The best and worst from Longhorns' 45-38 loss to LSU

By Jake Meltzer
Tim Warner/Getty Images

Kristian Fulton #1 of the LSU Tigers is called for pass interference defending Brennan Eagles #13 of the Texas Longhorns in the fourth quarter at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 7, 2019, in Austin, Texas.

AUSTIN, Texas - In a matchup between two Top 10 teams, the University of Texas Longhorns showed toughness but were ultimately defeated 45-38 by a scorching offense from Louisiana State University.

Texas has a lot to work on, specifically their pass defense. The Longhorns failed to score on two early possessions that ended in two turnovers-on-downs inside the LSU 2-yard line. Those drives haunted them for the remainder of the game, almost as much as the LSU receivers. 

Best stat lines

LSU QB Joe Burrow: 471 yards, 4 touchdowns, 1 INT
LSU WR Justin Jefferson: 9 receptions, 163 yards, 3 touchdowns
Texas QB Sam Ehlinger: 461 total yards (60 rushing), 5 total touchdowns (1 rushing)

Here are some bigger moments from last night’s game.

Momentum shift

Texas was down 13-7 late in the first half and finally forced a three-and-out from this juggernaut of an LSU offense. Texas had a chance late in the second quarter to possibly take the lead. Instead, they ran three plays for -11 yards in less than 30 seconds. Texas punted and on the ensuing drive, Burrow led the Tigers down the field. LSU never looked back after converting on a 28-second drive that gave them a 13-point halftime lead.

Best offensive play

Ehlinger dropped back in the pocket, gave his receivers time to get down the field and launched a dime to Brennan Eagles just out of reach of LSU star CB Kristian Fulton. Eagles’ touchdown was Texas’ first play of over 50 yards from scrimmage since the 2017 season.

What makes this even more impressive is the fact that Texas ranked 116th in gains of 30+ yards last year, while LSU was the 23rd best in defending those. Whether Texas was going to be able to convert on big plays was a big question mark heading into this week. Texas receiver Brennan Eagles won this specific battle.

Note: This was even more significant because it was the first drive following Texas’ back-to-back failed goal-to-go situations.

Drive of the game

This drive was the sole reason that this game was as close as it was at the end. Texas came into the second half down 13 points, forced a three-and-out, and were forced to start a drive from their own 13-yard line. Ehlinger was able to take the team down the field in 19 plays for 87 yards and capped the drive off with a 2-yard rushing touchdown.

Although Texas was unable to come away with a victory, Ehlinger showed here that he refuses to let a rough start change his second-half approach. His ability to march the ‘Horns down the field in front of a restless crowd on their first offensive drive of the half surely put a smile on Herman’s face and gave Texas a chance to win this game.

Worst drive

Texas finally had some momentum after a slow offensive start in the first quarter. They had a touchdown literally drop out of their hands on the previous drive thanks to Keaontay Ingram, but the Texas defense stepped up and forced a turnover, which allowed the Texas offense to start their second consecutive drive inside the LSU 5-yard line.

Unfortunately, Texas was stuffed four consecutive times on the run and lost yet another early opportunity to put some points on the board. This was the second straight drive in which Texas was stopped four times in a goal-to-go situation.

Worst play

Keaontay Ingram is certainly going to lose some sleep over this one. Texas had a chance to take the lead against LSU on a 4th-and-goal play from inside the LSU 5-yard line. Ehlinger dropped back, found Ingram wide open in the end-zone -- and he dropped it.

Not only was this a huge momentum shift, but this is not a good look for the only healthy scholarship running back on this Texas roster. Texas was able to force a turnover on the ensuing drive, yet they failed to score again. Despite that, the film on this potential touchdown drop will be a cringe-worthy one for the team for a few days.

Player of the game

LSU WR Justin Jefferson absolutely tore apart this Texas secondary. He wasn’t burning corners down the sideline but his speed and expert route running allowed him to tear up the middle of the Texas secondary. Jefferson was wide open over the middle of the field all day.

Texas did a solid job of covering Adrian Hardy last week, but they must prioritize their linebacker and safety movement in order to keep the middle of the field covered. Jefferson finished with nine receptions for 163 yards and three touchdowns.

Obviously, with the help of Joe Burrow, Jefferson was able to exploit a big weakness in this Texas defense and is my player of the game. Jefferson capped off the LSU victory with a 61-yard touchdown pass from Joe Burrow. See the speedy receiver take it to the house below.

What to work on ahead of Week 3 for Texas

Coverage. There were a lot of good signs shown by this Texas defense yesterday against LSU, but more so by the line.

They did a solid job of minimizing the effects of the LSU running game, but the secondary’s inability to cover LSU receivers gave Texas a lot of trouble on Saturday. LSU gave this secondary a very hard time.

O​​​​​​​n LSU’s first touchdown drive, Justin Jefferson caught three straight passes on similar routes that were snagged in the gap between the Texas linebackers and safeties. Burrow was able to find receivers over the middle of the field all day and the LSU passing offense was ultimately responsible for winning this game.

Coverage is likely to be a focal point in practice this week for Todd Orlando’s defense.

Watch how receiver Jefferson easily makes his way through the gap in the Texas defensive backfield, allowing Burrow to find him open for an LSU touchdown.

LSU really controlled this game, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Joe Burrow and his receivers tore apart the middle of this Texas secondary.

Texas showed a lot of grit this week and proved that they are able to compete with the better teams in this country, but their pass defense looked out-of-sorts this week. That must be changed.

The Texas run-game was ineffective, the Longhorn secondary could not keep up with the speedy Tiger receivers, and LSU was able to come away with a 45-38 victory.

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