AUSTIN, Tx -- Following two uninspiring performances to open the season, Texas decided to turn it on. And did they ever. UT dominated in all three phases of the game as the Longhorns knocked off No. 22 Southern California, 37-14 in front of a record 103, 507 fans on an electrically charged Saturday night at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium.
Texas’ 2018 schedule is generally considered the toughest in the Big 12 and one of the harder slates nationally. This is mostly because the rest of the Big 12 isn’t opting for taking on a blueblood like USC in their non-conference slate this year (except TCU, taking on Ohio State) but it’s still fairly remarkable given that, unlike the rest of the Big 12, Texas never has to play Texas. Not literally, at least.
LOS ANGELES -- It was almost déjà vu. Texas came into California as an underdog to the mighty USC Trojans, and despite a ton of mistakes and some home cooking, almost pulled off the improbable behind a stellar defensive performance and true freshman QB who found his swagger in the 2nd half. Still, the No. 4 Trojans forced overtime with no time remaining and triumphed in double overtime over the Horns, 27-24, on a Chase McGrath 43-yard FG at the LA Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.
All things considered, I'm glad Texas is playing USC again. The game was put on Sam Ehlinger's shoulders. 40 passes that went for 298 yards (7.8 ypa) with a pair of TDs and a pair of INTs. He also led the charge on the ground with 19 carries (many of them sacks or scrambles) for 10 yards...and the crucial fumble that lost the game.
This is one of the big ones for Tom Herman in year one even though a pure “win or lose” metric probably won’t be the standard for what Texas needs to accomplish in the premier non-conference game. The Longhorns need to avoid an embarrassing blowout like they endured in 2015 in South Bend while a surprising victory like the 2016 triumph over the Fighting Irish would be more likely to prove a reliable omen.