Thanks to the win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders, the Texas Longhorns have their highest regular-season win total since 2013 and are guaranteed to avoid losing conference records in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2013 and 2014.
As the Longhorns look to close out their last two weeks and handle their business in the Big 12 conference, what are the stats and trends to watch from the win over Texas Tech that could influence their games against Iowa State and Kansas?
Sam Ehlinger: 22-34 (64.7%), 312 yards, 4 TDs
Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger had a career day against the Texas Tech Red Raiders and continues to be a big reason why Texas has been successful this season. In the midst of setting a career-high with four touchdown passes, he also threw his 280th pass without an interception, breaking the previous mark of 273 set by West Virginia’s Geno Smith in 2012.
Ehlinger’s 312-yard effort gives him his fourth 300-yard effort of his career, tying David Ash and Chris Simms for the fourth-most in school history, and if you add in his 14 net rushing yards, Ehlinger surpasses Ash for 10th in total offense.
Ehlinger is not just putting up great numbers, but over the last two weeks, he has been nothing short of spectacular. He’s completed 67 percent of his passes for 670 yards and seven touchdowns; good for a passer rating of 180.54. He’s turned in back-to-back weeks with a rating greater than 180, making him the first Texas quarterback to accomplish that feat while throwing a significant number of passes since David Ash in 2012.
Third Down Defense: 10-15 (66.67 percent)
A year after having the top third down defense in the country, the money down has not been the Longhorns friend as of late. Their 66.7 percent performance against Texas Tech is the highest percentage allowed since Week 2 of the 2015 season against the Rice Owls.
For the second time in three weeks, the Longhorns gave up 10 third down conversions in the game and have given up 27 of their 47 third down attempts in the last three weeks for a 57.4 percent conversion rate.
Third down attempts between four and six yards have been a nightmare for the Longhorns this season, giving up 11.69 yards per play from that distance. Opponents convert on the ground on third and short 70 percent of the time, averaging 4.27 yards per rush.
Time of Possession: +6:16
Texas controlling the clock and the ball has been its greatest key indicator of success this year, and that trend continued against Texas Tech. Texas is 7-1 when it wins the time of possession battle and 0-2 when the Horns do not.
The Longhorns averaged more than three minutes per drive against the Red Raiders, but that average is a bit floated by their pace-setting drive in the second quarter. The 18-play, which chewed up 8:10 from the clock was their longest of the season and gave the Longhorns their first lead of the game.
The Longhorns still need a bit of help if they want to play for the Big 12 title and several dominoes must fall in the right orders for them to get the opportunity. However, the first domino that must fall is Texas pulling out a win over the Iowa State Cyclones in their final home game of the season Saturday.