Welcome, Texas fans, to rock bottom.
Iowa State entered Austin with the worst offense and the worst defense in the Big 12. They hadn’t defeated a ranked opponent on the road in more than 20 years, they had allowed 120 points in blowouts over the last two weeks, and most importantly, they had never beat Texas.
And the Longhorns knew every bit of it. Less than four hours before the clock expired and Iowa State had upset No. 22 Texas 28-21, Texas coach Mack Brown predicted trouble.
“I was worried in pre-game because our guys were standing around with an arrogance,” Brown said. “Last week we played great, and this week, we stunk and I’m mystified.”
After pulling off a huge upset in Nebraska and climbing back into the polls after a one-week absence, Texas found every way it could to allow Iowa State the most monumental victory in school history.
“We just kept killing ourselves,” Brown said. “I never thought we’d lose this game.”
In a game that was reminiscent of the home loss to UCLA four weeks ago, Texas surrendered turnover after turnover and couldn’t stop the run. Garrett Gilbert threw three interceptions that Iowa State caught and about a half-dozen others that should’ve been caught. He was wild, completing 34 of 57 passes for 344 yards in a game where Texas trailed from the start.
“This all just comes down to me making mistakes,” Gilbert said. “And there’s no excuse for that.”
The run defense allowed Iowa State 199 yards and two touchdowns. Even when leading rusher Alexander Robinson was sidelined with injury throughout the fourth quarter, Texas couldn’t stop the third and fourth-string running backs.
“We didn’t play well at all because we didn’t come prepared,” defensive end Sam Acho said. “Anytime you play college football, you have to come out with energy and passion, and we didn’t do that today.”
Texas was down 28-6 to start the fourth quarter, when they finally decided to make a late push. Gilbert found John Chiles for a 17-yard touchdown, then ran into the end zone for a two-point conversion and later hit Malcolm Williams on a 9-yard touchdown.
But once again, the rush defense struggled to get stops before finally allowing the offense one final possession in the last minute. With the game on the line, Gilbert was sacked then threw three straight incomplete passes to hand the game to Iowa State.
“You can blame whoever you want, but this is everybody’s fault,” Brown said. “I’m as disappointed in our offense as I’ve ever been. I was ready to play.”
Players said Brown was the fieriest they’ve ever seen him during and after the game, but for the most part, they took ownership of the loss. Texas falls to 4-3, the worst start since 1997 when John Mackovic was fired and Brown was brought in.
“I don’t see myself losing games,” safety Blake Gideon said. “I imagine myself walking off the field victoriously after games, but this is a shock.”