In a game eerily reminiscent of the last second win against Kansas last year, the Texas Longhorns did just about everything wrong but still managed to pull off a 31-30 win against the Iowa State Cyclones.
There was not one instance Thursday night that defined how much Texas struggled against a one-win Iowa State team. The game in its entirety was an utter mess.
The Longhorns started strong, after the defense held the Cyclones to three-and-out and running back Johnathan Gray rushed three times for 49 yards and a touchdown. But Texas went away from the run, and quarterback Case McCoy finished the game with 26 completions on 45 attempts and 244 yards. If it wasn't for wide receiver John Harris nabbing a 44-yard Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half, McCoy would have averaged just 4.4 yards per passing attempt.
After the game, Texas' offensive coordinator Major Applewhite said he was not pleased with the result and blamed himself for poor play calls. "We had a lot of opportunities and times where we didn't execute well," Applewhite said Thursday night. "Obviously as coaches we can always do better and we have to look at ourselves first. I put the performance on me."
Thursday night's win bumps Texas to 2-0 in Big 12 play. But to say "a win is a win" and move on to the next game does not seem appropriate in this instance, not when Oklahoma is next on the schedule.
Somehow, the Longhorns have to convince themselves that a 31-30 win over Iowa State—that felt like a loss—will give them enough confidence to end a three-game losing streak against Oklahoma on October 12.
One thing is for sure, Bob Stoops and the Sooners are licking their chops.
Oklahoma leads the Red River Rivalry three-year scoring total with 146 points to Texas' lowly 58 points. To make matters worse for Texas, quarterback David Ash has not played a complete game since Week 1 of the season due to a lingering head injury.
But even if Ash is cleared to play against the Sooners, the Longhorns will find themselves in a catch-22 situation due to Ash's lack of recent playing time. Ash has only played a total of five and a half quarters since September 7. And since the injury, the Texas offense has averaged a little more than six points per quarter with Case McCoy at quarterback. Oklahoma ranks No. 6 nationally in scoring defense, which means the Texas offense could be out of the game before kickoff and Mack Brown could be out of time.
If Texas has a similar performance in Dallas against Oklahoma like it did in Ames against Iowa State, it will be a long 60 minutes for Longhorn fans.
Common speculation suggests if the Sooners hand the Longhorns another blowout loss, October 12 will be the last Red River Rivalry that Mack Brown will coach.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand.
Follow Taylor on Twitter: @Taylor_Gaspar