It was an all-too-familiar sight for the majority of the 92,506 spectators at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium: yet another heartbreaking loss.
Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger and the Longhorns walked off the field in dejection, as they watched their opponent storm the field following another painful defeat.
This time, it was No. 10 Oklahoma State celebrating a 13-10 victory.
Stunned looks ran across DKR on Saturday afternoon –– except for a small, bright orange section on the visiting side of the stadium where the Oklahoma State fans celebrated the Cowboys’ win.
“I don’t know when we’re going to break through that barrier,” head coach Tom Herman said. “I thought it was going to be this week. We had an unbelievable week of preparation. The guys were focused and ready to go. But it wasn't.”
Texas took the Cowboys, a team boasting the top offense in the nation, into overtime with the score deadlocked, 10-10. Saturday marked Texas’ third overtime of the season, and the Longhorns appeared to be primed to polish off a major upset, until they didn’t.
Oklahoma State had the first possession of overtime, but the Longhorn defense did what it had done all game: prevented the potent Oklahoma State offense from entering the endzone. Texas forced Oklahoma State to kick a field goal, giving freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger the ball with an opportunity to win the game.
With Texas less than seven yards away from winning the game and pulling off Texas’ biggest win of the season, Ehlinger took the snap. The freshman quarterback rolled to his left but was quickly forced to backpedal after the Cowboy defense forced pressure.
Unable to plant his feet, Ehlinger lobbed the ball into the endzone, barely in the vicinity of junior receiver Jerrod Heard and sophomore Devin Duvernay. The ball floated several yards away from Heard and Duvernay and right into the hands of Oklahoma State senior cornerback and San Antonio-native Ramon Richards, who fell to the ground to end the game.
“It’s awful,” Ehlinger said. “Losing sucks. That’s every week that we lose … I just made a mistake. I thought that Jerrod [Heard] was going to circle back up to the back of the end zone for a jump ball. That’s why I put it up there for him and for a chance to win. It was a mistake.
Texas’ 13-10 loss marks the Longhorns’ fourth defeat of the season, and another close one at that. Overtime forced the Longhorns to do something they hadn’t done all game: depend on the offense to close things out. After a strong defensive effort, Texas’ offensive unit failed to ice the contest.
The Longhorn defense, however, kept the burnt orange in the game by holding the nation’s top offense, who came into the matchup averaging over 48 points per game, to 13 points –– the first time the Cowboys haven’t scored 20 points or more in 36 games.
But it wasn’t enough, not with the mere 10 points the offense put up.
“(The defense) played well enough to beat any team,” junior running back Chris Warren III said. “We’ve got to help them, point blank.”
Texas is now coming off of back-to-back one-possession losses to then-No. 12 Oklahoma and No. 10 Oklahoma State.
The Longhorns’ loss to the Cowboys also marks their second overtime loss to a top-10 team. However, despite a 3–4 record (2–2 Big 12), Texas has been in every game this season.
Texas is close, and Herman knows it.
“I told our guys all week, after the loss to Oklahoma, that we were close and that close is a lot better than the alternative,” Herman said. “They’ve been a part of teams that were far away, and you know it when they are. This one’s not."