LOS ANGELES (KXAN) — In their first meeting since that memorable 2006 Rose Bowl in the BCS Championship game, Texas’ comeback bid against USC came up short, 27-24 in double overtime.
In the second OT, Sam Ehlinger was stripped by Christian Rector, and USC recovered. On the ensuing possession, the Trojans won the game on a 43 -yard field goal from true freshman walk-on Chase McGrath.
In the first overtime period, USC scored on its first play on a 25-yard touchdown from Sam Darnold to Deontay Burnett.
Texas answered with a three-yard touchdown from Ehlinger to Cade Brewer, two two freshmen and former rivals from Westlake and Lake Travis, respectively.
Ehlinger finished with two touchdowns on 298 yards on 21-of-40 passing. He also threw two interceptions.
Late in the fourth quarter, Ehlinger led Texas on a touchdown drive, connecting with Armanti Foreman on a 17-yard pass to take 17-14 lead with 45 seconds left. Texas had to convert two fourth downs on the drive.
But in those final seconds of the game, Darnold led USC down to to the 14 yard-line, setting up the game-tying field goal by McGrath from 31 yards out. McGrath had already missed one from 46 yards earlier.
Ehlinger made his second start in a row in place of the injured Shane Buechele. Texas also lost offensive lineman Connor Williams early in the second quarter with a knee injury. Williams is widely considered to be the best player on the team and projected as a first-round NFL draft pick if he were to leave school after this season.
Both teams’ defenses dominated for most of the game. The first three possessions of the game all ended on downs, including a goal line stand on fourth-and-one by the Longhorns.
Late in the first half, USC scored the game’s first touchdown when Darnold connected with Burnett for a 15-yard score.
Texas answered with a defensive touchdown. DeShon Elliott intercepted Darnold and returned it 38-yards for the Longhorns’ third straight game with a non-offensive touchdown. Elliott finished the game with two interceptions.
But right before the half, with the clock winding down, Darnold connected with Ronald Jones who wove through the Texas defense untouched for a 56-yard touchdown to take a 14-7 lead into the break.
The only scoring in the third quarter came on a 39-yard Joshua Rowland field goal. It was the junior college transfer’s first made field goal on four attempts this season.