Austin, Texas — Joe Burrow was nearly perfect in the second half against Texas.
He had to be.
With Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger matching him nearly blow for blow, Burrow and No. 6 LSU’s new, wide-open offense could afford to make no mistakes. They didn’t, and Burrow delivered all the big throws for the Tigers in a wild 45-38 win over the No. 9 Longhorns Saturday night in one of the biggest nonconference matchups of the season.
Burrow passed for 471 yards and four touchdowns, the last one to Justin Jefferson for 61 yards with 2:27 to play in a game that saw Texas storm back from a 20-7 halftime deficit and the teams trade seven touchdowns in the second half.
“Man, he was so fired up,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. “The kid is a baller. He lives for that moment and I’ll tell you what, those were some tough plays”
Burrow was razor sharp after halftime when he was 15-of-18 passing for 251 yards and two touchdowns. The final touchdown to Jefferson came on a third-and-long when Burrow stepped up to avoid a blitz and fired the pass. The completion was good enough for a first down and Jefferson did the rest when he broke a tackle and burst up the sideline to the end zone.
“I think if they get the ball back, it would have been a different story,” said Orgeron, who was watching Ehlinger riddle the Tigers defense. “A phenomenal call, a phenomenal catch, a phenomenal play.”
Jefferson finished with three touchdown catches and was one of three LSU receivers with more than 100 yards.
“They (Texas) were playing so well, I told the guys, we gotta get 40 and we’ll win,” Burrow said. “We had over 500 yards. It could have been 600, 700.”
The touchdown put LSU (2-0) up by 14 but Ehlinger brought Texas back again with his fourth touchdown pass and second on the night to Devin Duvernay. LSU didn’t put the game away until Texas came within inches of recovering an onside kick with 22 seconds left.
Ehlinger finished with 401 yards passing and four touchdowns for the Longhorns (1-1).
The win will give LSU some big early momentum in the long-term goal of reaching the College Football Playoff, but the rough SEC schedule still looms.
“I think it’s a big statement, but obviously we want to play better,” Orgeron said.
Texas coach Tom Herman said he’ll immediately get his team to focus on the Big 12.
“This is Game 2 of a marathon,” Herman said. “All our goals are still out there.”
After the game, Herman and Burrow had a long embrace on the field. Herman was an assistant at Ohio State when he recruited Burrow to the Buckeyes but then left to take the head coaching job at Houston. Burrow spent three years at Ohio State before transferring to LSU.
Burrow also made a point to talk with Ehlinger, who kept bringing Texas back.
“He’s a super tough guy. I was honored to be on the same field with him,” Burrow said.
More Top 25
(At) No. 1 Clemson 24, No. 12 Texas A&M 10: Trevor Lawrence threw for one touchdown and ran for another and Clemson won its record-tying 17th straight game with a dominating victory.
The Aggies (1-1) talked of an upset all week and figured to be the sternest test left for the defending national champions. Instead, the Tigers (2-0) methodically made plays, stretched out drives and pressured A&M junior quarterback Kellen Mond into an awful showing.
The decisive win tied Clemson’s best-ever run of success that spanned the 2014 and 2015 seasons. It also left a major question in college football: Who can stop these guys?
The Tigers will be double-digit favorites the rest of the regular season in their try for a fifth straight Atlantic Coast Conference title and College Football Playoff berth.
Lawrence went 24 of 35 passing for 268 yards.
(At) No. 2 Alabama 62, New Mexico State 10: Tua Tagovailoa passed for three touchdowns and ran 25 yards for a fourth, all in the first half of Alabama’s victory.
The Crimson Tide (2-0) was off to the races starting with the game’s first play, when Henry Ruggs III collected a lateral and sprinted 75 yards for a touchdown. It didn’t get any better for the Aggies (0-2) after that in sweltering conditions that contributed to thousands of empty seats at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy tied the school record with three touchdown catches, covering 21, 23 and 19 yards. He caught eight passes for 103 yards in his second straight big game . Ruggs also caught a 10-yard touchdown pass in a game that started under a 95-degree temperature with a triple-digit heat index.
(At) No. 3 Georgia 63, Murray State 17: D’Andre Swift ran for two touchdowns, Jake Fromm threw for 166 yards and a score, and No. 3 Georgia broke loose in the second quarter against FCS school Murray State.
With temperatures climbing into the mid-90s, Georgia (2-0) got off to a sluggish start and went to the second quarter tied at 7 after giving up a long touchdown pass to the Racers (1-1).
But the Bulldogs finally erupted for a 35-point barrage in the second period. Brian Herrien ran 2 yards for the go-ahead score. J.R. Reed scooped up a fumble and went 14 yards for a touchdown. Swift tacked on a 10-yard TD run. Fromm hooked up with freshman George Pickens on a 15-yard scoring play. Finally, redshirt freshman Zamir White darted for a 6-yard score, sending Georgia to the locker room with a 42-7 lead.
Fromm completed his last nine passes and finished 10-of-11.
(At) No. 4 Oklahoma 70, South Dakota 14: Jalen Hurts passed for 259 yards and three touchdowns in just over two quarters and Oklahoma rolled past South Dakota.
It was Oklahoma’s highest points total since scoring 79 in a victory over North Texas in 2007.
CeeDee Lamb had six catches for 144 yards and a touchdown, and Rhamondre Stevenson ran for 104 yards and a score for the Sooners (2-0). They who gained 733 yards against the FCS Coyotes (0-2).
Austin Simmons passed for 244 yards and two touchdowns for South Dakota, but he threw two interceptions. Kody Kase had six catches for 68 yards and a touchdown.
(At) No. 10 Auburn 24, Tulane 6: Bo Nix threw for 207 yards and a touchdown, Auburn ran for 172 yards after amassing just 20 in the first half and the Tigers’ defense dominated.
With a broken game clock already making for a slow and low-energy start to the game, the teams combined for 86 yards of offense across the first nine drives, with Tulane kicking a field goal on its opening series and Auburn (2-0) losing a fumble on its second. After Tulane’s first scoring drive, Auburn’s defense locked down the Green Wave (1-1), allowing minus-3 yards over the next four possessions.
Making his first home start after leading the Tigers to a last-second victory over Oregon last week in Texas, Nix found Will Hastings for a 31-yard touchdown pass two minutes into the second quarter to give Auburn the lead. The Tigers scored on back-to-back drives, with Nix’s 40-yard completion to Seth Williams setting them up for a 4-yard touchdown run by Eli Stove. Nix was 19 for 37, tying the fifth-most passing attempts in a game by a freshman quarterback in program history.
(At) No. 11 Florida 45, Tennessee-Martin 0: Elusive receiver Kadarius Toney and speedy cornerback CJ Henderson left in the first half and did not return in Florida’s victory over lower-division Tennessee-Martin.
Toney took a hit on his left arm late in the first quarter, walked off the field in pain and eventually headed to the locker room for further evaluation. Henderson injured his left ankle while covering a receiver in the second quarter, limped into the locker room and returned wearing a walking boot and using crutches.
Florida (2-0) barely missed either of them against the Skyhawks (1-1), who fell to 0-10 against SEC teams and failed to cover the 44½-point spread. But the Gators know being without two standouts in league play would be a crushing blow to both sides of the ball.
Feleipe Franks completed 25-of 27 passes, including 15 straight to start the game, for 270 yards and two touchdowns. He dropped in beautiful TD passes to Van Jefferson and Tyrie Cleveland, but he also was again slow through his progressions.
(At) No. 13 Utah 35, Northern Illinois 17: Tyler Huntley passed for one touchdown and ran for another and Utah held Northern Illinois to 69 yards in the second half.
After a shaky first half, the Utah (2-0) clamped down on the Huskies (1-1) with an effective pass rush, an interception and a fourth-down stop. Huntley finished 14-for-19 for 214 yards and ran for 38 yards, without a sack for second straight game.
(At) No. 16 Oregon 77, Nevada 6: Justin Herbert threw for 310 yards and five touchdowns before heading to the sideline in the third quarter, and Oregon rebounded from its season-opening loss to Auburn.
The Ducks (1-1) have won 15 straight home openers and 24 straight over nonconference foes at Autzen Stadium. Oregon tied a school record with seven touchdown passes — caught by seven receivers. The Ducks also tied their record for points at Autzen.
Tight end Jacob Breeland caught four passes for a career-high 112 yards and a score.
True freshman Brandon Talton kicked a pair of first-half field goals for Nevada (1-1).
No. 18 UCF 48, (at) Florida Atlantic 14: Dillon Gabriel went 7 for 19 in his first start, but threw touchdown throws of 57 and 74 yards, and UCF extended its regular-season winning streak to 24 games.
The game was called because of lightning in the area with 4:20 to play.
Gabriel also connected on passes of 45 and 32 yards, which more than made up for his frequent misfires. The freshman left-hander had 245 yards passing — 35 per completion — and ran four times for 19 yards and a score.
The Knights (2-0) totaled 574 yards and reached the 30-point mark for the 28th game in a row, the longest such streak since at least 1936. Florida Atlantic (0-2) disappointed a home crowd of 30,811, largest in the program’s history. The Owls have never beaten a Top 25 team in 15 tries.
(At) No. 22 Washington State 59, Northern Colorado 17: Anthony Gordon threw for 464 yards and four touchdowns and Washington State pounded FCS school Northern Colorado.
Gordon, who came under little pressure from the opposing defense, completed 31 of 39 passes with one interception. Max Borghi scored three touchdowns and Easop Winston Jr. caught two scoring passes for Washington State (2-0). Jacob Knipp completed 8-of-15 passes for 128 yards for Northern Colorado (0-2).
USC 45, (at) No. 23 Stanford 20: Freshman Kedon Slovis passed for 377 yards and three touchdowns in an excellent debut, and Southern California rolled over Stanford.
Slovis went 28 of 33 and set a school record for yards passing by a freshman in his first start as the Trojans (2-0, 1-0 Pac-12) rallied from an early 14-point deficit to beat the Cardinal (1-1, 1-1) for the third time in the California private schools’ last four meetings.
Amon-Ra St. Brown had eight catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns, while Tyler Vaughns added another TD grab in the fourth quarter for USC. Vavae Malepeai rushed for two touchdowns and Stephen Carr added a 25-yard TD run in a 492-yard performance by coordinator Graham Harrell’s Air Raid offense.
Slovis, the unheralded 18-year-old recruit from Arizona whose high school position coach was Kurt Warner, won his duel with fellow first-time starter Davis Mills, who went 22 of 36 for 237 yards for Stanford.