By Steve Lansdale
The ripple effects from the Texas Longhorns' 37-14 victory Saturday over USC were many. The Longhorns raised more than a few eyebrows when they lost what many thought was a revenge game in the opener against Maryland, and then narrowly edged a game-but-outmanned Tulsa squad. Some even suggested that the Longhorns might drop their marquee out-of-conference matchup against USC, which would have sent them into the Big 12 portion of the schedule needing to win out (or close to it) in order to make a top bowl game.
Never mind the fact that USC had not exactly conjured up images of the Trojans' "super team" of Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart and LenDale White — and everyone remembers how things ended when that team faced off against the Longhorns. USC kicked off the season with a 43-21 win over UNLV, and then a pedestrian performance in a 17-3 loss to Stanford. While each team had had a less-than-stellar start to the season, many experts were closer to writing off Texas than USC
But what about after UT hammered the Trojans, 37-14, in Austin? Sure, thousands of Longhorns fans fired up the second tailgate of the day after the game, or at the very least found their way on to Sixth Street. But what about the national perception of the 2018 Longhorns?
A sampling of what was being said:
“Texas gave Herman his biggest win in burnt orange and got one of the program's biggest victories in years Saturday night, a 37-14 romp over No. 22 Southern California that saw Texas rally early, dominate late and smother the Trojans after the first quarter … The Longhorns will expect to earn some respect with this win. The defense was dominant and Ehlinger was efficient, playing his first game this season without a turnover. USC hasn't come close to living up to its preseason expectations, but it's still a traditional power and Texas pushed the Trojans around.”
— Associated Press
“Above all else, the biggest takeaway from Saturday night was that the Longhorns finally claimed a marquee win under head coach Tom Herman … Herman was 1-4 against the top-25 entering Saturday night, and the lone win came last year against a West Virginia team without its quarterback Will Grier … Saturday's stomping of the No. 22 Trojans helps change the national narrative about Texas at least for the time being. Texas not only won a big game but did so in dominating fashion. Texas' offense showed some big playmaking ability, and its defense was suffocating after a sluggish start.”
— Dallas Morning News
“USC jumped out to a 14-3 lead by scoring on two of its first three possessions and converting five of its first six third downs. But Texas made the necessary adjustments, and USC would not score another point. Can the Longhorns carry its strong second-half play into next week, when TCU comes into Austin? If that happens, we could be closer to declaring Texas as back.”
— Yahoo Sports