It’s all over in Stillwater, Okla. No. 6-ranked Texas, which was a 2.5-point favorite tonight, has fallen to Oklahoma State, 38-35.
Goodbye, six-game win streak.
Goodbye to the inside track to make the Big 12 championship game. That’s still a possibility, but the path is a bit trickier now. But either way, with two losses, goodbye to any hopes of making the College Football Playoff.
Three of the four biggest comebacks in UT history have come at Oklahoma State’s expense. The Horns trailed by 17 points at halftime and came up one field goal short.
Why Texas (6-2, 4-1) lost
The Longhorns looked sluggish through the first two quarters. Maybe that was the off week. Maybe it was going without the two starting cornerbacks for the first quarter. But the offense struggled and the defense was uncharacteristically giving. But Oklahoma State was off last week, too. No one — certainly not Kris Boyd — could cover Tylan Wallace, who torched Texas like no other wide receiver has done this season. Brandon Jones’ questionable decision to field a deep punt ended up changing the game. The Horns lost momentum, nearly were caught in a safety twice and ended up punting from the end zone; OSU scored with a short field. The Horns came close, but couldn’t catch the Cowboys.
Why Oklahoma State (5-3, 2-3) won
The Cowboys started off hot, then seemed content to work the clock, then withstood a second-half Longhorns rally. Taylor Cornelius has drawn the ire of fans, but looked awfully good tonight. He threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more. Wallace looked like the second coming of James Washington or Dez Bryant, a 200-yard game.
- Ehlinger looked OK. Not great. Not very good. But it definitely wouldn’t have been surprising to see him struggle, just two weeks removed from a sprained shoulder. He had a couple of nice throws — a perfectly-placed 36-yarder that hit a well-covered Andrew Beck in stride, and his equally impressive 22-yard touchdown to Keaontay Ingram in the third quarter stood out — and took some hits both in the backfield and as a runner. He also had a couple of touchdown runs.
He took one truly big hit on his shoulder, but it was his left one. He was averaging 11 carries a game heading into the game and ended up with 10 tonight.
He started out 2 of 8 and was only 5 of 15 at halftime. He finished up 22 of 42 for 283 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also rushed for 47 yards and two more scores.
- A good night for Gary Johnson. He led the team with 10 tackles and saved Texas some points on the very first play of the second quarter, a third-and-6 at UT’s 9-yard line. Johnson broke through for the Horns’ first sack of the night, a big one — a 15-yard loss back to the 24. On fourth down, Matt Ammendola missed from 41 yards out.
- Charles Omenihu didn’t have the monster game that he’s had the rest of October, but he did have one monster drive in the second quarter, notching a sack and a tackle for loss on the same series.
- How about starters playing on special teams? D’Shawn Jamison muffed his first punt return, but Collin Johnson saved the day by recovering the ball on the turf. A turnover there would’ve given OSU the ball inside Texas’ 20 with a 24-14 lead.
That was the last punt we saw Jamison field. It was Brandon Jones from there on.
- And yeah, it was near disaster on a deep punt that Jones shouldn’t have fielded and very nearly was tackled for a safety. As it was, it forced the offense into a 98-yard situation trailing by three. But take a look at the play again and give Jones some credit for successfully fielding the punt at all; it was an over-the-shoulder grab literally on his fingertips, but he controlled it. Should have let it bounce for a probable touchback, for sure. But it could have been much, much worse.
That decision, however, was the key play of the game.
- And if Ryan Bujcevski is still looking for a Halloween costume, he can go as Michael Dickson. The freshman had his best game yet, hitting a soaring 55-yard punt in the first quarter and a 54-yard boomer in the third.
- A rare off night for the defense. The Cowboys finished with 508 yards of offense, the second most of the season behind the 532 yards that Oklahoma had.
- Tough night for Kris Boyd. The Cowboys had success in the passing game as Boyd and Davante Davis missed the first quarter as punishment for being late to a team function. It forced Texas to go with a redshirt freshman and a true freshman at cornerback for the opening quarter; Taylor Cornelius was 9 of 12 for 134 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
- Not that Boyd’s return made much difference. Tylan Wallace beat him for a 27-yard gain on OSU’s opening drive of the second quarter. Late in the half, Wallace out-jumped Boyd for a 36-yard touchdown grab; Boyd was in position to make a play, but mistimed his jump. Wallace didn’t. Boyd dropped an interception and was beaten by Wallace again for 49 yards in the third quarter.
- Speaking of Wallace, the Cowboys receiver had a huge night. He finished with 10 catches for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns. That’s the best game by an opposing receiver this season. USC’s Amon-Ra St. Brown had 167 yards and Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown had 131. Those were the only two 100-yard receivers Texas had allowed through seven games.
- Everyone was worried about Justice Hill. For good reason — the Cowboys running back had 100-yard games against Texas in 2016 and 2017. But it wasn’t just Hill that gashed the Horns’ run defense. We didn’t hear much about Chuba Hubbard this week, but the freshman from Canada paired with Hill as a very effective one-two punch.
Hill had 92 yards on 23 carries, Hubbard 80 on only nine runs.
- The Cowboys finished with 18 rushing yards; only Oklahoma (222) and Tulsa (189) have rushed for more.
- As explained above, Brandon Jones’ ill-advised decision to field a deep OSU punt painted Texas into a tough corner — trailing 31-28 with 9 1/2 minutes left
That drive was one big gulp after another. On third-and-long, Ehlinger hit Lil’Jordan Humphrey for a first down but it was nullified by a holding call on Calvin Anderson (though it was announced as being on Patrick Vahe). Anderson appeared to commit the penalty in the end zone, but officials didn’t rule it a safety. And on third down, Ehlinger was nearly sacked for a safety.
- Ehlinger hit Collin Johnson for a big 45-yard gainer in the third quarter. But it was called back on a holding penalty by Andrew Beck. Drive killer.
- And if you’re going to go for an onside kick, next time kick it with your kicker. Not last year’s kicker. Joshua Rowland’s effort with 2 minutes left didn’t produce the bounce that would be needed to hope for a play. It was fielded easily.
Next up for Texas
Texas hosts No. 13 West Virginia next Saturday. Kickoff time and TV information hasn’t been announced yet.
The last five Texas-WVU games:
2013: Texas, 47-40 (OT, Morgantown)
2014: Texas, 33-16 (Austin)
2015: West Virginia, 38-20 (Morgantown)
2016: West Virginia, 24-20 (Austin)
2017: Texas, 28-14 (Morgantown)
News on Bevo Beat is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of Hookem.com is included with an Austin American-Statesman subscription in addition to Statesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe today at statesman.com/subscribe.