The last time the two met, they produced the greatest college football game of all time, a classic between two historically talented teams.
USC then marched down the field to tie the game on a field goal as time expired.
Texas (1-1) "is a team that I think is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode", Helton said. "I think the most important thing right now is show your teammates and show your coaches and the people that you care about and love that we've improved in the last couple weeks and that we know how to win a big game".
A week after thumping Stanford and exorcising one recent demon, USC struggled mightily in trying to right a wrong that reached back into the very lore of its storied program. While USC finished on a roll, they didn't qualify for the Pac-12 championship game and were never really in the College Football Playoff discussion; the Trojans were ninth in the final CFP ranking.
It was a sudden twist.
In the hyper-reactive world of September rankings, USC is likely to slide a bit in the Top 10 after struggling to hold on, even though its defense almost posted a shutout for 59 minutes. Ehlinger capped a 91-yard drive, which included two fourth-down conversions, by finding wide receiver Armanti Foreman for a 17-yard touchdown strike. Versatile sophomore Chauncey Gardner Jr. had an ankle injury but played the majority of the game.
So when the architect of Southern California's return to excellence says he sees imminent signs of the same restoration in Tom Herman and Texas, the Longhorns' fans should take heart.
Texas has yet to make a field goal.
The Longhorns then fumbled after getting inside the USC five-yard line in the second overtime. Ajene Harris recovered, but the Trojans' offense stalled before McGrath came through again. They needed only a touchdown or field goal on their possession of the second overtime to win.
USC scored on the first play of overtime on a 25-yard pass from Sam Darnold to Deontay Burnett. Also, Burnett leaped forward for breathtaking catches. 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.
RUSHING-Texas, Warren 4-15, Hemphill-Mapps 2-14, Heard 4-11, Ehlinger 19-10, Foreman 1-9, Porter 5-9. Fresno State played last week at No. 1 Alabama and now faces the other team from that national semifinal a season ago.
Gustin, as a result, did not practice during the week before the Trojans hosted Texas.
The teams were scoreless for the first 27 minutes until a rush of touchdowns prior to halftime.
If you're looking for one breakout star from this Texas-USC game not named Sam Ehlinger, most people would suggest the 6-6 receiver from San Jose, California.
USC failed to score during the entire third quarter and for most of the fourth, while Texas came back and snatched a three-point lead with less than a minute to go in regulation. K Joshua Rowland, a former JUCO All-American, is 0-3. The key play was a jump pass where he found tailback Stephen Carr over the middle for 21 yards. Quarterback Vince Young ran for over 200 yards and threw for 267 yards in that game.