Bohls: Texas' total collapse against Oklahoma marks a huge setback, and a familiar one
- Texas struggled to protect Casey Thompson and create many holes for Bijan Robinson in final half.
- The Longhorns broke to a commanding 28-7 lead but couldn't hold onto it with second-half fade.
- Coach Steve Sarkisian said this setback "will test our mettle."
DALLAS — Maybe someday this will all make sense to Texas fans.
Eventually, Longhorn Nation will figure out how its team blew a 21-point lead after one quarter and completely dissolved into a sea of defensive ineptitude and offensive misfires in the second half on this cloudless Saturday afternoon in the Cotton Bowl.
Sooner or later, Texas will come to grips with an excruciating 55-48 loss to No. 5 Oklahoma, but there has to be major fears that this crushing defeat could define the season and the disappointment could linger the rest of the year.
But for now, bring on the adult beverages and book that stay on a psychiatrist’s couch.
In the meantime, fans can only shake their heads in dismay, curse the ground that Lincoln Riley walks on and Kennedy Brooks runs wild on and quite honestly count the days until Chris Beard makes men's basketball nationally relevant.
Don’t look for this football collapse to wear off any time soon, however.
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“We fought hard,” said wide receiver Joshua Moore, who scored his first touchdown of the year. “That’s all you can ask for. We just fell short. We can’t hang our heads.”
Still, this one will assuredly leave a mark.
A big, ugly one.
This jaw-dropping defeat will leave a bad stain on what has largely been a refreshing start for the third try since the glorious Mack Brown era came Saturday. The question will be where does Texas go from here. Can it shake off the massive disappointment and post a winning season with a solid bowl or do the glaring deficiencies in a subpar offensive line and a defense that forgot how to tackle in the most meaningful game of the year.
Steve Sarkisian got his first dose of this blood feud and learned what it means to both sides, and the nation that chafes at the Longhorns’ arrogance smiles smugly at what ultimately leaves most with the following notion.
Same old Texas.
As its suffering fan base wishes for the Texas of old — the one that produced four national championships, the most recent coming in 2005 (you might be able to find it on video somewhere) — it’s been stuck with this version since 2009 when it has enjoyed just one double-digit win season.
And critics will continue to harp on the Longhorns raging inconsistency and unfulfilled expectations until a Texas team bows up and says enough is enough.
“Big picture-wise, this will test our mettle,” Sarkisian said. “We’ve got to see what we’re made of and bounce back against a good team (Oklahoma State). But we fought. We fought like crazy.”
Unfortunately, this is who Texas is these days.
Teasing the faithful with wins over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl and every bowl game Tom Herman ever coached and some spectacular runs by Bijan Robinson and even a very modest, three-game win streak, only to fall back into irrelevance.
Consider that Texas led 28-7 and needed just 15 offensive plays to do so.
Know that the Longhorns had a 38-20 lead after Cameron Dicker’s field goal at the half, but scored only a field goal on its next five possessions until Casey Thompson’s perfect, game-tying touchdown strike to Xavier Worthy with 83 seconds to play.
Even that answer was short-lived as OU responded as well with Kennedy Brooks’ winning 33-yard waltz into the end zone with so little resistance in the final seconds to salt the game away.
Winning is hard.
But it shouldn’t be this hard.
And it falls on a soft offensive line, a secondary that still gets hurt over the top and bonehead decisions like running kickoffs out of the end zone. While OU found its next budding star at quarterback, Texas is left with many of the same old issues.
So instead of celebrating the biggest signature win in Sarkisian’s short tenure, No. 23 Texas falls to 4-2, and all that promise after the three straight wins and hopes for a long stay in the Top 25 all was snatched away with one mega play after another from the Sooners.
Sarkisian and his staff now have to cope with one of the all-time choke jobs against a top 10 team that had struggled for any cohesion and offensive explosion all year long. Thompson, known for his extensive film study, may have to burn candles at both ends and look for even more candles in examining the tape of this debacle.
He played admirably, even great with four first-half touchdown passes, and tossed a beautiful 31-yard strike to his freshman phenom to tie the game at 48-all, but wilted under a relentless pass rush from the crimson.
“I wouldn’t say I had no time,” Thompson said, “and I tried to avoid taking sacks. But OU did a good job getting guys in my face.”
His counterpart Caleb Williams, however, at least matched Thompson’s proficiency by replacing the OU starter after intermission and pacing the Sooners to a 35-point second-half flurry. That’s got to hurt even more that OU benched its one-time Heisman front-runner Spencer Rattler and turned to a freshman backup for one of the most electric games in the 117th meeting of these two teams.
This one will assuredly leave a mark.
A really, really bad mark.
Who knows the long-term consequences of a defeat this bitter to Texas’ biggest rival. Oklahoma’s still the king. And Texas returns to the look of a pauper, done in again by its own quirky failures that have doomed this program for more than a decade.
This was simply one of the wildest, most improbable Texas-OU games in history, one filled to overflowing with huge momentum swings, incredible comebacks, stirring catches by big-time receivers, highly questionable coaching and player decisions and one incredible comeback.
Holy funnel cake, was that ever an entertaining first half before it became the ultimate gut punch.
This thing became an instant classic from the moment Worthy caught a seemingly innocent hitch pass harkening back to the Greg Davis years but sidestepped two would-be Sooners tackles and stepping off 75 yards into the end zone.
Four plays later, DeMarvion Overshown — who had just a monster first half — blocks a punt that Brenden Schooler recovers on the lip of the goal line, and two plays later, Bijan Robinson waltzes in from the 2-yard for a commanding, 14-0 lead with just over two minutes off the clock.
It all seemed too easy, and it turned out it was. The 38-point first half proved to be only so much fools’ gold because Texas still seems a long ways off from claiming any national treasure.
"My mindset," Sark said, "is I'd love another crack at these guys in December."
Be careful for what you wish.