Horns take major step backward in Red River Rivalry loss

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Unacceptable. Inept. Disappointing.

These were some of the words the Longhorns used to describe their performance in a 63-21 loss to Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry on Saturday. But there might not be an adequate way to explain what exactly happened at the Cotton Bowl this weekend.

The same Longhorns that were undefeated a little more than two weeks ago are now out of the conference championship picture and wondering how a team supposedly destined to restore the Texas football program back to the powerhouse it should be is struggling to stay above .500 in Big 12 play after one of the worst losses of the Mack Brown era.

A quarterback that connected on 77.5 percent of his passes before this game was hesitant, inefficient and injured by the end of the afternoon. David Ash’s left wrist was bruised, swollen and possibly broken after it was sandwiched between his chest and Oklahoma defensive lineman Chuka Ndulue.

Case McCoy threw a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns against the Sooners’ second-team defense and has a good chance to start against the team he made his last start against, Baylor. But the Longhorns offense should take a step back without Ash, last seen pointing to the sky as he trotted into the locker room Saturday.

“We’re all feeling really sick right now,” Jaxon Shipley, who made one catch for three yards, both career worsts, said. “There are two ways you can go about this. You can let it beat you down for the next couple of weeks, or you can bounce back and come together.”

The Longhorns offensive line had paved the way for it to run for 209.4 yards per game in its first five contests. But the Texas tailbacks had no room to run on a mediocre Oklahoma defense as the team ran for just 74 yards and Joe Bergeron was mobbed in the end zone during the second quarter for a safety that gave the Sooners a 29-2 lead. Unacceptable.

After allowing the smallest number of passing and rushing yards per game in the conference a year ago, the Texas defense is on pace to go down as one of the worst in program history.

Second-year defensive coordinator Manny Diaz is working with a unit that is one of the worst at tackling in the country, as evidenced by a 95-yard touchdown run by Damian Williams — the longest in the rivalry’s history — and four short touchdown runs by Blake Bell. Inept.

The Longhorns even allowed a 6-foot-2, 256-pound fullback in Trey Millard to rack up 119 yards receiving — more than he had in his previous 10 games combined. Disappointing.
“I’m disappointed for our coaches, fans and players,” head coach Mack Brown said. “That’s not who we are ... We just have to make sure that we don’t forget this, learn from it, move forward and try to win next week. We can’t sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. We’re sitting in the same spot we were this time last year.”

That’s a troubling sentiment for a squad that lost five games last season and seven the year before. The rebuilding process was supposed to be over. Texas’ roster is still filled with former blue-chip prospects on the brink of turning in another underachieving season.

The Longhorns were 4-2 at this point last year. But they better turn things around before this season spirals out of control.

 

Printed on Monday, October 15, 2012 as: Orange Crushed