STILLWATER, Ok — Texas entered tonight’s nationally televised contest with OSU on a six-game winning streak and a No. 6 ranking in the country.
They left with a one-game losing streak and a lot of heartache.
Oklahoma State compiled 502 total yards of offense, over half (260) of which happened in the first quarter, on its way to a 38-35 win over the Longhorns at T. Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday night.
The slow start doomed the No. 6 Longhorns who, despite being down 17 midway through the third quarter, almost produced a comeback for the ages. Down 10 to open the final stanza, Texas QB Sam Ehlinger hit Andrew Beck on a 10-yard jump-pass touchdown toss and got the Horns within three, 31-28. But a series of penalties and bad decisions allowed OSU to hang on late.
“Extremely proud of the way that our guys fought in the second half,” said Herman. “There were times in this program when going down by 17 and a few 3-and-outs on offense, and we didn’t look like we could stop anybody on defense, that we probably would have checked it in. But we didn’t and I was really proud of that.”
Oklahoma State wasted little time with the opening possession. Four plays, 53 yards later, Taylor Corneilus hit Tylan Wallace for a 40-yard strike and a 7-0 lead at the 13:12 mark.
With Kris Boyd and Davante Davis out for the first quarter, Kobe Boyce and Anthony Cook started and were tested often, especially Boyce. Wallace, who tallied 222 yards on 10 catches, was the first WR to eclipse the 200-yard mark vs UT since OU’s Dede Westbrook in 2016.
“That’s a really upset and dejected locker room,” Herman said. “But they are very, very together. I love the fact that one loss hurts that bad. We had guys in tears. To think how far we’ve come, to where one loss matters, and it should. That means we are headed in the right direction as far as the attitude of this team and the belief in the way we do things. I told them this is probably the only time, because when you lose a game like that, you have to have some kind of hope. The hope is actually really bright.”
Texas quickly responded with its own opening march, culminating on Ehlinger’s 5-yard scoring scamper, and 7-7 draw at the 9:58 mark of the first quarter. Ehlinger finished 22-of-42, 283 yards, and two TDs, plus 51 yards on the ground and two more scores.
OSU was just getting started.
Cornelius hits Jelani Woods on a 4th-and-1 for a 16-yard TD strike at the 6:13 mark in the first. After holding UT to a three-and-out, the Cowboys drove the field ending in a Matt Amendola 25-yard field goal. It gave the Pokes a 17-7 advantage with only minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
What happened to the team that hadn’t lost in almost two months?
“What didn’t happen,” said Herman. “We didn’t stop the run, which we’ve done so well here for a year and a half. When the ball was in the air, we didn’t play it properly, we misjudged balls and took poor angles. Their guys made plays on the ball in the air.”
The second quarter opened with a Amendola missed 42-yard FG attempt. But after a pair of Texas three-and-outs, the Cowboys got back on the scoreboard when Cornelius punched it in from 1-yard out and gave the Cowboys a 24-7 lead, 10:00 remaining in the second quarter.
Ehlinger wouldn’t be denied. He led a 75-yard charge in five plays, finished off the march with a 2-yard scoring run. It brought Texas back within 10, 24-14, at the 8:48 mark.
It was a fitting end of the first half when Cornelius, who was 23-of-34, for 321 yards and three TD passes, as well as 53 yards on the ground and two more scores, hit Wallace, again, this time between Kris Boyd and Brandon Jones for a 36-yard TD toss.
The two defensive backs misjudged the ball that went through both of them, and was symbolic of UT’s first half as the Cowboys went into the half up, 31-14.
“We are in a point in our program right now where we can not play our best, especially on the road, especially against a really good football team and expect to win,” Herman said. “It’s not going to happen.”
A sluggish third quarter from both teams until Ehlinger hit Keaontay Ingram on a 22-yard scoring toss to get the Horns back within 10, 31-21, at the end of three quarters.
“We’ve got our whole season in front of us, but we have to learn from what happened and make sure it never happens again,” Herman said.
What’s next for the Longhorns despite a date next Saturday vs West Virginia?
“Very, very eager to get back out there,” said Charles Omenihu, who tallied six tackles, 2.5 TFL, and a sack. “Ready to get this taste out of our mouths.”