Moving the goalposts

Moving the goalposts: LSU and Texas both win in prime-time thriller

Moving the goalposts: LSU and Texas both win in prime-time thriller

Texas Longhorns Louisiana State Joe Burrows quarterback Brandon Jones
Brandon Jones sacks LSU's QB, Joe Burrow, in the fourth quarter. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

While the defensive backfields of Louisiana State and Texas were arguing about who’s the real “DBU,” each gave up more than 400 yard passing in a Saturday night screamer that made most of the 100,000-plus at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium as hoarse as Tigers coach Ed Orgeron wakes up.

Sixth-ranked LSU came out on top 45-38, but Longhorn fans can be proud of a team that was written off at halftime trailing 20-7, but just kept coming — and looked to have a chance to drive in for the winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

The score was 37-31, down and distance were third and 17, and LSU was expected to run the ball to make Texas use its final timeout with just over two minutes left in the game. Instead, Tiger QB Joe Burrow and receiver Justin Jefferson slammed the storybook shut with a 20-yard pass that turned into a 61-yard touchdown after the usually reliable Caden Sterns missed a tackle.

Sterns no doubt had a sleepless night, but Keaontay Ingram reminds me of Aimee Mann ‘cause he ain’t gettin’ no shuteye ‘til Tuesday. The sophomore running back dropped a first quarter touchdown pass on fourth and goal that Bevo could’ve caught and now we know how it sounds when 100,000 people groan. Forget Matthew McConaughey, who almost turned the ESPN GameDay host into Lee Torso; we needed Dr. Phil to help Keaontay get mentally back in the game!

Texas led in first downs, rushing yards and takeaways, but LSU had Burrow. The senior QB, a former Tom Herman recruit at Ohio State, had a transcendent night of 31-39 passing for 471 yards and four touchdowns. An LSU quarterback in the Heisman conversation? It happened right before our eyes. Next week: Samoan gymnasts go for the gold!

Sam Ehlinger of Texas wasn’t quite as good as Jim Breuer lookalike Burrow, needing 47 passes to get his 31 receptions, but he was no goat, boy, passing for 401 yards and four TDs against that "scary" defense. Sammy the Bull also knocked a D-lineman on his muffaletta for a rushing touchdown. Sam's intense leadership kept the Horns churning in the first regular season matchup with LSU since Elvis Presley released his first single. Last night was no Louisiana Hayride for the boys from Red Stick, whose constant, breath-catching delays made it seem they were auditioning for a Tennessee Williams play about cramping.

Led by safety Brandon Jones, the everywhere man, the Texas defense was great — for one quarter. But with Tiger blockers picking off charging linebackers and safeties like bodyguards protecting Ariana Grande, their QB could’ve worked on a crossword puzzle back there. Instead, Burrow, a six-letter word for "accurate," made three of his receivers — Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase and Terrace Marshall Jr. — look like All-Americans, with over 100 yards each.

The mostly ineffective blitzes left one-on-one matchups in the secondary that the Tigers usually won. Jalen looked Green and Kobe Boyce couldn’t cover “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone,” not even with safety help from Bobby Hart.

Texas got fantastic games from daydream receivers Devin Duvernay and Brennan Eagles, with No. 6 hauling in 12 passes for 154 yards and two TDs, while sophomore Eagles had sportswriters typing “soared” with 116 yards and a TD on five catches. Those guys and Collin Johnson (three catches for 49 yards) normalized  LSU’s top DBs Grant Delpit and Kristian Fulton. Freshman Jake Smith got his first touchdown as a Longhorn on a 20-yard pass over the middle that brought Texas to within two points, 23-21 at the end of the third quarter.

A second-half spark plug for Texas was third-string QB Roschon Johnson, a true freshman moved to running back, who played like a starter with 32 tough yards on seven carries. You got the feeling Texas might not have had to turn the ball over on downs twice in the first quarter at the Tigers goal line if No. 2 was carrying the ball. 

Worst call of the night was a power sweep keeper by Ehlinger on the second fourth and goal. The hungry LSU defense swarmed him like he was carrying a bucket of chicken. "We don't stop them on the goal line and we're dead," LSU coach Oregeron, who has a post-coaching career in Mafia movies, said after the game.

All you ever really want as a fan is for your team to play hard on every snap, and Texas did that against a storied program that was just a little bit better last night. The Horns were in it to win it until the very end, when Collin Johnson let an onside kick roll through his hands and out of bounds.

In the biggest meaningless game in UT history, Texas came out as winners, screw the scoreboard. This 2019 team wasn’t ever going to play for the national championship. That’s next year when Sam’s a senior and Bijan “Bojangles” Robinson is a freshman halfback sensation. Burrow will be passing in the NFL, so Texas just might win next year’s rematch in Baton Rouge.

The current goal is to win the Big 12 championship and the Horns just got stronger in that pursuit. Thanks for the primetime scrimmage, LSU. We’re ready for you, Oklahoma, and we're bringing Jalen Hurts' brother Losing!