Early on, the game looked like it would be a Blanchard runaway. The Lions reached the Jones 34 on the game's first possession before penalties torpedoed that drive, but on Jones' first offensive play, Foster picked off a sidearmed pass by Cornwell and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown.
Jones went three-and-out and Blanchard needed only five plays on a 51-yard touchdown drive, with Stringer scooting 27 yards on a draw play for the score that put the Lions up 14-0 with 6:49 still left in the first quarter.
The Longhorns answered with a 13-play scoring drive, converting twice on third down and once on fourth down along the way. Cornwell hit Bilyeu on a 3-yard touchdown pass with 1:47 left in the first quarter. A bad snap foiled the conversion attempt, leaving the score 14-6.
Jones reached the Blanchard 21 in the final minute of the first half, but Kyle Self intercepted Cornwell at the Lions' 15 to end the threat.
Jones scored on the opening drive of the second half on a 1-yard run by Bilyeu. Davis answered with his kick return for a score, but two plays after getting the ball back, Cornwell connected with Case, who juked and shook defenders before cutting back into the clear on his 90-yard score that pulled the Longhorns within 21-18.
“We knew this was going to be a dogfight,” Craig said. “We hung in there and battled through some adversity. You've got to credit both teams for handling the ups and downs and highs and the lows.”
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