Ehlinger set to make return for primetime matchup

Alex Briseño

It took nearly two weeks, but Tom Herman announced that Sam Ehlinger will be Texas’ starting quarterback against Oklahoma State on Saturday.

After sustaining a sprained AC in his throwing shoulder on Oct. 13, Ehlinger spent the last two weeks resting and receiving treatment with the hopes of returning for Texas’ matchup with Oklahoma State.

Ehlinger experienced some soreness in his rotator cuff after returning to practice this week, but Herman said, “If we had to play today, he would start.” That wasn’t quite as clear earlier in the week.

“I told him early in the week, ‘You’re going to have to be very honest with me and coach Beck,’ Herman said. “Because if this thing is inhibiting you from playing at your best, being a tough guy and going out there and taking one for the team is actually detrimental to the team.”

Ehlinger fully participated in all three practices this week. However, he hasn’t taken a single hit since the first quarter of Texas’ 23-17 win over Baylor.

The question marks surrounding Ehlinger’s status for Saturday’s game continued to grow in numbers as the term “trap game” started getting thrown around throughout the week.

“That’s an interesting word,” defensive end Charles Omenihu said.

“I don’t even know the meaning of that,” Omenihu continued. “In the Big 12 there is no such thing. Everybody is good. Everybody comes to play.”

Texas’ struggles against the Cowboys have been evident, especially in Stillwater, where the Longhorns haven’t left with a win since 2012, which included the 49-31 loss in 2016.

But Texas won’t be facing the same explosive squad it’s seen in recent years as the Cowboys limp into this weekend’s matchup with a 4–3 record.

While Texas won’t be welcomed by a nationally ranked team, the Longhorns are expected to be greeted by an electric atmosphere at Boone Pickens Stadium.

“I expect an explosive team, they’re always going to have an explosive offense and they’re an exciting team to watch,” safety Caden Sterns said. “Their record does not show who that team is at all. I expect the very best especially with this being their homecoming and a sold-out crowd.”

After the Longhorns take the field and reach the visitor’s sideline, they won’t have much breathing room with the first row of fans just yards away from the team.

“There are places where it’s four or five feet,” tight end Andrew Beck said. “It is not far. The ones at the 50 yard line are six or seven yards, but you are right on top of the field and right on top of the bleachers.”

In the first row is where you’ll find die-hard Oklahoma State fans, also known as Paddle People, who bring orange and black paddles to slap against the padding of the wall separating the field from the stands.

The Cowboys’ Paddle People are said to have started over 10 years ago, and the group is still going strong, establishing itself as one of the most iconic traditions in college football.

“The paddle people are really crazy,” Sterns said. “It’ll be like 40 degrees and dude’s have their shirts off. I don’t understand that, but that’s just how they get down.”

The Longhorns enter the primetime matchup looking to improve to 7–1 and remain at the top of the Big 12 when they take on Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Saturday at 7 p.m.