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No. 10 Texas hosts Louisiana Tech in season opener

August 29, 2019
FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019 file photo, Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger (11) celebrates his second touchdown carry in the first half of the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game against Georgia in New Orleans. The hits came at Sam Ehlinger from just about every angle this summer. Baker Mayfield jabbed him first. Then Terry Bradshaw landed one. Texas’ junior quarterback didn’t seem to mind, and will likely care even less every time he gets to flash a “Hook’em horns” hand sign after scoring a touchdown. Which he does a lot. Ehlinger and the Longhorns are expected to again challenge for the Big 12 title in 2019. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019 file photo, Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger (11) celebrates his second touchdown carry in the first half of the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game against Georgia in New Orleans. The hits came at Sam Ehlinger from just about every angle this summer. Baker Mayfield jabbed him first. Then Terry Bradshaw landed one. Texas’ junior quarterback didn’t seem to mind, and will likely care even less every time he gets to flash a “Hook’em horns” hand sign after scoring a touchdown. Which he does a lot. Ehlinger and the Longhorns are expected to again challenge for the Big 12 title in 2019. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)

Louisiana Tech (8-5 last season) vs No. 10 Texas (10-4), Saturday at 8 p.m. ET (LHN).

Line: Texas by 20 1/2.

Series record: First meeting.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Starting the season in the Top 10 means Texas is a favorite for the Big 12 title and is in the conversation for the College Football Playoff. Louisiana Tech is aiming for an epic upset after capping last season with a bowl victory.

KEY MATCHUP

Bulldogs wide receiver Adrian Hardy vs. Texas safety Caden Sterns. Hardy is a Texas native who led Conference USA with 75 catches for 1,145 yards last season. Sterns is the anchor of a revamped secondary and was All-Big 12 last season as a freshman.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Louisiana Tech: Senior quarterback J’Mar Smith is a three-year starter. He passed for 3,160 yards and 15 touchdowns last season and faces a rebuilt Texas defense with eight new starters.

Texas: Running back Jordan Whittington. Sophomore Keaontay Ingram will start, but the freshman Whittington will get significant playing time and carries. Texas coaches have been raving about him since spring practice.

FACTS & FIGURES

Texas is 0-2 in season openers under Tom Herman and has moved away from playing a Power Five opponent in the first game. ... The Longhorns will wear No. 32 helmet decals to honor late running back Cedric Benson, one of the most prolific rushers in program and NCAA history. Benson was killed earlier this month in a motorcycle crash. ...Texas lost eight starters on defense from 2018 but most of the new players got significant playing time last season.

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