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Longhorns To Watch

Tom Herman Photo: UT Athletics
Photo: UT Athletics

Herman enters the Sugar Bowl with a 16-10 two-year coaching record at Texas, going 9-4 this season after posting a 7-6 mark in his first season in Austin. His ‘Horns are ranked 15th after falling to Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game … after Texas trimmed the Sooners 45-42 in the regular season meeting in Dallas. Herman assumed the Texas job after posting a splendid 22-4 record in his two years as Houston head coach. Prior to that Herman served three seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State, where in 2014 he won the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach. Herman would love nothing better than to upset the 5th-ranked Bulldogs on the big Sugar Bowl stage.
One of the most prolific offensive performers in the Big 12 Conference this season Ehlinger, a 6-3, 235-pound sophomore, enters the Sugar Bowl having passed for 3,123 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2018, with just five interceptions. He has completed 64 percent of his pass attempts and averages 240 yards per game through the air. Ehlinger has also rushed for 418 yards and 13 touchdowns. Clearly, Ehlinger is a guy the Georgia defense must slow down on Jan. 1 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
While Ehlinger lights up defenses with his passing arm, the 5-11, 195-pound Watson, a graduate transfer, is the leader of the Texas run game. Watson has run for 695 yards to pace the Longhorns’ balanced ground attack, which also features 6-0, 205-pound freshman Keaontay Ingram (#26), who follows Watson closely with his 683 rushing yards. So the Bulldog defense can hardly put all its focus on stopping QB Ehlinger.
And when Ehlinger does drop back to pass, he’s looking for his favorite target in the 6-4, 225-pound Humphrey. The Longhorns’ junior wideout has pulled in 79 passes this season, for a whopping 1,109 yards and nine touchdowns. And teaming with Humphrey is another tall wide receiver, Collin Johnson (#9), who is 6-6, 220 and has 65 catches for 945 yards and seven touchdowns. Thus, the tremendous challenge awaiting Deandre Baker, J.R. Reed and the rest of the Bulldog secondary in New Orleans.





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Murray Poole is a 1965 graduate of the University of Georgia Journalism School. He served as sports editor of The Brunswick News for 40 years and has written for Bulldawg Illustrated the past 16 years. He has covered the Georgia Bulldogs for 53 years.