AUSTIN — The intense scrutiny has resumed, and the Texas coaches are spearheading it.
After pulling itself out of an early season tailspin by winning six consecutive games, the Longhorns regressed in their return as a ranked team, falling to No. 12 Oklahoma State in a one-sided contest.
Texas’ poor play was highlighted by a three-minute stretch late in the second half as the Cowboys scored two touchdowns in less than a minute to rip away any Longhorns’ momentum while propelling themselves to a 38-13 victory.
Following the game, Texas head coach Mack Brown was quick to criticize his team’s play, especially at the end of the first half.
“It was awful,” he said. “I’m disappointed. I don’t get stunned about anything anymore. We didn’t play well in the first half.”
The Cowboys established a 14-3 lead with 7 minutes, 31 seconds remaining in the second quarter on quarterback Clint Chelf’s second touchdown run, but the Longhorns answered with a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive capped off by Malcolm Brown’s 7-yard run.
Then, with 3:39 remaining in the half, everything began crumbling for Texas.
Oklahoma State quickly covered 67 yards on its ensuing drive and a potential interception by Texas safety Adrian Phillips slipped through his hands and was caught by Tracy Moore for a 12-yard touchdown with 75 seconds left.
Less than a minute later, Case McCoy threw his first of three interceptions and Cowboys cornerback Justin Gilbert returned it 43 yards for a touchdown, giving Oklahoma State a 28-10 lead heading into halftime.
No. 23 Texas (7-3, 6-1 Big 12) never recovered, and McCoy, who completed 26 of 39 passes for 221 yards, openly took his share of the criticism, admitting he was forcing things.
“When a quarterback goes out and throws three picks, you are not going to win a ballgame,” the senior said. “It is very rare that happens, so it’s on me and my team knows it’s on me.”
The Longhorns converted 10 of 19 third downs, finished the game with more total yards than Oklahoma State — 389 to 380 — and their 25 first downs were four more than the Cowboys (9-1, 6-1) had, but Texas simply could not get in the end zone.
Anthony Fera’s 27-yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half proved to be the Longhorns’ final points of the game, but Oklahoma State was not through yet. Ben Grogan connected on a 39-yard field goal before Chelf found Charlie Moore for a 21-yard touchdown, and the Cowboys cruised to victory despite not scoring in the fourth quarter.
Chelf accounted for 292 total yards, completing 16 of 22 passes for 197 yards while rushing for 95 yards on 10 carries.
“It was unacceptable,”said Texas defensive coordinator Greg Robinson of Chelf’s performance.
“It shouldn’t have happened. … It starts with coaching, and I’m sick.”
The loss will certainly move the Longhorns out of the Top 25 after they climbed to No. 24 in the BCS rankings entering the game, and Texas’ longest winning streak since going 17-0 over the 2008 and 2009 seasons was snapped.
Despite everything, Brown managed to find a silver lining.
“There are goals out there,” he said. “If there is nothing to play for, it is a very difficult thing, but we are still in November with a conference championship sticking right in our face. We’ve just got to play better.”