COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME NOTES: TEXAS VS. UTEP
TEXAS NOTES (TEXAS SPORTS INFORMATION)
SERIES HISTORY VS. UTEP • The Texas Football program will meet UTEP for the sixth time in program history, and the first time for the Longhorns under the direction of head coach Tom Herman. • UT is 5-0 all-time against the Miners, winning every matchup by an average of more than 30 points in series history.
WHAT RETURNS IN 2020 • In 2020, the Longhorns return QB Sam Ehlinger, who has started all 27 games for Texas over the past two seasons. Ehlinger threw for 3,663 of UT’s 3,761 passing yards in 2019, and was responsible for 39 of the Longhorns’ 58 touchdowns last season. • The top four rushers from a season ago return in RBs Keaontay Ingram, Roschon Johnson and Daniel Young, as well as Ehlinger, however Young has elected not to play this season. Ingram (853 yds), Ehlinger (663 yds) and Johnson (649 yds) all ran for 600-plus yards last season. • Out wide, WRs Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay are both gone to the NFL, leaving junior Brennan Eagles and sophomore Jake Smith as UT’s top-two returning receivers. Eagles caught 32 passes for 522 yards (team-high 16.3 ypc) and six touchdowns, while Smith hauled in 25 passes for 274 yards and six touchdowns as a true freshman. Smith’s six touchdown catches in 2019 were the second-most by a freshman in school history, trailing only Roy Williams’ eight-TD mark in 2000. • In total, Texas returns 99.6% of its passing yards (3,747), 98.3% of its rushing yards (2,256) and 46.4% of its receiving yards (1,745) from last year’s team. • On defense, the Longhorns bring back nine of their top-11 tacklers, including team-leader Joseph Ossai, who logged 90 tackles in 2019.
A RETURNING HEAD COACH-QB COMBO • In fourth-year head coach Tom Herman and senior QB Sam Ehlinger, the Longhorns bring back one of the nation’s most experienced head coach-quarterback tandems in the country. The Longhorns are one of only 12 programs nationally to have been ranked in the final AP Poll of 2019 and bring back both their head coach and starting quarterback this year. • Of those 12 teams, only seven, including Texas, are slated to compete on the field this fall. Ehlinger stands out as the only member of the group to be entering his fourth season as a starter under his current head coach. • Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Notre Dame’s Ian Book are the only other three to have at least two seasons of experience as a starting quarterback with their current head coach from the group.
DIVING INTO THE DEFENSE • Texas returns 10 defensive starters in 2020, highlighted by junior JACK Joseph Ossai and junior DB Caden Sterns, among others. The Longhorns will be operating under new defensive coordinator Chris Ash, who comes to UT after serving as the head coach at Rutgers, and as defensive coordinator during stops at Wisconsin, Arkansas and Ohio State. • Over the final five games of the 2019 season, UT held its opponents to an average of 13.0 points under their season scoring average entering the game. The Longhorns’ dominant display against No. 11 Utah in the Alamo Bowl (W, 38-10) was its best performance in that stretch, as Texas held the Utes 24 points under their season scoring average (34.0 ppg). • The Alamo Bowl marked the fifth-straight game that Texas held its opponent under 25 points, UT’s longest stretch since 2011 (5 games). • The Longhorns forced Utah to punt on all five of its possessions in the first half and allowed only 127 yards of offense in that stretch. The Utes ran only three plays in Texas territory during the first 30 minutes of the game. • Texas also kept Utah off the board in the first half of the Alamo Bowl, marking the first time the Horns have shutout a top-15 team in the first half of a game since UT’s 23-17 win over No. 12 Baylor in 2015. • Over the final month of the regular season, Texas also produced strong defensive performances against four conference foes. The Longhorns allowed Texas Tech to score just three points over the final 38 minutes of the regular season finale, limited Kansas State to only 51 yards rushing on 26 carries (2.0 ypc) and held Iowa State to 23 points – two touchdowns underneath the Cyclones’ season scoring average (36.4 ppg) at that point in the year.
UTEP NOTES (UTEP SPORTS INFORMATION)
MINERS TRAVEL TO ATX TO TAKE ON LONGHORNS UTEP Football will take its 1-0 record on the road this weekend as the Miners travel to take on the Texas Longhorns on Saturday, Sept. 12 in Austin, Texas. This will mark the season-opener for Texas, a team that posted an 8-5 record in 2019, while the Miners are coming off a 24-14 victory over Stephen F. Austin this past weekend. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. MT at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin. Texas leads the all-time series, 5-0, over the Miners with the last meeting coming in 2016. » DEFENSE SHINES IN SECOND-HALF AGAINST STEPHEN F. AUSTIN Although the UTEP defense allowed Stephen F. Austin to jump out to an early 14-3 lead in Saturday’s season opener, the Miners stifled the Lumberjacks the rest of the way. SFA went up by 11 with 12:03 remaining in the 2nd quarter, but that would be the last time the Lumberjacks put up points on the board after the Miners posted a shutout the rest of the way. The Miners went on to score 21 unanswered points to secure a 10-point victory and start 1-0 on the short season. » HARDISON IMPRESSES IN DEBUT Gavin Hardison made his debut as QB1 for the Miners on Saturday as the Hobbs, New Mexico, native helped lead UTEP to a 24-14 victory over Stephen F. Austin. Hardison put together a strong performance in his first start under center after completing 17-of-28 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown in the win over the Lumberjacks. UTEP started the season as one of 14 programs in the country who entered the season with zero starts returning at quarterback. » SIX MINERS EARN FIRST CAREER START IN SEASON OPENER When the 2020 campaign opened last Saturday, six different Miners made their first career start in the Orange & Blue and helped guide UTEP to a season-opening win over SFA. UTEP center Andrew Meyer and quarterback Gavin Hardison both made their starting debuts for the Miners on offense, while UTEP started two new defensive tackles in Kelton Moss and Keenan Stewart, as well as cornerback Dennis Barnes and safety Dy’vonne Inyang on defense. » MINERS ADD THREE GAMES TO COMPLETE 12-GAME SLATE In addition to UTEP’s season-opener versus Stephen F. Austin, the Miners also added a home game against Abilene Christian on Sept. 19 and a road contest at ULM on Sept. 26. UTEP is currently one of nine teams in the nation that has 12 games scheduled in 2020.