August 10, 2019
Sam Ehlinger will lead Texas to a National Championship
After flailing away for years, the Longhorns finally found their man last year in Austin native, Sam Ehlinger. And just like that, the Longhorns had an All-Big 12 quarterback, beer is once again flowing in Austin, and UT fans had even more reason to enter this season with insanely high expectations.
Ehlinger set a conference record by throwing 308 passes without an interception. He remained healthy, something he struggled to do as a freshman. He even beat Oklahoma. But the Sooners got their revenge as No. 5 Oklahoma beat No. 9 Texas 39-27 in the Big 12 championship game
Texas' season ended by beating Georgia in the Sugar Bowl 28-21. It was after that game, during the victory celebration, that Ehlinger famously declared to the crowd, "Longhorn Nation, we're baaaaack."
That Sugar Bowl is also the game that inspires confidence among the Longhorns and their fans that 2019 could lead to something greater - a Big 12 championship, and, perhaps, a College Football Playoff run.
It all seems possible as long as Ehlinger is leading the way.
"I'm really excited for where we're at," he said, according to Mark Cooper of TheScore. "I've always said I want the University of Texas to always be competing for championships, and I think that right now we're at a place in our program where we have a chance to do that. That's ultimately where I want us to be."
Ten years ago, Texas played Alabama for the national championship led by Colt McCoy and his favorite target, Jordan Shipley . They entered the Rose Bowl in hopes of claiming a second national championship in five years. They lost 37-21, partly due to McCoy being knocked out of the game in the first series.
In all, six quarterbacks started for Texas between McCoy and Ehlinger. The Longhorns won an average of just 6.6 games per season from 2010-17. The Longhorns also missed out on five talented Texas quarterbacks - Johnny Manziel, Baker Mayfield, and Kyler Murray - who all won the Heisman Trophy in the last decade - all stiff-armed Texas. As well as reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech), and former Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett (Wichita Falls.) But the Longhorns didn't miss on Ehlinger:
"This guy's an alpha male," receiver Collin Johnson said of Ehlinger. "He came in his freshman year and he carried himself like a junior or senior already. And that's hard to do. It just takes kind of a swagger and a confidence about you. Sam has a confidence you can't teach. He has a belief in himself so strong nobody can break it."
Over the summer, Mayfield took a shot at Ehlinger while speaking with a radio station in Norman, Oklahoma, saying: "Westlake (Ehlinger's high school) is a great program, but the two best quarterbacks to come out of there are Drew Brees and Nick Foles. Sam can stay down there in Texas." (Mayfield went to rival Lake Travis High School in Austin.)
A week later, Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw said Ehlinger "ain't that good." Bradshaw's alma mater, Louisiana Tech, will open the season against Texas.
Terry Bradshaw is an idiot, but what he did do is add another huge chip to Ehlingers' broad shoulder. The voice that will ring in his mind to drive him to work harder and achieve things he never dreamed possible. Go ahead young man, get the tattoo: "Ain't that good," right across your chest.
Ehlinger: "The chip that I try to play with on my shoulder doesn't necessarily have to do with what anybody else is saying," he said. "I try to carry that with me wherever I am because it shouldn't take any extra motivation to play to the best of your ability."
With a home game against LSU on September 7th and The RedRiverShoot-out against OU on October 12th, we'll know what kind of a team Texas has very soon.
Ran DeBord - All Access Sporting News
Some content sourced and verified from: AASNSports; FoxSports; OrangeBloods; TheScore
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