the Miners compared to just 8.6 yards per attempt against the Tigers.
Sam Ehlinger — 25-33 (75.75 percent), 426 passing yards, 5 touchdowns. 3 carries, 12 yards
This was easily one of Sam Ehlinger’s best games as a Texas Longhorn.
He finished setting his career high for both passing yards and touchdowns, good enough for the third-most yardage of all-time and second in touchdowns in schooll history. By going over 400 yards for the second time in his career, Ehlinger ties Major Applewhite and Colt McCoy for the most 400-yard passing games in school history and is just five games shy of tying McCoy for the most 300-yard games at Texas.
Ehlinger’s first-half performance also puts him next to another all-time great, as his 429 yards and five scores sets the school mark for yardage and touchdowns in a half.
However, perhaps the most remarkable number in Ehlinger’s stat line is the smallest one, three carries and 12 yards. In the past, Ehlinger has relied on his legs, but with the new system, it seems as if he may see his role shift, to protect his body and maximize his potential. The three carries are a career low for Ehlinger as a stater and Teaxs is 9-2 when Sam has single-digit rushing attempts.
Joshua Moore — 6 receptions, 127 yards, TD
In his first snap since the 2018 season, Joshua Moore exploded onto the scene with a 78-yard touchdown reception on the first play of the game. The connection marked the first time since 2004 that the Longhorns scored on the opening play of a season, as well as the longest reception by a Texas receiver since 2016.
While most of his yardage came on that one play, Moore was not finished and ended the game with career highs in receptions and yardage. Not only was it his career high, but in one game Moore more than doubled his career yardage total, tied his career total of passing receptions and was just one reception shy of his career total.
Now, Texas has a week off to mend and fix anything that comes out in weekend film study before kicking off the nine-game conference schedule. On the other side of that bye is Texas Tech, a team who struggled in Week 1, but always plays Texas tough, especially in Lubbock.