Longhorns fall short in double overtime thriller

Southern California running back Ronald Jones II center celebrates his touchdown with Toa Lobendahn right and Chuma Edoga during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Stanford Saturday Sept. 9 2017 in Los Angeles. (AP

Texas and No. 4 USC are going to overtime on Saturday in Los Angeles.

Moments earlier it appeared Texas (1-2) was again set to derail USC in heartbreaking fashion in the final moments.

But despite a top-five ranking and home-field advantage, USC got all they could handle from the visiting Longhorns, needing a last-minute drive from quarterback Sam Darnold to force overtime.

The journey to get there proved to be full of surprising twists.

Texas' defense, which was ranked among the worst units in the country coming into this game, easily had their best performance in some time. And Texas stopped USC on fourth-and-goal at the one.

Texans fans would argue that the Longhorns lost this game because of the playcalling, Sam Ehlinger fumbling in the second overtime, the poor officiating, and giving up a 56-yard TD pass on the last play of the first half.

Texas Longhorns defensive back Jordan Strickland (23) Texas Longhorns safety Kevin Vaccaro (18) Texas Longhorns safety DeShon Elliott (4) celebrate stopping Oklahoma Sooners in the second half of the Red River Showdown at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX Oct. 8, 2016.

Thanks to a Texas field goal in the third quarter, USC held a 14-10 lead for much of the second half.

"We came in and did what we had to do: Take them out of their game plan", said Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson. He was composed throughout the entire game, not allowing one moment to bring him down. Although he had his struggles, turning the ball over on two straight possessions in the first quarter (on a Jack Jones interception and Rector fumble recovery), the true freshman shined late in the game. He hit Collin Johnson for 47 yards. Fourteen plays and 91 yards later, the Longhorn offense did something it hadn't done all game: They found the end zone, scoring on a touchdown toss from Ehlinger to senior wide receiver Armanti Foreman. He nailed a 43-yard field goal that kept the Trojans undefeated at 3-0 on the season.

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There, the two teams exchanged touchdowns, before Ehlinger had the ball jarred loose to set up McGrath to deliver a win for the Trojans.

It wasn't pretty, but the #4 USC Trojans did just enough to avoid the upset and pulled off a 27-17 comeback double overtime win over the Texas Longhorns.

Ehlinger started for Texas, while sophomore Shane Buechele was limited with a sore throwing shoulder. Still, they head into their off week with a losing record and, as Herman said and his players parroted, there are no moral victories.

The Longhorns have an off week before a Thursday night game at Iowa State, a potential trap spot.

Texas now enters the off week with a shot of adrenaline, although Herman knows he's still got a quarterback decision to make.

USC can breathe a sigh of relief, its playoff hopes suffering little or no damage.

The best news of the night?

Leinart, the Trojans' former Heisman Trophy winning passer, was honored after the first quarter for his induction this year into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Otherwise, Matt Leinart would be in his 12th season in the National Football League right now, as a multi-time Pro Bowler, and Young would be challenging Tom Brady as the most accomplished quarterback of all-time.

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