AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Sam Ehlinger went for two touchdowns, Anthony Wheeler returned a blocked field goal 46 yards for a result and Texas beat No. 22 Southern California 37-14 on Saturday night to give second-biggest coach Tom Herman his biggest win in burnt orange.
Texas, who had started in four of the previous five seasons 1-2, moved 14-3 in the first quarter before freshman quarterback J.T. Daniels, scoring 34 unanswered points.
The win could be a huge boost for a Texas (2-1) program that desperately needs eight years without a Big 12 title and a string of bad seasons. Herman is 9-7 with the Longhorns and won this victory before an enthusiastic school record crowd of 103,507, which stayed to the end and deafening songs of "Texas Fight!"
"There's a bit of release, a bit of a hump we've come through, that we can win a big game, not just getting close, but winning," Herman said. "We will evaluate where this win stands, how we react to it and how we play the rest of the season."
Ehlinger threw 47 yards of touchdown punches to Lil – Jordan Humphrey and 27 yards to Joshua Moore. Wheeler scoop and score came in the third quarter after Texas blocked a 50-yard field goal attempt. The touchdown brought the Longhorns to 30-14.
Daniels went for 322 yards, but the Trojans (1-2) were rushed to minus 5 yards. Texas became one-dimensional USC and defended its defense, USC coach Clay Helton said.
They wanted to see what J.T. It could happen in the passing game and forced our hand, "Helton said.
THE WAY TO TAKE
USC: Trojans need to regroup to keep their season together. Daniels was sharp in the points and led USC to a pair of first-quarter touchdowns after not having found the end zone against Stanford a week earlier. Personal fouls kept a few Texas scoring drives alive – linebacker Porter Gustin was ejected for targeting – and short punts led directly to two Texas scores.
Texas: The Longhorns will expect some respect with this win. Texas fought back from the early deficit, the defense dominated the running game of the Trojans and held up the pressure late. Ehlinger was efficient and played his first game this season without sales. USC has not nearly met its expectations of the preseason, but it is still a traditional power and Texas has pushed the Trojans around. Texas has also received the # 900 program prize and has joined Ohio State and Michigan as the only programs to reach that number.
"That must be the standard," said Herman.
The Trojans will drop out of the rankings after their second loss in a row. Texas may have to beat TCU No. 15 next week before they can come back into the game, as voters are still shy about the Longhorns after losing their season against Maryland and recent history.
USC returns to Pac-12 on Friday night against Washington State.
Texas hosts No. 15 TCU next Saturday in the Big 12 opener for both teams.