Malcolm Butler, Louisiana Tech Associate Athletic Director/Communications
AUSTIN, Texas – Sam Ehlinger threw for four touchdowns and Keaontay Ingram ran for another to lift 10-ranked Texas to a 45-14 win over Louisiana Tech before 93,418 fans at DKR Texas Memorial Stadium Saturday evening in the season opener for both teams.
The Longhorns (1-0) took only 2:20 minutes off the first quarter clock in taking an early 7-0 lead as Ehlinger connected on the first of his quartet of scoring strikes with a four-yard connection to Devin Duvernay.
Tech (0-1) missed on a number of scoring opportunities in the first half, including missing two field goals. Texas put 17 more points on the scoreboard in the second quarter, as Ehlinger hit Collin Johnson for a 6-yard score and Brennan Eagles for a 28-yard strike. Cameron Dicker added a 43-yard field goal as Tech trailed 24-0 at the half.
“Having turning the ball twice at our end of the field, you can’t spot a team like Texas like that,” said Tech head coach Skip Holtz. “We gave up some uncontested deep balls. We missed a wide open touchdown. In practice, (Bailey Hale) is our best kicker. I don’t know if it was the environment.
“Give Texas credit, they are a good football team. We lost this game because we didn’t execute at the level we are capable of. I think we learned that the moment might be a little bit bigger for some than others. I think some really played their tail off and competed. The biggest mismatch was how big Texas was up front. How we weren’t able to get pressure on the quarterback. I was proud of the way our skill players played.”
The Longhorns quickly doused any potential Tech rally in the third quarter as Eagles caught his second scoring pass of the game – a 25-yard strike from Ehlinger – and Ingram scored on a one-yard dive as Tech upped the advantage to 38-0.
Tech struck for a pair of TDs in the fourth quarter. J’Mar Smith found Malik Stanley on a 5-yard strike and Griffin Hebert on a 12-yard toss. Smith finished the game 34-of-51 for 331 yards and two scores. The 34 completions were a career-high.
“It was a good learning lesson,” said Holtz. “His two touchdowns, he made the same mistake and then came back and went to the proper guy to give them an opportunity for a touchdown. This will be something we can grow from. This is certainly not the performance we wanted in this game. We definitely have to improve because we have a lot of football left to play.”
Smoke Harris (6-58), Cee Jay Powell (6-56), Hebert (5-50-1), Stanley (4-48-1) and Isaiah Graham (4-39) led Tech’s receiving corps in the loss. The Bulldogs were held in check on the ground, rushing for just 73 yards on 26 carries.
James Jackson (9 tackles), Collin Scott (9 tackles), Michael Sam (6 tackles, 1 TFL) and Amik Robertson (4 tackles, 2 PBUs) led the Bulldog defense.
Tech returns to action Saturday when it hosts Grambling State at 2:30 p.m. at Joe Aillet Stadium in the Buddy Bowl. Tickets for the contest can be purchased by going to LATechSports.com/Tickets or calling 318-257-3631.