There were 158 snaps taken in Texas’ 13-10 overtime loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday. Here are five that ended up making a big difference:
1. Here come the Cowboys
Oklahoma State’s high-octane offense was held in check to start Saturday’s action as Texas forced two early punts. The Cowboys then put together a 10-play drive that covered 96 yards and was capped by J.D. King’s 7-yard touchdown run.
King scored Oklahoma State’s only touchdown of the game, but it was quarterback Mason Rudolph who fueled the possession.
Rudolph was surgical, connecting on six of his seven passes. Eighty-three of Rudolph’s 282 passing yards were accounted for on that possession. He now has an FBS-high 2,650 yards this season.
2. Off to the races
Oklahoma State was knocking on the door of a two-score lead in the second quarter when defensive tackle Poona Ford forced Cowboys running back Justice Hill to fumble. UT safety DeShon Elliott pounced on the football, and the Longhorns took over at their 14-yard-line.
Texas lost 6 yards on the next play — freshman Daniel Young’s first career reception — but UT moved forward in a hurry. Freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger connected with junior John Burt for a short hookup that Burt turned into a 90-yard gain. Burt, who has twice qualified for the NCAA championships in the 110-meter hurdles, was run down at the Oklahoma State 2.
— Hookem Football (@hornsfootball) October 21, 2017
— Bob Ballou (@BobBallouSports) October 21, 2017
Replays showed that Burt stayed inbounds as he imitated a tightrope walker on the UT sideline. Texas, though, hurried to the line of scrimmage, and Ehlinger scampered in for a game-tying touchdown.
Burt’s play established career longs for both himself and Ehlinger. The catch was his first since Texas’ season opener. It was also the longest play in school history that didn’t result in a touchdown.
3. Trading mistakes
Elliott’s fumble recovery in the second quarter was UT’s second of the season. The Longhorns really needed to get a third.
On the fourth play of the fourth quarter, Rudolph threw a 9-yard pass to Chris Lacy. Oklahoma State’s senior receiver attempted to score but lost control of the ball as he was tackled out of bounds by Kris Boyd and Elliott. The fumbled football remained in play, but Lacy was the one who eventually made the recovery. (Texas nickel back P.J. Locke III appeared to be the closest to the ball).
Oklahoma State is given a first down at the 1 after this play is reversed to a fumble and OSU recovery. pic.twitter.com/2kEssyKbZ0
— Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) October 21, 2017
If you want to upset the No. 10 team in the country, you have to recover this fumble. (OSU kicked the game-tying field goal on this drive.) pic.twitter.com/xyRA0eUq0M
— Ryan Bridges (@RyanBridgesCFB) October 21, 2017
Trailing 10-7, Oklahoma State was given a first down at the Texas 1. The Longhorns made a defensive stand, and the Cowboys settled for the game-tying field goal.
4. Checking out
Tied 10-10 with 12:23 remaining, UT moved the chains as Chris Warren III rumbled 15 yards for a first down. The Longhorns then ran away from their running game. Ehlinger threw incomplete on the next three plays, and Texas punted from the Cowboys’ 46-yard-line.
After the game, Tom Herman said Warren’s long run was not called. Rather, the Longhorns checked to that play after seeing that Oklahoma State’s defense was set to blitz. Herman said Oklahoma State backed off its blitz, so the Longhorns decided to not run the ball.
Texas finished with 42 rushing yards on 33 attempts, so it’s anybody’s guess whether UT could have replicated the success of Warren’s run. The Longhorns, though, did not return to Oklahoma State’s territory over their final four possessions in regulation.
5. Over in overtime
Oklahoma State struck first in overtime with a 34-yard field goal, which gave UT a chance to win or extend the game. After Lorenzo Joe drew a pass interference call, Texas had a first down at the Oklahoma State 12. The Longhorns then moved 6 yards in two plays.
Oklahoma State escapes in OT. Here’s the view from down on the field pic.twitter.com/x0hRXz6o1j
— Max Olson (@max_olson) October 21, 2017
On third down, Ehlinger rolled to his left before lobbing a pass into the end zone. No Longhorns were in the immediate vicinity of Ehlinger’s pass, and San Antonio native Ramon Richards corralled the game-ending interception.
After the game, Ehlinger said that Oklahoma State read the play well and that he thought the 6-foot-3 Jerrod Heard would head to the end zone for a jump ball. Herman told reporters that Texas was supposed to run a quick pass into the flats. The play took longer than expected to develop, forcing an improvisation from a scrambling Ehlinger.
“Obviously in that situation with only needing a field goal we need to throw the ball away,” Herman said.
More questions will need to be asked about the personnel Texas had on the field. Joe and Heard were joined by fellow receiver Dorian Leonard, tight end Cade Brewer and Warren. The four Longhorns with the most receptions this year — Reggie Hemphill-Mapps, Collin Johnson, Armanti Foreman and Lil’Jordan Humphrey — were left on the sidelines. (Hemphill-Mapps, who leads UT with 31 catches, had left the game earlier with a knee injury.)
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