Overshadowing the few bright spots in the Texas Longhorns' 38-13 loss to No. 10 Oklahoma State were a flurry of dull ones, serving mostly as ugly reminders from exactly where this defense has come.
For Texas (7-3, 6-1), it marked the worst home loss in coach Mack Brown's 16-year tenure in Austin. But more importantly, it verified what many Texas fans may have been reluctant to realize.
The Longhorns, again, are dabbling in mediocrity.
The Cowboys (9-1, 6-1) presented a balanced offense that posted 380 total yards, including 183 rushing yards. The Pokes outscored the Longhorns 31-10 between the second and third quarters, another reminder that Oklahoma State is a legitimate contender for the Big 12 Title.
Texas' six-game winning streak, while glorious from 10,000 feet, looks more and more like a product of poor opposition in a weaker Big 12 than anything else.
The Cowboys simply dominated the Longhorns on Saturday afternoon, and the following breakdown shines light on nothing new.
Any casual observer of the Longhorns this season can tell you that they have serious trouble defending the running quarterback.
BYU's Taysom Hill and Ole Miss' Bo Wallace were able to rip off seemingly easy chunks of yards against Texas early in the season, and Oklahoma State's Clint Chelf was the latest to cash in against the 'Horns.
Chelf accounted for more than half of OSU's running game, posting 95 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries. That simply cannot happen, especially when Texas held the Cowboys' top running back in Desmond Roland to just 59 yards on the day.
For a little perspective, in Texas' six-game winning streak, opposing quarterbacks recorded 69 carries amounting to 53 yards and a touchdown. Sacks included, the numbers are impressive but do not show an intent to run the ball with the quarterback.
Texas failed in that regard on Saturday, and Texas Tech and Baylor should be looking to capitalize in that area in the coming weeks.
Oklahoma State's third touchdown of the day was the tipped pass that fell right into the hands of Tracy Moore, which gave the Cowboys a 21-10 advantage. From there, they never looked back. Texas managed to score just three points in the last 33 minutes of the game.
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If Adrian Phillips can come down with that interception, which would have been Texas' second red-zone pick of the day, the Longhorns are looking at a four-point deficit with just over a minute to go in the half.
Instead, the Cowboys get a gut-wrenching touchdown to go up two scores. In an attempt to respond, Case McCoy threw a pick-six.
Effectively, that one missed opportunity turned a close four-point game into an 18-point contest that began teetering on blowout.
The Longhorns recorded zero sacks and zero quarterback hits.
In Texas' six-game winning streak, it averaged four sacks and over six QBH per game. Credit the Oklahoma State offensive line, but as well as Jackson Jeffcoat, Cedric Reed and Malcom Brown have been playing up front, their doughnuts on the stat sheet are a big disappointment.
Look for this group to bounce back against Texas Tech.
For what it's worth, the Texas defense got no help from its offense.
Three McCoy interceptions led to short fields and easy points for a Mike Gundy team that has great balance across the board.
Oklahoma State averaged 51 yards per scoring drive, while Texas had to march 73 yards per scoring drive. The Longhorns only had three scoring drives.
The Bottom Line
Oklahoma State is the better team, and Texas' efforts were mostly futile.
The Cowboys made the plays on defense to zap any momentum Texas may have had and converted those instances into points.
The Longhorns' defense, meanwhile, was not nearly as disruptive as it has been in recent weeks, and it all started up front.