After a week of talk and excitement, the dust settled and the Texas Longhorns came up short against the LSU Tigers, 45-38, after struggling defensively to stop Joe Burrow and the new-look offense. The Longhorns still have a lot to figure out on the defensive side of the ball, especially with Big 12 play looming, but the Texas offense has some things to take away from the game to build on for the future.
Texas Defense: 573 yards allowed, 471 passing yards
In most estimations, Texas scoring 38 points against LSU would have been a recipe for a win. However, the Longhorns struggled coming up with a stop and turned in one of their worst performances in several seasons. The 573 yards is the 17th-most allowed in school history and the most since Oklahoma State in 2016, while the 471 passing yards is the sixth-worst performance of all-time.
Despite the halftime deficit, the Longhorns’ worst run defensively was from midway through the third quarter through the end of the game. LSU went four-straight drives with a score, a field goal followed by three touchdowns, going punch-for-punch with a surging Texas team. It’s not just the yardage, but how efficient they were in that run.
They put up 278 of their 573 total yards in that run, on just 24 of their 68 snaps, a whopping 11.58 yards per play during that stretch. On their other 44 snaps, LSU managed just 6.7 yards per play.
Sam Ehlinger: 31-47, 401 yards, 4 TDs. 19 att, 60 yards, TD.
The junior captain continued to prove why he belongs among the top quarterbacks in the country. His career-high 401 passing yards is just the sixth 400-yard passing performance in school history and gives him 18 career games with 200 yards or more, tying him for No. 6 in school history. He also tied a career-high with five total touchdowns, four passing and one rushing, the fifth time in his career accounting for four or more total touchdowns.
Ehlinger spread the ball around well, connecting with both Devin Duvernay and Brennan Eagles for more than 100 yards apiece, just the 16th time in school history that Texas has boasted a pair of 100-yard receivers in a game. Thanks to Ehlinger’s performance, the Longhorns were rather explosive through the air, averaging 8.5 yards per completion — a full 1.5 yards more than against Louisiana Tech.
Offensive Line: 5 sacks, 1 TFL
The offensive line performed well for a big chunk of the game but seemed to struggle as the LSU defense was able to key on the fact that Texas was in passing situations late in the game.
Ehlinger was sacked twice in the second quarter, both drive-ending sacks that led to 10 points by LSU as they built their big halftime lead. Texas then went the entire third quarter without surrendering a sack or tackle for loss, outscoring LSU 14-3 and closing the gap to just two points. Ehlinger was then sacked three times in the fourth quarter, all three of them putting Texas well behind the chains and in even more obvious passing situations.
In spite of the loss, all is not lost for the Longhorns. In fact, far from it. Texas can regroup this weekend against the Rice Owls on the road, a final tuneup before starting Big 12 play at home against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Todd Orlando and the Texas defense need to shore up the back end between then and now, as the Oklahoma State offense is averaging 54 points per game and 313 yards through the air.