SUBSCRIBE NOW
As low as $1 for 3 months
SUBSCRIBE NOW
As low as $1 for 3 months

Texas wins Alamo Bowl

By Richard Tijerina
Austin American-Statesman/TNS

It's over at the Alamodome in San Antonio - and by over, we mean Texas' season, which after some twists and turns has ended with a fourth straight bowl win of the Tom Herman era. The 55-23 win over Colorado also is Texas' second straight Alamo Bowl win.

But really, the big news was Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger. Even when he's not playing, the Texas quarterback finds ways to make big news.

Ehlinger started this Alamo Bowl as Texas' last remaining captain, after almost all the other ones had decided to skip the game in order to prep for the NFL draft. But the senior quarterback who made his 43rd - and, quite possibly/probably, his final - career start started the second half still in UT's locker room.

Casey Thompson, who had thrown all of seven passes this season, stepped onto center stage as the unproven backup trying to lead the Longhorns in a bowl game. Ehlinger, it was announced, had hurt his shoulder sometime in the first half and was out for the game.

That symbolic passing of the torch all felt so January 2010, when Colt McCoy gave way to Garrett Gilbert after suffering a neck/shoulder stinger against Alabama. The stages, of course, of that BCS national championship game and Tuesday night's Alamo Bowl couldn't be more different. But this very likely is Ehlinger's final game as a Longhorn - unless he takes the NCAA up on its offer, weighs his NFL future and looks at a potential draft class that includes Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields and more than a half-dozen other big-time pro prospects and decides that one final season at Texas is the right call for him.

Either way, the second-half development reinforced what should be an encouraging storyline for Texas fans: At least Tuesday night, it looks like Texas' future will be led by players with real potential.

WHY TEXAS (7-3) WON

The offense started hot, cooled off, then got hot again - after losing the star quarterback for the game. Over the past few games, we've seen Bijan Robinson elevate himself into the Horns' top running back. Thompson surely put fans at ease, a great insurance policy if Ehlinger does indeed bolt. The defense, even with all the missing big names, was solid throughout, quieting the Pac-12's offensive player of the year even on a night when he scored twice. For whatever reason, Texas play-caller Mike Yurcich forgot about Robinson in the second quarter. Fortunately for the Horns, they rediscovered the freshman in the second half.

WHY COLORADO (4-2) LOST

The Buffaloes need a quarterback. Sam Noyer was picked off twice, then benched, then reinserted. Brendon Lewis, the freshman, sparked a couple of scoring drives - Colorado should have stuck with him after he led the team to its first score of the night. Jarek Broussard scored twice but never quite got going; he averaged 3 yards a carry. There was a missed field goal that could have made it a 24-13 game in the third quarter, but even more costly: the Buffs dropped two potential pick-six interceptions, one in the first half, one in the second. Colorado hasn't won a bowl game since 2004.