October 02, 2010
Oklahoma 28, Texas 20. The good news for the Longhorns is that this wasn't nearly as bad as it might have been. The Sooners went straight down the field for touchdowns on their first two possessions, and were never in serious danger of losing control of the game after going up 21-7 in the second quarter. After last week's disaster against UCLA, Texas was a serious fold risk in that position, and kept battling within a late muffed punt of making it a game.
The bad news is, that's the kind of team Texas is right now: One that has to scrap to keep it close against the real cream of the conference. They had bad luck, including 81 yards in penalties, at one point watching big two first downs and what would been a critical OU turnover disappear due to flags within a five-minute span. They missed a golden chance to recover a fumble by Landry Jones deep in OU territory in the fourth quarter, then gave it right back seconds later when Aaron Williams couldn't handle the Sooner punt. And they got creative in search of a spark, converting a fake punt at the start of the second half that extended an eventual 71-yard field goal drive.
But the fundamental problems were the same every-down, nuts-and-bolts issues that did them in against UCLA. For the second week in a row, the defense struggled against the run (OU's DeMarco Murray pounded out 121 tough yards and two touchdowns), and the offense failed to mount a sustained touchdown drive until the game was essentially out of hand in the fourth quarter (though D.J. Monroe did add a quick-strike, 60-yard scoring sprint earlier). There's still nothing like a go-to running back to ease some of the burden on sophomore quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who now has more interceptions on the year (5) than touchdowns (4). The top-10 projections over the summer were out of defense to the Longhorn on the helmet, but the overhaul on paper has been all too evident on the field.
Other than the slow, painful death of their preseason goals, the worst part about this particular losing streak is that the Longhorns have to live with it for two weeks – and then try to stave off the worst regular season slide of the Mack Brown era at Nebraska. They're already virtually assured of dropping out of the polls Sunday for the first time in 10 years. If there's not a dramatic turnaround in Lincoln, they may not be back anytime soon.