After Texas upset Oklahoma and rattled off six straight wins, Longhorn fans started to believe this team could actually win the Big 12. There was hope in Austin. That hope isn't dead, but it is certainly on life support after the Horns' early-season demons reared their ugly heads in a 38-13 loss to Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys dominated the Longhorns in all phases of the game, and put the six-game run into perspective: The winning streak was against teams with a combined 24-42 record this season.
Defensive Demons: Containing the Quarterback Run Game, Giving up Big Plays
"I'm sick" is how Texas defensive coordinator Greg Robinson felt about his defense's first-half performance against the Cowboys. The Longhorns struggled to stop Oklahoma State's quarterback run game, allowing Clint Chelf—who is not known for his running ability—to rush seven times for 75 yards and two rushing touchdowns by halftime.
The second half was a little better for the Texas defense, but it was too late because the Texas offense did not do its part to keep the Longhorns in the game.
Offensive Demons: Turnovers, Field Goals Instead of Touchdowns, Shying Away from the Run Game
With Case McCoy at quarterback, the offensive success has typically been determined by how well the team runs the ball. But the offense slowly went away from the run game Saturday. The outcome? Three McCoy interceptions, which led to 14 Oklahoma State points, including a 43-yard pick-six with 18 seconds left in the first half to give Oklahoma State an 18-point lead.
"If the quarterback goes out and throws three picks, you're not going to win the ball game," McCoy said after the game. "It's on me. My team knows it's on me. We're going to get it fixed and go win."
The Longhorns entered the red zone just three times Saturday; one of those appearances was in garbage time with true freshman backup quarterback Tyrone Swoopes leading the charge. If the offense cannot convert its limited red-zone appearances to touchdowns, the Longhorns' conference title hopes will disappear.
Saturday's loss made Texas' road to the Big 12 title a little bumpy, but it was not necessarily the nail in the Longhorns' coffin. The Big 12 is still wide open. Undefeated Baylor is the clear favorite to nab the title, but Oklahoma State and Texas are not out of the picture.
|Relevant Remaining Big 12 Games|
|November 23||Baylor at Oklahoma State|
|November 28||Texas vs. Texas Tech|
|November 30||Baylor at TCU|
|December 7||Texas at Baylor|
|December 7||Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma|
Oklahoma State faces Baylor next Saturday, and Texas fans need to be rooting for the Bears to demolish the Cowboys in order to keep the Longhorns' conference title hopes alive.
All quotes obtained firsthand.
Follow Taylor on Twitter: @Taylor_Gaspar