Texarkana, TX 75° View Live Radar Mon H 77° L 51° Tue H 69° L 43° Wed H 72° L 51° Weather Sponsored By:

Sam Ehlinger, Texas QB, is crushing defenders

Sam Ehlinger, Texas QB, is crushing defenders

October 12th, 2017 by Associated Press in College Sports

In this Oct. 7, 2017, file photo, Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger (11) runs around Kansas State defensive back Denzel Goolsby (20) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, in Austin, Texas. With a tough running style that break tackles and drives defensive backs to the ground, Texas freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger is sending a message to rival Oklahoma: these Longhorns are tougher than Texas teams of recent past past.

Photo by Associated Press

AUSTIN—Deep into overtime against Kansas State, Texas freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger burst into the middle of the line and veered right. A Wildcats defender in his sight, Ehlinger lowered his shoulder, threw a forearm and smashed through the tackler for an extra five yards.

In one crushing blow on a drive to the winning touchdown, Ehlinger sent a message to the Big 12: These Longhorns are tougher than Texas teams of recent past and the young quarterback with the big muscles and thick neck is leading the way.

"That kid's a hard-nose baller," Texas wide receiver Collin Johnson said.

No. 12 Oklahoma most certainly took notice. The Sooners (4-1, 1-1 Big 12) and Longhorns (3-2, 2-0) meet Saturday in their annual rivalry game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

While Longhorns coach Tom Herman refuses to say publicly who will start at quarterback, all signs point to Ehlinger taking over the offense from sophomore Shane Buechele, who has missed two games this season with nagging injuries. Ehlinger is 2-1 as a starter with 900 yards passing and five touchdowns and 212 yards rushing. His 487 total yards against Kansas State rank third in school history.

An Austin native, Ehlinger grew up in the shadow of the Texas campus. A popular photo making the rounds on social media is of a toddler Ehlinger in denim overalls and flashing the "Hook'em Horns" signal with both hands.

Ehlinger's father, Ross, died while competing in a triathlon in San Francisco in 2013 when Sam was in eighth grade. The two had spent their fall Saturdays going to or watching Longhorns games.

"He taught me that determination and consistency and hard work, and working hard every day is what he instilled into my morals," Ehlinger told 247sports.com in 2016 . Texas said it would not make Ehlinger available to speak with reporters this week ahead of the Oklahoma game.

Although Ehlinger initially committed to the Longhorns under former coach Charlie Strong, he stuck with Texas in order to be close to home even after Strong was fired. He enrolled in January in order to participate in spring drills.

"From the day I met him, this is an extremely mature guy. You don't go through what he went through all of a sudden have to be the man of your household, and not mature very quickly," Herman said earlier this season. "He's a bit of an old soul. I think that's what has allowed him to step into this role maybe a little bit easier than most."

The Texas-Oklahoma game, with the stadium split down the middle with between fans in burnt orange and those in crimson and cream, can be a pressure cooker for young quarterbacks who get caught up in the emotion and the non-stop momentum swings. Some crumble, others thrive, as Texas knows all too well.

The Cotton Bowl was the site of some of Chris Simms' toughest losses. Colt McCoy had some of his biggest wins there. McCoy won his debut against the Sooners in 2006 and beamed his boyish, toothy grin that Texas and Sooners fans would see for three more years.

Herman insisted Monday he won't designate a starter until he sees how well Buechele can practice on a sore ankle. 

But he also said Ehlinger's inexperience wouldn't be a concern.

"Non-factor. He started in the Coliseum against the No. 4 team (Southern California) in the country," Herman said.

The Longhorns lost that one 27-24 in double overtime. Ehlinger had three turnovers, including a critical fumble in the second overtime, but also drove his team 90 yards to the go-ahead touchdown with 45 seconds left. As his passing improves, it's Ehlinger's legs that have kept drives alive time and again.

"I told Sam, I was like, 'You scare me every time you run,'" Texas offensive lineman Patrick Vahe said. "Because he doesn't hesitate whatsoever when it comes to hitting another defender."

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Texarkana Gazette Comments Policy

The Texarkana Gazette web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Gazette web sites and any content on the Gazette web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Gazette, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Gazette web sites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Texarkana Gazette
15 Pine Street
Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: 903-794-3311
Email: webeditor@texarkanagazette.com