Still, they head into their off week with a losing record and, as Herman said and his players parroted, there are no moral victories.
"That's the way good defenses are supposed to be - they want to go play".
Darnold played well, but the game ball goes to kicker Chase McGrath. "It felt really solid coming off my foot". The same story was largely true again Saturday night as the Texas defense played one of the best games they have in a while, for 58 minutes. And it almost cost them, as Texas marched down the field in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to grab the lead with under a minute left.
Ehlinger passed for 298 yards and led a 91-yard, go-ahead TD drive late in regulation for the Longhorns (1-2), who were narrowly denied a huge win early in coach Tom Herman's debut season.
After the two teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime, Ehlinger tried to get in the end zone from three yards out in double OT.
But the Trojans answered. Two straight Darnold completions quickly put USC at the Texas 31-yard line, and another Darnold pass put the Trojans at the 13-yard line, where McGrath would set up for a game-tying field goal from 31 yards to send the game into overtime.
"I don't think I'll ever forget in my life, the best two-minute drive I've ever been associated with", Helton said. "Anytime you get the chance to get on the field it so fun".
Well, if you searched for that offense in 2017's game, you would come up unsuccessful. A 47-yard throw from Ehlinger to Collin Johnson, which got the Horns to USC's 28. He had toe surgery earlier in the week.
However, Texas has defied the odds in recent dates as a double-digit underdog, winning outright in two of three, including a 23-17 victory over the rival Baylor Bears, and has covered in four of its past five.
The momentum shift would not last long, however.
The Longhorns tied it moments later when Darnold's ideal pass smacked off receiver Jalen Greene's hands and DeShon Elliott snatched it for a 38-yard TD interception return. Elliott returned it untouched down the sideline to tie the score, 7-7, with 19 seconds remaining in the half. Starting running back Chris Warren III ended up with only four carries for 15 yards. He ranks No. 14 in the nation in total offense with 343.0 yards per game. "Sam just dumped it down".
Thanks to a Texas field goal in the third quarter, USC held a 14-10 lead for much of the second half.
Unlike the '06 matchup, this time, the Trojans were favored by more than two touchdowns. The way we moved around up front, they did a great job. We practiced hard all week. "But as far as the country goes, we're holed up in our bunker right now playing for each other".
Herman stuck with Sam Ehlinger even though Shane Buechele (shoulder) was available, albeit not 100 percent.
After beating MI on a last-second field goal the previous year, Vince Young loudly proclaimed "We'll be back!" to the crowd, calling his shot. Northern Illinois had perhaps one of the biggest surprises by intercepting Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee three times on route to beating the Cornhuskers by 21-17.