AUSTIN — Sam Ehlinger has been gearing up for this bowl game for months.

When Texas plays Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, Ehlinger will be the starting quarterback -- and as a life-long UT fan, he can't wait.

"It's just really a fun environment," Ehlinger said. "Like all bowl games, getting to play a team you're not used to playing."

Ehlinger will be the fifth different starting quarterback for the Longhorns in the last five bowl games. In 2012, it was David Ash; then Case McCoy in 2013; Tyrone Swoopes in 2014; and Shane Buechele in 2017.

Ehlinger grew up in Austin, and both of his parents went to UT. That makes this a dream come true.

"Growing up, I was such a big Texas fan," Ehlinger said. "I was used to them being in the elite status. And during my high school years, it wasn't to the level I expected and wanted them to be to. So, when I committed, I wanted to be part of a team or program that helps bring Texas back."

In a year and a half as starting quarterback, Ehlinger has a record of 11-8. But he wants more and isn't satisfied with close losses like the Big 12 Championship game versus Oklahoma.

He stays realistic and knows there has been improvement.

"We need to take a step back and realize where we got this year and what we did this year when the past couple of years no one would have mentioned our name in that contention," Ehlinger said.

Ehlinger and the Longhorns play Georgia in the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day.