But given the circumstances, it's hard to have asked for anything more than what the Trojans and Longhorns delivered this time. He threw his sixth incompletion at 10:48 remaining in the half; he threw five the entire game in USC's Week 2 win over Stanford.
It may not have been pretty for the first 60 minutes of play, but a double-overtime win by No. 4 USC will leave a memorable image of a walk-on kicker, Chase McGrath, nailing a 43-yard field goal to lock down a double overtime victory over Texas.
The journey to get there proved to be full of surprising twists. Teams like USC and Clemson were tested in Week 3, and while Alabama and Oklahoma played cupcakes, they do have some tough games ahead of them. Ehlinger was the top recruit in Texas' 2017 signing class and had a solid debut against the Spartans, connecting on 15 of 27 passes for 222 yards and one touchdown. And Texas stopped USC on fourth-and-goal at the one.
He missed earlier in the game from 46 yards out, but with the game on the line, he was flawless, forcing overtime. The Trojans' receivers dropped several Sam Darnold passes, Texas was held to just a single rushing yard and committed two turnovers before both teams took almost an entire half to score. On a last desperation play before the end of the half, Darnold found Ronald Jones II, who made a big play after the catch and found the end zone for a shocking 56-yard touchdown. The first three possessions of the game all ended on downs, including a goal line stand on fourth-and-one by the Longhorns. And it almost cost them, as Texas marched down the field in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to grab the lead with under a minute left. If Darnold can pick apart this Longhorn defense, then USC should run away with this contest. Regular starter Shane Buechele is the team's best passer but missed the last game with a bruised shoulder. Carrington has lived up to the hype after transferring from OR, tying for No. 6 in the country with 128 receiving yards per game and trying for No. 11 with 17 receptions.
Mitchell's impact has been prevalent throughout the first two games, but so has Burnett's presence. He hit Collin Johnson for 47 yards. After Sam Ehlinger led a monumental 14-play drive 91 yards for a go-ahead touchdown, Texas kicked the ball back to USC with just 45 seconds to play.
Trojans pivot Sam Darnold sits among the Heisman Trophy favorites with +600 odds, but has tossed four interceptions against just two touchdowns through the first two weeks of the season.
The Trojans (3-0) forced the overtimes with a last-second field goal by McGrath of 31 yards, set up when Sam Darnold completed passes of 13, 18 and 21 yards, including a jump-pass under duress to running back Stephen Carr.
After combining for 32 carries and 238 yards - 166 by Warren - against San Jose State, the two had just nine carries for 24 yards.
As if having one of the nation's best quarterbacks wasn't enough, USC has an emerging tandem of talent at running back.
That quarterback, Ehlinger, had to also play most of the game without his star left tackle, Connor Williams (knee injury), opening the door to a lot of USC pressure.
The Longhorns have an off week before a Thursday night game at Iowa State, a potential trap spot.
USC can breathe a sigh of relief, its playoff hopes suffering little or no damage.
The best news of the night?
Otherwise, Matt Leinart would be in his 12th season in the National Football League right now, as a multi-time Pro Bowler, and Young would be challenging Tom Brady as the most accomplished quarterback of all-time.
Needless to say, Texas is going to have its hands full trying to slow down USC's offense.