Quinn Ewers threw for 317 yards and a touchdown in his return from a shoulder injury, helping No. 7 Texas edge TCU 29-26 on Saturday night.
The Longhorns also got a big lift from Jonathon Brooks, who rushed for 104 yards and two TDs, and set up another score with a 73-yard gain on a short reception before getting hurt late.
Ewers, a sophomore quarterback who missed two games after he got hurt on Oct. 21, completed 22 of 33 passes. He had 244 yards by halftime, and his biggest play of the second half was a 35-yard completion to Adonai Mitchell on third-and-12 from the Texas 13 in the final 2 minutes.
Xavier Worthy had 10 catches for 137 yards for the Longhorns (9-1, 6-1 Big 12), who got outscored 20-3 in the second half.
Brooks spent several minutes in the injury tent midway through the fourth quarter after gaining 7 yards on the last of 21 carries in his sixth 100-yard game this season. He walked gingerly with help on his way to the locker room before the end of the game.
Emani Bailey ran for 98 yards and a touchdown for TCU (4-6, 2-5), though last year’s national runner-up lost its third consecutive game. The Horned Frogs had a 3-0 lead on a 41-yard field goal by Griffin Kell, who added a 56-yarder on the following possession.
On the first play after Kell’s 41-yarder, Ewers rolled to his right before reversing and throwing behind the line to Brooks, who weaved through defenders before getting tripped up at the 2. He ran for a TD on the next play to put Texas ahead to stay.
Brooks lunged to the front pylon for a 22-yard TD run at the end of the first half, making it 26-6. That extra score came after Terrance Brooks intercepted a pass by Josh Hoover in the final minute.
Hoover was 24-of-36 passing for 302 yards and an interception in his fourth start since Chandler Morris sprained his MCL in his left knee. He had two TDs in the final six minutes, a 3-yarder when JP Richardson caught his own deflection and 14 yards to Savion Williams, who had 11 catches for 164 yards.
The Longhorns won both games Maalik Murphy started for Ewers, and got their starting quarterback back as they close in on their first Big 12 title game since 2009. They remain in the conversation for the four-team College Football Playoff. Ewers’ only interception came on a deep ball in the first half, but TCU fumbled the return and the Longhorns recovered only 3 yards behind the previous line of scrimmage.
A year after their undefeated regular season and making the CFP, the Frogs will have to win their final two games against Baylor and Oklahoma just to become bowl-eligible. The last team with a losing record the season after playing for the national title was Texas in 2010. The Longhorns were 5-7 after facing Alabama in the championship game the previous January.
The biggest question is if the Longhorns will get jumped in the poll by eighth-ranked Alabama, who they beat in the second week this season. The Crimson Tide won 49-21 at Kentucky earlier Saturday before Texas ended up in a tighter-than-expected game.
Texas plays at Iowa State next Saturday. TCU plays its home finale next Saturday against Baylor.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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