COLLEGE ROUNDUP: Ehlinger injured, but No. 9 Texas survives Baylor 23-17
AUSTIN (AP) — Texas is bowl eligible in mid-October for the first time in a long time.
It took some tense moments to get there Saturday and there will some anxious days waiting for news on quarterback Sam Ehlinger’s sprained throwing shoulder.
Shane Buechele came on for Ehlinger early in the first quarter and the No. 9 Longhorns had to hold on late for a 23-17 victory over Baylor that wasn’t secure until the Bears’ final pass sailed through the back of the end zone as time expired.
The win came a week after Ehlinger accounted for five touchdowns in an upset victory over Oklahoma that catapulted Texas to its highest ranking since 2010. Ehlinger got hurt on the first drive against Baylor and Buechele had to lead Texas with his first snaps of the season.
“I stay ready with my teammates behind me. They always have my back and I have theirs,” said Buechele, who passed for 184 yards with one touchdown and one interception. “It’s for them. It’s for my teammates. It’s the least I can do, is stay ready for times like this.”
Buechele was the full-time starter in 2016 when he set several school freshman passing records, but couldn’t win the job from Ehlinger. The Longhorns struggled to find any offensive rhythm for most of the game and didn’t score in the second half.
“We knew this wasn’t going to be easy and obviously when your starting quarterback goes out on the first drive, there could have been some panic, a little shock,” Texas coach Tom Herman said.
Buechele took over after game officials made Ehlinger leave because his right, throwing hand was bleeding. Ehlinger first went to the sideline and then the locker room before school officials announced he had injured his throwing shoulder. He returned to the sideline but didn’t play again and changed into street clothes at halftime.
Texas (6-1, 4-0) is bowl eligible in mid-October for the first time since 2009, the last year the Longhorns won the Big 12 and played for a national championship.
Charlie Brewer passed for 245 yards and a touchdown for the Bears (4-3, 2-2), who were just 1-11 last season.
Texas A&M 26, South Carolina 23
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Tight end Jace Sternberger knew plenty of people were waiting for No. 22 Texas A&M to fall apart after its surprisingly strong start.
The Aggies showed Saturday they’re not going away any time soon.
Sternberger had seven catches for 145 yards, Kellen Mond threw for 353 yards and Seth Small had four field goals as Texas A&M held off South Carolina 26-23.
Sternberger had heard too many comparisons with past Aggies teams who opened strong, then faded as the Southeastern Conference season wore on.
“We put a lot of pressure on ourselves this week,” he said. “We knew everybody was waiting to see how we were going to respond.”
The Aggies answered with a winning final quarter after squandering a 16-0 second-half lead.
“We were going to get over that hump and we were able to show that today,” he said.
There are several more tests ahead for Texas A&M (5-2, 3-1), including road games with Mississippi State and Auburn and closing the regular season against LSU.
For now, though, the Aggies displayed the grit and resolve essential to succeed in the SEC.
“We’ve got some guys with heart and toughness, I can you that,” first year Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said.
The Aggies won their third straight this season and moved to 5-0 against the Gamecocks (3-3, 2-3) since joining the league in 2012.
Houston 48, East Carolina 20
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — D’Eriq King threw for two touchdowns and ran for another and Houston’s defense mostly stifled East Carolina in a 42-20 win on Saturday night.
King threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Courtney Lark, and then ran for an 8-yard touchdown and the Cougars (5-1, 2-0 Conference USA) led 14-0 before the midway mark of the first quarter. With 68 seconds before halftime, King threw a 6-yard touchdown to Romello Booker for a 21-3 lead.
With 5 minutes left in the third, Ed Oliver sacked Reid Herring, forced a fumble and Emeke Egbule scooped it up and ran it five yards into the end zone for a 28-6 lead. East Carolina didn’t reach the end zone until 5:15 left to play. The Cougars’ defense held East Carolina to 41 yards rushing on 31 carries.
Trevon Brown led East Carolina (2-4, 0-3) with 13 receptions for 153 yards and a touchdown.
Sam Houston State 42, Northwestern State 28
NATCHITOCHES, La. (AP) — Kyran Jackson broke for a 28-yard touchdown run to give Sam Houston State the lead in the third quarter and the Bearkats dominated the second half to beat Northwestern State 42-28 on Saturday night.
Jackson finished with 152 yards rushing and 116 receiving yards.
Northwestern State was up 28-23 at the break after Hayden Bourgeois intercepted Ty Brock, returning it 55 yards for a score with 27 seconds left.
Jackson gave SHSU (4-2, 3-1 Southland Conference) the lead in the third while the Bearkat defense shut out Northwestern State over the final two quarters.
Brock hit Davion Davis on a 2-yard scoring strike for a 42-28 lead early in the fourth and was knocking on the door for another score but instead threw his third interception, a pick by Shemar Bartholomew in the end zone.
Davis hauled in four touchdowns passes to tie his career high, a mark set against Northwestern State last year. Brock threw for 374 yards and four TDs as the Bearkats beat Northwestern State for the fourth straight time.
Shelton Eppler passed for 351 yards and three touchdowns for Northwestern State (2-4, 1-3).
SE Louisiana 62, Houston Baptist 52
HAMMOND, La. (AP) — Chason Virgil hit CJ Turner on a 15-yard scoring strike in the waning seconds to give Southeastern Louisiana the lead on its way to a 62-52 win over Houston Baptist on Saturday night.
The Lions (3-4, 3-2 Southland Conference), trailing 52-48, scored twice in the final 40 seconds to secure their third win in the last four games.
Houston Baptist (1-4, 0-3) had just taken its second lead of the night in the topsy-turvy game when LaDarius Dickens ran it in from the 1 with 5:16 remaining.
Devonte Williams returned a punt 49 yards to HBU’s 15 with 1:26 left. Five plays later, Virgil hit Turner for the lead.
HBU was on its own 45 on the next drive when Jon Miller sacked Bailey Zappe and Xavier Lewis scooped up the ball, returning it 38 yards for the final score.
Zappe threw for 342 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Darren Johnson rushed for 127 yards and a score and Tre Spann and Zeke Walker each had an interception returned for a touchdown for the Lions.