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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Sam Ehlinger passed for two touchdowns and ran for another to lead Texas to a 49-24 win over Texas Tech on Friday, guaranteeing the Longhorns will at least finish a disappointing season with a winning record.
Texas fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter before Ehlinger and the Longhorns came roaring back. Ehlinger scored his first rushing touchdown in five games, and later connected on scoring strikes of 75 yards to Devin Duvernay and 26 yards to Jake Smith.
Ehlinger finished with 348 yards passing and ran for 83 yards on 10 carries. Roschon Johnson added 105 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Texas (7-5, 5-4 Big 12) started the season ranked in the Top 10 after last season’s Sugar Bowl victory, but stumbled badly over the second half of coach Tom Herman’s third season. A loss Friday would have meant Texas had to win its bowl game to have a winning season.
Texas avoided that kind of pressure thanks to Ehlinger and the Longhorns offense playing their best football since early October.
Texas Tech (4-8, 2-7) jumped out early with two quick touchdown drives as quarterback Jett Duffey was carving up the Longhorns defense. But the Red Raiders also had three drives end on downs deep in Texas territory as Texas Tech’s first-year coach Matt Wells chased an upset win to end the season.
Duffey passed for 398 yards.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders were already suspect on defense and badly missed linebacker Jordyn Brooks, their leading tackler. Brooks is a finalist for Butkus Award given to the nation’s best linebacker and he was a pregame scratch from the lineup. His absence was most notable every time Ehlinger took off running up the middle of the field.
Texas: After a four-game slump, the Longhorns played the kind of offense that was on display at the beginning of the season when they started 5-2. Ehlinger passed for more than 300 yards for the fourth time this season and Duvernay topped 100 yards receiving for the sixth time.
Texas hadn’t scored more than 27 points the previous four games and had 28 by halftime against the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders’ season is concluded.
Texas: The Longhorns await their bowl destination.