AUSTIN, Texas — Joe Burrow silenced Texas with a steady series of throws.
The LSU quarterback sliced through his opponent's secondary, answering each of the Longhorns' scores with a touchdown pass of his own.
Burrow had never met Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger before Saturday night, but the 6-foot-4, 216-pound senior beat the Lone Star slinger at his own game when No. 6 LSU beat No. 9 Texas 45-38 at Darrell K Royal-Memorial Stadium.
Oh yes, this was as much of a Big 12 Conference game as an out-of-league matchup could be — a top-10 battle filled with haymaker throws, piles of yards and enough points to make LSU fans wonder whether their program is still part of the Southeastern Conference.
This Tigers team is unlike any in recent memory, and with the largest nonconference win in coach Ed Orgeron's tenure, LSU (2-0) has captured the country's attention on its hell-bent path toward championship contention.
The nation's biggest game of the week began with a debate over which program was the real 'DBU.'
The yardage both defenses gave up would make any defensive back blush: LSU outgained Texas 573-530, and most of it was in the air.
"LSU huh?" said Burrow, who was 31-of-39 passing for 471 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. "You're not used to that one."
Texas ran eight plays inside LSU's 10-yard during the first quarter on Saturday night. It scored zero points.
Nope. Not in Baton Rouge — a college city that is watching its memory of ground-and-pound football fade slowly into the ether.
LSU junior wide receiver Justin Jefferson said that even his brother, former Tigers quarterback Jordan Jefferson, is envious of this new spread offense.
"Even Jordan said, 'I wish we threw the ball like y'all do now,' " said Jefferson, who led both teams with nine catches for 163 yards and three touchdowns.
LSU passed the ball 39 times. That's 10 more times than the Tigers ran the ball.
And every time Ehlinger brought the Longhorns back within a single score, Burrow returned with an answer.
Burrow delivered the dagger with less than three minutes remaining and Texas still hanging around 37-31.
The Tigers had just surrendered a sack, forcing a third-and-17 at its own 39. Again, Burrow was flushed toward the front of the pocket, and he fit a pass on the run to Jefferson, who broke away down the left sideline for a 61-yard touchdown.
"The kid's a baller," Orgeron said of Burrow. "He lives for that moment. Those were some tough plays. It was loud out there, and he got it done."
Orgeron said that before that touchdown drive, he asked offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger if he wanted to slow it down and go to a four-minute offense.
Orgeron said Ensminger answered: "No, we're going to pass the ball. We're gonna go down there and score."
Jefferson was one of three LSU receivers to record over 100 yards, the first occurrence in school history. Ja'Marr Chase had eight catches for 147 yards, and Terrace Marshall had six catches for 123 yards and a touchdown.
Burrow's 471 yards passing were the second-most in a game in school history, just shy of Rohan Davey, who threw for 528 yards against Alabama in 2001.
It appeared momentum was shifting toward Texas in the third quarter, when Ehlinger led the Longhorns on a brutal 19-play, 86-yard touchdown drive that took 7 minutes and 17 seconds — a drive in which four LSU defenders checked off the field because of either injury or cramps on a hot night with temperatures in the high 90s.
AUSTIN, Texas — Heading downstairs to a team meeting Saturday morning, Ed Orgeron ambled up to an elevator full of Texas fans at the LSU team …
LSU could only answer with a field goal, and Ehlinger made quick work of the Tigers' secondary again, completing three passes for 43 yards on the next drive, including a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jake Smith to bring Texas within 23-21 with 2:36 left in the third quarter.
Ehlinger finished 32 of 48 for 409 yards and four touchdowns.
A sellout crowd of 98,763 was rocking at the end of the third quarter, but Burrow shushed the Longhorns faithful with a 26-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Terrace Marshall on the first play of the fourth to go up 30-21.
But before all the points, the game was deadlocked by defense: LSU led just 3-0 after the first quarter.
Two goal-line stands by LSU kept Texas off the scoreboard.
On Texas' second drive, Longhorns running back Keaontay Ingram dropped a wide-open pass in the end zone.
The next drive, LSU linebacker Patrick Queen stopped Ehlinger short of the goal line on a run up the middle.
The LSU pass rush then drove the Tigers to a two-score lead in the second quarter.
Sackless through the first, LSU safety JaCoby Stevens got to Ehlinger to force a punt on the Longhorns' second possession of the second quarter.
LSU followed with a 10-play, 65-yard drive where Cade York made a 33-yard field goal to set LSU ahead 13-7 with 1:41 left in the half.
LSU outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson was locked in a battle with Texas left tackle Samuel Cosmi throughout the first half, and the 6-foot-4, 250-pound pass rusher tried most everything to get around: bull rush, both hands on the ground, one hand on the ground.
Then, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda appeared to get creative, sending Chaisson on a stunt up the middle, where Chaisson broke free and sacked Ehlinger to force another punt.
It was Chaisson's first sack since the 2018 season opener against Miami, when he suffered an ACL injury that set him out the whole season.
Burrow completed three consecutive passes on the following drive of 19, 18 and 21 yards. The last was a touchdown to Jefferson to put LSU up 20-7.
LSU next plays Northwestern State at Tiger Stadium at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 14, and with the Tigers now averaging 50 points per game, Burrow's summer comments that LSU could score 40, 50, even 60 points per game is aging well.
"It's a long season," Burrow said. "But you can take a look at the last two scoreboards, and you can figure that one out."