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Texas tricked: For a second straight week, Longhorns gets burned by a passing receiver

Iowa State receiver Xavier Hutchinson gets ready to throw a 49-yard touchdown pass to fellow receiver Tarique Milton during the third quarter Saturday night.

AMES, Iowa — Over the past three games, Texas' defense has allowed only three passing touchdowns.

That's good, right? Georgia, the top-ranked team in The Associated Press, coaches and playoff polls, has given up two passing scores in its last three games. Alabama has surrendered five. Seven for Big 12-leading Oklahoma.

Don't expect the Longhorns to celebrate, though.

First off, Texas (4-5, 2-4 Big 12) lost those three games. Then factor in that one of those touchdown passes was thrown by Iowa State wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson on Saturday night. That touchdown, which gave the Cyclones a 10-point lead in what turned out to be a 30-7 win, came one week after a Baylor receiver pulled off a similar trick against Texas in a 31-24 victory in Waco.

"Those hurt," Texas edge rusher Ovie Oghoufo said. "We make adjustments, and we feel that we lock it up, and then they hit us with something new. Shout out to them for exposing that part of our defense."

More:Texas falls to Iowa State for fourth straight loss, looking like a team that's lost, too

After Texas took a 7-3 halftime lead at Jack Trice Stadium, Iowa State marched down the field for a touchdown on the second half's first drive. Two drives later, the Cyclones dug into their bag of tricks.

With Iowa State at the Texas 49, Cyclones quarterback Brock Purdy threw a backward pass to Hutchinson. He quickly cocked his right arm and found Tarique Milton, who was wide open downfield.

Baylor wide receiver R.J. Sneed catches a pass between Texas cornerback D'Shawn Jamison and linebacker DeMarvion Overshown in the Bears' 31-24 win Oct. 30. Sneed threw a touchdown pass in the game.

"Xavier was a quarterback his junior year of high school. It wasn't pretty, so that's why he's not a quarterback," Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. "Great, gutsy call by (offensive coordinator Tom Manning). It was the perfect time to run that play. We just wanted to run it as fast as we can."

On the 49-yard touchdown, Milton was lined up across from Josh Thompson. Texas' veteran cornerback bought the misdirection to Hutchinson and set himself up to defend the run. No Longhorn ended up within 5 yards of Milton.

More:Golden: Texas bottoms out in Ames — and things may get worse before they get better

After the game, Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said his staff anticipated that Iowa State might try some trickery. In fact, he insisted that "we told (our players) the exact play that was coming, and it worked for (Iowa State). So that part's unfortunate."

However, one of the three players who met with the media after the loss, defensive tackle Keondre Coburn, said he didn't remember hearing that warning. Coburn said he expected the Cyclones to play "down-and-out football" at the beginning of their drive.

"I guess we just wasn't ready at the time," Coburn said. "We didn't think they were going to do that around that time. So they got us."

Seeing Iowa State call for a pass from Hutchinson might have been a pleasant surprise for the home team's rowdy fans. The Cyclones last had a receiver throw a touchdown pass in 2019.

However, the sight of a receiver doing damage with his arm instead of his hands is becoming a familiar one for the Longhorns. On Oct. 30, UT gave up a first-quarter touchdown on a 6-yard pass thrown by Baylor receiver R.J. Sneed. The Bears ran a reverse for Sneed, who then tossed it to teammate Tyquan Thompson in the end zone.

Fool the Longhorns once? Shame on you. Fool the Longhorns twice?

"I think it's hats off to them for making a play," Oghoufo said. "I think we go in there with good preparation, a lot of preparation. Hats off to them for making a play."

Saturday's game actually was the third straight in which an opposing receiver attempt a pass against Texas. In UT's 32-24 loss to Oklahoma State on Oct. 16, Brennan Presley shorted a throw back to quarterback Spencer Sanders as the Cowboys put together their fourth-quarter rally.

But though Presley's pass fell incomplete, Hutchinson's and Sneed's ended up in the end zone. The last non-quarterback to throw for a touchdown against Texas had been Maryland's Jeshaun Jones, who also caught a Tpass and ran for a score in a 34-29 Terrapins triumph in 2018.