Texas loses to USC, 27-24, in double overtime

Texas loses to USC, 27-24, in double overtime

On Saturday, instead, the Trojans were matched up against a Texas team that opened the season by losing at home to Maryland before pounding San Jose State. In recent years, both programs have been trying to even come close to reaching those heights again, and Saturday served as both a key test in USC's playoff pursuit and a measuring stick for Texas' progress.

In December, Texas might look like a quality foe on a regular-season schedule that already includes Notre Dame and nine Pac-12 games, the historic powerhouse beefing up the Trojans' slate. Ballage and the Sun Devils play in Texas on Saturday night (5 p.m., Root), far from the desert where the running back had 15 touches and scored eight times last September - seven on direct-snap runs and on a 39-yard double-reverse flea flicker in a wild 68-55 win.

After a back and forth in the extra period, the USC defense forced and recovered a fumble, putting the game at McGrath's feet once more.

The journey to get there proved to be full of surprising twists. The USC Trojans ground game is averaging 269.5 yards per contest, and Ronald Jones II leads the way with 275 yards and five touchdowns. Against Western Michigan, Darnold threw two interceptions with zero touchdowns. USC's defense is slightly hobbled though; linebacker Porter Gustin and defensive tackle Marlon Tuipulotu are both doubtful.

Unfortunately, Ehlinger had a rough finish to his night after being stripped of the football near the goal line in the second overtime that would eventually be capped off by the Casey McGrath game victor for USC.

In the first overtime, redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold fired a strike to junior wide receiver Deontay Burnett on the very first play to give the Trojans a 24-17 lead. Jones did get loose for one score at the end of the first half, but that came on a 56-yard pass play in which Jones burned a group of Longhorns defenders on a diagonal run to the corner of the end zone. The first three possessions of the game all ended on downs, including a goal line stand on fourth-and-one by the Longhorns. Texas was unable to get points after DeShon Elliott gave it prime field position midway through the fourth quarter with his second interception and a return to the USC 25. He'll have a lot to learn but he certainly made a compelling case to be the starter moving forward depending on the health of Shane Buechele. Carrington has lived up to the hype after transferring from OR, tying for No. 6 in the country with 128 receiving yards per game and trying for No. 11 with 17 receptions.

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Yet, Darnold and the Trojans did manufacture some magic earlier, too, scoring on the final play of the second quarter for a 14-7 halftime edge. First, he found Armanti Foreman for what looked to be the go-ahead touchdown and then later found Cade Brewer for a score in the first overtime. After Sam Ehlinger led a monumental 14-play drive 91 yards for a go-ahead touchdown, Texas kicked the ball back to USC with just 45 seconds to play.

There, the two teams exchanged touchdowns, before Ehlinger had the ball jarred loose to set up McGrath to deliver a win for the Trojans.

Texas's season-opening loss to Maryland was deflating for a handful of reasons.

In a lot of respects, you can make the argument that they have. There were good things for the freshman Ehlinger, and some really not good things.

The Longhorns have an off week before a Thursday night game at Iowa State, a potential trap spot. He has teamed with freshman Stephen Carr to provide a relentless rushing attack in USC's first two games, and Texas' run defense will have to prove its competence.

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