Texas-El Paso at Texas

Buechele shines again, No. 11 Texas beats UTEP 41-7

By JIM VERTUNO
AP Sports Writer
  •  

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) In meetings, in practice and when he was just thinking to himself, Charlie Strong pleaded with his team not to be a one-game wonder after a big season-opening win.

That turned out to not be a problem at all.

Freshman quarterback Shane Buechele passed for 244 yards and four touchdowns and No. 11 Texas backed up its first national ranking since 2013 with a 41-7 victory over UTEP on Saturday night.

''I was nervous,'' said Strong, who entered the season under tremendous pressure after two losing seasons. ''Everyone was telling them how good they are and I wondered how would they respond? I kept telling them, `Just focus. We haven't done anything yet.'''

Sophomore linebacker Malik Jefferson said the message came through. But Jefferson suggested the players didn't really need the reminder because they knew how to handle the week after beating Notre Dame.

''We were 5-7 last year,'' Jefferson said. ''We can't be satisfied with anything.''

Buechele wasn't there for the previous two years of losing, but there was no letup from the freshman as he put together another splendid game with his arm and feet. He was 22 of 27 passing and his 34 yards rushing in the zone read option showed the Longhorns (2-0) have even another wrinkle in their new offense.

Buechele threw touchdown passes of 29 and 7 yards to Jerrod Heard, who started at quarterback most of 2015 but moved to wide receiver this season. He also connected with Dorian Leonard for a 46-yard score in the third quarter that made it 34-7.

''I felt good out there,'' Buechele said. ''We started slow but I feel like we finished strong ... I like throwing the ball to all these guys.''

Aaron Jones ran for 123 yards and a 51-yard touchdown for UTEP (1-1).

THE TAKEAWAY

UTEP: The Miners missed the passing of injured starting quarterback Zack Greenlee, who was held out to rest a strained knee before the start of the Conference USA schedule. Kavika Johnson was 9 of 15 for 42 yards, and Jones gave the Miners their only punch on offense. The Longhorns knew Jones was the primary option on nearly every UTEP possession until the score got out of hand.

''We're not making excuses for anything. They whipped us handily,'' Kugler said.

Texas: Buechele continues to impress. His second start came behind an offensive line that was missing two starters with injuries. Buechele was sacked three times and withstood several more hits, but his first two touchdown passes were precision throws into coverage on the sideline in the end zone. His third was a deep throw that hit Leonard in stride.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Longhorns should stand pat. They easily handled a team they were supposed to and Buechele proved he's no fluke. No one in front of Texas lost so there's no real room to move up unless AP voters punish No. 9 Georgia for its close win over Nicholls. Staying where they are they are would still be another big step for a program that has been on the skids the last two years.

HEARD'S BIRTHDAY BREAKOUT

Heard's first two career touchdown passes came on his 21st birthday. He'd been letting everyone know his big day was coming up by announcing it for days on Twitter. He finished with six catches for 46 yards.

''It says he's a ball player,'' said Texas running back Chris Warren III. ''He's an athlete who can play.''

Strong praised Heard's quick adjustment to catching passes instead of throwing them. Last season, it was Heard who everyone thought was the quarterback of the future when he broke Vince Young's single-game school record for total offense.

''He's always vibrant, always has a smile on his face. That first touchdown was a good catch,'' Strong said.

UP NEXT

UTEP: The Miners host Army next Saturday in their last game before starting Conference USA play.

Texas: The Longhorns get their first road test next Saturday at California, which beat Texas 45-44 last season when the Longhorns missed an extra point in the final seconds.

LAST WORD

''He's very talented,'' Kugler said about Buechele. ''Probably Texas fans are really excited of having him for four years.''

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Scoreboard
Texas-El Paso  (1-1)07007
Texas #11  (2-0) «101014741
Players of the Game
Longhorns

S. Buechele
Att 27
Comp 22
Yds 244
TD 4
Miners

A. Jones
Rush 18
Yds 123
Avg 6.8
TD 1
Scoring Summary
TEXASJerrod Heard 29 yd pass from Shane Buechele (Trent Domingue kick)
TEXASTrent Domingue 22 yd FG
UTEPAaron Jones 51 yd run (Jay Mattox kick)
TEXASTrent Domingue 43 yd FG
TEXASJacorey Warrick 8 yd pass from Shane Buechele (Trent Domingue kick)
TEXASChris Warren III 1 yd run (Trent Domingue kick)
TEXASDorian Leonard 46 yd pass from Shane Buechele (Trent Domingue kick)
TEXASJerrod Heard 7 yd pass from Shane Buechele (Trent Domingue kick)
 
Team Stats
 UTEPTEXAS
First Downs1023
Third Down Efficiency3-153-12
Fourth Down Efficiency0-01-1
Plays-Net Yards61-20875-416
Rushes-Yds40-13547-171
Passing Yds73245
Kick Return Yds1280
Punt Return Yds-732
Passes14-21-023-28-0
Punts11-3765-252
Fumbles-Lost3-11-1
Penalties-Yds8-7810-115
Time of Poss.33:5926:1
 
Individual Stats
RUSHING
UTEP: Aaron Jones 18-123, Quadraiz Wadley 6-13, Tyrone Nelson 2-2, Walter Dawn 1--1, Kavika Johnson 13--2
TEXAS: Chris Warren III 20-95, Shane Buechele 11-34, Kyle Porter 8-33, Jerrod Heard 1-5, Tristian Houston 3-3, Tyrone Swoopes 2-3, Team 2--2
PASSING
UTEP: Kavika Johnson 9-15-42-0, Ryan Metz 5-6-31-0
TEXAS: Shane Buechele 22-27-244-0, Tyrone Swoopes 1-1-1-0
RECEIVING
UTEP: Walter Dawn 3-19, Tyrone Nelson 2-12, Cole Freytag 2-12, Tyler Batson 1-17, Hayden Plinke 1-10, Warren Redix 1-5, Jaquan White 1-4, Terry Juniel 1-1, Aaron Jones 1-1, Kent Taylor 1--8
TEXAS: Jacorey Warrick 7-73, Jerrod Heard 6-46, Armanti Foreman 3-23, Dorian Leonard 2-52, John Burt 2-28, Jake Oliver 1-10, Lil'Jordan Humphrey 1-7, Collin Johnson 1-6
 
Standings
TeamStandingsConferenceOverall
Texas-El Paso5th Conference USA West2-64-8
Texas6th Big 12 3-65-7

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