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Once again, Texas can’t mount offensive momentum while getting gashed by Oklahoma State

Nobody was wearing crimson on Saturday. The opposing team’s fan base came dressed in orange. America’s Brightest Orange at that. 

But darn if Oklahoma State didn’t execute the same game plan Oklahoma did against Texas the week before.

In a carbon copy loss that mirrored the Red River Showdown, the Longhorns couldn’t put together any sustained second-half momentum and got gashed on defense in a 32-24 loss to No. 12 Oklahoma State.

“There’s a lot of reasons why we couldn't execute,” UT quarterback Casey Thompson said. “We’ll figure it out and we’ll get it fixed.”

Texas (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) was poised to go up possibly 24-3 in the first half. But Thompson threw an interception to Jason Taylor II, who went 85 yards the other way for a pick six. It was a total game changer. Things unraveled from there as the Horns mustered only 12 yards on their final six drives while the Cowboys surged to 6-0.

Oklahoma State safety Jason Taylor II celebrates a defensive play in the second half of Saturday's 32-24 win over Texas. Taylor made the play of the game in the first half when he picked off a Casey Thompson pass in the red zone and returned it 85 yards for a touchdown.

Replay: Texas stumbles again in the fourth quarter as Oklahoma State rallies to 32-24 win

Think the Cotton Bowl’s north end emptied out fast last weekend? You should have seen how quickly 99,916 fans left Royal-Memorial Stadium. 

Texas coach Steve Sarkisian is learning the hard way that his coaching, no matter how distinguished, can’t make up for subpar blocking and tackling. Right now, the Horns are just an average team with an average future if things don’t change. Texas has two weeks to prepare for a road trip to Baylor on Oct. 30. 

“Right now, we’re in a space where we get a lead, something doesn’t go our way and we harbor a little bit of the negative thoughts,” Sarkisian said. “And ultimately, those negative thoughts creep into cautious play, uncertainty and errors.”

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy celebrates the 32-24 win over Texas at Royal-Memorial Stadium. The Cowboys, who are No. 12 in both major polls, improved to 6-0 on the season.

How Bijan Robinson compared to Jaylen Warren

Texas running back Bijan Robinson had 135 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. But those numbers paled to his OSU counterpart. Jaylen Warren had 193 yards on 33 carries, and quarterback Spencer Sanders punched in the clinching score from 10 yards out. 

Oklahoma State had 398 total yards while Texas sputtered to a second-half halt. On Texas’ final six drives, the offense went three-and-out four times and couldn't go anywhere, adding a turnover on downs and a game-sealing interception.

“Lot of miscommunication,” Robinson said. “They brought a lot of full-out blitzes. We tried to open up the passing game a little bit, tried to get some passes off. But they came up with some different twists, some different pressures. It was hard for us to pick them up.”

Ever searching for the silver lining, Robinson added, “We just need to hone in on our focus and just make sure we understand and learn from those experiences.”

The first half boiled down to two plays and one injury.

The first critical play came with Texas leading 7-0. Oklahoma State had third-and-8, and Sanders was pushed wide to the right and sacked for a nine-yard loss. However, defensive tackle Keondre Coburn was flagged for a clear horse collar tackle, giving OSU a fresh set of downs.

Texas running back Bijan Robinson rushed for 135 yards and scored three total touchdowns but was overshadowed by Oklahoma State's Jaylen Warren, the Utah State transfer who rushed for 193 yards on 33 carries in the Cowboys' 32-24 win.

More:Texas vs. Oklahoma State: Five questions facing the Longhorns

Oklahoma State’s offense turned on the jets with gains of 12, 14 and 20 yards. The drive ended with a 21-yard field goal, but still, the Horns should have forced a three-and-out.

The Horns went up 17-3 when Thompson found Robinson on a wheel route from 13 yards out. But that wasn’t the difference maker. Neither was Sanders’ bad overthrow that landed in D’Shawn Jamison’s hands for an easy interception.

It came on the next Texas possession. Thompson stared down Joshua Moore on an inside slant route. Taylor read it all the way, made the interception and went 85 yards for an Oklahoma State touchdown. So instead of Texas being up possibly 24-3, it was a 17-10 game and the Cowboys had all the momentum.

Along the way, Texas lost linebacker DeMarvIon Overshown. He was shaken up on the final play of the first quarter but jogged off under his own power. He went to the locker room and returned midway through the second quarter in street clothes.

Afterward, Sarkisian said Overshown suffered a concussion. Center Jake Majors was also injured with what appeared to be a lower leg injury.

Texas opened the second half with an 80-yard touchdown drive. Robinson raced in from 38 yards out after it appeared he had tweaked his left hamstring.

On UT’s next drive, the Horns went three-and-out. Oklahoma State answered with a field goal on a drive fueled by Ray Thornton’s roughing the passer penalty. 

Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders is tackled by Texas linebacker Ray Thornton during the second half.

Was that the correct call? Well, Big 12 officials have some explaining to do for throwing that iffy flag but not calling a foul when OSU’s Malcolm Rodriguez slammed into Thompson and drove him to the turf and landed on top of the Longhorn.

Thompson was temporarily dazed and left the game for one play. When Hudson Card rushed in for literally one play, Card saw his redshirt status burned — not that Sarkisian was saving it for any particular reason. But it was noteworthy nonetheless.

Warren had a 27-yard run to jump-start the Pokes’ next drive. The Cowboys were in scoring territory in a flash, and Sanders threw a seven-yard dart to Brennan Presley. UT sophomore Jaylan Ford completely blew up OSU’s two-point conversion play in what is here to date his biggest play in burnt orange.

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The defense held as steady as it could until the dam broke. Defensive tackle Moro Ojomo had an illegal hands to the face penalty, and the Cowboys would convert the free yardage into a 29-yard field goal. Coach Mike Gundy’s squad was now up 25-24 and rolling.

“Things happen,” Ojomo said. “You can’t control it. You don’t want to leave the games up to the refs. But you’ve always got to pick your head up in life, you know what I mean? Things happen.”

All Texas needed to do was eat some clock and set up a field goal. However, Thompson fired a mid-range pass for Xavier Worthy and OSU’s Tanner McCalister was there for the interception. Three plays later, Sanders was racing straight up the middle for another score.

Sarkisian was philosophical afterward. “We can’t play cautious,” he said. “We can’t play trying to hold on. We play hoping the other team makes a mistake.”

Texas fans are simply holding these Horns can hold it together the rest of the season. 

Contact Brian Davis by phone or text at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com or @BDavisAAS.