It’s a rare occurence for Texas to lose at home during the Mack Brown era — it’s only happened nine times in Big 12 play over 14 years — but Oklahoma State has managed the feat in two straight seasons.
The games weren’t particularly close, either. In 2010 the Cowboys rolled into Austin and blasted Texas, 33-16, and then a year later they did it again, dropping the Longhorns, 38-26. That’s two losses by a combined 29 points at DKR in a two-year stretch, leaving painful memories which haven’t faded for the players.
“It’s not sitting very well,” offensive guard Trey Hopkins said. “It’s not something that happens, and it’s been unacceptable the past few years. We know that we have to change it, and that motivation will help us go on the road and get a little payback I think.”
In order to flip the script on Oklahoma State the Longhorns will have to come up with a game plan to contain the Cowboys’ prolific offense. Oklahoma State enters the game as the top scoring offense in the country averaging 62.3 points a game, including a staggering 84 points in its season opener.
The Cowboys have done it by pounding the ball to the tune of 308 yards per contest with their powerful backfield tandem of Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith. But, just as it was when Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon were at the helm, the passing attack is the Cowboys’ sharpest tool.
Oklahoma State is putting up 378 passing yards a game through the air, the second highest total in the FBS, and have done it with not one, but two freshman quarterbacks. Wes Lunt was the preseason starter, but J.W. Walsh stepped in when Lunt exited the Cowboys third game with a knee injury. And Walsh just didn’t fill in; he thrived, throwing for 347 yards and four touchdowns while adding 70 yards rushing to boot.
“I don’t know of anybody else in the country that could lose their starting quarterback and have a guy come in and set the record for total offense in school history,” defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said. “There’s no great speech needed this week. They have our full attention.”
Lunt and Walsh are listed as co-starters for Saturday’s contest, so the Longhorns will be forced to prepare for the pocket presence of Lunt and the duel threat capabilities of Walsh.
However, the Longhorns feature a defense that’s been touted as one of the best in the nation, and the players want to use this game as an opportunity to finally prove it.
“The next two weeks will be different,” cornerback Quandre Diggs said. “We can go out and show guys we’re serious and all the hype is real.”
But against a potent attack like that of the Cowboys, the final result will come down to Texas’ ability to put up points.
The past two seasons the Longhorns didn’t have the firepower to compete in a track meet with Oklahoma State, but this year they’re much more equipped to do so. Texas is the seventh ranked offense in the country, assaulting opposing defenses for 49.3 points a game, numbers that have significantly boosted the confidence of the offense.
“We know when we’re on the field we’re going to score,” Hopkins said.
They’ll have to against the Cowboys, and the defense must live up to its billing as well in order to come away with a victory to begin a new streak against Oklahoma State.
“They definitely got the upper hand the last two years,” safety Kenny Vaccaro said. “We want to change that.”